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MTV Video Music Awards 2012: Winners And Performances From The Early Night (LIVE UPDATES)

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Kevin Hart is hosting the MTV Video Music Awards 2012.
Kevin Hart is hosting the MTV Video Music Awards 2012.

The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards (affectionately known as the VMAs) are upon us. The show, which is slated for 8 pm EST (an hour early, to allow MTV viewers to catch Barack Obama's big night), will be broadcast live from Los Angeles' Staples Center. Kevin Hart is this year's host.

Leading the way in the nomination count are Rihanna and Drake, who are each up for five moonmen. They even share a nomination for the ever-so-sweet video for "Take Care," in which they engage in an extended hug.

Drake is up for Video of the Year ("Take Care"), Best Male Video, Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography (this is a serious award show!). He's up against Chris Brown for Best Male Video, which is only interesting because members of the duo's respective entourages threw bottles of liquor at each other in a much ballyhooed New York nightclub brawl.

Other artists vying for Video of the Year: Katy Perry ("Wide Awake"), Rihanna (solo, for "We Found Love"), M.I.A. ("Bad Girls") and the meme-ready Gotye ("Somebody That I Used To Know"). Best New Artist is another hot category, and Frank Ocean (for "Swim Good"), Fun ("We Are Young," with Janelle Monae), Carly Rae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe"), One Direction ("What Makes You Beautiful") and The Wanted ("Glad You Came"). Why songs are associated with the Best New Artist category? We're not sure either.

Among the performers expected at the event: Rihanna, who debuted a short new 'do hours at rehearsals, Nicki Minaj, Green Day (Billie Joe Armstrong hospitalization notwithstanding), Lil Wayne, Alicia Keys, Pink, Frank Ocean, One Direction and Taylor Swift. Should be a pop-tastic night.

We'll be live-blogging the awards here, so check back. Photos available below the blog. And be sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest.

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Swift's got her Where's Waldo shirt on, and the furries are out in full force as the singer works through "We Are Never Getting Back Together." It's the night's most stripped-down performance, and as bad as she is at pretending to be surprised, Taylor definitely has the crowd going. It appears as though she got a room full of famous people to sing along to her jingle.

And that's it! Go watch Obama!

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Goes to Rihanna, who brushes the dirt off her shoulder and gets applause Calvin Harris, who has been playing only his songs all night along.

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The Olympians did a good job not looking nervous. Alicia Keys debuted "This GIrl Is On Fire," a typically anthemic single with a very surprise feature in the form of a hooded Nicki Minaj.

Gabby Douglas returned for a bit of tumbling and flipping, right in the middle of the stage. Alicia Keys shouting out Gabby was probably the cutest moment of the night, until Gabby was spotted doing a raise-the-roof gesture as she left the stage.

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More from HuffPost Entertainment's Chris Rosen:

Robert Pattinson took the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with Taylor Lautner, Elizabeth Reaser, Peter Facinelli and Jackson Rathbone to premiere the new clip. Ironically, while this was happening, "Breaking Dawn" star Kristen Stewart was walking the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival for the North American bow of "On the Road."

"Forever isn't as long as I hoped," Stewart as Bella Cullen says in the trailer, a bit of dialogue that has decidedly more weight than normal in the wake of the cheating scandal that rocked Stewart and Pattinson's relationship. What follows in the new trailer is loads of vampire-on-vampire action, including one shot of Edward swinging a kicking Bella at one of the villainous vampires in the Volturi.

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Goes to One Direction, on the back of their single "What Makes You Beautiful."

The boys beat out Fun., Carly Rae Jepsen, Frank Ocean and The Wanted.

From the acceptance speech: "We'd just like to say a massive thank you to each and every one of you tonight... And all of the people who work with us every day, back stage, our crew. We have an amazing crew."

"To win one Moon Man is ridiculous, to win two is crazy, and to perform is just absolutely insane."

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From HuffPost Teen:

It's safe to say that One Direction's "first time" was one to remember. The british boy band's highly anticipated 2012 MTV Video Music Awards performance this evening was, to quote most of Twitter, "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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Billie Joe Armstrong looks healthy as the band rips through "Let Yourself Go." The sound does approach a bit of a "wall of sound," but it's nice to see that a pit was opened up in the middle of the crowd for the trio.

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The "Gangnam Style" singer makes a standout cameo, doing the horse dance to his own tune. Very nice.

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Anyone else wish you were watching the DNC instead?

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The rapper formerly known as "Tity Boi" stunted his way "Yuck," a song with lines like "before Benihanas it was canned goods" and "cut the top off, call it Amber Rose." There's something amazingly energetic about the lanky, not-so-young trap rapper.

In other news, Lil Wayne took off his headphones. His voice sounded a bit too clear to be live... on the first song.

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Goes to Nicki Minaj, for "Starships."

Minaj beat out Rihanna ("WE FOUND LOVE"), Katy Perry, Beyonce and Selena Gomez. A stunning upset, as many thought Rihanna had this one in the bag.

"I really didn't expect this," Minaj said. She's not alone.

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The boys are pretty darn competent at that boy band thing. At one point during their performance, the stage started climbing above the crowd. The band performed "One Thing," not "What Makes You Beautiful."

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Goes to Drake and Lil Wayne for his admittedly awesome bar mitzvah video for "HYFR." Wayne didn't take off his headphones. Nicki Minaj went on stage, as was OB and a guy who didn't get introduced.

Drake beat out Childish Gambino, Kanye ("Mercy"!!), Kanye & Jay-Z ("N----s In Paris") and Nicki & 2 Chainz.

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Ocean started with "Thinking About You," a song off channel ORANGE. Ocean is seated by a fake campfire, wearing his trademark bandana. The young Odd Future crooner's vocals sound studio-perfect.

Lady Gaga was a fan, tweeting, "Watch frank ocean steal this whole show. I'm dead."

The crowd seemed receptive, especially given that a song like "Thinking About You" isn't exactly a Chris Brown banger. The low-key performance was emotional, with strong art direction.

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HuffPost Blogger A-Trak and house DJ Calvin Harris make some funnies:

@ atrak : Do you have a phone charger in there? RT @CalvinHarris: I can see @atrak on twitter from my dj booth #VMA

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Goes to... Chris Brown, for "Turn Up The Music"

He beat out:

Justin Bieber, Frank Ocean, Drake and Usher. No Drake reaction shot, and no Drake dig in the speech.

Guy just can't be stopped. He has bleached hair.

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Who introduce Pink. As we noted before, Miley Cyrus looks a lot like Pink.

Pink began with a snippet of "Get This Party Started," before grabbing a harness and taking off. Eventually, she landed and performed "(Blow Me) One Last Kiss."

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More on the monologue:

During his mostly joke-free monologue, Hart also praised Frank Ocean for coming out and congratulated Snooki on the birth of her son. Hart then urged people to cut Kristen Stewart, who cheated on boyfriend Robert Pattinson with director Rupert Sanders, some slack.

Read our post here.

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Goes to ... One Direction, for "What Makes You Beautiful."

Beating out Rihanna, Beiber, Maroon 5 and Fun.

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Early joke: "Drake and Chris Brown, I'm going to nip this in the bud right now." Hart says they're both his friends, but that arguing over their nightclub fight is a mistake, because Drake meant to throw the bottle in a recycle bin. Because he's Canadian (that's the joke).

Lil Wayne appears to be listening to music in his giant headphones.

Next up: Frank Ocean. "He needed to come out of the closet in the middle of one of his songs." Hart sets up a situation in which Ocean comes out because he spontaneously sung about a guy in the studio.

Snooki's next. We missed the joke, to be honest.

HE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT KRISTEN STEWART. "She allegedly messed around with the director of 'Snow White and the Huntsman.' So what!" But again, we missed the joke.

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Surrounded by a mob of little people dressed like Secret Service Agents. This is happening.

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At the end of Rihanna's performance? We're going with yes. Also she's sitting by the YMCMB family, which means Drake.

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There was definitely an extended butt grab. And now Rih's doing We Found Love in the crowd.

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Doing their remix of her hit, "Cockiness." Rih stunts from a throne in all red as lazers blind the crowd. Always fun to see her doing a choreographed dance.

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One Direction, your favorite boy band, won the "Most Shareable Video" award. (Prestigious.) Congrats, boys.

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With her half-shaved head that recalls 2002-era Pink, Miley Cyrus tells MTV that she's too busy focusing on her upcoming album to plan a wedding. Priorities intact.

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The US gymnastics team, that is. They were huge fans, and Katy took it all in stride.

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Sway gave them "the platform" and they made the big announcement. Wiz says Sway will have to teach the baby to rap. Then he kissed Amber's belly, which is quite sizable.

In other news, Kanye dropped that song....

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Including Billie Joe Armstrong, who was feeling ill in Italy. He looks well here. The band is scheduled to perform.

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He might not be coming to the VMAs, but he's still keeping busy. The rapper just dropped "Clique," a new single featuring Big Sean and an underground rapper known as Jay-Z. This is the song on which he boasts about Kim's sex tape.

And now Big Sean's being interviewed by Sway on the carpet. Full circle.

More info here.

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