LOS ANGELES (Reuters/AFP) - Taylor Swift may have won the most awards on Sunday but it was her reunion with Kanye West on the MTV Video Music Awards stage that stole the show, as the rapper announced an improbable run for president and Miley Cyrus released her new album for free.
West, who famously stormed the stage and snatched the microphone from Swift in 2009 during her acceptance speech, was given the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award on Sunday by Swift, in a VMA moment that came full circle.
"Everyone in the world knew about our infamous encounter at the VMAs, but something you may not know is Kanye West's album College Dropout is the very first album I bought on iTunes," she said.
She added, in a parody of West's 2009 speech when he hijacked her award, "to all the other winners tonight, I'm really happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Kanye West has one of the greatest careers of all time."
In his 2009 speech, he had interrupted her after she won the Best Female Video award by saying: "Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time."
On Sunday, cheered by his pregnant wife Kim Kardashian in a lace-up dress that left little to the imagination, he appeared moved - but not humbled - by a standing ovation. He rehashed the 2009 incident, and at one point criticised awards shows and MTV for replaying the Swift incident over and over for "more ratings."
"I have decided in 2020 to run for president," West, 38, said at the end of a rambling address in which he also appeared to confess to smoking marijuana before taking the stage.
He added: "I will die for the art, for what I believe in and I ain't always gonna be polite. I rolled up a little something. I got the answer. We're the millennials bro."
He also won Best Video With A Social Message for One Man Can Change The World with Big Sean and John Legend.
Swift, 25, won four prizes including Video of the Year for the star-studded music video of her revenge song Bad Blood, which is reportedly about her feud with singer Katy Perry.
When she accepted her Best Female Video for Blank Space - beating out Beyonce's 7/11 - West reacted this time by pretending to go to sleep. Swift also won Best Pop Video for Blank Space and Best Collaboration for Bad Blood, with Kendrick Lamar.
In a surprise start to the awards show, Swift joined a resplendent Nicki Minaj, festooned in a red tribal-style headdress, at the end of her opening set when they broke into Swift's hit record No Bad Blood. Swift strode out in a skimpy red dress for the set - topped with a quick hug - that appeared to end their recent Twitter row.
Sunday's show was all about the shock factor as scantily clad Cyrus, 22, cursed her way through her hosting duties, flashed her left breast and nipple and performed a new song about smoking marijuana.
She closed the Los Angeles show with a performance that saw glitter shooting out from her crotch and by announcing that her new album, Miley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz, was out for free online. The website promptly crashed and, on Twitter, she directed her 22 million followers to her regular website, where the music was available.
She wore a revolving door of outfits for the broadcast, but walked the red carpet in an outfit so revealing that the New York Daily News named it a "crotch chandelier".
Meanwhile, Minaj, while accepting her Best Hip Hop Video prize for Anaconda, called out Cyrus for criticising her in a recent New York Times interview. Cyrus insinuated that the interview had been manipulated and congratulated the rapper.
Justin Bieber returned to the VMA stage after a two-year break to perform two new tracks, tearing up at the end of his performance.
New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap was named Artist to Watch, while Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's summer hit Uptown Funk! was named Best Male Video.