Could it be anyone but Lady Gaga? Starting “Applause” to (canned?) boos sticking her head through a cardboard cutout (which, oddly, brought to mind a Shields and Yarnell skit), she quickly was revealed to be dressed as an avant-garde nun (hey, your guess is as good as ours!). Then, she changed wig after wig, costume after costume until she wound up in a bikini with Barbarella hair. (That is, she had Barbarella hair, not the bikini… ) Classic Gaga.
Wiggiest Entrance (Correction)
Lady Gaga only had the wiggiest entrance until Miley Cyrus, tongue perpetually stuck out, exited a giant teddy bear and, surrounded by teddy dancers, yelled “We Can’t Stop” until even a befuddled One Direction looked like they kinda wished she would. Afterward, the former Hannah Montana gave herself the (foam) finger, “helping out” Robin Thicke with “Blurred Lines.”
Most Squealed Over
One Direction, presenting Best Pop Video. Seriously, the hollering was so intense, it could've sent a teenybopper into menopause. (Too bad, though, that it was Selena Gomez who won, not Taylor Swift. We were hoping for an awkward on-stage reunion of exes Taylor and Harry Styles. Does that make us evil?)
Biggest Bleeping Head-Scratcher
After being introduced by Jared Leto — and we know he's emo now, but WTF is Jordan Catalano doing wearing Fonzie's jacket, Justin Bieber's leather diaper and Jesus (not Yeezus) hair? — Kanye West performed a version of "Blood On the Leaves" that wasn't just much-bleeped (no surprise there) but also positioned him largely in silhouette. (Kim is so gonna kick his ass for giving up that much face time!)
Best Cure For a Bad Hair Day
Daft Punk. Then again, the disco robots' helmets would also make a pretty great cure for a Big Zit Day. (For that matter, so would their glitterball jackets. Who's gonna notice split ends when somebody's outfit is sparkly enough to have been designed by Nolan Miller?)
Best Display of Endurance
Though he took the long route to the stage (escalators and all, like a behind-the-scenes SNL opening), Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient Justin Timberlake sure delivered when he got there. In spite of sound system glitches — wouldn’t have wanted to be whoever mic’d him when he got backstage! — he danced through his greatest hits like he could’ve gone all night. (Actually, didn’t he go on for, like, 20 minutes?) He didn’t even slow up when his old (and presumably out of practice) ’NSync bandmates joined him for their brief reunion.
Sincerest Acceptance Speech
In accepting the Best Video With a Social Message moonman for “Same Love,” Macklemore (of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, natch) delivered the clip’s social message once again, simply and emphatically. “Gay rights are human rights,” he said. “There is no separation.”
In the tail end of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' spirited rendition of "Same Love" — Mack would make a helluvan auctioneer, fast-talker that he is — a glamtastic Jennifer Hudson appeared outta nowhere for a heartfelt sing-off with the guys' powerhouse vocalist, Mary Lambert. (What, did you think we were gonna say was the biggest surprise, 'NSync?)
Best Argument Against Ever Letting Kevin Hart Host
Kevin Hart himself. The funnyman bombed so badly, you'd almost have felt sorry for him, had he not been so obnoxious, going on about Lady Gaga's "yams" and such. And just when you thought it couldn't get worse, it did. During 'NSync's performance, "Joey (Fatone) farted," he "cracked." Ugh.
Artist to Watch moonman recipient Austin Mahone almost had us fooled into thinking he really was the boy next door with his "Aw, shucks" reaction to his win… until he went and thanked his publicist. Now we can't help but think he's just a bucket whizz and a spitting habit away from being the next Justin Bieber.
Wickedest (And Least Necessary) Light Show
Whoever was sitting near Daft Punk as Bruno Mars performed "Gorilla" must've been blinded when his overwhelming(ly cool) light show reflected off their helmets. Ironically, Bruno doesn't need all — or any of — the bells and whistles. Dude's voice, in a league of its own, is a showstopper and of itself.
Most Predictable (Attempt at) Fireworks
The pyrotechnics that hip-hop hunk Drake set off while rapping "Started From the Bottom" weren't nearly as explosive as the ones that MTV probably hoped to detonate by cutting to Rihanna in the audience during his performance. Unfortunately, his sometime squeeze mostly looked bored. (Maybe next year, guys… )
Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Why did he present the Video of the Year moonman in an affected master thespian voice? We will probably never know. Even "I don't know why I'm doing that voice," the Don Jon star admitted halfway through. But it was pretty hilarious that he did. (He even inspired winner Justin Timberlake to mimic the voice.)
We get that it was a big deal that Katy Perry was performing “Roar” for the first time, but even with the Brooklyn Bridge as a backdrop, a shiny boxing ring stage and a jumprope sequence, the number wasn’t a showstopper. (They shoulda gone with Bruno Mars… )