LOS ANGELES (Reuters/AFP) - It was all about the shock factor on Sunday as the MTV Video Music Awards became the unofficial Miley Cyrus show, with the scantily-clad singer cursing her way through her hosting duties.
"I've literally done everything on the VMA stage and none of it showed I was qualified to host, but here we are," Cyrus, dressed in a plunging, sparkly rainbow jumpsuit, quipped as she opened the show.
Cyrus, 22, changed outfits numerous times throughout the show, each time coming out with less on, and starred in comedy sketches showing her cursing and smoking marijuana with actors such as Andy Samberg, musicians such as rapper Tyga, and her father, country musician Billy Ray Cyrus.
The former idol of tween girls made music awards history two years ago by performing in a flesh-toned bikini and bent over and gyrated provocatively with singer Robin Thicke.
"Maybe MTV figured the easiest way to keep me from performing was to ask me to host," she joked onstage.
Viacom Inc-owned MTV's annual VMAs, which draws the network's youth audience coveted by advertisers, awards its Moonman statuettes to the year's top achievements in music videos, but has become better known for delivering irreverent and unexpected moments.
Pop superstar Taylor Swift took an early lead at the awards, winning the first two of her whopping 10 nominations and burying the hatchet with rapper Nicki Minaj.
Swift won Best Pop Video and Best Female Video for her hit Blank Space, beating Beyonce in both categories and former foe Minaj in the second.
In a surprise start to the awards show, Swift joined a resplendent 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 twitter row.
They hit the headlines last month when Minaj's Anaconda was passed over for a Video of the Year nomination. Minaj blamed the slight on bias against full-figured black women, saying the music industry preferred "very slim" women. The track on Sunday won her Best Hip Hop Video.
The very slim Swift, who is Sunday's most nominated star, responded to Minaj that "I've done nothing but love and support you" and invited her to share the stage if she wins for her video Bad Blood. Nearly two days later, Swift backtracked and apologised. Minaj said she wished that Swift had spoken out on portrayals of African American women.
Accepting her Best Hip Hop Video prize, Minaj did call out Cyrus for criticising her in a recent New York Times interview, to which Cyrus insinuated that the interview had been manipulated and congratulated the rapper.
Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's summer hit Uptown Funk! was named Best Male Video. Ahead of the show, Fall Out Boy won best rock video for Uma Thurman, and the fan-voted song of the summer award went to Australian boy band 5 Seconds of Summer's She's Kinda Hot, which garnered more than 52 million votes.