By Laura Ferreiro
Who would have thought that Rihanna would kiss Chris Brown, Emma Watson would headbang to Green Day, One Direction's Liam Payne would do the robot to Calvin Harris's DJ mix, or that the biggest cheers of the evening would go to newcomers One Direction and Frank Ocean, surpassing the dozens of established pop stars in the house? It just goes to show, you never know what to expect at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Following Rihanna's sizzling opening performance, the sultry star showed off her playful side, hitting the balloons that were falling from the ceiling and waving to fans as security escorted her offstage. She was also spotted warmly greeting her controversial ex-boyfriend Chris Brown with a kiss and hug as she made her way past his seat. (The pop star recently broke down in tears to Oprah, calling Brown the love of her life despite his past abuse.)
A little later in the evening, demure Harry Potter star Emma Watson let loose and rocked out after introducing the evening's only rock act, Green Day, and actor Robert Pattinson thrilled Twihards by posing for fan photos during commercial breaks. But the loudest screams were reserved for One Direction, who elicited ear-shattering shrieks from countless teenage girls in the crowd every time they got a glimpse of the British boy band or someone even uttered their name.
Strangely enough, the often bawdy VMAs were an incredibly family-friendly affair this year, with several young kids (we're talking way younger than teenage, more like barely past toddler age) dancing in the aisles to the likes of Katy Perry and Pink--including Alicia Keys's son, Egypt, who was spotted hanging out in the audience with his producer dad, Swizz Beatz.
While in past years VMA hosts have gotten some lukewarm receptions, the Staples Center audience showed this year's master of ceremonies, comedian Kevin Hart, a lot of love. Some of his biggest cheers came when he playfully dissed former VMA host Russell Brand and suggested that Drake and Chris Brown reconcile their differences.
Before and after the televised ceremony, DJ and Rihanna collaborator Calvin Harris turned the massive Staples Center into a throbbing, pulsating dance party, and everyone from Hart to Perry got their groove on.