The end of the world isn't such a bad thing — not if you're dancing while it's going on, and certainly not if you're Britney Spears. The record-breaking artist can officially mark Armageddon not with an X but with a big fat V, as Spears became both the proud owner of the Best Pop Video award and the first big winner at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night (August 28) for "Till the World Ends."
Spears now boasts a grand total of five VMA victories so far with her win for the second single off of her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale. Not only was she up against a fierce group of contenders including Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" in the highly competitive Pop Video category, she also had to follow an extremely awkward — or extremely hilarious, depending on your point of view — opening exchange between presenters Nicki Minaj and Jonah Hill.
Showing off his brand-new slim physique, Hill kicked off the night with a "why did the chicken cross the road?" joke to prove that he hasn't lost his comedic chops just because he lost weight. But the punch line — "he did it for fitness" — didn't earn the guffaws he may have been hoping for.
"Oh, it's not funny? It's not funny that the chicken wanted to change his lifestyle and get a little bit healthier?" he shouted in mock anger. "Maybe the chicken should just drop dead at 40 so you can laugh a little harder!"
The lighthearted moment took a turn for the celebratory as Hill and Minaj announced that Spears was the champion in the Best Pop Video category. Spears, visibly surprised by the win, took to the stage with a brief but heartfelt speech to thank those closest to her.
"First I'd like to thank God for blessing me so much," Britney called out to the enthusiastic Nokia Theatre crowd. She went on to thank her children Jayden and Sean — "Mommy loves you so much, babies" — before going on to thank her management team, fans and boyfriend Jason Trawick.
Accepting the award from Minaj seemed especially appropriate as the two are touring together on Spears' Femme Fatale outing. "She's a great artist in every way," Britney told MTV News of Nicki's skills last month. But the Pop Video award isn't Britney's only crowning VMA achievement this Sunday: She'll also be the recipient of the Video Vanguard award later on in the evening. Not a bad way to kick off the big night.