NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Updated 12:46 a.m. EST
Lady Gaga swept the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night, winning eight trophies, including the Video of the Year award for "Bad Romance."
The singer picked up the biggest prize of the night wearing a dress and hat that appeared to be made of cuts of meat.Cher - an over-the-top diva from a different era - presented Gaga her award and noted she had been raising eyebrows while Lady Gaga "was still Baby Gaga."
Gaga was teary-eyed when accepting her awards, and sang the title of her new album as she accepted the last Moonman: "Born This Way."
Her eight wins ties with A-ha's "Take on Me" in 1986 for the 2nd highest number of wins in one night. MTV officials had initially told backstage media Gaga's sweep was a record.
The show's most anticipated moment of the night came when Taylor Swift absolved Kanye West of his sins with a somber song.
The 20-year-old took to the stage - uninterrupted - and delivered a poignant ode about West at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. Her performance began with a video montage of last year's debacle and then she went on to sing about last year's VMAs incident, when he hijacked her awards acceptance speech to announce that fellow nominee Beyonce should have won.
The song's lyrics included the line: "Who you are is not what you did." She also said: "32 is still growing up now ... you're still an innocent."
"Everyone of us has messed up, too," she sang. "I hope you remember today is never too late to be brand new."
West closed the show on Sunday night, beating himself up once again over his misbehavior
While he didn't address the trophy-gate incident directly onstage, he rapped and sang a song that mocked the boorish behavior that has upstaged his music.
"I always find something wrong; you've been putting up with my (expletive) for too long," he said, before launching into an unprintable chorus, which included the line: "Let's have a toast to scumbags."
Compared to the pathos of Swift and West, there were few other highlights, despite performances from Usher, Eminem and Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Linkin Park, and appearances by Nicki Minaj and the cast of MTV's own "Jersey Shore."
Eminem opened the awards with "Not Afraid" before being joined by Rihanna for their dark duet "Love the Way You Lie."
The show also featured Lindsay Lohan's first post-jail and rehab appearance.
A pre-taped portion of host Chelsea Handler's opening featured the comedienne getting spanked multiple times by show participants in a backstage hallway before running into the recently-freed Lohan, who also gave her a swat and demanded to know if the host had been drinking.
"Do you think anyone wants to work with a drunk?" she exclaimed. "Take it from me - they don't!"
Handler made her entrance by descending from the ceiling in a Gaga-like, over-the-top dress with a model house on her head. In her opening monologue, she noted that the last time a woman had hosted the VMAs, "Justin Bieber's mom had just given birth to her 401k plan" and encouraged the attendees to be on their worst behavior.
"I want to turn this mother out," she said. "Get your tongues ready because I want those tongues shoved in places they're not supposed to be."
Lady Gaga's eight awards included: Video of the Year, Best Collaboration, Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, Best Dance Video, Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Choreography.
Eminem picked up two awards for "Not Afraid" (Best Male Video and Best Hip-Hop Video), while awards also went to 30 Seconds to Mars (Best Rock Video), Justin Bieber (Best New Artist), Florence and the Machine (Art Direction), Jay Z and Alicia Keys (Cinematography), Muse (Special Effects) and The Black Keys (Breakthrough Video).
But overall, it was a relatively tame night - perhaps, given West's antics last year, the stars had learned a lesson.