Britney Spears accepts the Video Vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards. In background is presenter Lady Gaga. (Matt Sayles/AP)

The two-hour telecast — which featured Lady Gaga dressed as her male alter ego, many camera shots of a bored-looking Justin Bieber, and Beyonce upstaging everything by announcing her pregnancy during the pre-show — nabbed 12.4 million viewers,MTV’s largest audience ever.

That’s up a million viewers from last year, which was hosted by comedian Chelsea Handler; this time, the award show went host-less.