The MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas saw Britney Spears' lacklustre comeback dominating the headlines.
Spears was not nominated for any awards - but newcomer Rihanna took best single and video for Umbrella.
The judges rewarded Rihanna for a hit which spent 10 weeks at number one in the UK.
The night was dominated by Justin Timberlake, who collected four awards, including best male artist.
Rapper 50 Cent watched on as Beyonce accepted the award for best collaboration for Beautiful Liar, a duet with Shakira.
Gnarls Barkley singer Cee-Lo - who shot to fame with the track Crazy - won the best editing award for Smiley Faces.
Rock group Foo Fighters were not up for any awards but had a "suite" at the ceremony, hosting a mini-party of their own.
Nelly Furtado lost out in the category for female artist of the year, which went instead to Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas.
Emo-rockers Fall Out Boy beat Maroon 5, Linkin Park, White Stripes and Gym Glass Heroes to take best group.