Accepting video of the year for her provocative "Bad Romance" clip from veteran pop diva Cher, Gaga took the stage of Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre for the third time in her third different outfit -- a dress, hat and purse made out of meat. "I was so nervous for tonight, that I would let my fans down," said Gaga, who beat out artists like Eminem, 30 Seconds to Mars and B.o.B for the award.
As a lone tear trickled from her eye, the singer gave her "little monsters" a special thank you for helping her earn the top prize: the title of her upcoming album, "Born This Way," as well as a few killer bars from a new song.
Eminem was the night's next big winner after Gaga with two VMAs -- best male video and best hip-hop video for "Not Afraid." The rap star kicked off the official ceremony with a stirring performance of the song that 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. By the time his wins were announced, however, Eminem had already left to catch a flight to New York for his Yankee Stadium show the following night with Jay-Z.
Live-Blogging the 2010 MTV VMAs
Other VMA winners included Justin Bieber, who took home best new artist; 30 Seconds To Mars, who won best rock video for "Kings and Queens"; Florence and the Machine, whose "Dog Days Are Over" won best art direction; Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, who earned the best cinematography moonman for "Empire State of Mind"; Muse, with best special effects for "Uprising"; and the Black Keys, who won breakthrough for "Tighten Up." Beyoncé also shared best collaboration with Gaga for "Telephone."
Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber brought the most buzzworthy VMA performances of the night. Swift debuted a new song called "Foregiveness" that offered words of encouragement to West in light of their shared incident at last year's VMAs. "It's all right, just wait and see," Swift sang. "Your string of light is still bright to me/ Who you are is not who you've been/You're still an innocent."
Taylor Swift Offers Kanye West 'Forgiveness' at VMAs
West closed out the VMAs by unveiling a new song of his own, entitled "Runaway." With assistance from Clipse's Pusha T and a trio of pose-striking ballerinas, the rapper toyed with a sequencer and gave "a toast to the douchebags... a toast to the assholes" on an empty white stage. West left the show with fireworks and a "Kanye! Kanye!" chant at his back.
Making his performance debut at the VMAs after presenting an award last year, Justin Bieber played "Baby" on the outside stage flanked by dancers, 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 will.i.am, respectively). Additional performers included B.o.B., who brought "Nothin' On You" and "Airplanes" to the stage with Bruno Mars and Hayley Williams, and Drake, who got "Fancy" with Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beatz.
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.