Of course, some of the drama also started brewing before the event even began, after Minaj went in on fellow performer Travis Scott and baby mama Kylie Jenner on Twitter over album sales. While Stormi's parents haven't responded to her tweets, they did reportedly have their seats moved so they wouldn't be behind Nicki during the show.
There were some fashion moments on the pink carpet outside Radio City Music Hall before anyone got in the house.
First, Cardi B shut it down in her first appearance since giving birth to daughter Kulture in early July. The "Bodak Yellow" rapper looked incredible, sporting a short new 'do and killer curves in a velvet magenta dress that hugged every curve. Amber Rose also had all eyes on her as she donned a Catwoman-inspired look in red latex, all while brandishing a matching whip.
Ariana Grande and fiancé Pete Davidson stole the spotlight as they made their first red carpet appearance as a couple at the event. The two shared some PDA in front of photographers for their big debut, looking all kinds of adorable as they kissed for the cameras. Also swapping spit: Noah Cyrus, 18, and her boyfriend Lil Xan, 21.
Cardi B's Fakeout
Cardi B opened the show with a major fake-out for the audience, as she appeared on stage holding what appeared to be a swaddled up baby.
"Welcome to New York everybody, I am the empress," she said at the top. "The liberals voted for me!"
"I got a little surprise for you, you know what I'm saying," she went on, before unwrapping what was in her arms. The real bundle: a moon person statuette.
"Welcome to 2018 VMAs," she then shouted, before introducing performer Shawn Mendes.
Tiffany Haddish & Kevin Hart's Roast
With no host, MTV brought out the two comedians to take aim at the entire audience. "This show is so big, they couldn't bring one comedian. They needed two," said Haddish.
"I understand we are live coast to coast right now," added Hart. "I'm looking at this like it's game day. But do now worry, at this game, you guys are allowed to kneel. There's no white old man that can stop you. Do it!" He later took aim at Trump saying, "You never know what's going to happen at the VMAs. I mean beefs pop off, bad language, people run to the bathroom and send out crazy tweets. It's basically like a typical day at the White House. In your face Trump, suck it!"
Haddish then jabbed the cast of "Jersey Shore," which she said just came back "bigger than ever." "If you don't get treatment, that sort of stuff will keep flaring up every couple of years, she joked. "I made a herpes joke." She also noted, "There ain't no black people on there neither."
"We got Lil Pump, we got Lil Xan. This is also the reason your 12 year old cousin wants a face tattoo," Hart continued. "Stop writing on your goddamn face! Stop wring on your face, it's stupid! You're not going to get a job if this shit don't work out. Stop it!"
Haddish then brought up Camila Cabello's multiple nominations, after totally butchering her name. Then came this shade bomb: "Those of you watching at home ... 'Hi Fifth Harmony!" It should be noted that Camila wasn't there for the diss, shaking her head at the joke.
Nicki Minaj Holds Back
Everyone was hoping Nicki would go in on a few members of the audience when she picked up the award for Best Hip Hop video. Sadly, for us, she didn't.
Instead, she first warned Tiffany about her shady Fifth Harmony comment, saying, "Don't be coming for Fifth Harmony because Normani is that bitch. I'm just saying."
She then thanked her fans and everyone who collaborated with her on her new album, before telling everyone to "Tune in to Queen Radio so you can know who the c---sucker of the day award is going to. Love you!"
When Ariana Grande picked up her award for Best Pop Video for "No Tears Left to Cry," she first gave her man a few big kisses before hitting the stage.
She then thanked her fans, AKA her "friends on the Internet," for their support of her new record. She went on to give thanks to her family, friends and management before ending with this: "Pete Davison, thanks for existing. Love you."
Nicki's Fire Performance
Not much to say about this except Nicki proved she really is the queen of rap right now, giving an absolutely fierce performance of "Majesty" and "Barbie Dreams."
She was serving up choreography, looks and lyrics that all let you know she's not to be messed with.
J.Lo Brings Down the House
Before accepting her Video Vanguard Award, Jennifer Lopez performed a medley of her greatest hits. She started with the green lasers, flying in to "Waiting for Tonight." She then sang "On the Floor," before ripping off her long dress to dance her infamous booty off to "Dance Again," "I Ain't Your Mama," "Booty," "My Love Don't Cost a Thing," "Get Right" and "All I Have."
DJ Khaled then came on to give her time to change real quick, before Lopez tore into "Jenny from the Block," "I'm Real" with Ja Rule joining her, "Ain't That Funny" and "Dinero." It was amazing.
She then came on stage to collect her golden moon person and got a standing O from the crowd, where A-Rod and her own children were watching.
"I grew up on MTV and this is really like a tremendous honor for me," she said during her speech. "It has been an incredible journey of dreaming my wildest dreams and then kind of watching them come true."
Lopez went on to thank her "two little angels" for changing her life. "I knew I had to be better, I knew I had to go higher, I knew I had to be stronger than I had been before ... Today, I stand here better and stronger than ever, so thank you max and Emme."
In addition to her family, fans, team and music video directors, she gave Alex Rodriguez a shoutout as well. "Alex, you're like my twin soul. We're like mirror images of each other," she said. "My life is sweeter and better with you in it. You make me realize that everyday the sky is not the limit, the universe is infinite and so is what we can accomplish together with love and trust and understanding. There's so much more to do, to experience and there is no one I'd rather to it with baby. I love you."
Ariana Burns Up the Stage
Ariana Grande brought one sexy "Last Supper" painting to life with her performance of "God Is A Woman."
Pete Davidson and her brother, Frankie, cheered her on together from the audience, as her mother Joan and her Nonna joined her on stage at the very end for her bow. It was all very cute.
Cardi B Wins Best New Artist
Accepting a trophy from Millie Bobby Brown -- who did an "Okkkkurp" before announcing the winner -- Cardi B looked glam as hell and kept it real.
"Coupe of months ago, a lot of people were saying, you're gambling your career, you're having a baby, what are you doing?" she said.
"I had a baby, I carried the baby and now I'm still winning awards," the rapper added defiantly. She then thanked her fans for their love, "It's genuine, it's beautiful and that's something that God gives me that you can't buy, bitch."
Was that a slam to Minaj? Most likely.
Maluma Gets Everyone's Heart Pumping
Seriously, was everyone sweating watching Maluma perform "Felices Los 4" near the end of the show?
The performer started with a hair flip and kept the sex appeal going throughout the entire number, even getting Camila Cabello in on the action and she grinded on him in the audience.
She wasn't the only one feeling it though, as the number ended with one of his dancer's grabbing his face for one helluva kiss.
Madonna Honors Aretha Franklin By Talking About Herself
Madonna was selected to give the tribute to Aretha Franklin near the very end of the show and it was, uh, something.
Instead of talking about the singer's legacy, she made most of the speech about herself and how she decided to sing "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" during an audition early in her own career and nailed it.
She said the French men she was performing for looked at her like, "Some skinny ass white girl is going to come up here and belt a song by one of the greatest soul singers that ever lived?" And then she supposedly did.
The whole story was basically that, except it went on for over 6 minutes.
"There is a connection, because none of this would have happened, could have happened without our lady of soul," she said at the end, perhaps realizing how much she rambled. "She led me to where I am today and I know she inflected so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight. I want to thank you Aretha for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Long live the queen."
Long Live Rock 'n Roll
Aerosmith closed out the show after a performance from Post Malone, who joined the group for a quick medley of their hits.
The band and rapper rocked out to "Dream On" and "Toys In the Attic," with Steven Tyler hitting every one of those high notes all these years later like he was still in his 20s. Dayum!