Perry’s “Firework” won for Video of the Year, and she also took home a trophy with Kanye West for Best Collaboration for their sci-fi fantasia “E.T.”
“Oh, my goodness, thank you so much,” Perry said as she picked up her VMA Moonman statuette for the video that had logged more than 227 million views as of Sunday night. “I’m very proud of the song it stands for.”
Perry harkened back to a previous VMAs show in her acceptance speech when she told her co-winner, “Now this is the time when you want to interrupt me, Kanye!”
Perry had different pace issues on her mind as she entered the theater with a field-leading 10 nominations among this year’s 15 categories, and she became the first artist to score nominations for four videos in the same year.
“It means all my work has been recognized by MTV and the people who are voting, which is really important,” Perry said. “But I’m here to have a good time. I already had a shot of tequila at 12.”
Lady Gaga — who spent the entire night dressed as her male alter ego, Jo Calderone — won Best Female and Best Video with a Message. “Earlier tonight they told me I got best video with a message,” Gaga-as-Calderone said when she accepted her second VMA for “Born This Way” in the female video category, after winning the newly added category of best video with a message.
“There are so many great artists in this room.… Every video they’ve got has a … message.” As Calderone, Gaga said that Gaga had told him, “I’m not real, I’m theater, and you and I — this is just rehearsal.”
Lady Gaga then launched into a version of “You and I,” backed by a group of dancers and legendary rock guitarist Brian May of Queen. She danced on her piano and spewed beer from a bottle into the air in celebration.
Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” meanwhile, took home multiple behind-the-scenes awards for direction, editing, art direction, and cinematography.
Britney Spears won the award for best pop music video “Till the World Ends.” The pop star took the stage and seemed surprised, saying she hadn’t expected to win and thanking her family and fans.
Foo Fighters picked up an early honor for best rock video with “Walk,” and Nicki Minaj picked up the “Moonman” winner’s statuette for her “Super Bass.”
Another major award still to come is best new artist, and Tyler, The Creator figures prominently in that race, too, alongside Wiz Khalifa with “Black and Yellow,” Kreayshawn for “Gucci Gucci,” Foster the People with “Pumped Up Kicks,” and Big Sean (featuring Chris Brown) for “My Last.”
But probably Beyonce’s pregnancy became the greatest news of the event. The R&B singer whose hits include “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” appeared visibly pregnant as she showed up on the red carpet outside the show, posing for photographers and outlining a baby bump with her hands under her long gown.
Beyonce, who is married to rapper Jay-Z, avoided reporters waiting to ask whether she is pregnant. For years, her fans and the media have speculated whether and when the pair might have a baby.
In the salute to Winehouse, who died last month at 27, British comedian Russell Brand recalled first hearing her “raw, from-the-guts-of-humanity voice” in London before he knew who she was. “She suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction. A lot of people just get the disease; not everyone gets the talent Amy was blessed with.”
Brand then turned the segment over to Tony Bennett, who had recorded a duet in March with Winehouse for his forthcoming album. “She was so unbelievable,” Bennett said. “Of all the young artists I’ve ever met in the last 20 years, she was a true jazz artist in the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. She had the gift. With real jazz, you can’t just be a jazz singer; either you’ve got it or you haven’t.”
Video footage from their session on the pop classic “Body and Soul” segued into Bruno Mars’ onstage rendition of her bouncy Motown-rooted song “Valerie” in one of the night’s most exuberantly moving live performances. [via Reuters, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times]