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One Direction found love, screams at MTV VMAs

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THERE may have been no signature moment at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, but there was a signature sound: the screams of teenage girls wild about One Direction.

It stopped just short of a British Invasion, but the hunky teens in the boy band won three awards on Thursday night's show and barged in on Rihanna's party.

Rihanna kicked off things with a spicy performance to open Thursday night's show, then ended it by taking the show's top honour, video of the year, for her steamy hit We Found Love.

"Doesn't my girl Rihanna look sexy tonight?" Katy Perry asked the crowd after the performance.

And the night's lead nominee did, showing up in a pixie cut and an elegant scoop-backed white dress before changing into a flowing red outfit for her medley of new single Cockiness (I Love It) with rapper A$AP Rocky and We Found Love.

The camera returned to the pop star often -- except when it was on One Direction, which provided the night's most screamed-over performance. The band won best pop video, best new artist and most share-worthy video.

The quintet, put together by Simon Cowell after The X Factor auditions and the first British act to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart, seemed stunned as fans screamed upon announcement of their win.

The group performed later, rising to a stairwell surrounded by screaming, reaching female fans.

"This has been unbelievable," Harry Styles said backstage. "This was our favourite performance we've ever done. For us to be here in the first place is amazing, and to perform and win a Moonman is amazing."

While there was no easily identifiable signature moment early on, there were a few interesting sights. Pink floated above the crowd on a pair of oversized lips as she performed her new song Blow Me (One Last Kiss) before Frank Ocean wowed with a sombre, moonlit version of his song Thinking About You. Olympic champion Gabby Douglas flipped on stage to new Alicia Keys song Girl on Fire, and Taylor Swift dove into the crowd after a group sing-along of her new hit We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

Chris Brown pulled off something of an upset in the best male video category. Rihanna's former boyfriend won for his self-directed video Turn Up the Music, beating out several top stars, including Drake, who tied Rihanna for most nominations with five. Brown also won for best cinematography. M.I.A. was the night's only other multiple winner, taking two off-camera awards for direction and cinematography.

Drake won best hip-hop video for HYFR, which featured Lil Wayne. He talked about his black and Jewish roots growing up in Toronto and his sometimes outsider status.

"I want to dedicate this award to any kid that's ever had a long walk home by yourself," Drake said. "This is for you, man, for real. We made it."

Host Kevin Hart, who promised no one would be spared his comedic barbs, opened up wounds between Brown and Drake in his opening monologue, spoofing the two for the bar brawl that took place between their entourages.

Drake and friends Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne sat stone-faced as Hart joked: "Nip it in the bud, guys. I'm tired of it. Fix it tonight."

Lil Wayne had one of the night's most tweeted performances when he debuted his heavily bleeped new song No Worries.

-- The Associated Press

Moonman winners

Here are the winners of Thursday night's 29th annual MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles:

Best choreography: Chris Brown, Turn Up the Music

Best editing: Beyonce, Countdown

Best visual effects: Skrillex, First of the Year (Equinox)

Best cinematography: M.I.A., Bad Girls

Best art direction: Katy Perry, Wide Awake

Best direction: M.I.A., Bad Girls

Best video with a message: Devi Lovato, Skyscraper

Best electronic dance music video: Calvin Harris, Feel So Close

Most share-worthy video: One Direction, What Makes You Beautiful

Best rock video: Coldplay, Paradise

Best pop video: One Direction, What Makes You Beautiful

Best male video: Chris Brown, Turn Up the Music

Best hip-hop video: Drake featuring Lil Wayne, HYFR

Best female video: Nicki Minaj, Starships

Best new artist: One Direction, What Makes You Beautiful

Video of the year: Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris, We Found Love

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 8, 2012 G7

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