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“Let's have a toast to the douchebags/Let’s have a toast to the assholes. Baby, I got a plan/Runaway fast as you can."
——from Kanye’s show-closing “Runaway”

VMAs GO GAGA OVER DIVA

She Gets Video of the Year, While Eminem, Rihanna, Taylor, Kanye and Lindsay Come Through Big-Time in a Smoothly Running Show
MTV chief Van Toffler and his staff have to be delighted at the way the Video Music Awards played out last night from the Nokia Theatre, as the superstars delivered and the pace remained snappy throughout the show. That the evening went down without incident was either good or bad, depending on whether one thinks of the VMAs as a professionally produced awards show or the opportunity for a spontaneous train wreck.

As expected, the night belonged to Lady Gaga. The upstart diva, who was last year’s Best New Artist, snagged eight moonmen in all, winning the five major categories in which she was nominated—including Video of the Year for "Bad Romance." The award was presented by the ageless Cher, who donned the same revealing outfit she’d worn 21 years ago in the video for "If I Could Turn Back Time," quipping, "I have shoes older than most of these nominees."

Said Gaga, who was clearly gratified by the archetypal diva’s involvement in her big moment, "I never thought I'd be asking Cher to hold my meat purse." The flesh-colored pouch was part of the outfit she’d chosen for the occasion—a thigh-length cloth version of her now-infamous meat outfit from the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan. "I promised that if I won this, I would announce the name of my new album," Gaga added. "It's called Born This Way." She then sang the chorus to the yet-to-be-released title song.

The other big winners were Thirty Seconds to Mars, who took home the Best Rock Video statuette for "Kings and Queens," Eminem, who grabbed a pair of moonmen for Best Male Video and Best Hip-Hop Video, and tween heartthrob Justin Bieber, who snagged Best New Artist, as expected.

Em, his dome encased by a hoodie, opened the show in stirring fashion with a medley of “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie,” joined on the latter performance by a Titian-haired Rihanna. Immediately afterward, he jumped on a private jet and flew to New York for his Yankee Stadium extravaganza tonight with Jay-Z.

The VMAs climaxed as dramatically as they’d begun, with Kanye West, last year’s show-stopping villain, hitting the stage to a chorus of boos and delivering the newly penned “Runaway.” The rap was characteristically personal and self-mocking, containing lines like "They always find something wrong" and “Let's have a toast to the douchebags/Let’s have a toast to the assholes. Baby, I got a plan/Runaway fast as you can."

Earlier, Kanye’s 2009 “victim” Taylor Swift performed a new song of her own, a compassionate look at her antagonist in which she suggested that he’s legitimately working on becoming a better person. Sample lines: "It's all right, just wait and see/Your string of lights is still bright to me/You're still an innocent." Awww…

In between, host Chelsea Handler struggled to find the right tone for the job, coming off as overly aggressive in her bawdiness at times. A brief appearance by Ellen DeGeneres early on caused some of us to long for the veteran comic’s more nuanced takes on pop-culture, while an introductory cameo by an encouragingly sharp Lindsay Lohan stood as one of the show’s biggest coups—and it was scripted for a change. In the skit, LiLo confronted Handler about the contents of the drink the latter was holding. "You think anyone would work with a drunk?" she asked.

WINNERS IN THE MAJOR CATEGORIES:
Video of the Year
: Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"
Best New Artist: Justin Bieber feat. Ludacris, "Baby"
Best Hip-Hop Video: Eminem, "Not Afraid"
Best Pop Video: Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"
Best Male Video: Eminem, "Not Afraid"
Best Rock Video: Thirty Seconds to Mars, "Kings and Queens"
Best Female Video: Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"
Best Collaboration: Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce, "Telephone (Long Version)"
Best Dance Music Video: Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"
The complete list is, of course, on MTV.com.
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CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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