The most memorable moment in Sunday's 2009 MTV Video Music Awards took place when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to suggest that Beyonce, rather than Swift, should have won the Best Female Video honor.
West's outburst took place just about 20 minutes into the show. Best Female Video was the first award announced.
Swift's video for "You Belong With Me" won, beating powerhouses like Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Shortly into her acceptance speech, West appeared on stage and said Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. Presumably, he was referring to her nominated video, "Single Ladies."
Swift, obviously frazzled, exited the stage and said nothing else. Later, she performed and didn't address the issue.
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Repeatedly, when West's name was announced as a nominee throughout the night, the audience booed. At one point, they even shouted, "Taylor! Taylor! Taylor!"
In the show's final moments, Beyonce's "Single Ladies" won the night's biggest award: Video of the Year. Instead of giving an acceptance speech, she offered the floor to Swift. The country singer said nothing about West, but thanked her fans.
By the end of the night, West apologized -- via his blog. Sources including the Associated Press reported he wrote, "I'M SOOOOO SORRY TO TAYLOR SWIFT AND HER FANS AND HER MOM. I SPOKE TO HER MOTHER RIGHT AFTER AND SHE SAID THE SAME THING MY MOTHER WOULD'VE SAID. SHE IS VERY TALENTED!"
When I repeatedly tried to check West's blog shortly after midnight, it was unavailable -- probably due to an insanely large amount of traffic.
Was the Kanye West/Taylor Swift feud real, or a staged publicity stunt? Tell us what you think.
Here's a full recap of the show, which included a Michael Jackson tribute from Janet Jackson, a peek at "New Moon" and Michael Jackson's "This Is It" and, of course, tons of quality time with Lady Gaga.
9 p.m. - The show opens with a 10-minute tribute to Michael Jackson.
Madonna, dressed in black, takes the stage first. She calls Jackson a hero and emphasizes, "There is no question that Michael Jackson is one of the greatest talents the world has ever known."
But she also draws attention to the tragic parts of Jackson's life, telling the audience, "I never had a mother, but he never had a childhood."
Then, a set of dancers takes the stage, performing some of Jackson's most memorable routines. In the last routine, Janet Jackson sings and dances to "Scream," the duet she and her brother recorded. Michael dances beside her, thanks to a giant screen playing the "Scream" music video.
9:14 - Host Russell Brand gives his opening monologue, acknowledging how he was criticized for his comments last year. The result: "The Jonas Brothers have forgiven me and Barack Obama is now the president of the United States." His worst offense so far tonight? A couple cracks about the Lady Gaga hermaphrodite debate.
9:20 - Taylor Swift wins Best Female Video for "You Belong With Me." It's somewhat of a surprise, since Lady Gaga and Beyonce were nominated in that category.
9:23 - Shortly into Taylor Swift's acceptance speech, Kanye West appears on stage and says he's sorry to interrupt, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. Taylor Swift, obviously shaken, is taken off stage. The show cuts to a humorous filler sketch, and then commercials. After the commercials, host Russell Brand reminds the audience the show is supposed to be about love.
9:34 - Award for Best Rock Video goes to Green Day for "21 Guns." The band tells MTV to play more videos.
9:36 - Oh man. Taylor Swift has to perform live. I feel so bad for her. The teens who introduce her give her their support, then we cut to a New York subway, the scene of her performance. She sings "You Belong With Me." If she's hurt by the whole Kanye ordeal, she's not showing it. She gets off the subway and continues the performance outside Radio City Music Hall, the site of the awards. Fans are going crazy. Take that, Kanye.
9:46 - Time for the highly anticipated Lady Gaga performance. She sings her newest single, "Paparazzi." The scene: A twisted masquerade ball. Lady Gaga is head-to-toe in white, including a mask. She dances with backup dancers, plays the piano...and things get weird. Suddenly, her stomach is covered in (fake) blood. Hmm. Here comes the message, I guess. After some pained groaning, she ends the song -- as she's hanging from a rope. Maybe Gaga inspired a movement, but Diddy sure looks confused.
9:58 - After commercials, Lady Gaga is back in the audience. Her new getup? Head-to-toe fake blood, apparently.
10:00 - Britney Spears wins Best Pop Video for "Womanizer." Britney's not there. She gives a boring "thank you" pre-recorded message.
10:03 - Green Day performs.
10:14 - Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Jacob Lautner are here to introduce the "New Moon" extended trailer. Man, this thing is packed with action. We see Edward leaving Bella! Bella pursuing dangerous adventure highs! Edward trying to kill himself! Vampire court! Edward versus Jacob! Oh, and did I mention warewolves? The movie comes out Nov. 20.
10:20 - Beyonce performs! She sings "Single Ladies," which is kind of a surprise, since I read that she would be singing her new single, "Sweet Dreams." The performance -- complete with laser lights and tons of backup dancers -- is pretty amazing. Plus, she's wearing her signature robot metal glove. OK, who won the performance showdown: Beyonce or Lady Gaga? I'm torn.
10:29 - Diddy and Jamie Lynn Sigler announce nominees for Best Male Video. When they get to Kanye West, the audience boos...and then starts chanting "Taylor! Taylor! Taylor!" When they play Kanye's video during the nominee rundown, he gets booed again. Oh wow. I can't wait to see what happens if he wins.
10:31 - Crisis averted. T.I. wins Best Male Video -- but he's not there. Blame the criminal justice system.
10:33 - The U.K. rockers from Muse perform. I'm impressed, but I think Kanye West's outburst cost them the "most talked about" award for the night.
10:38 - Talk about random: Tracy Morgan sings "Time After Time" with Cyndi Lauper in a comedy sketch.
10:46 - While the nominees for Best Hip Hop Video are announced, Kanye West gets booed. Again.
10:47 - Kanye loses. Eminem wins Best Hip Hop Video for "We Made You." He doesn't insult anybody in his acceptance speech.
10:48 - Rapper Kid Cudi offers the night's first tribute to DJ AM.
10:56 - Lady Gaga wins Best New Artist. Yes, she is still head-to-toe in a lace getup that I think is supposed to be fake blood. Her entire face is covered up. She has to remove the mask for her acceptance speech, which includes thanking "the gays."
10:59 - Pink performs "Sober." She's singing while swinging on a giant circus swing hanging from the ceiling. One of her breasts is covered only by a heart sticker. Think Lil Kim.
11:10 - Video of the Year nominees are announced. Kanye West gets booed. Again.
11:11 - Beyonce wins Video of the Year for "Single Ladies." As she starts her acceptance speech, she asks Taylor Swift to come out and have her moment. Aww.
11:12 - Taylor gets a standing ovation. She speaks: "Maybe we can try this again." She thanks her fans, and all is well in the world.
11:13 - Beyonce and Taylor walk off the stage together. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga is sitting in the audience, wearing what looks like a wreath made of hay around her face. I love this show!
11:20 - For the final performance of the night, Jay Z and Alicia Keys take the stage together. They sing "Empire State of Mind," which I really love. The background shots of New York are amazing. Beyonce is rocking out in the audience. But the hay on Lady Gaga's face kind of impairs movement. And, um, just for fun Lil Mama appears on stage at the end of the song.
11:26 - Wait! The night's not over! Time for Michael Jackson "This Is It" documentary movie trailer. We see tons of dancing, and we hear Michael talking about bringing his fans awareness, awakening and hope. The film comes out Oct.28.
11:28 - We get one more round of sound for Michael Jackson.
11:29 - Russell Brand signs off, and suggests he's off to hook up with Katy Perry. And we're done!