Nicki Minaj and David Guetta opened the show with "Turn Me On," their collaboration on Guetta's current album. For a change, Nicki sang most of the song, only rapping towards the end, and then did a bit of "Super Bass." She was wearing an outfit that made her look like a female robot, and when she "plugged" herself in, laser-created lightning bolts, smoke and pyro exploded across the stage. There were also giant robot men shooting white smoke, and dancers who were all "plugged in" to Nicki via lit-up "extension cords."
Justin Bieber performed his holiday single "Mistletoe" wearing an eighties-inspired white leather suit, surrounded by multicolored horizontal tubes of light.
The Band Perry sang their smash "If I Die Young" very simply, backed by video screens showing pictures of white roses.
Chris Brown, his hair dyed blonde, sang his ballad "All Back" in front of a backup band, holding a mic stand, but when he kicked into his upbeat song "Say It With Me," amazing video effects completely took over the stage and Chris danced up a storm.
Kelly Clarkson completely re-imagined her hit "Mr. Know It All," recasting it as a jazzy, swing-inspired number with a horn section. As she sang, paparazzi dressed like old-time journalists with antique cameras stalked her and snapped her picture, and she was backed by video screens filled with headlines about her -- similar to the song's video.
Enrique Iglesias performed "I Like How It Feels" backed by the Crenshaw High School Choir, was then joined by Ludacris for "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You.)"
Jennifer Lopez began her spot by singing her ballad "Until It Beats No More," then shed a layer of clothing and kicked into "Papi," her song from those Fiat car commercials. In fact, there was even a car on stage with her. Then, she stripped down to a nearly-nude bodysuit with strategically-placed sequins for "On the Floor," for which she was joined by Pitbull. The rapper actually did double duty, later teaming with J-Lo's ex-husband Marc Anthony for their duet, "Rain Over Me."
OneRepublic performed their hit "Good Life" in front of video walls of people and places around the world.
Katy Perry did a stripped-down version of her latest single "The One that Got Away," playing a pink acoustic guitar. She wore a pink, futuristic outfit and her hair was in a sort of pink pompadour that made her look like a refugee from a 1980s New Wave music video.
Mary J. Blige, looking elegant in a white suit, performed her new single "Mr. Wrong," and included a shout-out to the late Heavy D, who recently died at the age of 44. Daughtry sang their new single "Crawling Back to You," while Drake performed his latest, "Headlines."
Maroon 5 teamed with Christina Aguilera for their #1 collaboration "Moves Like Jagger," and then lead singer Adam Levine walked across the stage to join Gym Class Heroes for their duet "Stereo Hearts."
Will.i.am debuted his new single "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)," which featured Jennifer Lopez singing the hook, and a video assist from Mick Jagger. In an amazing special effect, the Black Eyed Peas frontman performed against a black background in a glow-in-the-dark suit, and appeared headless -- we never saw his face. He was surrounded by colored lights that appeared to jump and dance on their own, and then three other white-suited, apparently-faceless individuals joined him and appeared to "float" in the air.