MTV VMAs 2014's 20 Best and Worst Moments

Beyoncé's stunning performance, Taylor Swift's pop breakout and more highs and lows from MTV's most outrageous night

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BEST: Beyoncé Is the Boss
Kevin Mazur/MTV1415/WireImage20/20

BEST: Beyoncé Is the Boss

In 16 minutes, Beyoncé easily obliterated the 120 that had come before. "MTV, welcome to my world," she proclaimed two songs into a 14-track sprint through her latest album, Beyoncé, that drew from her spectacular On the Run tour. Last year, Justin Timberlake worked up a sweat onstage for 15 minutes before accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award; Bey did him one better (clocking in at 16 minutes) while simultaneously flicking off rumors of a troubled marriage by kissing her "beloved" Jay Z at the conclusion of the performance with their adorable daughter Blue Ivy in the tableau, too. But the real point of her appearance was to remind the world she breathes the rarified air of an elite set of artists who do more than sing and dance flawlessly: they visualize performances on a higher level, too. The artistry of her set, the precision of her choreography, the flawlessness of her vocals, the fierceness of her feminism (a word she spelled out in big, capital letters, lest anyone forget where she stands) — this was a next-level display of entertainment brilliance that MTV couldn't even cap off with a "goodnight!" The show ended because nothing was fit to follow Queen B.