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

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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!"

Battling it out for the top award, Video of the Year, are Gotye for "Somebody That I Used to Know," Katy Perry for "Wide Awake," Rihanna for "We Found Love," Drake & Rihanna for "Take Care" and M.I.A. for "Bad Girls." If you're judging by the number of Internet spoofs, Gotye would win the category hands down. And believe it or not, the eye-catching clip, which features the Australian singer and his duet partner Kimbra naked and covered with interlocking colored squares of paint, wasn't as difficult to film as you might think.

"I took a lot of concentration and...standing still just for very long periods and focusing for long periods," Gotye told ABC News Radio. "But, in the end, you know, I'd do it again. It was enjoyable."

Gotye said he didn't even mind being covered in paint while nude. "It wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it might be," he said. "It was actually very thin, water-based paint. So, it wasn't ... weird and tickly or difficult to keep on the skin for hours as I thought."

Tune in tonight to see who'll take home those Moonmen trophies -- and who'll be making this year's headlines.

Here are the major nominees:

Video of the Year

Drake featuring Rihanna, "Take Care"

Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know"

Katy Perry, "Wide Awake"

M.I.A., "Bad Girls"

Rihanna, "We Found Love"

Best Pop Video

fun. featuring Janelle Monáe, "We Are Young"

Justin Bieber, "Boyfriend"

Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa, "Payphone

One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful"

Rihanna, "We Found Love"

Best Rock Video

The Black Keys, "Lonely Boy"

Coldplay, "Paradise"

Imagine Dragons, "It's Time"

Jack White, "Sixteen Saltines"

Linkin Park, "Burn It Down"

Best Hip-Hop Video

Childish Gambino, "Heartbeat"

Drake featuring Lil Wayne, "HYFR"

Kanye West featuring Pusha T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz, "Mercy"

Nicki Minaj featuring 2 Chainz, "Beez in the Trap

Watch the Throne, "Paris"

Best New Artist

Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"

Frank Ocean, "Swim Good"

fun. featuring Janelle Monáe, "We Are Young"

One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful"

The Wanted, "Glad You Came"

Best Female Video

Beyoncé, "Love on Top"

Katy Perry, "Part of Me"

Nicki Minaj, "Starships"

Rihanna, "We Found Love"

Selena Gomez & The Scene, "Love You Like a Love Song"

Best Male Video

Chris Brown, "Turn Up the Music"

Drake featuring Rihanna, "Take Care"

Frank Ocean, "Swim Good"

Justin Bieber, "Boyfriend"

Usher, "Climax"

Best Electronic Dance Music Video

Avicii, "Le7els"

Calvin Harris, "Feels So Close"

Duck Sauce, "Big Bad Wolf"

Martin Solveig, "The Night Out"

Skrillex, "First of the Year (Equinox)"

Best Video with a Message

Demi Lovato, "Skyscraper"

Gym Class Heroes featuring Ryan Tedder, "The Fighter"

Kelly Clarkson, "Dark Side"

K'Naan featuring Nelly Furtado, "Is Anybody Out There?"

Lil Wayne, "How to Love"

Rise Against, "Ballad of Hollis Brown"