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September 14, 2010  | by: Laura Rosenfeld

Rihanna and Katy Perry Show Justin Bieber a little love at the 2010 VMA's (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards was one of the network’s most shocking since the awards show began in 1984. There’s no doubt that the show known for its memorable moments wanted to keep that tradition alive during the 2010 VMAs Sunday night. Host Chelsea Handler encouraged the guests to let loose and be on their worst behavior to allow for more outrageous moments at this year’s event. Much to her chagrin (and the audience’s), the 2010 VMAs hardly shocked at all.

The show opened with one of the strongest performances of the night, Eminem’s “comeback” performance of “Not Afraid.” The song faded into the beginning of his hit “Love the Way You Lie” as Rihanna made a surprise appearance at the VMAs, singing her part of the hit collaboration onstage with Eminem.

The VMAs officially began with a short of Chelsea Handler backstage, getting her butt slapped by some eager crew members and Lindsay Lohan, who told Handler to straighten up and not embarrass her as she hosts the VMAs. Unfortunately, Handler did just that as she entered the stage wearing a Lady Gaga-inspired outfit with a house on her head and a live dove under her skirt. As host, Handler’s jokes were vulgar, trashy and even predictable. I didn’t think I could like a host less than Russell Brand (who hosted the previous two VMAs). Handler was so unlikeable onstage, and there’s only so many Jersey Shore jokes I can take in two hours.

Ellen Degeneres presented the first award of the night to a choked-up Lady Gaga for Best Female Video for “Bad Romance.” Actor Jared Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars took home the award for Best Rock Video for “Kings and Queens.”

In a way reminiscent of Beatlemania, Justin Bieber was chased onstage by a group of teenage girls before he performed a medley of songs outside the VMAs venue. The performance, which included the songs “U Smile,” “Baby” and “Somebody to Love,” was full of dancing and teen idol charm. Bieber even rocked out on the drums at the performance’s conclusion. He was followed by his mentor Usher, who also performed a medley of his songs “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” and “OMG.”

Lady Gaga accepting the award for Video of the Year at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

In the future, I really hope Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj do a collaboration because they had amazing chemistry during their presentation of the Best Male Video award. They are both so cartoon-ish and funny alone that if you put them together, they’re hysterical. The award went to Eminem for “Not Afraid.”

As I had hoped, ethereal alternative rock singer Florence + The Machine gave a whimsical and explosive performance of her hit “Dog Days Are Over.” Soon after, Lady Gaga picked up another award for “Bad Romance” for Best Pop Video.

In one of the most buzzed-about moments of the night, Taylor Swift made her return to the VMA stage with an enigmatic song many speculate to be about last year’s VMA experience. The performance began with an abbreviated replay of West interrupting her acceptance speech for Best Female Video at last year’s VMAs. There were also some clues in the lyrics to the song, which talked about making mistakes and redeeming yourself, such as “Lost your mind trying to get it back” and “32 and still growing up now” (West was 32 at last year’s awards show).

Drake, with Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beatz, performed the song “Fancy” in a 1940s nightclub setting. Handler hopped in the hot tub with the cast of Jersey Shore looking to get laughs, but at the end, all she got was a (fake) pregnancy. Eminem won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Not Afraid.”

Bruno Mars, B.o.B and Hayley Williams with Paramore took the stage for a massive medley of “Nothin’ On You,” “Airplanes” and “The Only Exception.” Tweens of the world rejoiced when Justin Bieber took home the award for Best New Artist. Linkin Park had a truly out of this world performance of their latest song “The Catalyst” from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

Pop legend and star of the upcoming movie Burlesque Cher presented the award for Video of the Year in her iconic sheer leotard and leather jacket from her video “If I Could Turn Back Time.” The award unsurprisingly went to Lady Gaga for her video “Bad Romance.” Lady Gaga arrived onstage in an outfit made out of real meat. She revealed the name of her new album, Born This Way, and sang a sample of the title track.

Kanye West closed the show with his new single “Runaway” in an attempt to redeem himself for last year’s antics. West’s performance was less about gimmicks and, for better or for worse, just about him. In the song, West implores the listener to “have a toast” for “douchebags,” “a** holes” and “scumbags,” while also acknowledging that his behavior in the last year may not have been so attractive. At the end of the performance, the crowd chanted “Kanye! Kanye!” and it seemed all was forgiven.

In the end, the night was more about redemption than about surprises. Eminem returned to his throne as one of hip-hop’s greatest talents with his performance of “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie.” No, Kanye West and Taylor Swift didn’t share the stage, but they each gave their own take on last year’s incident that will hopefully once and for all put an end to it. And Lady Gaga was the most-decorated winner at the VMAs after a somewhat disappointing haul last year, making her fans proud of her like she had hoped and confirming her title as the current Queen of Pop.

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