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Miley, Beyoncé and Nicki: The three most talked about MTV award moments

What happens on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards garners just as much attention as who actually wins - and last night has everyone talking about these three divas in particular.

Surprise guest

Miley Cyrus won Video of the Year for the ballad Wrecking Ball, but sent an unfamiliar blonde-haired teen on stage to accept the silver astronaut in her place. Introducing himself as Jesse, the young man told the crowd that he was accepting the MTV Video Music Award on behalf of American homeless and runaway youth, a group to which he belongs, while reading from notecards as host Jimmy Fallon held the microphone. The We Can’t Stop singer, wearing leather jogging pants and matching bandeau, looked on, crying and a little breathless. Jesse asked viewers to visit the star’s Facebook page to donate to My Friend’s Place, which is a centre for Hollywood’s homeless youth. To encourage compassionate giving, every fan who donates will be entered to win a trip to Miley’s September show in Rio de Janeiro. It’s not the first time that the 21-year-old has put a spin on altruism: In lieu of taking the ice bucket challenge - the viral campaign to raise money for ALS research that involves pouring icy cold water over your head - the singer and her brother Braison did a rice bucket challenge, using a bucket of uncooked rice. (Maybe the stunt was motivated by a desire to conserve water in drought-striken California, but who really knows. Incidentally, another interpretation of the rice bucket challenge is gaining popularity in India right now.)

Family harmony

Get More: 2014 VMA, Artists.MTV, Music

Rumours of divorce have been dogging Jay Z and Beyoncé for months, but last’s nights award ceremony put the gossip to rest (for a day at least) when the famous producer presented his superstar wife with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which is a lifetime achievement award that celebrates an artist who has massively contributed to MTV culture. Beyoncé fresh from a seamless quarter-hour mash-up performance highlighting songs from her eponymous visual album (you know the one she released as a surprise early Christmas present last year) received the award from Jay Z, who held their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, in his arms. When the Drunk In Love-rapper handed the moon man to his bejeweled leotard-wearing partner and called her “the greatest living performer,” a title that certainly seemed justified after her performance last night, Blue Ivy adorably pipped up with a “Good job, Mommy!” The family shared a sweet nuzzle on stage, the couple’s kiss defying rumours that their marriage is on the rocks, and Beyoncé gave a shout out to her fellow monarch of music: “My beloved, I love you,” she said.

Wardrobe woes

Nicki Minaj had to ditch a six-foot boa constrictor for her VMA performance when it bit a back-up dancer during dress rehearsal - but the Super Bass-singer stirred up her own controversy after suffering a wardrobe malfunction on stage premiering her Bang Bang collaboration with pop singers Ariana Grande and Jessie J. The opening performance started with Minaj taking a scandalous page from Miley’s twerk book, wearing a snake-inspired ensemble of green sequins and painted-on scales to sing derriere-themed dance hit Anaconda. But it was after a wardrobe change that the costume mishap occurred: The rapper’s long-sleeve black mini dress had a busted front zipper. Despite an almost state of undress, Minaj held her outfit and herself together and delivered a sound performance. The trio of stars, who normally perform as solo acts, also released a music video for the same track on the night of the awards.

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