It has been 364 days since the last MTV Video Music Awards, and it’s about time to do another once. Which brings us to tonight: 16 categories, hundreds of stars, one sharp-tongued host and endless possibilities. It’s the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, and it’s happening right now. All the biggest names in music have descended upon the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles for a celebration of the year’s best music videos (including clips from Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, 30 Seconds to Mars, Jay-Z and Muse) and for some absolutely killer performances (care of the likes of Eminem, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Drake, Linkin Park, Paramore, Florence and the Machine, Usher and B.o.B). It’s the biggest party of the year, and it’s airing on MTV at 9 p.m. Eastern.
But stay close to the MTV Newsroom Blog, as we’ll be bringing you exclusive behind-the-scenes updates on this live blog all evening. MTV News’ James Montgomery (@positivnegativ), Shaheem Reid (@ShaheemReid), Jocelyn Vena (@jocelyn1212) and Jayson Rodriguez (@jayhovawitness) will be in the house, backstage and everywhere in between doling out exclusive behind-the-scenes insights during the proceedings. You can also follow each one of them on Twitter and stay tuned to MTV News (@mtvnews) for all the latest updates as the show progresses.
So sit back, fire up your Twitter account, crack open a cool beverage (perhaps a birch beer?) and follow along with the live blog as the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards dives headlong into the history books. The curtain is up, and we’re ready to party!
11:25 One last note: The crowd inside Kanye West’s dressing room after the show included Rihanna, Drake, Florence Welch, Usher and Aziz Ansari. Everybody sang along to the hook to Kanye’s song (“Let’s have a toast for the a–holes!”), and his dressing room was clearly the place to be after the show. Chelsea Handler could also be heard singing “Let’s have a toast for the a–holes” as she returned to her dressing room. We smell a hit!
11:14 Kanye ends with his arm stretched in victory and one of those curtains made of sparks behind him. The crowd chants “Kanye” as Handler sends everybody home for the night. That ends the night for us, but stay tuned to the MTV Newsroom Blog and to MTV News for all the news from the parties and what shakes out in the aftermath. Goodbye, VMAs — we miss you already.
11:11 West’s song insists we “have a toast to the douchebags.” It’s delivered in a sing-songy lilt that is instantly unforgettable. We smell a hit single!
11:10 West is wearing a loud red suit and begins by tapping a keyboard by himself. The beat drops in as Weezy plays with a sampler, then grabs the microphone and starts to tear it up.
11:09 Aziz Ansari comes out to introduce Kanye West. He pokes fun at last year’s stage-crashing incident, then tosses to the show-closer.
11:08 Gaga walked off stage while talking to Cher, who hugged her. She fought back tears the whole time, then walked back to her dressing room. When she got there, her stylists stood and gave her an ovation. “Big f—ing night!” they chanted.
11:07 Was there ever any doubt that Lady Gaga would win the top prize of the evening? Gaga walks on stage to accept her Moonman wearing her meat suit as Hayley Williams and Florence Welch cheer her on. She announces the name of her album — it’s called Born This Way — and she sings a line or two of the title track. A big moment for Gaga and her fans!
11:05 Chelsea Handler introduces Cher, who gets a standing ovation for her ’80s-era costume. “I have shoes older than most of the nominees,” she says. She can’t see the teleprompter but still manages to announce the nominees for the big prize: Video of the Year!
10:59 Linkin Park certainly know how to handle a spectacle, and their new album is going to blow a lot of minds when it drops this Tuesday.
10:55 Meanwhile at the Griffith Observatory, it’s Linkin Park!
10:53 It’s time for one of the biggest prizes of the night: Best New Artist! The Moonman goes to Justin Bieber and “Baby.”
10:50 Hayley Williams walked off stage and asked her entourage members, “My bra thing didn’t come down, did it?” You’re in the clear, Hayley! She also gave B.o.B a big hug when they ran into each other in the audience after the performance.
10:47 Robyn is here! That is all.
10:45 This is a kick-it-up-a-notch performance for B.o.B. He is elevating his status to “superstar” tonight. Meanwhile, Williams wraps up “Airplanes” and moves right into “The Only Exception” with her band.
10:44 Just as B.o.B starts burning through the verse on “Nothin’ on You,” Hayley Williams drops in on the chorus to “Airplanes.” The storm effects in the background are pretty amazing.
10:42 The “Jersey Shore” guys were really interested in Selena Gomez tonight, but it’s Ne-Yo who gets to escort her on stage. They introduce B.o.B, Bruno Mars and Hayley Williams for a general celebration of the best songs from The Adventures of Bobby Ray.
10:38 Chelsea Handler walks backstage dripping wet and laughing. A stagehand with headsets on tells her the whole bit worked great.
10:36 Eminem wins another award, though he remains in transit to New York. Vergara accepts on his behalf and tells him he can pick it up in Colombia. Meanwhile, Handler emerges from the “Jersey Shore” hot tub looking pregnant. “I hope it’s not too late for the morning after pill,” she said as she waddled away.
10:33 Chelsea Handler introduces the cast of “Jersey Shore,” who are sitting in a hot tub. The Situation invites her in for a good time, and when she begs off, JWoww asks, “What, are you scared, b—-?” Handler relents and joins them, tossing to Sofia Vergara to hand out the prize for Best Hip-Hop Video. Will Slim Shady add another Moonman to his mantle?
10:28 Evan Rachel Wood and Joe Manganiello help announce a bunch of the professional awards, and the victors include two more for Gaga, one for Florence and the Machine (Best Art Direction, one for “Empire State of Mind” (Best Direction) and another for Muse’s “Uprising” (Best Special Effects).
10:26 It wouldn’t be a Young Money performance without a “Free Weezy!” at the end of it.
10:22 They open with a little old-school cool. It looks like Swizz and Mary are performing at a Rat Pack-era club, and Drizzy is Frank Sinatra. The trio rip through “Fancy,” one of the livelier tunes from Drake’s Thank Me Later.
10:21 The men from “The Social Network” come out to introduce Drake (also with Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beatz).
10:16 The crowd went quiet after Taylor Swift’s performance. But once the audience saw the set being built for the next performance, they started yelling and whistling. The marquee read “Drake.” Meanwhile, Mary J. Blige arrived and took her position for the Drake performance.
10:13 Swift’s song was passionate and intense, and her performance was simply stunning. A true highlight so far.
10:07 Video of Swift’s acceptance speech at last year’s VMAs runs before Swift begins playing a never-before-heard song. Compared to last year’s theatrical performance in New York, she takes a much more spare approach this time around. She has an acoustic guitar and is sitting in an armchair in a makeshift living room. It’s very R.E.M.
10:05 It’s Gaga again! She needs quite a bit of assistance getting to the stage in her flowing black gown (with another mohawk-esque arrangement on her head, this time in black). “This outfit is too heavy to walk in,” she admits. “Fashion roadkill — it’s OK!” Gaga does a little dance with Jane Lynch before Rosario Dawson and Chris Pine come out to introduce Taylor Swift.
10:03 Back from commercial, Handler hits on “True Blood” star Joe Manganiello, then welcomes the cast of “Glee” to the stage to give out the prize for Best Pop Video. Will Gaga take another Moonman home?
10:00 As soon as she walked off stage, Florence smiled and embraced choreographer Travis Wall, who was watching from the wings. She then headed down to her dressing room, past host Chelsea Handler (who told her “That kicked ass!”). Florence then hightailed it to her dressing room, hugged her team of stylists, closed the door and let out a triumphant yell. Everyone in the hallway turned and looked.
9:57 Hi Travie McCoy! He immediately follows Florence with a run through “Billionaire” (with backup beats by deadmau5).
9:53 Jared Leto and Ashley Greene introduce Florence and the Machine. Florence’s dress is pretty amazing, and her voice fills the theater. This song is so weird and it’s strange it became a hit, but the band totally deserves the success.
9:52 Chelsea Handler keeps singing Jason Derülo’s name. Since we do that constantly around the MTV Newsroom, it got an extra large laugh here.
9:48 The “Jersey Shore” kids just headed backstage to prepare.
9:45 Minaj wants to seduce all five guys nominated for Best Male Video. Eminem’s “Not Afraid” picks up the Moonman, though Slim Shady is already on a flight back to New York so he can play Yankee Stadium with Jay-Z tomorrow night. “Here’s one of your men,” Perry tells Minaj as she hands her Eminem’s Moonman. “He’s stiff!”
9:43 The ovation for Usher was so intense that Chelsea Handler could barely get her next joke out. She introduces Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, which is an ever greater tag team than the Hart Foundation.
9:41 Usher just pulled off a sort of modified moonwalk that was pretty stunning. “OMG” rules.
9:38 Ke$ha and Trey Songz (together at last!) introduce Usher, who looks ready to tear the house down. He’s bathed in green light for his performance.
9:37 Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Jeremy Davis are seated diagonal to Lady Gaga. “We have the best seats!” Hayley told MTV News’ James Montgomery. “We get to watch her and all her wardrobe changes!”
9:34 Immediately after winning Best Rock Video, 30 Seconds To Mars posed for a photo with Chris Pontius from “Jackass” (who was trying to fit his penis into a mouse costume). Then, they told MTV News’ James Montgomery how it felt to win: “I am so grateful. I truly didn’t think we would get it,” Jared Leto said.
9:32 Usher just got in place. He had a 20 person escort to the stage. He had his head down and was focused. He’s next!
9:30 The crowd outside the Nokia Theatre watching Justin Bieber is going absolutely insane. And when the breakdown happens, they somehow go even more insane. Bieber kicks it up a notch for “Somebody to Love,” and now it’s time for the drum solo. He loses a stick, but doesn’t miss a beat. Streamers!
9:28 Kim Kardashian is outside Justin Bieber’s dressing room, and she throws to outside the theater for his performance. He storms the outdoor stage, whips off his varsity jacket and barrels into an a capella “U Smile” before letting the beat drop on “Baby.”
9:27 30 Seconds to Mars wins the Moonman for Best Rock Video for “Kings and Queens.” Frontman (and video director) Jared Leto seems genuinely thrilled by the victory.
9:24 The “Jackass” boys are in the house! They throw to a clip of Bam Margera getting “antiqued” in the most violent way possible. It totally rules. Why can’t “Jackass 3-D” be out right now, so we can go see it after the show is over? Knoxville and company are here to give out the prize for Best Rock Video.
9:22 A stage hand just yelled “Opening places for Usher please.” All his dancers started yelling. They’ve been warming up since the start of the show.
9:17 There’s still time to vote for Best New Artist! Grab your Verizon phone or head over to VMA.MTV.com! Meanwhile, Justin Bieber is up in nine minutes, and Taylor Swift will unveil a new song later!
9:16 It’s a clean sweep so far as “Bad Romance” scores the win for Best Female Video. Is anybody else seeing a theme develop here? Gaga thanks her fans. “Tonight, Little Monsters, we’re the cool kids at the party,” she says, and then gets choked up while talking about late fashion icon Alexander McQueen (who made her dress) and also thanked “all the days for remaking this video over and over.”
9:15 Ellen DeGeneres comes out to hand out Best Female Video. Will Gaga make it three-for-three tonight?
9:14 After Eminem left the stage, he walked by the “Jackass” cast and gave them a nod, then announced he had to pee, so he ducked into his dressing room. After a minute, he emerged again and, flanked by his crew, exited the building through a loading dock. Off to New York for the next Home and Home shows!
9:13 Rick Ross rolls in … on an old people’s cart. Larry Hoover!
9:12 The host calls out Kanye West, and she says she has a technique to ward off a random person during an acceptance speech. Her solution? A kick to the crotch.
9:10 Handler encourages everyone to be on their worst behavior. “If anybody wants to whip out a boobie and give a nipple wave to the crowd, I’m fine with it — I’m talking to you, Taylor Swift,” she says.”
9:08 Handler admits she tried to stay sober but accidentally got high with Snoop Dogg. The last time a woman hosted the VMAs, “Justin Bieber’s mom had just given birth to her 401k plan.”
9:07 Handler gets lowered onto the stage while “Bad Romance” plays. She’s wearing a wacky dress that looks like it’s made of tin foil and a house on her head. Literally. Then a dove flies out of her dress. It’s monologue time!
9:06 Huge ovation for Em and Rihanna, and we’re off! Chelsea Handler takes a few ass slaps on her way to the stage and then encounters … Lindsay Lohan! Lohan slaps her around and tells her to stop drinking. That’s two big surprise guests in the first five minutes.
9:05 When Rihanna hits the chorus, it looks like the entire stage is on fire. This show is only five minutes old, and there have already been three big goosebump moments. Eminem’s performance was intense. He was like a boxer in the best shape of his career. After the Rihanna appearance, there was a lot of “Jersey Shore”-like fist pumps backstage. This is MTV’s Superbowl and we just took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.
9:03 Oh, and of course Eminem is killing. “Not Afraid” leads into “Love the Way You Lie,” which starts with a guest spot by Rihanna, who told everybody that she wasn’t going to make it. Swerve!
9:01 The set pulls away and Em walks onto the stage. The stage is staggering, with a cityscape in the background and giant white canopies and screens everywhere. It looks straight out of “The Jetsons.”
9:00 Eminem wastes no time getting things started. “Not Afraid” is up first. It looks like Slim Shady is rapping in the club at the end of “8 Mile.”
8:30 You’re too early! Join us for the pre-show white carpet live blog and we’ll meet you back here at 9 p.m. Eastern. Sharp!
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards are happening live, right now at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles! Keep it locked on MTVNews.com for the latest behind-the-scenes scoop, red-carpet interviews, photos, winner reactions and more.