VMAs 2016: Performances, winners, highlights and more from Madison Square Garden

The MTV Video Music Awards returned to where it started in 1984: New York City. Madison Square Garden hosted a show with Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and male dancers in wrestling singlets; more than 15 minutes of Beyoncé; perplexing musings from Kanye; and the return of Britney.

Here's a recap of the show's big moments (a couple, a bit head-scratching), who won what, video vanguard recipient Rihanna and more.

Rihanna opens the VMAs

Rihanna kicked off this year's VMAs. One song was not enough, naturally, so RiRi gave us a medley, including hits "Only Girl In The World," "Don't Stop The Music," "We Found Love" and "Where Have You Been."

Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj perform 'Side to Side'

Ariana Grande and Queens' Nicki Minaj donned the pink -- as did male backup dancers in similarly hued wrestling singlets -- to perform "Side to Side," side by side.

Drake, 'stuck in traffic'

Sean Combs presented the award for best hip-hop video. Drake won for "Hotline Bling," but Combs said, "Drake is stuck in traffic," so Diddy will keep the award safe. (Drake did arrive later. Ah, New York traffic.)


Fifth Harmony wins best collaboration

Fifth Harmony and Ty Dolla $ign won best collaboration for "Work From Home." The 2014 artist to watch winners beat out Beyoncé, Rihanna and Drake for the win.

Alicia Keys' poem

Alicia Keys broke out in poetic verse while presenting the award for best male video. "I still believe in that dream that one day our nation is going to rise up" and believe that "all men and women are created equal," she said to the crowd before announcing Calvin Harris' "This is What You Came For" as the category winner. The song and video feature Rihanna.

Future performs

First-timer Future performed "F--- Up Some Commas" after being introduced by Michael Phelps. Phelps made his Future love clear, saying that he was listening to the rapper when he made the Olympic face seen 'round the internet.

Kanye West's speech

Kanye West took the stage and delivered yet another memorable -- and confusing -- speech. He named his role models: Truman, Ford, Hughes, Disney, Jobs and West. (Yes, he's one of his own top role models.) He told the audience that his wife, Kim Kardashian West, is one of his idols. But, of course, he didn't make it off the stage without referencing the infamous Taylor Swift feud. "Bro, I love all of y'all. That's why I called her," he said, referring to Swift.

Rihanna, part two

One Rihanna performance? Just a warmup. After opening the VMAs, this year's Video Vanguard Award recipient returned to offer up another medley of hits: "Rude Boy," "What's My Name" and "Work."

Calvin Harris, with Rihanna, wins best male video

Calvin Harris, with Rihanna, won best male video for "This Is What You Came For."

Britney Spears performs 'Make Me Move'

Yes, Britney's back. After being introduced by Kim Kardashian -- and having to follow Beyoncé -- she sang "Make Me Move" with G-Eazy in her first VMA performance in nearly a decade.

Key & Peele, not being social

Designated social commentators for the night, comedians Keegan-Michael Key (left) and Jordan Peele struggled to understand their jobs while maintaining plenty of airtime. After Beyoncé's performance, they mock cried. "Shut it down," Key said. "A million lemon emojis. That's it. That's the tweet," Peele decided.

Beyoncé breaks through

Dressed in all-white, including a savior's giant white hat, Beyoncé proved she's among the top visual performers of recent times as she seamlessly offered up songs including "Pray You Catch Me," "Hold Up" and "Don't Hurt Yourself." Her medley, following a win for best breakthrough long-form video (for "Lemonade"), had earth (mother), wind (machines) and fire (everywhere, fire). "Pray You Catch Me," "Hold Up" "Don't Hurt Yourself."

Rihanna, electric

Again with the Rihanna? Yes, and you can take it up with her: All of her VMA performances were notable, including her third medley of the night, which included songs new ("Needed Me") and not-so (2012's "Pour It Up").

DNCE wins best new artist

Cole Whittle, Joe Jonas, JinJoo Lee and Jack Lawless of DNCE won best new artist and they have their hit song "Cake by the Ocean" to thank.

The Chainsmokers and Halsey perform 'Closer'

Are we still at MSG? Andrew Taggart of The Chainsmokers and Halsey performed an emotional "Closer" as white smoke swirled around them. They seemed to almost forget about the audience.

Beyoncé wins best female video

It was most likely a very proud moment for Beyoncé's biggest fan, Kanye West, when Queen Bee won this Moonman. She accepted the award for best female video for "Hold Up," a track on her 2016 album "Lemonade."

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon came out on stage to present video of the year dressed as U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. The camera immediately panned to Michael Phelps, who got a good laugh from Fallon's skit that poked fun at the swimmer who admitted to fabricating a story about being robbed while in Rio. Phelps had his phone focused on Fallon and couldn't shake a smile from his face.

Rihanna gives us 'Diamonds'

In her final performance of the night, Rihanna's elegant costume change brought viewers "Love on the Brain," "Diamonds" and "Stay."

Rihanna accepts her Video Vanguard Award from Drake

Introducing Rihanna before she accepted her Video Vanguard Award, her ex Drake got pretty emotional. He reflected on the very first day he met her and had nothing but positive words about his "best friend." Drake, 29, said, "I have been in love with her since I was 22 years old. She's one of my best friends in the world."