11:16: So another MTV Video Music Awards is over. Pluses are Florence + the Machine's performance, Taylor Swift's graciousness, Usher's dance moves and Lady GaGa's singleminded commitment to support gay rights throughout the night. There were no horrific performances, Chelsea Handler excepted. The problem is MTV is 30 and it still wants to act like it's 12 and the brat in the room full of adults. What did you think of tonight's show?
11:15: Now that was weird. There was a moment where the voice of God announced "Ladies and Gentlemen...," as if Taylor Swift might come out, and then nothing. Kayne's song just ends. Uh...did we miss something. If anyone else saw that and understood what happened, please let us know.
11:10: Kayne West is closing the show. It sounds like there are a few boos, but he's mainly greeted warmly.Yes, he did a stupid thing, but hopefully this can put it all behind. He's singing "Let's have a toast for the douchebags. Let's have a toast for the assholes. Let's have a toast for the scumbags. Every one I know." Is Taylor going to join him?
11:05: Good God. It's Cher in her seatbelt outfit from the "If I Could Turn Back Time" video. Holy Moly... I know she's had more plastic surgery than everyone else in the room put together, but that is something. She's 64. The video of the year goes to Lady GaGa for "Bad Romance." LG talks about how she didn't want to let down her fans. She seems very fragile tonight. She uses her final trip to the podium to announce the title of her new album: "Born this Way."
10:57: Linkin Park is performing its No. 1 rock hit, "The Catalyst" in a taped piece from Griffith Park. I know many critics don't like LP, but I'm a big fan. There's something about their intensity that I love. I posted earlier that if i were a 13-year-old boy i don't know how I would have responded to "Jackass." I, however, know that if i were a 13-year-old boy, I would have LOVED Linkin Park. They're a one-trick pony, but I like that trick... a lot.
10:54: The fan-voted best new artist award goes to Justin Bieber. It was the only award he was nominated for. He'd tweeted for a last-minute voting push and it looks like it worked. God bless the Beliebers and their tiny, quick little voting hands.
10:44: B.o.B. is doing a mash-up of "Airplanes" with Paramore's Hayley Williams and "Nothing on You" with Bruno Mars. Lots more work for the overhead cam. Williams goes into Paramore's "The Only Exception." She's singing live. Fine, but one of the most boring performances of the night. But have we mentioned how much we love "Magic," B.o.B's song with Weezer's Rivers Cuomo? Robyn just played us to commercial and you could practically hear people screaming at their TV sets: "Is that a surprise appearance by Pink!" Uh, no.
10:39: The Converse commercial with the fake heads was the most creative thing I've seen all night.
10:32: Sofia Vergara is presenting best hip-hop video. Note that all the nominees were male. Maybe Nicki will get hers next year. The winner is Eminem for "Not Afraid." We know, we know. Elvis has left the building.
10:22: Mary J. Blige, Drake and Swizz Beatz are performing "Fancy" after being introduced by the cast of "The Social Network." Remember when Justin Timberlake used to perform at the VMAs instead of introduce the acts? Yes, Justin, that's our way of saying that we want some new music! We miss you! Baby, come back. That said, I'm happy any time I'm watching Queen Mary.
10:07: Taylor Swift's singing her response song to Kanye West. She looks stunningly beautiful in a '40s style with her wavy hair and red lipstick. Is it a taped piece? The song is about loss of innocence, but she seems to be forgiving West in a really sweet way but still making her point. Lyrics: "32 and still growing up now." " Who you are is not what you did now." "Lost your balance on a tightrope. It's never too late to get it back." She sounds off-key, but I'm going to cut her some slack for once. It turns out she performing live, but I'm thinking she put down some really heavy conditions--she wasn't in the audience earlier for reaction shots when Handler was saying stupid stuff about her and there is no Kayne reaction shot to the song. We'll see if he says something when he performs later. Class act. Not that I suspected differently.
10:05: Gaga wins for best pop video and is wearing a dress so heavy, she has to be carried on stage. She's thanking the gays again and is clearly working her theme for the night. We have no problem with that. If using her bully pulpit can make one gay kid's life easier, it's worth every minute.
10:04: Note to Chelsea Handler, if you're going to be really crude, at least try to be halfway amusing. The comment about wanting to ride home on Joe Manganiello's face even had Ke$ha, who throws up in people's closets, looking like WTF? We're halfway done and I'm calling it. Handler is the Worst.Host.Ever. Not because she's blue, but because she's spectacularly unfunny.
9:54: Florence + the Machine (not much of a Machine there, actually) perform "Dog Days are Over" and class up the joint. Go order her album, "Lungs," now! I kept waiting for Kanye to rush on stage and ruin the moment. It seemed like we switched to some show that has placed some value on real talent rather than "can you believe that skank just said that." We're sure they'll be back to their regularly-scheduled programming in a moment. After all, we still have the cast of "Jersey Shore" to look forward to. What was that Ciara performance that seemingly came out of somewhere? Did I accidentally change the channel? Did I blank out for a minute? I can feel my IQ dropping. I'm going to be a spud in another hour.
9:44: Nicki Minaj just asked Katy Perry if she met Russell Brand at the VMAs last year and she said yes. Wait, didn't they meet on the set of "Get Him to the Greek?" Why am I even acting as if this matters? Eminem wins best male video for "Not Afraid" and... he's already left the building! What, he couldn't stick around 40 minutes after his performance? Hilarious. Minaj says he has to get back to NY for his concert with Jay-Z tomorrow night. Right. We're sure he's on a commercial flight. That's one of the best disses we've ever seen. And if Perry's line about the Moonman being stiff was an ad lib, it's the best line of the night and MTV should hire her to host next year's awards (she's already hosted the European VMAs).
9:37: Oh! It's my favorite tramp, Ke$ha! I give her credit for being in on the joke and wearing a dress made out of a trash bag. Did Trey Songz just pronounce Usher as Eersher? Either way, Usher's dancing through a medley. Got to be lipyncing. I guess no one is allowed to do just one song from start to finish. Nice energy. But it's making us laugh that it's "Oh My Gosh" instead of "Oh My God." Maybe his kids are with him. Nice shot to Justin Bieber, who has to clap for his boss.
9:31: OMG! It's Justin Bieber. He's running through his hits. If he's not lipsyncing (and I can't tell since I'm watching on a tiny Slingbox screen), my little moppet can sing better than I've given him credit for. Now he's playing the drums, which is about as convincing as the dude in the Partridge Family drumming. The first one.
9:27: The "Jackass" gang just presented the award for best rock video and the camera has to pull away quickly as one of them disrobes. I wonder if I were a 13-year-old boy if I'd think "Jackass" was funny? Anyway, the award goes to 30 Seconds to Mars. Jared Leto is one of the few actors who's managed to credibly (depending upon who you believe) transition to a rock artist. Platinum blond hair and all.
9:15: Lady G wins her third VMA of the night for best female video for "Bad Romance." The only suspense here was if she was going to win for that or "Telephone." She's very emotional and seems on the verge of tearing up. We're not quite sure what's going on. She thanks "all the gays for remaking this video over and over again."
9:06: Lindsay Lohan continues her comeback in a taped opening with Chelsea Handler, asking Handler where her ankle bracelet is. It's unfunny, but will get MTV so much play on various media outlets Monday that it doesn't matter. Mission accomplished, Handler comes out with a house on her head in a Lady GaGa spoof. She calls Snoop Dogg an "angry black man." He's about as angry as the Pillsbury dough boy. She's the first female host in 16 years (since Roseanne). It's going to be another 16 years at the rate she's going.
9:03: Eminem opens the show backstage with "Not Afraid," then came to the stage with Dr. Dre. He sounds really good and we're kind of in a stage where we're loving him hard right now. Now Rihanna, who'd been unannounced, chimes in on "Love the Way You Lie." And by 'chime in," we mean sings horribly off key. They have an awkward moment at the end for one of the least spectacular openings in recent memory.
8:56: Lady GaGa is on the red carpet seeming very restrained. Did we mention she's dressed like a peacock? She's got feathers growing out of her head! She brought along some members of the military who have all been discharged or left the military because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. God bless her. I really love that side of her that does not tolerate prejudice of any kind. I just became a momentary Little Monster. By the way, Sway told her she's won two VMAs already for best dance video for "Bad Romance" and best collaboration for "Telephone." Here we go with Eminem.
8:32: Nicki Minaj is performing her mega hit "Your Love." She looks like she's a purple martian and about to lift off. Oh, now there is an actual lift-off, so I guess the image they were trying to convey worked. Will.I.Am is singing "Check It Out" with her and he's in an all black rubber suit and is completely dark from head to toe. He looks like an all-black Tin Man from "Wizard of Oz." We dig that he does have a pink stripe in his hair and armband to match Nicki's beehive. She is so fierce. And she scares me a little bit.
8:31: I was hoping the pre-show would least be some good fashion trashing, but it's really just an opportunity for MTV to promote its programming. Such a yawn.
8:27 p.m.: Justin Bieber, who's performing outside of the Nokia Theater tonight, just announced he's been playing drums since he was two. So he's got two weeks of experience under his belt...
8:25 p.m.: Welcome! We're living blogging the VMAs from our sofa in Los Angeles. No fuzzy slippers for us, though. We decided to dress like leading nominee Lady GaGa, so we have on a bubble top and no pants. TMI? We already know we're going to get Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift, Round 2, as Swift's song will be about the insults she suffered at West's hands last year (did he learn nothing from Joe Jonas, who was immortalized in song after he dumped Swift?)
What are your thoughts on tonight's show?