This year’s MTV Video Music Awards had the unfortunate luck of coinciding with President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, which was broadcast on almost every other network besides MTV. But if you chose to watch the POTUS accept his party’s nomination for the second time, instead of watching the VMA’s, you didn’t miss too much. This year’s VMA’s were remarkably low-key and understated, at least by MTV’s standards—no girl-on-girl celebrity make-out sessions, no rappers interrupting acceptance speeches by country music sweethearts. Mainly it was business as usual (whatever “usual” is), with standout live performances by the likes of P!nk, Rihanna, Frank Ocean, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys and others. Oh, and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas did some gymnastics. Otherwise, the cheering crowd at the DNC probably carried more energy than the VMA audience—and that’s mainly because there were more people at the DNC.
That’s not to say the VMA’s weren’t good—just to say there were no outrageous moments you’d kick yourself for missing. And that’s probably a good thing. (You don’t want to upstage the President, after all.)
As far as the awards themselves, no one really swept them this year; UK boy band One Direction were the “big” winners with three awards, while Chris Brown and M.I.A. walked away with two each. If you’re curious and don’t have time to watch the entire replay on MTV’s website, here’s a quick rundown of the winners:
VIDEO OF THE YEAR: “We Found Love” by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris
(Rihanna beat out videos by Drake, Gotye, M.I.A. and Katy Perry.)
BEST NEW ARTIST: One Direction (beating out Carly Rae Jepsen, fun., Frank Ocean and The Wanted)
BEST FEMALE VIDEO: “Starships” by Nicki Minaj
BEST MALE VIDEO: “Turn Up the Music” by Chris Brown
BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO: “HYFR” by Drake ft. Lil Wayne Rigsby
BEST POP VIDEO: “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction
BEST ROCK VIDEO: “Paradise” by Coldplay
BEST EDM VIDEO: “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris
BEST VIDEO WITH A MESSAGE: “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato
MOST SHARE-WORTHY VIDEO: “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction
BEST ART DIRECTION: “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Bad Girls” by M.I.A.
BEST DIRECTION: “Bad Girls” by M.I.A.
BEST EDITING: “Countdown” by Beyonce
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: “Turn Up the Music” by Chris Brown
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “First of the Year (Equinox)” by Skrillex