MTV VMAs: Lady Gaga Performs 'Applause' With Five Onstage Costume Changes (Video)

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The superstar kickstarted the Sunday night awards show with a dramatic world-premiere performance of her latest single.

Lady Gaga brought her signature flare to the opening performance of MTV's Video Music Awards.

"Every year MTV wants me to one-up myself and they make sure to let me know that," Gaga hinted during a pre-show interview with MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway.

The notoriously theatrical songstress performed "Applause," the first single off of her highly anticipated album, ARTPOP. For the world-premiere performance, Gaga went through a multitude of onstage costume changes, first appearing in a nun-like white robe with her face framed by a white canvas. 

The singer's other outfits included: a bedazzled black leotard, a blue skirt-and-top combo paired with a white wig, a yellow hairpiece and multi-colored face paint and, finally, an oceanic bikini complete a clam-shell bra and a flowing blonde wig.

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Even before her live performance, Gaga (nee: Stefani Germanotta) was already turning heads as she arrived on the red carpet wearing an understated Morticia Addams-inspired floor-length black gown, dark sunglasses, muted makeup and an ill-fitting black wig. 

Mother Monster has always provided the VMAs with some of the show's most-talked-about moments. For her 2009 live rendition of "Paparazzi," Gaga doused herself in fake blood. In 2011, Gaga gave a gender-bent performance as her male alter ego, Joe Calderone, for "You and I." At the 2010 VMAs, Gaga wore her now-infamous meat dress as she walked the red carpet and later accepted her Moonman for Video of the Year.  

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Since 2009, Gaga has brought home an astounding 13 Moonmen, including Best New Artist, Video of the Year for "Bad Romance" and Best Video With a Message for "Born This Way."

"Applause" (released Aug. 12) reached No. 1 on the Dance/Electronic chart and has garnered over 28 million views on YouTube.

Watch the full performance below.