Beyonce got tongues wagging early on when she arrived hand-in-hand at the awards with daughter Blue Ivy wearing a stunning pastel Francesco Scognamiglio gown.
Bey’s choice of outfit certainly turned heads: a shimmering, floor-length long-sleeved gown, complete with bizarre furry shoulder pads that towered up on either side of her head.
Not be outdone in the battle of the booty, rapper Nicki Minaj also stole the show in a risque blue Bao Tranchi gown with sheer panels that accentuated her eye-popping curves.
Meanwhile Britney Spears – who was performing at the event for the first time in nine years – stepped out in a slashed pencil dress.
Amber Rose was one of the first stars to hit the red carpet at Madison Square Garden in a sexy trouser suit with plenty of cleavage on show.
The 32-year-old flashed a lacy bralet underneath her black blazer and wore a bold red lip.
Elsewhere, Catfish creator Nev Schulman’s girlfriend Laura Perlongo turned heads, walking the red carpet heavily pregnant with nothing but an open jacket covering her top half.
Rihanna opened the show with a throwback to her early songs, starting with Don’t Stop the Music from 2007 before moving into 2011’s We Found Love and Where Have You Been.
The singer wore an all-white Hood By Air ensemble as she performed with dancers in white outfits and go-go boots.
Kanye West made a highly anticipated appearance on stage, saying, “I am…I am Kanye West and that feels really great tos ay, especially this year.
“I came here to present my new video but before I do that, I’m a talk.”
And then he didn’t shut up….for four minutes, although do did graciously admit he would be not be upset if Famous lost to Beyonce: “I’m always wishing for Beyonce to win.”
Eventually he got his wish too with Beyonce winning the Video of the Year for Formation.
Beyonce, who was up for the most awards in the night at 11, brought a surprise entourage to watch – the mothers of four young black men whose deaths have galvanised the US public in recent years.
She later took the stage with a medley of songs from her intertwined album-film Lemonade, starting with Bey in a haze of fog and culminating in fire.
Toward the end of a more than 15-minute set, the sound of a single shot rang out as her circle of dancers fall one-by-one and turn to red.
Her album Lemonade features the mothers of three slain young African American men whose mothers joined her in the audience – Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin. The mother of a fourth man, Oscar Grant, also joined her.
For a full list of the winners on the night click here.