Oh, man. The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards (MTV VMA) was truly a celebration of milestones upon milestones.

Kanye West accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in a 13-minute speech in which he reflected on his life and work, artistry and consumer culture, not to mention his at times tenuous relationship with award shows.

Taylor Swift Kanye West

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Upon receiving the award from Taylor Swift, West expressed regret at crashing the stage during the 2009 MTV VMA but remained defiant in his defense of artistes. Then he declared his intention to run for President in 2020.

Taylor Swift won 4 Moonmen, including “Video of the Year” for her sci-feminist epic “Bad Blood”, emerging as the evening’s big winner. She also won “Best Female Video” for “Blank Space” and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars took home “Best Male Video” for their infectious hit “Uptown Funk”.

The 2015 MTV VMA aired from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with several of the performances emanating from the VMAs Downtown Los Angeles stage presented by Pepsi outside the iconic Orpheum Theatre.

Miley Cyrus 2015 MTV VMA

Host Miley Cyrus delivered a raunchy rainbow spectacle dripping in glitter, wild outfit changes, and hilarious skits featuring the likes of Andy Samberg and Snoop Dogg.

Nicki Minaj opened the show perched atop a throne sculpted of backup dancers to tear through banger “Trini Dem Girls”. Minaj then segued into her soaring single “The Night Is Still Young” and, though indeed it still was, the surprises started early. Because Taylor Swift unexpectedly emerged from below the stage to join Minaj for the performance in an epic, chill-inducing squashing of beef.

Taylor Swift Nicki Minaj

With the audience still reeling, the show kicked over to the Orpheum Theatre where Macklemore and Ryan Lewis fired up their newly dropped single, “Downtown”.

Macklemore marched up South Broadway with a b-boy crew that included hip hop progenitors Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Caz, and Melle Mel. As they took to the stage, flamboyant Foxy Shazam frontman Eric Nally arrived in an eagle head chariot to belt out the track’s hands-in-the-air chorus.

The Weeknd 2015 MTV VMA

The Weeknd performed a muscular, funky version of hit “Can’t Feel My Face” while bathed in red light. The Canadian artiste shuffled around the stage before settling into a ring of fire that blazed up from the floor below and rotated around him.

In one of the show’s most anticipated moments, Justin Bieber’s triumphant return rose to new heights as he took flight above the crowd to punctuate a medley of his hit Jack Ü collab, “Where Are Ü Now” and newly released single “What Do You Mean?

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It marked his first performance at the MTV VMAs in 5 whole years.

As seen in the video above, after a dramatic solo entrance in silhouette, Bieber blazed through the tracks and some tight choreography before the room went black, and the star reemerged in a single cone of light to fly high above the stage.

Justin Bieber Cries 2015 MTV VMA

Bieber returned to the ground winded and moved to tears.

For the final performance from the downtown block party, Pharrell Williams gave an explosive performance of his emancipation anthem “Freedom” under the night sky. Williams opened with a spoken word freestyle before being joined by a troupe of dancers, who ripped through a routine of throwback dance moves that matched the retro-swing of the track.

The performance concluded with a single firework shooting into the air about Broadway.

In a surprise performance, host Miley Cyrus closed the show with psych rock legends The Flaming Lips for her beautifully bizarre new track, “DOO It”, which invokes love, peace, the universe, and flying saucers.

Miley Cyrus 2015 MTV VMA

Cyrus emerged from an LED screen projecting extreme close ups of her glitter and sprinkle-smeared mouth, and was followed close behind by a brigade of drag queens in fluorescent unitards reminiscent of “H.R. Pufnstuf”.

Full list of winners are as follows:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

BEST MALE VIDEO

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

BEST POP VIDEO

Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

BEST ROCK VIDEO

Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”

ARTIST TO WATCH presented by Taco Bell®

Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

BEST COLLABORATION

Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE

Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”

SONG OF SUMMER presented by Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

5 Seconds of Summer — “She’s Kinda Hot”

BEST ART DIRECTION

Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)

BEST DIRECTION

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)

BEST EDITING

Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

The 2015 MTV VMA are sponsored by “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials“, the next chapter in the epic saga from 20th Century Fox.

For more information, visit MTV Asia’s website or the MTV VMA microsite.

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Lainey
Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.