VMAs 2009: Best/Worst Moments
BEST Madonna's personal tribute to Michael Jackson
Madge's long-winded, show-opening speech was a tad self-serving, yes, but all in all, it was heartfelt. Madonna lamented how Michael had never had a real childhood, and she recounted a date she shared with the King of Pop in 1991. ''How do you re-create your childhood when you are under the magnifying glass of the world for your entire life?'' she asked. ''There is no question Michael Jackson was one of the greatest talents the world has ever known.'' We couldn't have put it better ourselves. —Tanner Stransky
WORST Kanye West's rant during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech
Yes, the ''Single Ladies'' video is awesome. But that doesn't excuse West?s decision to leap on stage when Swift's ''You Belong With Me'' won Best Female Video and yell about how much better he likes Beyonce's video. Ruining a 19-year-old's VMA moment? Very poor form. —Simon Vozick-Levinson
BEST Beyoncé gives Taylor Swift her due
Nothing could have been classier: After Kanye West dissed Taylor Swift by interrupting Swift's acceptance speech to praise Beyoncé's ''Single Ladies'' video, B brought Taylor out during her own acceptance speech to give Swift her moment in the spotlight. If you didn't already love Beyoncé, this is yet another reason you should. —TS
WORST Katy Perry sings ''We Will Rock You''
Here is something the world does not need: Katy Perry covering Queen. Here is something the world really doesn't need: Katy Perry covering Queen...with Joe Perry from Aerosmith wailin' on guitar. We'd much rather have seen Adam Lambert sing this song. —SVL
BEST Lady Gaga brings Kermit as her date
The always avant-garde Gaga arrived on the red carpet with...Kermit the Frog. ''He's been a really good date,'' she deadpanned. ''I mean, it's our first date, and we've been eying each other for some time, but...I'm pretty excited.'' And what of Kermit's former lady? ''Miss Piggy has been sending me some pretty funny text messages. She was wondering if it was going to be another late night.'' Staged? Yes! Genius? Yes, again! —TS
BEST Janet Jackson dancing to ''Scream''
Madonna's opening eulogy covered the sadness of remembering Michael Jackson. Janet Jackson chose to remind us of her late brother's joyous artistry, flawlessly performing the complex doubles choreography from their 1995 ''Scream'' video while footage of Michael danced beside her on screen. A touching moment, and an exhilarating one. —SVL
WORST Pink and Shakira walk red carpet in same dress
Oh, for shame! Pink and Shakira showed up wearing identical sparkly mini-dresses from Balmain. Doubling up is the no-no-iest of fashion faux pas! Isn't there a celebrity stylist network or database that should prevent these mix-ups? —TS
BEST Tracy Morgan and Eminem Bring the Funny
The comedian and the shock rapper's interstitial promo spots were funnier than anything host Russell Brand said all night. If Morgan ever wants to release a cover of Cyndi Lauper's ''Time After Time'' for real, we promise to pay $0.99 to buy it on iTunes. —SVL
BEST Lady Gaga's Bloodletting
The Gaga crazy didn't end with the red-carpet shenanigans. Pop's reigning performance artist strung together a mash-up of her hits ''Poker Face'' and ''Paparazzi'' that, at first, seemed inspired by ''Phantom of the Opera.'' But then Gaga gave the riff a spin of her own that included a bloody chest, bleeding eyes, and thigh-high boots. Oh yeah, and she was hanging from the ceiling at the end of it, making it unforgettable. And totally creepy. —TS
WORST Lil Mama running out on stage while Jay-Z performs
One false note in Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' ''Empire State of Mind'' performance came when sometime rapper/America's Best Dance Crew judge Lil Mama spontaneously joined them on stage. Um, that song makes us want to get up and dance, too, but what on Earth was she doing there?! —SVL
BEST Michael Jackson ''This Is It'' trailer debut
Producers saved one of the show's most-anticipated moments for the end, with the premiere of the trailer for the documentary film, This Is It, which features rehearsal footage from Jackson's 50-date London concert series that never happened. This didn't disappoint: Featuring moments of Michael's amazing beat-boxing and showcasing his surprising agility, the trailer proved that This could become the must-see movie of the fall. —TS
BEST Beyoncé kills it with ''Single Ladies''
What could be better than dozens of leotard-clad dancers rocking out with Beyoncé to ''Single Ladies''? Nothing, in our book. This performance sent B into the stratosphere. Plus, she took home Video of the Year for the song, too. —TS
BEST Pink's acrobatic performance of ''Sober''
Her trapeze stunts made audiences gasp with nervousness — and relief — when she pulled off those death-defying mid-air twirls with perfect ease. —SVL
WORST Muse's performance
More like ''Snooze's'' performance! The Britrockers aren't a terrible band under most circumstances, but they took up waayyy too many precious VMA minutes for our taste. And why were they the only artists who got to play to an adoring crowd of fans at a separate venue? —SVL
BEST ''New Moon'' trailer debuts
For all the Twi-hards out there, the 2009 VMAs were all about two things: catching glimpses of the Twilight cast and catching the latest New Moon trailer, which was, we admit, swoon-worthy. —TS
BEST Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform ''Empire State of Mind''
New Yorkers, stand up! Can this song be named our new state anthem? Regardless, the unstoppable duo of Jay-Z and Alicia used this song to close out the night in spectacular fashion. —SVL