Lady Gaga won the first three awards announced at the MTV VMAs in Los Angeles Sunday night (Sept. 12), taking home moon men for best dance video ("Bad Romance"), best collaboration video for "Telephone" featuring Beyoncé, and best female video (also for "Bad Romance").

Gaga's first two awards were announced by MTV VJ Sway during the pre-show red carpet special outside Nokia Theatre, while the best female video award was the first presented during the VMA telecast.

"It's such a dream come true to be here tonight," Gaga, who was nominated for a record-breaking 13 VMAs, gushed during her acceptance speech. "Tonight, my little monsters, we're the cool kids at the party." Dressed in a swirling gown and tall, gold headdress, Gaga walked the red carpet escorted by four soldiers who were discharged as a result of "don't ask, don't tell."

Eminem kicked off the official ceremony with a stirring performance of his No. 1 single "Not Afraid," which began in an intimate club setting before spilling out onto the futuristic all-white VMA set. "Love the Way You Lie" followed and was assisted by Rihanna, who channeled "Like a Virgin"-era Madonna in a white crop top and tulle skirt. Eminem later won best male video for "Not Afraid" but did not make an acceptance speech, as he had already left to catch a flight to New York for his Yankee Stadium show the following night with Jay-Z.

The night's other early winner was the band 30 Seconds to Mars, who beat out Paramore, Florence and the Machine and others for best rock video with "Kings and Queens."

Chelsea Handler, the first woman to host the VMAs in 16 years, spared no one in attendance during her no-holds-barred monolgue, taking aim at Gaga, Snooki of "Jersey Shore" and of course, last year's Kanye West-Taylor Swift scandal.

Making his performance debut at the VMAs after presenting an award last year, Justin Bieber pulled up outside in red convertible and was chased by a hoard of screaming pre-teens to the outdoor stage, where he launched into a version of "Baby." Donning a black jacket with a jewel-encrusted "B" on the front, Bieber then segued into "Somebody To Love" as three backup singers crooned along to the chorus. "Make some noise!" Bieber shouted as he made his way to a drum kit, where he performed some impressive cymbal-pounding as streamers capped off the set.

Bieber's mentor, Usher, followed with a laser-soaked medley of his recent hit singles "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" and "OMG," sans their featured artists (Pitbull and, respectively).