VMAs: What You Didn't See on TV

Video of the Year
AP Images/Invision

Miley Cyrus won the video of the year Moonman, but used her speech to shed light on the issue of homelessness in L.A.  Cyrus had a young man named Jesse take the stage to accept the award. "Thank you all — my name is Jesse, and I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know because I am one of these people," he said, dressed in a suit and tie and reading from a few pieces of paper. Sitting on the side of a ramp leading to the stage, Cyrus shed tears during his speech.

At Sunday's 2014 MTV Video Music Awards you saw Sam Smith's no-frills performance, you saw Miley Cyrus put a spotlight on homelessness and you definitely saw Beyonce. But what didn't you see?

Billboard had reporters on the ground all over Inglewood, Calif.'s, newly renovated Forum, from the winding red carpet outside to the audience teeming with celebrities inside, all the way to the winners taking a victory lap backstage. Below, we bring you all our observations from behind the scenes, including Nicki Minaj explaining her "Bang Bang" wardrobe malfunction, Trey Songz being dealt a teleprompter typo and Ariana Grande putting a pesky paparazzo in his place.

(Note: All times PDT, since the show aired live from L.A.)

3:05 p.m.: The wait for the stars begins …

3:24 p.m.: "Drunk in Love" wafts into the press room as Beyonce runs through her entire album medley hours before the show.

3:30 p.m.: The 2014 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet officially opens. We're blissfully in the shade on the very long carpet. The VMAs always have a long carpet, and this year is no exception. One publicist tells us that MTV cracked down on what talent was allowed to walk the carpet.

4:37 p.m.: Nick Jonas' girlfriend, Olivia Culpo, makes a cameo in the press room while hunting for the presenters' lounge.

5:23 p.m.: Sam Smith tells us that this is only his second red-carpet event in the U.S. this year, after the Grammy Awards on Jan. 26. We spoke to him then, too — before he blew up with his Disclosure collaboration "Latch" and his own single "Stay With Me." When asked about his VMA performance, he said he was hoping that he wasn't going to "faint onstage."

5:50 p.m.: Ten minutes before the show began, Glee star Darren Criss runs over to say hello. "I gotta stop for this guy," said Criss, as he snaps a photo for our Instagram account before zipping into the festivities.

5:58 p.m.: Chris Brown makes a last-minute entrance, waving hello to fans who recognize the singer as he makes his way down to the celebrity stands. Finally, a cheer goes up for a celebrity. Not even 5 Seconds of Summer caused a stir.

6:20 p.m.: Following the three-for-one medley by Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, Minaj turns to exit from the wrong direction, quickly realizes her mistake and scurries back off, stage left.

6:35 p.m.: Jim Carrey's joke about Ebola at Coachella is improvised, as is his rolling around on the floor. He skips a joke about Burning Man.

6:42 p.m.: "We were given an award, and then it was taken off us and now we have it again!" Ed Sheeran said backstage — right before they took the award from him yet again. "I'm never going to get this back."

6:50 p.m.: Echosmith singer Sydney Sierota shakes off last-minute nerves before heading down to meet Taylor Swift. Some 25 minutes later, the photographic proof says it all.

7:07 p.m.: How is Juicy J going to celebrate his VMA win with Katy Perry for "Dark Horse"? "Shots after shots," he tells reporters backstage. "Prayer, and then shots."

7:10 p.m.: Ariana Grande calls it quits on backstage photos when the paparazzi won't stop hollering at her. After a riled-up photographer boos her, she expertly flips her ponytail around toward him and coos, "Don't boo me, baby."

7:13 p.m.: "I was crying when I got backstage!" Grande tells reporters about winning the best pop video VMA for "Problem," adding that she is especially star-struck by her presenter. "Jim Carrey, though? He's my favorite!"

7:15 p.m.: 5SOS sets up on the VMA stage and gets a huuuuge ovation.

7:25 p.m.: Iggy Azalea makes the rounds greeting A-list artists seated in the front row. She stops for a photo op with Sam Smith and says hi to Katy Perry while nearby, Charli XCX mingles.

7:35 p.m.: Jennifer Lopez makes her way out of the crowd in what looks like her final exit but not before stopping to say hello to Solange Knowles.

7:47 p.m.: Fifth Harmony thanks their secret weapon backstage after winning the Artist to Watch VMA. "Everybody that was in the category was really deserving of the award, but I think honestly it's just our hardcore Harmonizers doing anything and everything for us."

7:53 p.m.: Minaj tells reporters backstage that she just couldn't get her dress zipped up in time between her solo performance of "Anaconda" and her super-diva team-up with Jessie J and Grande for "Bang Bang." Speaking of "Anaconda," how did she get so fit for that buzzed-about video? "I'm always hungry."

8:09 p.m.: Cyrus breezes backstage to take photos but skips the press room. We definitely wanted more intel on her selfless video of the year moment (after which — and off-camera — she brushed away tears).

9:13 p.m.: Beyonce arrives backstage to take pics: one with her golden Video Vanguard award, one with the three other Moonmen she won and one crouching on the red carpet with all four.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

— Reporting by Katie Atkinson, Keith Caulfield, Phil Gallo and Shirley Halperin