MTV Video Music Awards Preview: Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, and More

PHOTO: Taylor Swift performs at The Burswood Dome on March 2, 2012 in Perth, Australia.
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Last year's "Video Music Awards" featured Lady Gaga performing in drag, Adele's showstopping performance of "Someone Like You" and Beyonce's onstage revelation of her pregnancy.

Thursday night, MTV will try to top all that with this year's show, which begins at 8 p.m. ET. In the past, the show started at 9 p.m. but it was moved ahead an hour this year so it wouldn't conflict with President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The lineup of performers this year includes One Direction, Pink and Alicia Keys, who'll debut a new song from her upcoming album, "Girl on Fire." In addition, Taylor Swift will give the first televised performance of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Rihanna will perform a remix of her song "Cockiness (Love It)" with A$AP Rocky, and then segue into "We Found Love" with help from Calvin Harris, who wrote and produced it. Green Day and Frank Ocean will also perform, as will Nicki Minaj, with a "secret guest." Lil Wayne, who closed last year's VMA telecast, will return to debut his new single, "No Worries."

RELATED: Will the VMA's Be Carly Rae Jepsen's Big Night?

Of course, a VMA performance is always nerve-racking, but Taylor Swift, whose appearance at the 2009 VMAs made headlines thanks to a certain Mr. Kanye West, said she's not stressing about it this year. She told MTV News, "I just try not to psych myself out, because it's like a rabbit hole of nervousness if I just let myself freak out and worry about what could go wrong." She said it's all about "relaxing," and telling herself simply to "have fun with it."

As far as presenters go, Katy Perry will hand out the first award of the night, and the rest of the presenter lineup includes Demi Lovato, Ke$ha, The Wanted, Miley Cyrus, Mac Miller, Andy Samberg, Rashida Jones and the gold medal-winning U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team, aka The Fierce Five.

Newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen is up for Best New Artist thanks to her ubiquitous song, "Call Me Maybe," and she told ABC News Radio that she can't believe she's even received a nod, much less has a chance of winning. "I mean, that's nuts to me," she said. "I can't wait to be a part of that show and to be there in the flesh rather, than just watch it from television. It's pretty cool."

Asked about her chances of triumphing over her competition, which includes One Direction, fun and The Wanted, Carly told ABC News Radio, "I never really think beyond being nominated and getting to have a great night and, to me, the real victory is getting to wear a really pretty dress and walk down the red carpet. That's the bees' knees right there!"

The Wanted, meanwhile, are hoping that they'll triumph over Carly and the rest of the Best New Artist nominees and capture their first big award. "We've been up for a couple of awards in England where we've been really close but we still haven't quite got that trophy on the mantelpiece," the group's Max George told ABC News Radio. "So, I think a VMA would be a nice first one!"

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