Anyone can pull up to an awards show in a boring old limo. But when artists are cooking up their arrivals for the Video Music Awards, they like to think big. Real big. As in monster trucks, elephants, yachts, DeLoreans and bicycle mobs.
With stars like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Lil Wayne and Bruno Mars on tap to attend this year, the VMA black carpet is sure to be lit up by another cavalcade of jaw-droppers. The stars will be making their grand entrances in the lobby of Los Angeles' towering J.W. Marriott hotel, where they'll be greeted by pre-show correspondent Selena Gomez. And instead of the usual stroll down a red carpet, their journey will include a walk through a musical time portal and a paparazzi photo theater.
It'll take some work to outdo last year's show, which changed the game by rolling out a pristine stretch of white shag to welcome everyone from Justin Bieber to Drake, Ke$ha (who arrived in a "Back to the Future" DeLorean), Usher and Gaga, who strutted down in a glamorous Alexander McQueen gown along with some gay and lesbian service members.
The upscale Hollywood Hills mansion theme from last year was interrupted, though, by 30 Seconds to Mars, who re-created a scene from their "Kings and Queens" video by arriving with an army of grungy bicyclists.
Lady Gaga began her tradition of getting attention on the carpet, showing up in 2009 at Radio City Music Hall in New York with her pal Kermit the Frog on her arm and wearing a really uncomfortable-looking gilded neck brace.
If you're on the water, it just makes sense to make a liquid arrival, which is exactly what Diddy, Usher and Ricky Martin did in 2004, when the VMAs traveled to Miami and they pulled up to the festivities on luxury yachts. Things were no less ballin' the next year in Miami, when the theme was custom cars and Snoop Dogg rolled up in a 1967 Pontiac Parisienne convertible. Ludacris made his entrance in a bouncing 1975 Pontiac Grandville and Green Day piled into a beat-up '68 Mercury Monterey. 50 Cent and G-Unit opted for a giant customized bus that year, while My Chemical Romance put safety first by hunkering down in an armored truck.
But it was 2008 when lame limo arrivals were put to shame at Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles. Tokio Hotel pulled up in a giant monster truck; Young Jeezy appeared in a presidential motorcade; Fall Out Boy got regal in a horse and carriage; T-Pain rode in on an elephant and Paramore went green in their smart cars.
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards http://www.mtv.comwill air live Sunday, August 28, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following the Selena Gomez-hosted pre-show at 8. See the list of nominees, revisit last year's highlights and vote for Best New Artist by visiting VMA.MTV.com.