This year’s MTV Video Music Awards show was closed by Beyonce with an epic nearly 20-minute performance.
Beyonce was joined onstage by her husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy which brought her to tears, amid numerous divorce rumors.
The singer accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Beyonce’s performance easily outdid her competition throughout the night, though she lost video of the year, which instead went to a teary Miley Cyrus who let a homeless man accept her award for video of the year.
It was in sharp contrast to the 2013 VMAs, when Miley Cyrus twerked and danced shockingly onstage.
“Thank y’all, my name is Jesse and I accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I am one of these people,” the man said, as Miley Cyrus looked on.
“Though I may have been invisible to you in the streets, I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight.”
Miley Cyrus’ decision to let someone else accept her award to promote a cause was reminiscent of Marlon Brando’s 1973 Academy Awards best actor win, when he gave a Native American activist the stage rather than accept his Oscar trophy.
The most shocking moment of the VMA show was Nicki Minaj’s rump-shaking during her performance of Anaconda. In the show’s first minutes Nicki Minaj suffered a wardrobe malfunction when she joined Ariana Grande and Jessie J for Bang, Bang.
Taylor Swift was a crowd favorite when she performed her new single Shake It Off in shimmery shorts and a crop top.
Ariana Grande, who held hands with rapper Big Sean backstage, kicked off the show with a performance of her EDM hit, Break Free in a Beyonce-inspired leotard. The 21-year-old won best pop video for her smash single Problem, but lost best female video to Katy Perry, who won for the hit Dark Horse.
Katy Perry sported a figure-hugging denim dress and was joined by Riff Raff in a coordinating outfit, mirroring Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the 2001 American Music Awards.
The night featured a serious social message along with the performances. Rapper-actor Common held a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer on August 9, before he presented the award for best hip-hop video.
“Hip-hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change, from Melle Mel to Public Enemy to Kendrick Lamar,” Common said.
“Hip-hop has always been presented a voice for the revolution.”
Later, a 15-second spot aired alluding to the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, urging viewers to take action to eliminate bias.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” a quote by author James Baldwin read on the screen.
Lorde won best rock video for Royals and Ed Sheeran won best male video, beating out Pharrell Williams, Eminem, John Legend and Sam Smith, who was a show highlight with his smoldering performance of his hit Stay With Me.
Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora appeared onstage as spider women when they performed their hit Black Widow, as Taylor Swift, Lorde and Charli XCX danced and sang along.
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