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The VMAs, explained in 9 moments

beyonce performs at the 2014 VMAs
beyonce performs at the 2014 VMAs
ROBYN BECK/ Getty

The MTV Video Music Awards have become a powerful pop-culture force. Moments from the VMAs routinely become ingrained in popular culture. Remember Britney Spears's snake and Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift? The 2014 VMAs, held last night, didn't have the controversy of Miley Cyrus twerking, but they showed, indisputably, who runs pop right now.

Here are the nine moments that defined the night:

1) Beyoncé's 16-minute medley

As recipient of the Video Vanguard Award, Beyoncé concluded the show with a 16- minute medley of songs from her most recent studio album, Beyoncé. Her performance was teased for the whole two-hour show, and she was by far the best performer of the night. She hit every note and every choreographed step. Unlike the younger performers before her, Beyoncé was captivating, a seasoned professional.

2) Miley Cyrus gives her speech to a homeless boy

Miley Cyrus won the biggest award last night for "Video of the Year," for "Wrecking Ball" and again became the talk of the VMAs. In her place, Cyrus sent a young homeless man to talk about the homeless population in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Cyrus sat on the sidelines, getting teary.

3) Taylor Swift performs "Shake It Off"

Taylor Swift performed the first single from her new album, 1989, in 1920's Great Gatsby-esque style. She also had a cutesy moment where she refused to jump from the top of the stage.

4) Usher and Nicki Minaj

Usher wore all white to the VMAs, totally out-shining the other male performers. Need proof? Watch the moment with Nicki Minaj at the 3:30 mark, where Usher bumps Minaj's butt with his shoulder/head.

5) Taylor Swift and Lorde high-five

taylor swift and lorde high five

Taylor Swift and Lorde high five (mtv.tumblr.com)

Jimmy Fallon came out to announce Beyoncé's show stopping performance, but first used a hug cam and a high-five cam that featured Taylor Swift and Lorde (who won the award for Best Rock video for "Royals" ) high-five-ing.

6) Nicki Minaj's wardrobe malfunction

The "Anaconda" performance, by Jessie J, Minaj, and Ariana Grande, was lackluster, with Jessie J stealing the spotlight from the other two. In the second half, when the three transitioned to their song "Bang Bang," it looked like Nicki Minaj would shed her black leotard. Instead, it turned out that she just had an early wardrobe malfunction.

7) Blue Ivy looked really cute

blue ivy gif

Blue Ivy does the Flawless dance (mtv.tumblr.com)

Blue Ivy, the daughter of Beyoncé, did the Flawless dance while sitting on her father Jay-Z's lap.

8) Katy Perry and Riff Raff wore all denim

katy perry riff raff

Katy Perry and Riff Raff on the red carpet (Jason Merritt/Getty)

In reference to a classic Britney Spears/ Justin Timberlake wardrobe choice, Katy Perry and rapper Riff Raff (they are just friends) donned a full denim ensemble for the show.

9) Beyoncé and Jay-Z kissed, killed divorce rumors

Beyonce Jay-Z vma

Beyoncé and Jay-Z kiss (mtv.tumblr.com)

At the end of Beyoncé's 16-minute epic of a performance, Jay-Z came out to present her with the Video Vanguard Award. "I thank God for this moment," Beyoncé said as she kissed her husband and daughter. We do too, Bey. We do too.