The ceremony, hosted by Chelsea Handler in Los Angeles, was over two hours of the music world’s cool kids preening, presenting, and performing. And despite the fact that MTV has been buttering their bread with reality shows instead of music videos for the past few years, music really saved the night.
Eminem charged the stage in a strong opening act that included a surprise appearance from Rihanna. In reference to last year’s acceptance speech scandal, Kanye West sought absolution with his performance, and Taylor Swift might have provided it with hers.
Other notable moments included appearances by reigning tween phenom Justin Bieber, who displayed his prowess on the drums, and everyone’s favorite bride-to-be, Katy Perry. Perry was sans fiancé, but sported her engagement ring while she reminisced about meeting Comedian Russell Brand at a past VMA ceremony.
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Lady Gaga, who has been making wedding headlines, despite the absence of an engagement ring, stole the show with three costume changes and eight wins, including video of the year for “Bad Romance.” The superstar was campaigning for a cause last night, made sure to thank the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, and even got emotional before she broke into song to thank her fans at the end of the night.
But after years of impromptu misbehaving, the stars seemed to be on their best behavior last night; they sat in their seats and actually congratulated the winners. MTV, the once hardcore, generation-in-revolt, culture creator, was walking on egg shells last night. The drunken, raucous, scaffolding climbing, speech slurring, microphone stealing antics for which the VMA’s have become known for, were absent last night. And frankly, so was the interest.