August 24, 2014 9:26 PM EDT

This is how you open an awards show with bang (bang): Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj and Jessie J kicked off the 2014 Video Music Awards with a medley of their summer hits: “Break Free,” “Anaconda” and “Bang Bang.”

This is also how you manage an apparent costume-change failure with grace: Nicki Minaj looked like she struggled to get into her next outfit when she returned for her “Bang Bang” rap clutching her dress for dear life.

The last time this many divas opened the show, there was some lip-locking involved. But barring Nicki Minaj’s near-wardrobe malfunction, the opening medley was surprisingly low on stunts— not even the reported snakes made an appearance! — just some intergalactic outfits, a few hair flips and plenty of powerful pipes on display.

Watch the entire performance here.

Write to Nolan Feeney at

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