British boy band One Direction scooped three top prizes Thursday at the MTV Video Music Awards, confirming their stellar rise on the US music scene, while Rihanna won Video of the Year.
Rihanna’s ex Chris Brown and edgy British singer M.I.A. were runners-up with two gongs apiece at the Los Angeles awards show.
Barbados-born Rihanna, who went into the evening with the most nominations at five along with rapper Drake, opened the show with a high-energy performance of her latest single “We Found Love” and a remix of “Cockiness.”
“We Found Love” won her Video of the Year, defeating fellow nominees Katy Perry for “Wide Awake,” Gotye with “Somebody That I Used To Know,” Drake featuring Rihanna with “Take Care” and M.I.A’s “Bad Girls.”
But One Direction, who came together after entering as solo contestants on British talent show “The X Factor,” confirmed their pop firmament ascendancy only half a year after arriving in the United States.
Their video for “What Makes You Beautiful” won them both Best New Artist — beating Fun., Carly Rae Jepsen, Frank Ocean and The Wanted — and Best Pop Video, besting rivals including Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber.
They also won the Most Share-Worthy Video category, to take home the most awards of the night.
Elsewhere in the main categories, Nicki Minaj won Best Female Video for “Starships,” beating Perry’s “Part of Me,” Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Beyonce’s “Love on Top” and Selena Gomez with “Love You Like a Love Song.”
Best Male Video went to Chris Brown for “Turn Up the Music,” against shortlisted rivals Bieber for his “Boyfriend” video, Ocean’s “Swim Good” effort, Drake featuring Rihanna with “Take Care” and Usher’s “Climax.”
Other notable performances at the Staples Center show included Grammy-winning country-pop star Taylor Swift with her sing-along “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” while Alicia Keys played the thumping “Girl on Fire.”