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MTV Video Music Awards: 10 Things Seen and Heard

Justin Bieber
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Justin Bieber (with Johnson) arrives at the 2011 VMAs

Justin Bieber's snake, Snooki's boob, Beyonce's bump and more shenanigans from Sunday's show.

The 2011 MTV Video Music Awards certainly had its share of gawk-worthy moments, from Lady Gaga’s foul-mouthed alter-ego to the biggest surprise of the night: Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement. The Hollywood Reporter had every angle covered, from the carpet to the star-heavy orchestra seats. Here, 10 things seen and heard at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater on music’s big night. 

Selena Gomez questions Justin Bieber … literally. During an early rehearsal, Justin Bieber played stand-in for girlfriend-turned-MTV correspondent Selena Gomez (he pretended to be Gomez’s next interview, Kim Kardashian). Later, when it was time for Gomez to sit down with Bieber for a Q&A, her first question seemed almost accusatory: “Why did you bring him?” she asked of Bieber’s pet snake.

And Bieber’s snake is no babe magnet. Bieber’s red carpet date, his pet snake Johnson, scared the bejesus out of Demi Lovato, who screamed when Bieber approached her inside the theater.

Dave Grohl experiences ageism on the carpet. Walking the carpet alongside teen stars like Victoria Justice and Bieber might give a more seasoned rocker a bit of a complex. But not Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. “This VMAs I think is the first time I haven’t felt like Father Time on the red carpet,” he told THR. “I mean, I heard Tony Bennett is here and I was kind of psyched because that means I'm not the oldest one.” 

Jersey Shore’s Pauly D comes face-to-face with his idol. Getting to meet Busta Rhymes on the carpet (and make plans to “hook up after”) was a dream come true for Jersey Shore’s resident DJ. “It was so cool,” Pauly D told THR. “I played his music my whole life.” He hasn’t soured on red carpets, either. “I get to meet all these guys, I love this stuff.”

Lady Gaga grabs Snooki’s boob. Or was that Jo Calderone who placed his filthy paw on Snooki’s left lemon? After all, Gaga stayed in character all night -- in the audience, backstage, across the street in the press room, rubbing her face and fussing with her hair often. Even when talking to Tony Bennett and Brian May, she never broke character, according to multiple witnesses.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand PDA proudly. It was a big night for Katy Perry, who won two moonmen including Video of the Year, and no one was more elated than her husband Russell Brand. Viewers saw Brand get emotional on camera, and when he greeted Perry offstage, it was all hugs and kisses and big heartfelt congratulations. As one backstage observer described it, “they were more affectionate than we’ve ever seen. It was so cute.”

Beyonce and Gaga hug it out. The pair of pop superstars embraced for a solid minute while standing in the audience surrounded by a wall of bodyguards. Presumably, congratulations were in order, but the two do go back in the music video world. They collaborated on Gaga’s “Telephone” from 2009’s The Fame Monster.

Britney Spears takes it all in. The most subdued star of the night award goes to… Britney Spears, who stayed quietly seated for most of the show, flanked by longtime manager Larry Rudolph on one side and boyfriend Jason Trawick on the other.

Jersey Shorecast attend sans Situation; Snooki grabs the spotlight. The big question on Jersey Shore fans’ minds (and there were plenty judging by the ear-shattering shrieks for Pauly D on the carpet): where was The Situation? His absence seemed suspect to the press corps situated in a complex at the nearby Marriott. Equally perplexing: why Snooki was the only Shore star to pose solo for photographers (while the rest of the crew waited awkwardly to the side).

Jay Z and Kanye West get downright giddy. Beyonce’s baby news coupled with a Watch the Throne surprise appearance meant the two rappers were in a really good mood all night. It probably didn’t hurt that Taylor Swift was safely tucked away across the street at Staples Center, where she was joined by Nicki Minaj for another surprise: a duet of “Super Bass."

With reporting by Jethro Nededog