It stopped just short of a British invasion, but the hunky teens in the boy band won three awards and barged in on Rihanna’s party.
Rihanna kicked off things with a spicy performance to open the night’s show, then ended it by taking the show’s top honour, video of the year, for her steamy hit ‘We Found Love’.
“Doesn’t my girl Rihanna look sexy tonight?” Katy Perry asked the crowd after the performance.
And the night’s lead nominee did for her medley of new single ‘Cockiness (I Love It)’ with rapper A$AP Rocky and ‘We Found Love’.
The camera returned to the pop star often — except when it was on One Direction, which provided the night’s most screamed-over performance.
The band won best pop video, best new artist and most share-worthy video. “We’ve grown up watching this show and to even be here is an honour,” Niall Horan said from the stage.
The quintet, put together by Simon Cowell after ‘The X Factor’ auditions and the first British-Irish act to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart, seemed stunned as fans screamed upon announcement of their win.
The group performed later, rising to a stairwell surrounded by screaming, reaching female fans on an elevated platform and bringing most attendees to their feet. Members of the US gymnastics team sang along to their song ‘One Thing’ and cameras caught Perry and Rihanna whispering to each other.
Chris Brown pulled off something of an upset in the best male video category. Rihanna’s former boyfriend won for his self-directed video ‘Turn Up The Music’, beating out several top stars, including Drake, who tied Rihanna for most nominations with five.
Brown also won for best cinematography. MIA was the night’s only other multiple winner, taking two off-camera awards for direction and cinematography.
Drake won best hip-hop video for ‘HYFR’, which featured Lil Wayne. He talked about his black and Jewish roots growing up in Toronto and his sometimes outsider status.
Host Kevin Hart, who promised no one would be spared his comedic barbs, opened up old wounds between Brown and Drake in his opening monologue, spoofing the two for the bar brawl that took place between their entourages in June.