In a dramatic opening, comedian-actor Kevin Hart made his entrance as host at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards on 6 September, Thursday at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, surrounded by bodyguards in shades and suits to the announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States!” Opening the show in a semi see-through ensemble was Rihanna with a remix of “Cockiness (Love It)”, featuring A$AP Rocky. Midway through the performance, the 14-time VMAs nominee pranced offstage  into the audience before moving on to her second song, “We Found Love” ft. Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, which later snagged the award for Video Of The Year. “Here comes the grand daddy of them all, people!” Hart exclaimed, prior to announcing Rihanna as winner. It turned out to be Rihanna’s only win at the show for the night, despite being up for 5 nominations alongside Canadian rapper Drake. Hart, who seemed to be on Red Bull, brought up the most-talked-about Hollywood headlines of the year, starting with the run-in between Drake and Chris Brown’s bodyguards at a nightclub. Both nominees were present at the show. “Drake thought there was a recycle bin in Chris [Brown]‘s section [in the pub]… my name is Drake; I like to rap, and I like to recycle,” Hart deadpanned, before moving on to the drama overTwilight’s Kristen Stewart and her affair with the director of Snow White and the Huntsman. Stewart had been in a closely-followed relationship with her Twilight star, Robert Pattinson. “It’s over!” Hart declared. “Move on. Look on the bright side; they’re now a part of the 7 dwarfs,” he added. “You’ve got Sleepy, Grumpy, Adultery, Cheating. The point I’m making is… if you’ve made a mistake, so what!” Katy Perry presented the first award of the night for Best Pop Video to British boy band One Direction for “What Makes You Beautiful”, a track that has racked up over 228 million views on YouTube and melted several hundreds of thousands of girls’ hearts worldwide, beating out Justin Bieber and Rihanna. The song went on to clinch Most Share-Worthy Video based on fans’ votes. “These videos are like the popular kids in high school, which means that in 10 years, they’ll probably be all fat and broken,” Perry said before announcing the winner, as if to remind the other nominees that winning isn’t everything. One Direction, better known to fans as 1D, later took to the stage to perform “One Thing”, and ultimately left as the biggest winners of the night with 3 awards, claiming a Moonman trophy for Best New Artist and beating out popular fellow British boy band, The Wanted. “We’ve grown up watching this show… to even be here is an honour,” said One Direction member Niall Horan, 18. Ke$ha, who presented the award with Wiz Khalifa, congratulated the rapper who earlier confirmed that Amber Rose is pregnant with their child on the VMA Red Carpet. Is this déjà vu? Beyoncé revealed her pregnancy with husband and rapper Jay-Z during last year’s VMAs. Looking better than ever and sporting a bold platinum blonde ‘do was Pink, who performed her new single, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” alongside dancers wearing masks in the shape of crimson oversized lips. At one point, the singer sailed over the audience on a suspended trapeze of sorts. Other performances included “Thinking About You” by R&B singer-songwriter Frank Ocean, which he sang while perched on a rock in a grassy patch next to a blazing campfire onstage. Within 50 minutes of his performance, Ocean had garnered over 120,000 mentions on Twitter. The Wanted and Australian star Rebel Wilson, who stars in upcoming movie Pitch Perfect (and stole the moment briefly with her shirt, an illustration of a bikini with pubes showing), presented rapper Nicki Minaj  with Best Female Video for “Starships”. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God… I really didn’t expect this,” Minaj exclaimed after accepting her award. “I can’t believe this happened. Like, oh my goodness… this is another MTV award!! Okay, bye,” she said with slight awkwardness, before exiting the stage decked in a lacey, skin-tight one-piece. Chris Brown took the awards for Best Male Video and Best Choreography for “Turn Up The Music” and kept his speech short with a brief thank you. Possibly more attention-grabbing than his bleached-hair-and-sunglasses combination was when the cameras caught Rihanna and Brown sharing a kiss offstage later on, and although this wasn’t screened, MTV reported that its All Access Cameras caught the moment in a grainy image that has been making waves online. Brown came under fire in 2009 when he was found guilty of assaulting Rihanna. Drake won Best Hip Hop Video for “HYFR”, featuring rapper Lil Wayne, then turned to the audience to yell: “This is for you—we made it, b*tch!” Lil Wayne later made his entrance in leopard print cargoes and red hi-tops atop a skateboard midway through a high-octane performance by Atlanta rapper 2Chainz, who performed “Yuck”, before Wayne took over with “No Worries”, off Dedication 4–a mixtape in collaboration with DJ Drama. Korean rapper Psy, who has gained international fame for his viral hit, “Gangnam Style”, emerged onstage with Hartand briefly performed the trademark horse-dance that has spawned hundreds of spoofs the world over.

“You’ve got over a 100 million [views] on YouTube! How does it feel?” Hart interrogated, to which Psy replied in Korean, “I am so happy and feel so good. I’ve always wanted to be on this stage and speak Korean. It’s so cool.” “Me too, Psy!” Hart said enthusiastically, to laughter. Also noteworthy was Katy Perry‘s surprised expression when Psy made his appearance. Emma Watson, best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise (and who is also in upcoming movie The Perks of Being A Wallflower) presented the next performance of the night with actor Ezra Miller: Green Day! The stage was splashed with bold X-marks in green and pink as frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and the rest of the members thrashed and showed off guitar riffs in a high energy performance of their single, “Let Yourself Go” off their latest album, iUno!. Then came the moment all Twilight fans had been anticipating: the exclusive premiere of the Twilight saga: Breaking Dawn Part II clip. Present onstage was Robert Pattinson alongside director Bill Condon, Taylor Lautner and Jackson Rathbone, among others. Notably missing was Kristen Stewart, who stars as Bella in the hugely successful movie franchise and who was at the Toronto Film Festival to promote her new film, On The Road. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas performed multiple backflips as part of Alicia Keys’ performance, who debuted her single off her new album of the same name, “Girl On Fire”. Nicki Minaj later joined in, her flaming yellow hair snatching some of the attention away from Keys. Closing the show was Taylor Swift with her girl-power anthem, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, in which Swift started with a pair of headphones pressed against her right ear before launching into the full set of the 3-plus-minute song and then stage-diving into the crowd.  The bubblegum-pop single appears to signal a shift from the country influences often present in Swift’s songs. The show also observed a short moment of silence in a tribute to the late Adam Yauch (1964 to 2012), who had been a member of hip-hop group Beastie Boys. The remaining awards not screened live included Best Video With A Message, which went to The X Factor judge Demi Lovato for “Skyscraper”, a song about overcoming hurdles and bouncing back stronger. Calvin Harris, who was also DJ for the ceremony, earned a VMA for Best Electronic Dance Music Video for “Feel So Close”, while female British rapper M.I.A claimed 2 Moonman awards for Best Cinematography and Best Direction for “Bad Girls”.  All photos courtesy of MTV. Full List of Awards: Video Of The Year: Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris, “We Found Love” Best New Artist: One Direction Best Female Video: Nicki Minaj, “Starships” Best Male Video: Chris Brown, “Turn Up The Music” Video With a Message: Demi Lovato, “Skyscraper” Best Hip-Hop Video: Drake ft. Lil Wayne, “HYFR” Best Rock Video: Coldplay, “Paradise” Best Pop Video: One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful” Best Electronic Dance Music Video: Calvin Harris, “Feel So Close” Most Share-Worthy Video: One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful” Best Choreography: Chris Brown, “Turn Up the Music” Best Editing: Beyoncé, “Countdown” Best Visual Effects: Skrillex, “First of the Year (Equinox)” Best Cinematography: M.I.A., “Bad Girls” Best Art Direction: Katy Perry, “Wide Awake” Best Direction: M.I.A., “Bad Girls”