As it often happens, the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards ended up being more about the series of killer performances than about the actual awards given out (though that shouldn’t take away from the big Moonman-related headline of the night, which was Lady Gaga’s eight wins — including Video of the Year). Nicki Minaj got things started early with electric versions of “Your Love” and “Check It Out” during the pre-show, and then Eminem kicked everything up a notch with his show-opening performances of “Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie” (the latter of which featured a goosebump-inspiring guest spot by Rihanna, who initially said that she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the show).
It only got bigger from there. Justin Bieber inspired teenage swooning with his punchy versions of “U Smile” and “Somebody to Love,” Usher rolled out awe-inspiring takes on “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” and “OMG,” Florence and the Machine transfixed the crowd with the ethereal “Dog Days Are Over,” Taylor Swift premiered a stunning new song, B.o.B tag-teamed with Bruno Mars and Hayley Williams for “Nothin’ on You” and “Airplanes,” then handed the stage over to Paramore for “The Only Exception,” Drake got “Fancy,” Linkin Park took over the Griffith Observatory for a massive, otherwordly take on “The Catalyst” and Kanye West cemented his remarkable comeback with the Pusha T-assisted “Runaway.” Even the in-house music provided by deadmau5 (with drop-ins by Travie McCoy, Jason Derülo and Robyn) was top-shelf.
But who rose above the rest? Which performance will go down in history as an all-time great VMA barn burner? We leave that up to you. Vote for your favorite 2010 VMA performance in the poll below and leave your arguments in the comments.
Who had the best performance at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards?
Head over to MTV.com now to place your vote for Nicki!