All right, you dedicated MTV VMA fans, we're just days away from the 2012 awards show, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Thursday. But while you'll have to wait till then to see if your favorite artists walk away with Moonmen, we've got the first of the results from our Video Music Award poll for Hottest Debut Performance.
The competition was fierce — and we knew it would be going in, even after we narrowed down the list of nominees to artists whose first-ever VMA performances occurred within the last five years. Voters threw enthusiastic support behind each and every nominee in this category and, after thousands and thousands of votes were cast, not many clicks separated the top three vote-getters.
So without further ado, the winner of this year's Hottest Debut Performance poll is: the show-stopping 2007 medley by Chris Brown and Rihanna. Brown's seriously fancy footwork over snippets from "Wall to Wall" and "Kiss Kiss" perfectly sandwiched Video of the Year nominee Rihanna's hit "Umbrella." And clearly, their musical fireworks left a lasting impression on VMA devotees.
Runner-up Lady Gaga's jaw-dropping performance of "Paparazzi" in 2010 was theatrical and memorable for many reasons, chief among them her use of fake blood to simulate her death onstage. Third place went to VMA nominee Justin Bieber who showed off his vocal prowess and a squeal-invoking drum solo during his "U Smile" medley in 2010.
Tune in to a very special AMTVMA on MTV Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET and check back with MTV News at 9 a.m. for the results of the Most Epic Moment VMA poll!