The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards went down yesterday, and while the storied trophy handout didn't skimp on the outrageous moments, this year's OMG-inducing events were less about reckless stage-crashing and more about super-sweet PDA.
Arguably the biggest star of the evening hasn't even sung a note yet - let alone release a VMA-nominated visual - but that didn't stop Beyonce's unborn baby from stealing the spotlight. The pop megastar drove Twitter bonkers when she hit the black carpet and revealed she is expecting, showing off her burgeoning bump before the show's kickoff. But she scored an even sweeter moment when she wrapped up her retro performance of the 4 album cut "Love on Top" by rubbing her belly and giggling contentedly. Hubby Jay-Z looked on proudly as Kanye West excitedly egged on his Throne collaborator.
Jay and 'Ye also gave the VMA audience a shock by dropping by for a surprise performance of "Otis," replete with geysers of pyro and fog. The two hip-hop titans, who have both been caught in the crosshairs of a VMA stage bumrush before, didn't let an attempted stage crash by an overzealous fan derail their performance of the soulful hit.
Although she didn't arrive in a theatrical getup like a frock made of flesh or an egg-shaped vessel, Lady Gaga did give a memorable performance, showing up in drag as her gritty male alter ego, Jo Calderone. Sporting a messy pompadour, dirty white T-shirt, dark suit and a cigarette tucked behind her ear, Jo opened the evening with a monologue about Gaga's curious ways before launching into "Yoü and I." An army of "Jo" clones and Queen's Brian May joined the songstress for set. The epic performance didn't stop with the song, though, as Gaga swigged whiskey and addressed the audience in a gruff voice for the entire evening.
Gaga's commitment to her Calderone character was even more evident when she presented the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award to Britney Spears for her years of visual pop confections. When the Femme Fatale diva took the stage and eyed the diminutive Gaga in her tough-guy getup, the pop supernovas slowly inched toward each other as if they were about to give us another game-changing VMA lip-lock (a girl-on-guy-as-girl smooch hasn't been done before, has it?). At the last minute, Brit backed away and laughed, "I've done that before," referencing her infamous makeout sesh with Madonna at the 2003 VMAs.
Other performances of the night were OMG-worthy for more traditional reasons. British soul sensation Adele dispensed with the bells and whistles for a straightforward rendition of her 21 track "Someone Like You." With just a piano and that booming voice, the songstress's touching performance got the tears flowing. Chris Brown, on the other hand, was all about the ol' razzle dazzle, busting out some frenetic footwork to a medley of Wu-Tang Clan and Nirvana mixed with the singer's own "Yeah 3X." Brown closed the set by gliding through the air on cables and churning out flips high above the audience to his house anthem "Beautiful People."
Following heartfelt words from comedian Russell Brand and legendary crooner Tony Bennett, Bruno Mars rocked a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse. Flanked by a crew of backup singers in dapper sequined blazers and stylized images of the inventive songstress, Mars turned out an upbeat performance of "Valerie," a song Winehouse covered for producer Mark Ronson's 2007 album Version.
In between the high-flying performances, they also gave out some Moonmen too. Adele and Gaga each scored three (not all of the award categories were televised) and nine-time nominee Katy Perry racked up two. And although he only nabbed one trophy, Odd Future MC Tyler, the Creator was perhaps the most amped VMA victor. "I really can't believe I'm here right now. I didn't write a thank you speech," the rapper said. "To all the kids watching, you can do this sh--. Thank you."