A lot can happen in a year.
Just think, it was only 12 months ago that Taylor Swift became the nation's most supported underdog; Kanye West became, well, not; Katy Perry was first publicly propositioned by her now-fiancé (and last year's VMA host) Russell Brand; and Chelsea Handler was making waves by pissing off celebrities…in the funniest way possible.
Come to think of it, maybe things haven't changed. Aside from Chelsea being Chelsea, the MTV Video Music Awards were once again dominated by a blond pop star and a rapper, although this time around, their names weren't Taylor and Kanye.
They were Lady Gaga and Eminem.
After the Chelsea Lately host kicked off the festivities (with a little help from been-there, drunk-that Lindsay Lohan and an Eminem-Rihanna duet), it was time for the first award of the night. And in a harbinger of things to come, her ladyship walked it.
"Tonight, little monsters, we're the cool kids at the party," the near-teary singer said when picking up the moon man for Best Female Video for "Bad Romance."
This being Gaga, she also didn't forget to send a big "thank you to all the gays" for her award.
She wasn't kidding about that cool part, either. Gaga took home a leading eight awards, one of the biggest hauls in VMA history (way to spoil a near-record, Peter Gabriel!), including Female Video, Pop Video, Dance Video and the all-important Video of the Year for "Bad Romance."
She was back on the podium—new outfit and all—to pick up the trophy for Pop Video.
"I didn't quite think through all the wins," she said while donning a heavy black number, complete with spiky matching headdress. "This outfit's a little too heavy to walk in…Fashion roadkill. That's okay."
With inner thoughts like those, who needs fashion critics?
"Thank you to MTV for playing my video, even though they asked me to cut so much out. And I refused, because we were born this way, baby! I love you, God bless pop music and God bless MTV!"
By the time she took to the podium to collect her Video of the Year award from Cher—in outfit No. 3, of course—she was downright emotional.
"I was so nervous for tonight that I would let my fans down," she said. "I promised that if I won tonight, I'd announce the name of my new record."
Turns out, she already did.
"It's called Born This Way," she announced, going on to give fans a taster by belting out a few bars there and then.
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Eminem's "Not Afraid," meanwhile, won for Male Video and Hip-Hop Video, but the rapper had already left the building and was en route to the airport by the time his first award came around.
As his would-be presenters nobly explained, Em had a flight to catch, as he's due to perform alongside Jay-Z in NYC tomorrow night.
Justin Bieber, on the other hand, managed to stay in the building long enough to collect his award, nabbing the Best New Artist moon man.
"This means a lot to me," he said. "This means a lot to my family. I come from a little town in Canada, I never thought I'd be in this position."
While it was probably the least surprising hand-out of the night, it no doubt brought the teen dream's night to a happier end than it began, after he unintentionally released a projectile drumstick into the crowd during his earlier performance. Not that the girls seemed to mind any.
Swift also made waves this year, and once again she has 'Ye to thank for it.
She took to the stage to premiere her new, more than slightly condescending (but catchy as all get-out) song, "Innocent."
"I guess you really did it this time," the newly dramatic, sophisticated and dare we say mature Swift sang. "Lost your balance on a tightrope, lost your mind trying to get it back...Everyone of us has messed up too…32 is still growing up."
No points for guessing who inspired the tune.
Speaking of Kanye, he too made his much-hyped reappearance at the VMAs this year, although he made not one mention of Taylorgate (Aziz Ansari, who introduced him, on the other hand...)
Instead, West more than behaved himself, albeit not in his lyrics.
"You've been putting up with my s--t for way too long," he sang to close out the night. "Let's have a toast for the douchebags/ Let's have a toast for the a-holes/ Let's have a toast for the scumbags."
Maybe next year.
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Here's the complete list of winners for this year's MTV Video Music Awards:
• Video of the Year: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
• Female Video: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
• Male Video: "Not Afraid," Eminem
• Rock Video: "Kings and Queens," 30 Seconds to Mars
• Pop Video: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
• Hip-Hop Video: "Not Afraid," Eminem
• Collaboration: "Telephone," Lady Gaga feat. Beyoncé
• Dance Video: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
• Choreography: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
• Editing: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
• Direction: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
• Special Effects: "Uprising," Muse
• Art Direction: "Dog Days Are Over," Florence + the Machine
• Cinematography: "Empire State of Mind," Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
The stars were out tonight! Check out our arrivals gallery of the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards!