Last night, MTV turned New York City inside out for the “2009 Video Music Awards” as the network celebrated a legend and brought together the biggest names in music, TV, film and sports. Live from Radio City Music Hall, VMA icon Madonna opened the show and introduced the emotional and heartfelt tribute to Michael Jackson. Janet Jackson was joined onstage by the most renowned choreographers in the world and Michael’s tour dancers, all of whom were influenced by the “King of Pop,” for a memorable and high energy performance. To honor her brother and his illustrious career, the dancers recreated some of his most memorable music videos including “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Scream.” The celebration received a standing ovation and set the tone for the most important evening in music and pop culture.
Always controversial, British comedian Russell Brand pushed the envelope as he had fun with a slew of new stars and charmed the ladies. Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and popstar Katy Perry helped Russell kick-off his hosting duties in a big way with a light infused performance of the classic rock anthem by Queen, “We Will Rock You.”
Young country-pop superstar Taylor Swift earned “Best Female Video” for “You Belong With Me” in one of the most competitive categories of the evening, causing Kanye West to storm the stage in protest of Beyoncé not winning. In a gracious act, Beyoncé later called Taylor back on stage to rightfully accept her award. Beyoncé did win an outstanding three moonmen including the coveted “Video of the Year” award for her viral video sensation “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” Also landing three statues was Lady Gaga including “Best New Artist” for her hit single “Poker Face.” Green Day made a triumphant return to the VMAs by claiming three awards including “Best Rock Video” for “21 Guns.” Eminem walked away victorious in an extremely heated race for “Best Hip Hop Video” with “We Made You.”
Adding to her collection of moonmen and accepting her award via satellite while on tour, Britney Spears won “Best Pop Video” for “Womanizer.” After officially premiering at last year’s show, T.I. and Rihanna won “Best Male Video” for their multi-platinum song “Live Your Life.”
Eminem once again showcased his comedic chops teaming up with Tracy Morgan and featuring a cameo by Cyndi Lauper to present the “Best New Artist” nominees throughout the show.
Drawing on the musical energy and passion of New York City, MTV used the city as a backdrop to showcase the unprecedented and groundbreaking performances from today’s most popular artists. Making her first VMA performance a standout, Taylor Swift sang a never-before-heard version of her single “You Belong With Me.” Taylor fully incorporated all NYC has to offer by transitioning from a subway car to 6th Avenue surrounded by fans and ending her performance on top of a taxi cab.
Known for her over the tp live performances and fashion forward style, Lady Gaga turned a childhood dream into a reality as she made her grand entrance into VMA history. During her unforgettable performance of “Paparazzi,” the international superstar gives her own interpretation on the price of fame which culminates with her levitating into the air.
Surrounded by pyro and using every corner of the VMA stage, fan favorite Green Day made an explosive return to the VMA stage by giving a high energy rock performance of their single “East Jesus Nowhere.”
Beyoncé had all of Radio City dancing to “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” with her call and response to the audience as she translated her music video phenomenon to the live stage. The pop diva was backed by an army of dancers as they displayed their incomparable dance moves during her performance.
Already a household name across the pond, British rockers Muse gave a breakthrough performance expanding their fan base worldwide. The band performed their latest single “Uprising” from a live remote at the Walter Kerr Theater in the Broadway district of Manhattan in front of hundreds of screaming fans.
Determined to top herself and once again raise the bar for live performances, P!nk mastered a jaw-dropping aerial act 30 feet above the stage while performing her single “Sober.” And yes, she sang every single word of it.
Bringing the show to a climactic end, JAY-Z and Alicia Keys honored their hometown of New York as they gave a powerful performance of “Empire State of Mind.”
As the official VMA house band, hip-hop’s newest challenger Wale and the legendary go go band UCB hyped up the audience as they put their own unique spin on some of the biggest songs of the year, his own material and a few classic covers. They collaborated with a number of artists including Kid Cudi with “Day And Night,” The All-American Rejects with “Gives You Hell,” Pitbull with “You Know You Want Me” and 3OH!3 with “Don’t Trust Me”. Kid Cudi honored DJ AM during his performance of “Make Her Say.”
The star studded show also included appearances by Megan Fox, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Jack Black, Andy Samberg, Kristin Cavallari, Pete Wentz, Gerard Butler, Diddy, Tracy Morgan, Adam Brody, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Alexa Chung, Gabe Saporta of Cobra Starship and Justin Bieber, Ne-Yo, Nelly Furtado, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Chace Crawford, Leighton Meester, Miranda Cosgrove and Serena Williams.