For much of the past decade, the MTV Video Music Awards has really been two shows: The one where they hand out the Moonmen, and the one that occurs on the red carpet, where the stars try their very best to outdo each other with over-the-top arrivals.
From yachts to 18-wheel trucks, elephants to horse-drawn carriages, how you arrive at the VMAs has become just as important as whether you take home an award. As you can probably imagine, sometimes, things get a little crazy.
"Usually, artists don't let us know [how they're arriving] until the last minute, which makes things interesting," Video Music Awards Pre-Show executive producer Ryan Kroft told MTV News. "A lot of times, they'll want to do things like land a hot-air balloon on the carpet, or drive a car down the carpet, but generally, the fire marshal frowns on those kinds of things, so we have to tell them 'no.' "
Still, there are plenty of ideas that do get the green light, and they're just as epic as the stars that thought them up. And this year's VMA arrivals are no different, though for aesthetic reasons, they're slightly scaled back.
"In New York, we had stars arriving on a fire truck, a double-decker bus, but that wouldn't play this year," Kroft said. "The carpet is designed to look like the stars are arriving at a Hollywood Hills mansion — white, chrome, glass — so having someone arrive with a marching band would seem somewhat out of place."
But there are big arrivals nonetheless: One of the biggest involves 30 Seconds to Mars, who have already started touting their entrance as being thoroughly crazy.
"30 Seconds to Mars are recreating a scene from their 'Kings and Queens' video," Kroft explained. "They'll have an army of bicyclists arriving with them, and they'll be riding bikes themselves. Most of the bicyclists are from the video."
Going equally big is Ke$ha, who has a few surprises ready for the VMA carpet. We don't want to give it all away, but here's what we can reveal: "Ke$ha has big plans for the carpet. I can't talk about all of them, but she is arriving in a Delorean, which she got herself," Kroft said. "It'll be like 'Back to the Future.' "
And, in keeping with grand tradition, there are still plenty of stars who haven't said how they're going to be arriving — Jay Sean is planning something "big and sexy," Soulja Boy Tell'em has some swaggadocious plans in the works, and Bruno Mars is still plotting, too — and then, there's Lady Gaga, who ... well, you never know what she'll do.
"We still don't know what some people are doing," Kroft laughed. "The only way you'll know is to tune in to the VMA Pre-Show and watch."
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News' VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET/PT.