Beyonce shut down the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night -- and probably a lot of rumors about her marriage to Jay Z -- with a stunning 20-minute medley from her latest album to accept the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for her career achievements.
Jay presented her with the award for her career achievements by calling her "the greatest living entertainer," as he held their daughter, Blue Ivy. "I'm so full . . . I'm filled with so much gratitude," a tearful Beyonce said, accepting her award. "I'll just thank God for this moment."
Her award capped an unusual, shocker-free MTV Video Music Awards, made all the more surprising after the attention that followed Miley Cyrus' twerk-filled performance.
This year, Cyrus offered a different type of surprise. She won Video of the Year for "Wrecking Ball," but she let a homeless teen accept the award so he could talk about life on the streets of Los Angeles. The show included a tribute to the late Robin Williams, and rapper Common asked for a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9.
Taylor Swift pointed out the lack of surprises in her performance of "Shake It Off," when it seemed she would do a 20-foot swan dive into her dancers' arms. "I don't care if it's the VMAs," she joked, taking the steps down instead. "I'm not jumping off of there. All kinds of people getting bit by snakes, it's dangerous!"
Swift was referring to one of Nicki Minaj's dancers getting bitten by a real snake during rehearsal of her "Anaconda" performance, which turned out to be less-shocking than the record-setting, booty-shaking video.
Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" won best female video, defeating newcomers Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande. The best male video went to Ed Sheeran's "Sing," beating out Sam Smith, who delivered a -- surprise! -- classy performance of his ballad "Stay With Me."