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MTV Video Music Award statue
An MTV Video Music Award statue sits backstage at the Microsoft Theater on Aug. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP.)

Here are the best and most WTF moments from the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards


The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards were relatively controversy free, but still delivered a spectacle. Among the highlights:

  • Beyoncé stuns on red carpet with Blue Ivy, slays onstage, wins Video of the Year ("Formation")
  • Beyoncé's 23 career VMAs breaks Madonna's record for most all-time wins
  • Britney Spears returns to and performs on VMA stage
  • Kanye West takes mic, premieres "Fade" video
  • Rihanna wins Video Vanguard Award, performs multiple times
  • Alicia Keys' speech wows crowd
  • DNCE wins Best New Artist
Beyoncé Wins Video of the Year | 2016 Video Music Awards | MTV

Beyoncé's "Formation" won the VMA for Video of the Year. After thanking her daughter, Blue Ivy, and husband, Jay Z, she dedicated her win to the "people of New Orleans."

Beyoncé also claimed the VMA for Best Female Video ("Hold Up").

Earlier, Twitter raved over Beyoncé's marathon of a hot-fire "Lemonade" performance.

Lisa Ramos saluted.

Radio DJ Bethany Watson couldn't believe anyone could follow that.

Andy Richter wondered why other artists didn't just quit showbiz right then and there.

Then it was time, as Kim Kardashian West noted, for "Britney [Spears], bitch."

But Beyoncé's showstopper made Britney's return to the VMAs stage a bit anticlimactic.

One fan offered Spears consolation and a literal gold star.

Before the show, Queen Bey made a downright angelic entrance with daughter Blue Ivy.

Beyoncé also brought plenty of buzz with 11 VMA nominations this year alone.

Beyoncé now has won the most VMAs in history, according to Pitchfork.

Rihanna's first of several performances was more pink than P!nk.

Like Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj's performance brought plenty of hot and pink.

Thanks to Grande's SoulCycle-esque intro, it also delivered #fitness and #goals.

Rihanna also won the Video Vanguard Award for music-video lifetime achievement.

Rihanna Accepts Michael Jackson Vanguard Award | 2016 Video Music Awards | MTV

 Rihanna said her success story isn't hers alone.

"It's my family's," she said. "It's my fans'. It's my country's. It's the Caribbean, as a whole. It's women. It's black women."

Before Kanye West presented his new video "Fade," he welcomed the open-mic opportunity. Among his notable quotes:

  • "I am Kanye West, and that feels really great to say, especially this year."
  • "Later tonight, 'Famous' might lose to Beyoncé, but I can't be mad, because I'm also wishing for Beyoncé to win."
  • On his "Famous" video: "I put Ray J in it, bro! This is fame, bro!"
  • On shouting out his ex in the audience: "I see you, Amber [Rose]."
  • "We came over in the same boat. Now we all in the same bed."

West continued:

  • On violence in the context of his clashes with "Taylor," likely referring to Taylor Swift: "Last week, there were 22 people murdered in Chicago. People come up to me, like, 'Man! That's right! Take... tell Taylor....' Bro, like, I love all y'all. That's why I called her."
  • On his role models: "Truman. Ford. Hughes. Disney. Jobs. West."

Here's West's full 2016 VMAs speech.

Do I want to bang a cat now?
@LizardSheeple (Keegan-Michael Key), on 'Fade'

After the world premiere of "Fade," Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (who played fictional social-media influencers @LizardSheeple and @TheShamester throughout the broadcast) weren't quite sure how to react to it.

Maybe we can love somebody / instead of polishing the bombs of holy war
Alicia Keys, presenting at the 2016 VMAs

Before presenting the Best Male Video award to Calvin Harris (featuring Rihanna), Alicia Keys delivered a poem-turned-song whose chorus called for peace and unity, and moved the Madison Square Garden crowd.

Alicia Keys Emotional Speech | 2016 Video Music Awards | MTV

Here's her full speech.

Michael Phelps said #PhelpsFace happened as Future's "Stick Talk" played on his headphones.

For a moment, Twitter wasn't sure why Phelps was talking about hip hop at the VMAs.

Nick Jonas' live-from-a-diner performance of "Bacon" provided another glorious WTF moment.

DNCE - Cake By The Ocean

In other Jonas news, the Joe Jonas-fronted DNCE won the VMA for Best New Artist.

Drake - Hotline Bling

Drake's "Hotline Bling" won Best Hip Hop Video.

Fifth Harmony - Work from Home ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Best Collaboration Video went to "Work from Home" by Fifth Harmony, featuring Ty Dolla $ign.

Not everyone who's had success at the VMAs has had comparable success at the Grammys. (Just ask One Direction, a band that's won 4 VMAs but hasn't even been nominated for a Grammy.)For more multiple-VMA victors who can't catch a break at the Grammys, click the link below.

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