LOS ANGELES -- Katy Perry won the biggest honor at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, picking up the Video of the Year award for "Firework."
But none of the star-studded performances or celebrity nominees could compare to what happened before the show -- Beyoncé announcing that she and husband Jay Z are expecting a baby. Dressed in a loose fitting, off-the-shoulder red-gown, shethat so many celeb-watchers had been predicting since she and Jay Z married in 2008.
Later in the evening, she performed "Love on Top," in spangled tux and danced around in her signature stilettos. She didn't utter a word about the pregnancy, but ended the number by taking off her jacket and rubbing her swollen belly; in the audience, an elated Jay Z hooted and clapped for his wife, as Kanye West hugged him.
The news of the couple's impending parenthood overshadowed the rest of the evening's events. Lady Gaga's much-hyped opening number, during which she performed as her male alter-ego Jo Calderone, became less important. So did the evening's meticulously planned wild moments, from Nicki Minaj's origami-like outfit to a dance-off between the members of Odd Future and Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen.
Britney Spears captured the nights first award, for best pop video, and later was honored with an MTV Video Vanguard award for her visual legacy. Lady Gaga, sticking to her gender-switch shtick, leered at Spears as she paid tribute to her.
"She's a pop music legend, and the industry would not be the same without her," Gaga said. "I used to hang pictures of her on my wall and touch myself when I was in bed."
Later, Gaga fished for a kiss, but as Spears leaned in, she quickly pulled back, reminding viewers, "I've done that before."
Other winners included Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and Justin Bieber, who kissed girlfriend Selena Gomez before making his way to the stage.
Perry also won a trophy with Kanye West for her video "E.T."
"Now this is the time when you wanna interrupt me, Kanye," joked Perry, referring to West's infamous intrusion of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech two years ago. Instead, West simply laughed and thanked God and "Katy Perry for being so brave for letting me on her record."
Adele had perhaps the highlight of the night as the seven-time nominee delivered a powerfully understated performance of "Someone Like You," off her top-selling "21" album. Chris Brown also wowed with an aerial number, soaring above the crowd in between high-stepping choreography
Jay-Z and West also took to the stage for a surprise performance of "Otis," from their album "Watch the Throne."
The show had no official host, though comedian Kevin Hart delivered an opening monologue and was featured in a series of vignettes during the show.
Sunday night's show also featured a tribute to Amy Winehouse, featuring Russell Brand, Tony Bennett (who debuted footage of him and Winehouse in the recording studio earlier this year) and Bruno Mars, who performed the singer's hit "Valerie."
Also in the mix Sunday was Irene, the hurricane-turned-tropical storm that pummeled her way up the Eastern seaboard on Sunday. MTV President Stephen Friedman said some VMA performers from the East Coast arrived in LA early to avoid the storm and resulting airport disruptions. But he was hopeful viewer disruption would be minimal.
"Our hope is our audience is cuddled up with their family and friends and don't want to be outside and want to watch the best night in music," he said.