Last night MTV aired its annual Video Music Awards, this year's broadcast politely neutered to exactly two hours, so that viewers might switch over to watch Barack Obama's DNC speech afterward. Revealing a new, chic pixie cut, Rihanna opened the show with the ASAP Rocky-assisted remix of "Cockiness." After Rihanna was awarded Video of the Year for her "We Found Love" clip, Taylor Swift closed with her Max Martin-penned mega single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." In between, Frank Ocean performed "Thinkin Bout You" in a perfectly imperfect falsetto, on a stage studded with reeds, luminescent rocks and a bonfire. Rihanna and Katy Perry sat together, apparently spending much of the evening whispering into each other's necks. (A former Real World star seated next to Rihanna claims her and Nicki Minaj exchanged unkind words.) Alicia Keys debuted her new single "Girl on Fire," backed by Minaj and gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas. One Direction dominated the night, taking home three awards, including Best New Artist. Both Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen won nothing, but PSY, the "Gangnam Style" rapper who is a new client of Bieber and Jepsen's manager Scooter Braun, made a brief, show-stopping appearance. Watch the night's highlight performances, from Ocean, 2 Chainz, Keys and more, below.
Watch Frank Ocean, 2 Chainz and Rihanna at the VMAs
September 07, 2012