Cobra Starship and Sabi -- 'You Make Me Feel' (Pre-Show)
Cobra Starship's Gabe Saporta and Sabi kick off the VMA's Selana Gomez-hosted pre-show with a high-energy performance of Cobra's single 'You Make Me Feel,' featuring the Femme Fatale-touring songstress, and as promised by Sabi in an exclusive interview with AOL Music, they brought it! Gabe looked dapper in a suit and tie, while Sabi went sexy-casual in metallic skinnies, cropped pink tank and white blazer. 'You Make Me Feel' ready for the VMAs!
Watch Cobra Starship at the VMA Pre-Show
Lady Gaga -- 'You and I'
Gaga opened the 2011 VMAs like only she could. Before launching into a rocking rendition of new hit single 'You and I,' Gaga acted out an entire monologue in drag! In black slicked hair, white T-shirt and a 5 O'clock shadow, the male alter-ego, Jo Calderone, Gaga gave us in the 'You and I' music video, Gaga wowed us before being joined on stage by Queen guitarist Brian May.
Watch Lady Gaga Perform 'You and I'
Jay-Z and Kanye West -- 'Otis'
New-daddy-to-be Jay-Z, and his 'Watch the Throne' collab partner Kanye West give a surprise performance at the 2011 MTV VMAs! The hip-hop kings gave a high-energy performance of their 'Watch the Throne' lead single 'Otis' in front of a huge American flag. Rocking casual, almost too-cool-to-care street clothes, Jay and Kanye set the stage on fire, while sparklers were set ablaze behind them. Lady Gaga may have been a hard opening act to follow, but we're sure everyone will be talking about this momentous and unexpected surprise addition to the VMA performance line up tomorrow!
Watch Jay-Z and Kanye West Perform 'Otis'
Pitbull With Ne-Yo and Nayer -- 'Give Me Everything'
Pitbull and crew kept the party going right with a larger-than-life performance of No. 1 single 'Give Me Everything.' Model-turned-singer Nayer steamed it up wearing a sheer, nude bodysuit with strategically placed black floral embroidery. Pitbull was preppy in a nautical-themed white blazer, red slacks and blue-and-white striped button-down. Ne-Yo kept it classy amongst the sea of scantily clad backup dancers and strobe lights in a velvet blazer and fedora.
Watch Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Nayer Perform 'Give Me Everything'
Adele -- 'Someone Like You'
Some artists need strobe lights and costume changes and gender-bending alter egos. Not Adele. Adding some welcome class to the proceedings, the British songstress performed 'Someone Like You' in a simple black dress, relying on raw emotion and her outsize voice.
Watch Adele Perform 'Someone Like You'
Chris Brown -- 'Yeah 3X'
A harness-wearing Chris Brown didn't just fly through the air. He also sailed through time, going back to the '90s and paying homage to the Wu-Tang Clan and -- somewhat curiously -- Nirvana. As he raged along to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit,' dudes in flannel shirts leaped around on trampolines. Mercifully, the camera didn't pan over to Dave Grohl.
Watch Chris Brown Perform at the 2011 VMAs
Beyonce -- 'Love on Top'
When pop stars say things like, "I want you to feel the love that's growing inside me," it's usually just mindless patter. But since news broke earlier tonight that Beyonce is preggo, the words she used to preface 'Love On Top' felt especially meaningful. At the end of her performance, Beyonce rubbed her belly as a proud Jay-Z beamed.
Watch Beyonce Perform 'Love on Top'
Young the Giant -- 'My Body'
VMA audiences are known for their enthusiasm, but Young the Giant wasn't taking any chances. The indie-rock fivesome rolled up Sunday with a few dozen friends from their hometown of Irvine, Calif. When singer Sameer Gadhia jumped into the crowd, there was no doubt he'd be caught.
Watch Young the Giant Perform 'My Body'
Bruno Mars -- 'Valerie'
2011's most shocking celebrity death was easily the mysterious passing of singer Amy Winehouse, who was given an incredible tribute tonight at the 2011 MTV VMA awards. Spearheaded by singer-songwriter Bruno Mars decked out in a throw-back style cobalt suit and accompanied by an amazing backing band, the Hawaiian-born crooner straight up nailed Winehouse's hit 'Valerie.' While channeling Sam Cooke and the late British singer's enigmatic stage presence, this was by far one of the night's most stirring moments.
Watch Bruno Mars Perform 'Valerie'
Lil Wayne -- 'How to Love' and 'John'
Introduced by his very own protégé, Drake, Lil Wayne took to the stage to perform his non-rapping, singing-only, mid-tempo single, 'How to Love,' clad in a leather hat, white T-shirt and leopard-print skinnies. Before things got too sentimental, Wayne ripped of his T and jumped up and down like a wild man, transitioning into his Rick Ross-assisted 'John.' Rick didn't appear in the performance, but Wayne did rock out on the electric guitar, whipping his dreads back and forth.
Watch Lil Wayne Perform 'How to Love' and 'John'