Kanye West took over the ceremony early in the night, first with a big Rihanna related announcement and then with a darkly lit and intimate performance of his Paul McCartney collaboration “Only One.” Ye appeared onstage alone in a red jumpsuit and a pair of his adidas Yeezy 750 Boost sneakers with a single spotlight emanating upwards from the stage as his prop.
Watch the performance below:
“FourFiveSeconds” made its much-anticipated live performance debut with a barebones backdrop, leaving all the attention for the trio of megastars:
Later in the night, Kanye nearly duplicated his epic VMA takeover when Beck won the Best Album Category over Beyonce.
Pharell Williams also showed out with a big production performance of “Happy.”
Around the midway point, Barack Obama delivered a strong message against sexual violence as a part of the White House’s current “It’s On Us” campaign. “It’s not okay – and it has to stop,” he said in a short statement that led into a spoken word performance before Katy Perry’s appearance.
Ariana Grande performed her “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” ballad early in the night after being introduced by actress Anna Kendrick who commended her “powerful voice.”