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Beyonce's baby, Lady Gaga's alter-ego among the surprises at MTV's Video Music Awards
LOS ANGELES (AP) ' BEYONCE'S SURPRISE DATE: Beyonce made a big announcement that practically upstaged the MTV Video Music Awards ' and she did it without saying a word.
The 29-year-old superstar announced her pregnancy on the red carpet by cupping her stomach in an "I'm expecting" sort of way. Wearing a blond ponytail and flowing red gown, she used her hands to show the tiniest beginnings of a baby bump.
A publicist for the pop star confirmed the pregnancy to The Associated Press Sunday.
Beyonce and Jay-Z were married in 2008. This will be their first child together.
Jay-Z offered a (much smaller) surprise of his own Sunday: He performed alongside Kanye West on the VMA stage.
Beyonce took the stage herself later in the show, telling viewers, "I want you to feel the love that's growing inside of me."
At the end of her performance, she unbuttoned the sequined blazer she was wearing and rubbed her tummy on stage. The camera cut away to Jay-Z, who beamed a broad smile.
RECORD ADVERTISEMENT: Lil Wayne is taking advantage of his Video Music Awards performance by dropping his anticipated new album the very same night.
The tattooed rapper closed the Video Music Awards with tunes from his new album as an ad blinked on the bottom of the screen reading: "Be the first to download 'Tha Carter IV' on iTunes."
The album was to be released digitally at midnight on Aug. 29 and in stores later that day.
"There's only one man brilliant enough to piece this plan together," rapper Drake said as he introduced Lil Wayne.
Fellow rapper Rick Ross called Wayne's strategically timed album release "big for hip hop."
"The strategic moves we've been seeing in the last few months, from the release of "Watch the Throne" and the pop-up stores, etcetera, I think it's big for hip hop and it's only going to continue to open doors for biggest numbers and bigger profits and a bigger future," Ross said.
WHAT A DRAG: It was ladies' night at the Video Music Awards, as Katy Perry, Adele, Beyonce and Lady Gaga were among the top nominees and winners. But Gaga, and later Nicki Minaj, were also tuned into their masculine sides.
Gaga opened MTV's Video Music Awards dressed in drag as her male alter-ego, Jo Calderone, who sports short dark hair and smokes constantly. She/he sat down at the piano and performed Gaga's latest single, "You and I."
The envelope-pushing artist (who wore a dress made of meat to last year's VMAs) remained dressed as Calderone throughout the night. After accepting the award for best female video for "Born This Way," Calderone came into a backstage press room smoking a cigarette and drinking what looked like whiskey. She stamped the cigarette out on the carpet before posing for photos.
Asked what she can express as Calderone that she can't as Gaga, she replied, "I don't understand the question." She said Gaga asked Calderone to come in her stead, saying, "If you love me, you'll go and you'll get in that spotlight."
"So I did," said Calderone, describing himself as a guy from New Jersey whose family hails from Palermo, Italy.
"I'm not a singer or a model or an actor or anything. I'm a guy," she said. "I'm just a guy, you know, and I just wanted to show my girl how much I love her, that's all."
Earlier in the evening, Nicki Minaj, winner of the hip-hop video award, said her new album will feature her inner male artist, Roman.
"He's a boy that lives inside of me," Minaj said. "He's a lunatic and he's gay."
BRITNEY TRIBUTE: Britney Spears has made many memorable appearances at the Video Music Awards (that liplock with Madonna, dancing with a snake to "Slave 4 U"), and she was honored for them with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
Lady Gaga, dressed in drag as her male alter-ego, presented the Moon Man trophy to a smiling Spears.
"One of my biggest inspirations was Britney Spears," Gaga said. "Britney taught me how to be fearless. She taught us all how to be fearless. She's a pop-music legend and the industry would not be the same without her."
Gaga's male Jo Calderone character then lingered, apparently hoping for a kiss from Spears, but Spears demurred.
"I've done that already," she said.
Dancers performed a tribute to a medley of Spears' most popular songs, iconic outfits and signature dance moves.
"This award means so much to me," she said. "Especially on the night before Michael Jackson's birthday. He had such a huge influence on me."
But other celebs at the Video Music Awards said Spears was their big influence, including teen superstars Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber.
"She's been a huge inspiration to me," Gomez said. "I just think that she doesn't really take no for an answer. A lot of people try to bring her down and maybe judge her too quickly, and she still makes a comeback and she's still hot."
Bieber called Spears "an icon," saying, "She opened the doors for young people to do what they love."
' AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen can be reached at www.twitter.com/APSandy .