Beyoncé brought the house down at the MTV Video Music awards on August 24 with an epic, nearly 20-minute climactic performance. After a two-hour show featuring performances from artistes including Taylor Swift, Usher, Maroon 5 and Nicky Minaj, Beyoncé was joined onstage by her beaming husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy. The moment brought her to tears, after numerous rumours surrounding the state of her marriage.
Beyoncé sang and danced in a metallic leotard, declaring: “MTV, welcome to my world.”
As she accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award at The Forum in Inglewood, California, she kissed her daughter and husband, who called her the “greatest living entertainer”.
“I'm so full. I have nothing to say but I am filled with so much gratitude,” she told the cheering crowd as they chanted her name repeatedly.
Her performance easily outdid her competition throughout the night, though video of the year went to a teary Miley Cyrus, who let a homeless young man accept her award. It was in sharp contrast to last year's VMAs, when Cyrus made the headlines for her onstage 'twerking'.
“Thank y'all, my name is Jesse and I'm accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I am one of these people,” he said, as Cyrus looked on.
Cyrus's decision to let someone else accept her award to promote a cause was reminiscent of Marlon Brando's 1973 Academy Awards best actor win, when he gave a Native American activist the stage.
Taylor Swift was a crowd favorite when she performed her new single “Shake It Off” in shimmery shorts and a crop top. She got to the top of the stage and, as her tuxedoed male background dancers stood with their arms wide waiting for Swift to jump, said, “One second. I don't care if it's the VMAs. I'm not jumping off there.”
Grande, who held hands with rapper Big Sean backstage, kicked off the show with a performance of her EDM hit “Break Free” in a Beyoncé-inspired leotard. The 21-year-old won best pop video for her smash single “Problem”, but lost best female video to Katy Perry's hit “Dark Horse”.
Perry sported a figure-hugging denim dress and was joined by Riff Raff in a co-ordinating outfit, mirroring Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the 2001 American Music awards.
The night featured a serious social message along with the performances. Rapper-actor Common held a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, before he presented the award for best hip-hop video.
“Hip-hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change, from Melle Mel to Public Enemy to Kendrick Lamar,” Common said. “Hip-hop has always been presented a voice for the revolution.”
Lorde won best rock video for “Royals” and Ed Sheeran won best male video for “Sing”, beating out Pharrell, Eminem, John Legend and Sam Smith, who was a show highlight with his smouldering performance of “Stay With Me”.
Among other major awards, best hip-hop video went to “Hold On (We Are Going Home)” by Drake ft. Majid Jordan, and best collaboration went to Beyonce and Jay-Z for “Drunk In Love”.