UPDATE 12:00 a.m. ET: One last time. For her fourth and final performance of the evening, Rihanna showcased her vocal prowess with three emotional ballads: "Stay," "Diamonds" and "Love on the Brain." No gimmicks, no backup dancers, no colorful visuals — just a girl from Barbados and her microphone. Moments later, Drake took the stage to present his self-proclaimed "love" with the 2016 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award with a heartfelt speech.
UPDATE 11:18 p.m. ET: Third time's the charm! Following Beyoncé's show-stopping Lemonade medley and Britney Spears' forever-awaited VMAs return, Rihanna was front and center once again with a triumvirate of her most badass trap jams: "Needed Me," "Pour It Up" and "Bitch Better Have My Money." The fashion icon donned a fur stole over a black bodysuit and thigh-high boots. As for her ever-changing locks? Rihanna stunned with a killer mullet that only she could rock.
UPDATE 10:10 p.m. ET: For her second performance, Rihanna went full-on dance hall with dozens (and dozens!) of backup dancers partying, twerking and sipping from red Solo cups behind her. Clad in a furry bra, a fishnet do-rag and silk pants, Rihanna ran through a medley of her reggae fusion hits "Rude Boy" (intertwined with her debut single "Pon de Replay"), "What's My Name?" and "Work." Sadly, Drake — who is apparently stuck in traffic — did not join RiRi on stage.
Original story below:
Let the RihMAs commence! Rihanna kicked off the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, August 28, with an epic career-spanning five-minute medley of some of her biggest dance hits, including "We Found Love" and "Where Have You Been."
Clad in a Hood by Air T-shirt and pink boots, the Barbadian beauty, 28, took the stage at New York City's Madison Square Garden to deliver her first performance of the night. (As previously reported, Rihanna is set to entertain the VMA crowd several times throughout Sunday's ceremony.)
Rihanna began her opening number with "Don't Stop the Music" before transitioning into fan favorite "Only Girl (In the World)."
Earlier this week, VMA executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic teased the "Kiss It Better" singer's must-watch performance during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "It's going to be one of those holy-crap VMA moments," he revealed on Thursday, August 25. "She's not playing. She's bringing it."
Later on Sunday night, Rihanna will be presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in honor of her record-breaking 11-plus-year career. Past recipients of the coveted prize include Kanye West (2015), Beyoncé (2014), Justin Timberlake (2013) and Britney Spears (2011). Rihanna and Drake's collaborative "Work" music video is also nominated for Best Female Video and Best Collaboration.
The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards air on MTV Sunday, August 28, at 9 p.m. ET.
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!