From Rihanna to Taylor Swift, nine very different acts took the audience and viewers at home from pop to rap to rock and back.
During the pre-show, Demi Lovato got things started as she sang "Give Your Heart a Break" on the red carpet, setting the tone for a fun, music-filled night.
Rihanna kicked off the evening with a medley of a remix of "Cockiness" – with a guest verse from A$AP Rocky – and "We Found Love" with Calvin Harris. Debuting a new pixie cut, the pop princess strutted her stuff from a gold throne and paraded across the stage with a number of dancers.
Next, Pink – who was introduced by lookalike Miley Cyrus – performed "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)," incorporating just a hint of the acrobatics that made her 2010 Grammy performance legendary.
Frank Ocean slowed down the show's pace with his quiet rendition of his "Thinking Bout You."
Before winning three Moonmen for most share-worthy video, best pop video and best new artist, One Direction treated the audience to their hit, "One Thing."
2 Chainz and Lil Wayne brought hip-hop to the stage with "Yuck" and "No Worries."
Despite recently being hospitalized, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong looked happy and healthy as the band invited the crowd on stage during "Kill the DJ."
Alicia Keys brought her new single "Girl on Fire" to the VMAs with the help of a quick rap from Nicki Minaj and a floor routine from Olympian Gabby Douglas.
Dressed in a red and white striped top and shorts, Taylor Swift closed out the show with her first live performance of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."