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VMAs FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About MTV’s 2012 Show

The heavily nominated Rihanna and Drake / Photo by Getty Images

The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards are going down tonight and there are still so many questions left unanswered: What’s Kanye gonna do? Are K-Stew and/or R-Patz gonna be there? Where’s this year’s baby bump gonna come from? Who’s gonna put on Gaga’s aged beef? Oh mercy, what to wear? What. To. Wear. Some queries are best left unanswered until the big night. Others aren’t. Here’s everything you need to know about the hullabaloo before it actually happens.

When and Where Are the VMAs Taking Place?
Thursday, September 6, at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time from the 20,000-seat Staples Center arena in sunny Los Angeles. Tune in an hour early for the red carpet show, hosted from a harrowing three-story “carpet” by longtime MTV correspondent Sway (Teen Wolf star Holland Roden will report for Expect a lot of orange-ish face time from the cast of Jersey Shore, who are prepping for their final season. End of an era, guys. Be there.

Who’s Performing?
Rihanna opens the show with a pair of live collabs — her freshly dropped “Cockiness (Love It)” remix with Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky, and “We Found Love” with Scottish nu-disco destroyer Calvin Harris. We’re looking forward to Frank Ocean’s big moment — a breath of fresh air amidst all the gassed-up pomp and circumstance — and Alicia Keys is slated to deliver a brand new song. From the Young Money camp, Lil Wayne is set to play new single “No Worries,” and Nicki Minaj will show up with a secret guest. Also: Green Day, Taylor Swift, Pink, One Direction, 2 Chainz, and three turtle doves.

Who’s Rumored to Be Performing?
Output from the rumor mill has slowed to a crawl this year, but even the announced Rihanna collaborations can’t seem to stave off talk of a Chris Brown cameo. One trifling-ass blog claims RiRi has simply informed MTV that her shit ex-boyfriend will be joining her onstage. Probably not true at all. South Korean superstar PSY (the “Gangnam Style” guy) is confirmed to attend, but it’s not yet known in what capacity. We’re hoping to get the whole horse dance. And Derrick Tuggle, the part-time security guard who shakes, rattles and rolls in the Black Keys “Lonely Boy” video will be on hand too. That seems to bode well.

Who’s Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award?
No one, it seems, but perhaps that’s for the better. Last year MTV handed the so-called Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award to a 29-year-old Britney Spears. This was seen by some as a cheap ploy to get Brit’s name on the bill, but perhaps there was a cost &#*212; did they break the category?

Where Can I See a Guide to the VMAs’ Biggest Screwups?
Right here. Hooties and Coolios and Thong Songs, oh my! Enjoy yourself.

Who’s Getting a Special Tribute?
Well, nothing’s been announced, but the Beastie Boys have been intrinsically looped into MTV DNA since just about forever (“Fight for Your Right” could’ve been the blueprint for the network’s brash and youthful ‘tude). It’d be a brutally cold oversight not to honor fallen member Adam “MCA” Yauch.

Who’s Presenting?
The gold-winning, totes adorbs Fierce Five Olympic gymnasts — nothing beats that. But if you must know, other exciting confirmations include Katy Perry (with the first award of the night), Ke$ha (billed as the “wild card”), 2 Chainz (he may accidentally give the Moonman to himself), and Celeste and Jesse Forever stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg. Also: Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Demi Lovato, and the Wanted.

Who’s Hosting?
Standup comic Kevin Hart, best known for his recurring role as hyperactive rap doofus CJ in the Scary Movie franchise, and for kinda-sorta hosting last year’s officially host-less ceremony. So, were the 2011 VMAs dude’s audition?

Who’s Nominated?
Rihanna and Drake are tied with five nods each (though she appears in 11 of the featured videos), and Katy Perry is just behind with four. All three are in the Video of the Year category, with stiff competition coming from Gotye and M.I.A. Holding down the Best New Artist corner are Frank Ocean, Carly Rae Jepsen, Fun., One Direction, and the Wanted. The brand new Electronic Dance Music category includes Skrillex, Avicii, Duck Sauce, Calvin Harriss, and Martin Solveig. Also: Justin Bieber, Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa, Coldplay, the Black Keys, Linkin Park, Jack White, Watch the Throne’s two dudes in various configurations , Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, Chris Brown, Usher, Rise Against and more.