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MTV Video Music Awards 2012: Winners And Performances From The Early Night (LIVE UPDATES)

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2011 file photo, Kevin Hart poses backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. It was anno
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2011 file photo, Kevin Hart poses backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. It was announced on Wed., Aug. 8, 2012, that Hart will host the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 6 at the Staples Center. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards (affectionately known as the VMAs) are upon us. The show, which is slated for 8 pm EST (an hour early, to allow MTV viewers to catch Barack Obama's big night), will be broadcast live from Los Angeles' Staples Center. Kevin Hart is this year's host.

Leading the way in the nomination count are Rihanna and Drake, who are each up for five moonmen. They even share a nomination for the ever-so-sweet video for "Take Care," in which they engage in an extended hug.

Drake is up for Video of the Year ("Take Care"), Best Male Video, Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography (this is a serious award show!). He's up against Chris Brown for Best Male Video, which is only interesting because members of the duo's respective entourages threw bottles of liquor at each other in a much ballyhooed New York nightclub brawl.

Other artists vying for Video of the Year: Katy Perry ("Wide Awake"), Rihanna (solo, for "We Found Love"), M.I.A. ("Bad Girls") and the meme-ready Gotye ("Somebody That I Used To Know"). Best New Artist is another hot category, and Frank Ocean (for "Swim Good"), Fun ("We Are Young," with Janelle Monae), Carly Rae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe"), One Direction ("What Makes You Beautiful") and The Wanted ("Glad You Came"). Why songs are associated with the Best New Artist category? We're not sure either.

Among the performers expected at the event: Rihanna, who debuted a short new 'do hours at rehearsals, Nicki Minaj, Green Day (Billie Joe Armstrong hospitalization notwithstanding), Lil Wayne, Alicia Keys, Pink, Frank Ocean, One Direction and Taylor Swift. Should be a pop-tastic night.

We'll be live-blogging the awards here, so check back. Photos available below the blog. And be sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest.

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2012 MTV Video Music Awards Red Carpet Arrivals
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