The pop star, nominated for a record-setting 13 trophies, took home top honors, winning video of the year for "Bad Romance" – and seized the opportunity to trill for Cher, who presented her with the Moonman trophy.
"I never thought I'd be asking Cher to hold my meat purse," a tearful Gaga said at the podium in a bacon-colored outfit.
"I promised that if I won this tonight, I'd announce the name of my new record," she said. After exhaling, Gaga revealed it is titled Born This Way. Then, she belted out a refrain as Cher looked on. "God makes no mistakes," she sang. "I'm on the right track baby. I was born this way."
Throughout the night, Gaga turned the ceremony, live from L.A.'s Nokia Theater, into her very own fashion show, at one point noting that she wasn't prepared for all her acceptance speeches.
"This outfit's too heavy to walk in," she said while accepting best pop video. "I apologize if I'm a little slow this evening."
Chelsea's PartyGaga got a lively welcome from show host Chelsea Handler, who poked fun at the pop star's penchant for outrageous outfits. Taking the stage to "Bad Romance" in a tattered, glittery skirt and face-obscuring hat that resembled an over-sized house, Handler earned laughs as she skewered celebrities in her monologue.
Some, like Lindsay Lohan, were happy to laugh at themselves. The starlet, who recently left jail and a court-ordered rehab, appeared at the start of the show in pre-recorded sketch.
Joshing about Handler's love of drinking – the E! host frequently jokes about her taste for vodka – Lohan teased, "Pull it together! Do you think anyone wants to work with a drunk? Take it from me!"
Performance Heavy NightWhile many awards were handed out, it was performances that dominated the evening.
Two-time winner Eminem kicked off the show with "Not Afraid," backed by a drum corps and string section. He was soon joined by a flame-haired Rihanna, who teamed up with him on "Love the Way You Lie."
Taylor Swift and Kanye West, both the subject of much buzz given last year's antics, also performed separate blistering songs.
And to the delight of screaming female fans, best new artist winner Justin Bieber performed "Baby" outside the Nokia Theater, backed by a team of syncopated dancers.