lady gaga as jo calderone mtv video music awards 2011This year's MTV Video Music Awards was bigger, brighter, tougher, and seemingly MUCH less contrived than shows of recent years -- all thanks to a diva and a Lady-gone-guy. Tonight's VMAs was another huge reminder that there are two women running the show in pop music today: Beyonce and Lady Gaga. The megastars -- both with the help of their alter-egos, Sasha Fierce and Jo Calderone -- made serious waves all night long.

Beyonce started the night off with one of the best celeb pregnancy bangs to come along in a while, raising eyebrows as she walked the red carpet sporting a baby bump. But the "is she or isn't she pregnant" question was further confirmed when Bey gleefully performed "Love on Top," after which she popped open her glittery tuxedo jacket, rubbed her baby bump, and grinned at hubby Jay-Z, as he beamed like only a proud daddy-to-be could. Awwww! Not only adorable, but SO memorable, too.

And speaking of memorable, Gaga's opening performance -- and what followed -- was right on par with Beyonce's big announcement.

Gaga alter-ego Jo Calderone (who, for those of you who aren't familiar, is a Bob Dylan-y '50s greaser dude who has appeared before in Vogue Japan and in the Mother Monster's "You & I" video) opened the show with a four-minute rant-y, performance art-ified monologue about being tortured in love with Gaga. He/she then launched into an AMAZING, rockin' performance of "You & I," accompanied by Queen guitarist Brian May. This was a pop-icon-meets-classic-rock-legend awesome moment in time I'm not sure the show has ever seen -- or will ever see -- again.

Although I kinda wished Gaga would have a gender-bending switcharoo and come back to accept her award for Best Female Video as herself -- if only so we could have gotten another signature wacky outfit out of her! -- she kept up the charade the whole night through. She even presented Britney Spears with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award as Jo, leering at Brit Brit lustfully as she accepted her award. Then, in an odd moment, the two aaaaaaaalmost kissed, but Brit acted like she didn't need a repeat of her '03 smooch with Madonna. Haha, oookay!

The Jo Calderone thing may have been strange, annoying, or odd to some -- both Britney and Katy Perry looked on at Gaga dumbfounded at certain points, which totally had me cracking up -- but I freakin' loved it. It was exactly what pop music, MTV, and music videos specifically are supposed to be about. Performances that are creative, innovative, and perhaps even political all at once. Pure entertainment that gets people to say, "Wait, what? Really? What the hell?!" ... and keep saying, "Hmm ... really, what the hell!?" That's what's been behind some of the most classic moments in MTV VMA history (think Michael Jackson-Lisa Marie kiss at the '94 VMAs, the Britney-Madonna kiss, Lady Gaga's fake bloody death in '09, etc.). And now, both Gaga and Beyonce have done it again -- written unforgettable new history tonight.

These ladies' performances are what the VMAs should always be made of.

Did you like Beyonce and Gaga's performances? What was your favorite part of this year's VMAs?


Image via Kevin Winter/Getty