Rap heavyweights Jay Z and Kanye West ended days of speculation about a planned performance at the MTV Video Music Awards when they took to the stage at the ceremony to perform their Otis collaboration on Sunday (28Aug11).
The pair performed a shortened version of the track in front of a huge American flag after stepping out with no introduction or fanfare.
The rappers' appearance was one of the night's live highlights, despite the lack of glitz.
Another star stunning the VMAs with talent alone was Adele, who performed heartbreaking ballad Someone Like You backed only by a piano - as she did when she headlined the Brit Awards earlier this year (11).
The Brit was given a standing ovation as former schoolmate Jessie J - the awards show's house act - screamed, "I'm so proud of you Adele."
Also wowing onstage at the Los Angeles prizegiving were Lady Gaga, who opened the ceremony with a rendition of You & I as her alter-ego Jo Calderone, Pitbull and Ne-Yo who performed their smash-hit Give Me Everything - complete with a controversial line about Lindsay Lohan.
The actress has filed suit against the rapper, claiming his rhyme "I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan" in the song defames her.
Before the awards ceremony, Pitbull insisted the line was not written to upset Lohan and he even invited the actress to accompany him to the VMAs. She declined.
Also performing at the VMAs was Chris Brown, who stunned the audience at the Nokia Theatre by appearing to fly during his set. Hidden wires propelled the R&B star, who was dressed all in white, into the air so he could spin and dance with his dancers in mid-air.
Pregnant Beyonce also stunned with a performance of Love On Top and Bruno Mars brought the audience to its feet for a rendition of Amy Winehouse hit Valerie, which was part of a tribute to the late singer.
Mars sang, "Amy, I love you darling/Amy, we'll miss you baby".
Rapper Lil Wayne closed the show with a performance that began as a stripped-down one and became a rocking finale.