The claws were out tonight at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
First, there were the ones Kanye West dug into Taylor Swift's big moment, then there was whatever caused Lady Gaga to get all bloodied up, there was that thing Beyoncé Knowles wears when she's trying to be Sasha Fierce, and, of course, there were a few werewolves.
But the night didn't start out quite so barbed.
Madonna opened the show at Radio City Music Hall with a heartfelt speech about her relationship with Michael Jackson, as well as that of his fans. The highly-anticipated tribute performance followed with well-known dancers (and So You Think You Can Dance choreographers) Mia Michaels, Laurie Anne Gibson, Wade Robson and recent Emmy winner Tyce Diorio doing the King of Pop's classic moves to a mix of "Thriller," "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal."
Then it was Janet Jackson's turn.
The giant screens inside Radio City Music Hall kicked into the beginning of Janet and Michael's duet, "Scream."
Janet had been digitally removed from the video and sang and danced for real alongside her brother. It was impressive, entertaining and so much more tasteful than the nightmarish sisterly moonwalk people imagined it would be.
But things took a nightmarish turn moments later when Lady Gaga took the stage and her "Paparazzi" performance came to a gruesome, bloody conclusion.
"I had to turn away actually because the blood in the eye really freaked me out," Kristin Cavallari told E! News afterward.
Swift also sang in the subway, Katy Perry performed with Aerosmith's Joe Perry, DJ AM's death was acknowledged and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys rounded out the evening, but, after everything else, who even noticed? Even host Russell Brand seemed tame next to all those other antics.
Oh, and we guess they handed out a few moonmen. Kinda.
Actually, only seven were distributed during the telecast, so it was easy to miss that element of the awards show. Here they are, along with the complete list of winners:
- Video of the Year: Beyoncé, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)"
- Best New Artist: Lady Gaga
- Best Male Video: T.I. featuring Rihanna, "Live Your Life"
- Best Female Video: Taylor Swift, "You Belong With Me"
- Best Hip-Hop Video: Eminem, "We Made You"
- Best Pop Video: Britney Spears, "Womanizer"
- Best Rock Video: Green Day, "21 Guns"
- Best Choreography: Beyoncé, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)"
- Best Direction: Green Day, "21 Guns"
- Best Editing: Beyoncé, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)"
- Best Special Effects: Lady Gaga, "Paparazzi"
- Best Cinematography: Green Day, "21 Guns"
- Best Art Direction: Lady Gaga, "Paparazzi"
- Breakthrough Video: Matt & Kim, "Lessons Learned"
- Best Video That Should Have Won a Moonman: Beastie Boys, "Sabotage"
Relive all those rockin' moments in our 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Gallery