MTV VMAs: Beyoncé steals the show with fiery performance

The best of the VMAs
The best of the VMAs

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Story highlights

  • Beyoncé wins Video of the Year for "Formation"
  • Britney Spears makes triumphant return to the VMA stage

(CNN)The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards were free of controversy and full of powerful performances. From Beyoncé's surprise stage re-creation of "Lemonade" to Britney Spears' big comeback, here are some of the best moments from Sunday's show.

Beyoncé brings down the house

Beyonce attends the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City.
Queen Bey walked the red carpet with several of the women featured in the "Lemonade" visual album -- mothers of gun violence victims among them. Midway through the show, Serena Williams introduced Beyoncé for an unexpected performance of several of her "Lemonade" hits. The album scored Beyoncé eight Moon Man trophies -- including Video of the Year for "Formation."

Britney Spears' triumphant return

Britney Spears performs at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.
Back with a capital 'B.' Britney Spears returned to the VMA stage for the first time since 2007 and slayed. The pop star performed her new single, "Make Me" with G-Easy. The two had a clear connection and she was back in the dance form that made her famous.

Kanye West is an artist...and a businessman

Kanye West  presents onstage during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City.
Kanye West took the stage to talk about art and merchants. We're still trying to figure out what his point was, but he compared himself to Walt Disney and Steve Jobs. West also poked fun at the time he grabbed Taylor Swift's microphone in 2009 and hinted, once again, that Swift knew about the line "that b*tch" in his song, "Famous." He then premiered his new music video for "Fade." It featured a lot of dancing, suggested sex and a bizarre ending involving animals.

Rihanna all night, every night

Rihanna performs onstage during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City.
Rihanna performed several of her hits throughout the night including, "We Found Love," "Where Have You Been" and "Work." At the end of the show, Drake surprised viewers by presenting RiRi with the Video Vanguard Award. The rapper missed accepting his own Moon Man trophy for Best Hip Hop Video earlier in the night. (He was "stuck in traffic," according to Sean "Diddy" Combs.) Drake, who has reportedly dated Rihanna on-and-off for years, said he admired her before adding, "She's someone I've been in love with since I was 22-years-old."

VMA winners roundup

Video of the Year
Beyoncé-- "Formation"
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award
Rihanna
Best Female Video
Beyoncé -- "Hold Up"
Best Male Video
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna -- "This Is What You Came For"
Best Collaboration
Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign -- "Work From Home"
Best Hip Hop Video
Drake -- "Hotline Bling"
Best Pop Video
Beyoncé -- "Formation"
Best Rock Video
twenty one pilots -- "Heathens"
Best Electronic Video
Calvin Harris & Disciples -- "How Deep Is Your Love"
Breakthrough Long-Form Video
Beyoncé-- Lemonade
Best New Artist
DNCE
Song of the Summer
Fifth Harmony featuring Fetty Wap -- "All In My Head (Flex)"