The memory of Michael Jackson dominated MTV's Video Music Awards Sunday night, but in keeping with the ceremony's reputation for being the music industry's most raucous party, the show was anything but somber.
Madonna opened the two-and-a-half hour long extravaganza at NYC's Radio City Music Hall, calling the late King of Pop a hero and sharing an anecdote about the man she got to know over dinner and a movie in 1991. She signed off with the simple declaration, "He was the king. Long live the king," vacating the stage as Jackson's "Thriller" video took over the big screen and performers broke into his iconic graveyard dance.
"Thriller" merged into a medley of Jackson's greatest hits that led up to the night's marquee act: Janet Jackson, clad in black patent leather, dancing in sync with Michael against the backdrop of their 1995 duet, "Scream." She nailed it, paying tribute to her late brother like only his sister could.