With some twerking and shaking, the leading ladies of pop music dominated the MTV Video Music awards on Sunday, while an emotional Miley Cyrus and a touching moment between Beyoncé and her family led the Moonman award wins of the night.
Cyrus, who set tongues wagging last year with her raunchy dancing during her VMAs performance, won the night’s top prize for video of the year for Wrecking Ball, in which she cavorted naked on a wrecking ball.
She opted not to collect her award, instead sitting in the audience and holding back tears while sending a homeless young man named Jesse to collect her award.
“I’ve cleaned your hotels rooms, I’ve been an extra in your movies, I’ve been an extra in your life. Though I may have been invisible to you in the streets, I have many of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight,” the young man said.
Earlier on the red carpet, Cyrus said she “retired” her grinding explicit dance moves. But while Cyrus has retired the twerk, rapper Nicki Minaj brought her moves to kick off the show with hip hop song Anaconda.
This year’s awards took place at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Meanwhile, in the closing performance for the evening, Beyoncé took viewers on an emotional journey for almost 20 minutes, with verses from almost her entire latest album. She ended her performance accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from her husband Jay Z who called her “the best living entertainer”.
“I’m so full, I have nothing to say,” she said, all choked up. “I’m filled with so much gratitude, I just thank God for this moment. I love ya’ll so much. Blue-Blue I love you, my beloved I love you,” she told Jay Z and her daughter Blue Ivy while accepting the lifetime achievement award.
Beyoncé also won awards for best collaboration, best video with a social message and best cinematography.
Irreverence, unscripted moments
Ariana Grande, Minaj and Jessie J kicked off the awards show with a medley of their summer hits: Break Free, Anaconda and Bang Bang.
Since launching in 1984, Viacom-owned MTV’s VMAs have become synonymous with irreverence and unscripted moments that have become part of music history, and all eyes were on whoever delivered the most outrageous or unplanned stunt.
Taylor Swift debuted her upbeat first single Shake It Off from her upcoming pop album 1989, while Iggy Azalea and British singer Rita Ora performed their sultry track Black Widow.
In stark comparison to the over-the-top performances by the ladies of pop on the VMAs stage, British newcomer Sam Smith used a bare set to showcase his voice on his hit Stay With Me, while rockers Maroon 5 performed Maps outside of the newly renovated Forum theatre in Inglewood, with hundreds of fans.
The presenters also got in on the fun, with Jim Carrey tumbling on stage while announcing best pop video with Jeff Daniels. Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah impersonated Jay Z and Kanye West. – Additional reporting by Reuters
Here’s the full list of winners:
Video of the Year: Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
Best Hip-Hop Video: Drake ft. Majid Jordan – Hold On (We’re Going Home)
Best Male Video: Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell Williams – Sing
Best Female Video: Katy Perry ft. Juicy J – Dark Horse
Best Pop Video: Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea – Problem
Best Rock Video: Lorde – Royals
Artist to Watch: Fifth Harmony – Miss Movin’
Best Collaboration: Beyoncé ft. Jay Z – Drunk In Love
MTV Clubland Award: Zedd ft. Hayley Williams – Stay the Night
Best Video With A Social Message: Beyoncé – Pretty Hurts
Best Cinematography: Beyoncé – Pretty Hurts
Best Editing: Eminem – Rap God
Best Choreography: Sia – Chandelier
Best Direction: DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down For What
Best Art Direction: Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Best Visual Effects: OK Go – The Writing’s On The Wall Best Lyric Video: 5 Seconds of Summer – Don’t Stop
Watch the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on MTV DStv channel 130 on Monday August 24 at 9PM.