Rising from the underground, Rihanna emerged atop a golden throne ready to assume her position as the night's resident badass. Along with new pal A$AP Rocky she took on the responsibility of officially welcoming us to the 2012 VMAs with a song that's all about sucking and eating, even if more than a few key lyrics ended up getting bleeped out. Hey! No one said this was a family show! From her sophisticated slouch—legs spread wide for all to see—to her sneakers making all that suggestive choreography and exaggerated gesturing even easier, Rihanna continues to promote herself as the epitome of unattainable, until A$AP joined her on stage to flirt and play and grab a big ole piece of her behind. We've seen this from him before, and we can probably all learn something from his proactive nature. If the opportunity comes your way you might as well seize it, right?
More enjoyable than any rehearsed sexual tension was Rihanna's risk-averse decision to enter the crowd without an escort or the fear of losing a weave—it helps that she chopped off her hair—on "We Found Love." Her willingness to be one with the people wasn't complete until she returned to the stage ready to sing the song an entire step below the original recording. Soon white balloons fell from the majestic Staples Center sky, hands were thrown all over the place and even professional social coordinator Calvin Harris could't stop smiling. Who needs an award show? We're ready to party.