Beyonce's mega-medley, Miley's cause: 5 highlights from the MTV VMAs 2014

MANILA, Philippines – The MTV Video Music Awards traditionally features not just the awards and the winners themselves. Artists usually go all out with their production numbers (Miley Cyrus’ controversial 2013 twerking anyone?), and in between, a lot of crazy antics usually go down. (READ: LIST: Winners, MTV Video Music Awards 2014)

This year, the show was more somber in tone, and the program included a short tribute to Robin Willliams, plus some emotional moments care of Miley Cyrus and Beyonce.  (READ: 2013 MTV VMA highlights)

Here are some of the highlights from the show, and click here to view the fashion photos of the red carpet appearances:

1. We need to talk about Beyonce 

Beyonce owned the stage singing an extended mega-medley of her hits including “Mine,” “Ghost,” “No Angel,” “Jealous,” “Blow” “Drunk in Love,” “Rocket,” “Bow Down,” “Flawless,” “Blue,” “XO” at the end of the evening.

“MTV, welcome to my world,” said Queen B. Her haunting performance featured her singature dance moves, but with a fierce touch via her strong beats, dancers, and of course, B herself. 

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Part of her performance featured her and her dancers dancing as if they were skipping and on fast forward via video, then shifting to normal speed before shifting back again. 

Later, Beyonce also pole-danced with her dancers, then the music shifted into “Bow Down,” as Beyonce called on the ladies (and gents) to sing along. 

Finally, footage was shown of Bey holding her baby Blue Ivy, as Bey sang “Blue.” 

“This next song is for all of my incredible fans,” said Beyonce, singing “XO.” 

Everyone from Taylor Swift to Jessie J could be seen cheering her on and enjoying the show.  

And yes, Jay-Z, holding Blue Ivy, cheered her on in the crowd. After this, they went on stage to join Beyonce as she received the Michael Jackson Vanguard award. 

“I have nothing to say, but I’m thrilled…so much gratitude, I just thank God for this moment,” she said tearfully, thanking Blue, her fans, and her “beloved.”  

Here's a post from MTV's Instagram, documenting their family moment. This is a regram from @frank151:

The First Family of Music. #VMA — MTV News (@MTVNews) August 25, 2014

Fans, does that put all the divorce/separation rumors to rest? 

2. Miley Cyrus wins Video of the Year, but does not go onstage to accept the award  

MILEY CYRUS. The singer later appeared at the press room, holding her award. Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA

MILEY CYRUS. The singer later appeared at the press room, holding her award.

Photo by Mike Nelson/EPA

Last year, Miley Cyrus made news when she twerked onstage with Robin Thicke. But this year, a more sedate (for Miley!) and covered-up Miley took home the award for Video of the Year. Though Miley was there, a young man named Jesse, representing the homeless youth, accepted the award on her behalf.  

“I’ve survived in shelters all over the city, I’ve cleaned your hotel rooms, I’ve been an extra in your movies, I’ve been an extra in your life,” he said. “Though I may have been invisible to you on the streets, I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight.”  

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While he spoke, Miley teared up in the background, as she let him and the cause have the limelight.  

She also posted several photos of the two of them via Instagram: 

Jesse asked fans to visit Miley’s page to learn more about ending youth homelessness. The video is here:  

Post by Miley Cyrus. 

3. Taylor Swift performs “Shake It Off”

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Taylor’s performance of “Shake It Off” from her new album 1989, featured a host of dancers and (of course) a sparkly, sexy, fringed outfit. Taylor Swift stood up on a giant 1989 sign and looked as if she were about jump off – then at the last minute, looking over the edge and saying anxiously, “I don’t care if it’s the VMAs, I’m not jumping off!” 

Just a few days ago, Taylor unveiled this new song and its music video, as well as news of her album via a special livestream for fans. 

Jennifer Lopez could be seen cracking up, though the camera panned to a few artists (including Gwen Stefani) who remained blank-faced during the show. 

A joke – off-screen she could be heard saying, “People getting bitten by snakes? Dangerous!” likely a reference to Britney Spears’ VMA python moment while performing “I’m a Slave 4 U” back in 2001. Britney, of course, didn’t get bitten.  

Taylor was introduced by superstar Lorde, who called Taylor’s upcoming album “the beginning of her brand new era.” 

4. Sam Smith performs “Stay With Me” 

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One of this year’s breakout artists, Sam Smith also took to the stage. Known for his distinct and varied vocal range (particularly in the high notes) and his clarity of tone.

This was his first time on the VMA stage, and he opted to do away with any frills or gimmicks most people go for on stage, and sing the song as it was, with the piano accompaniment. 

Jennifer Lopez and Kendall and Kylie Jenner with sister Kim could be seen enjoying the show. 

5. Maroon 5's show outdoors

Adam Levine and the rest of Maroon 5 was as cool as ever singing “Maps” on a wide stage outside, underneath a giant “M” set. They later performed “One More Night.” 

Adam was earlier seen in the audience with his arm around new wife Behati Prinsloo

What were your favorite moments from the show? Sound off in the comments below. –