2011 MTV VMAs Performance Recaps — Watch
If you’re looking for a play-by-play of all the 2011 MTV VMA performances, look no further. We’re keeping a running recap, right here at The BoomBox! Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Adele, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Young the Giant, Pitbull with Ne-Yo and Nayer — they’re all here. Be sure to check back for a full summary of all the 2011 VMA performances, as they happen, here!
Cobra Starship and Sabi — ‘You Make Me Feel’ (Pre-Show)
Cobra Starship‘s Gabe Saporta and Sabi kick off the VMA’s Selena 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 her new hit single, ‘You and I,’ Gaga acted out an entire monologue in drag. With slicked-back hair, white T-shirt and a 5 O’clock shadow — hallmarks of Jo Calderone, the male alter ego she gave us in the ‘You and I’ music video — Gaga wowed the audience before welcoming to the stage 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 were surprise performers at the 2011 MTV VMAs. The hip-hop kings turned in a high-energy version of their ‘Watch the Throne’ lead single ‘Otis,’ rapping 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 blazed 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 addition to the VMA line-up for days to come.
Watch Jay-Z and Kanye West Perform ‘Otis’
Pitbull With Ne-Yo and Nayer — ‘Give Me Everything’
Pitbull and crew kept the party going with a larger-than-life performance of No. 1 single ‘Give Me Everything.’ Model-turned-singer Nayer steamed things up, wearing a sheer, nude bodysuit with strategically placed black floral embroidery. Pitbull played it preppy in a nautical-themed white blazer, red slacks and blue-and-white striped button-down. With his velvet blazer and fedora, Ne-Yo was an island of classiness in a sea of scantily clad backup dancers and strobe lights.
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 blather. 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’
The year’s most shocking celebrity death has easily been Amy Winehouse, who was given an incredible tribute at tonight’s awards. Decked out in a retro-style cobalt suit and accompanied by an amazing backing band, Hawaiian-born crooner Bruno Mars straight-up nailed the tune ‘Valerie,’ a Zutons song Winehouse famously covered. Channeling both Sam Cooke and the late British singer, Mars provided 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 join in the fun, but Wayne did rock out on the electric guitar, whipping his dreads back and forth.
Watch Lil Wayne Perform ‘How to Love’ and ‘John’