SHOW BITS: BLACK WAS BACK ON DOUBLE-DECK CARPET

Associated Press
Nicki Minaj arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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Nicki Minaj arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo …

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Show Bits brings you the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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OBAMA ON THE BRAIN

Move over, Beyonce.

If the artists at the MTV Video Music Awards could select anyone to star in one of their videos, they'd choose Michelle Obama.

"I would have to wear such high heels," Regina Spektor, whose "All The Rowboats" is up for the art direction award, said on the show's two-story red carpet. "She is the most stunning, tall woman."

Tom Petty and the band fun. agreed.

Petty called former President Bill Clinton's address at the Democratic National Convention "one of the great American speeches I've ever heard," and confessed he's "still kind of high" from hearing his song "I Won't Back Down" play when Clinton and President Barack Obama left the podium together Wednesday.

— Sandy Cohen — Twitter https://twitter.com/APSandy

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DOUBLE-DECKER CARPET

Going up?

The red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards outside Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles was a two-story affair this year. Attendees had to transverse a sweeping staircase to reach the upper platform. (The Associated Press and CNN were among the media outlets on the top floor).

Across the red carpet, fans filled an uncovered viewing area on the street level, hoping to catch a glimpse of hot pop stars like Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj in the 90-degree heat.

— Sandy Cohen — Twitter https://twitter.com/APSandy

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QUICKQUOTE: CALVIN HARRIS

"I'm like the bread in between the meat and the cheese." — Calvin Harris, who served as the MTV Music Video Awards' house DJ and also was nominated for best electronic dance video for "Feel So Close" and video of the year with Rihanna for "We Found Love."

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BLACK IS BACK

The heat in downtown Los Angeles didn't stop celebs from donning black.

Ne-Yo went casual with a long-sleeve ebony sweater, camouflage pants and a black fedora, while rapper Wiz Kalifa sported a black suit with cropped trousers, and his fiancée Amber Rose accentuated her pregnant belly with a fitted lace black gown.

"I'm hot, and my feet hurt, but I look gorgeous," boasted Rose.

Pink's husband, Carey Hart, also rocked a black suit, while his pop-star wife showed off her body in a one-of-a-kind, beaded, body-hugging Stella McCartney gown with a row of metal spikes in her hair.

"I like weapons," Pink said.

— Sandy Cohen — Twitter https://twitter.com/APSandy

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DANCE PARTY

MTV got the party started early inside Staples Center.

Calvin Harris, the MTV Music Video Awards' house DJ who was also nominated for best electronic dance video for "Feel So Close" and video of the year with Rihanna for "We Found Love," performed before the show inside a spikey DJ booth for a head-bopping, fist-pumping crowd on the floor of the arena that the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings call home.

"No, this is not 'The Grind,'" said MTV News correspondent Jim Cantiello, referencing the long-done 1990s dance series. "MTV has not green-lit a remake of 'The Grind.'"

— Derrik J. Lang — Twitter https://twitter.com/derrikjlang

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EARLY WINNERS

Even before the show started, three MTV Video Music Awards were already in winners' hands.

Demi Lovato, who performed on the red carpet, and Calvin Harris, who spun tunes inside the Staples Center before the ceremony, respectively picked up honors in two new categories: best video with a message for Lovato's "Skyscraper" and best electronic dance music video for Harris' "Feel So Close."

"I've always wanted one of these!" beamed Lovato.

One Direction also earned a moon-man trophy in the new most share-worthy category for "What Makes You Beautiful." The British boy band nabbed the award because they garnered more than 27 million tweets with the (hashtag)VoteOneDirection on Twitter. Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" came in second place, earning more than 26 million tweets.

— Derrik J. Lang — Twitter https://twitter.com/derrikjlang

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Show Bits brings you the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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