At an otherwise tame night at this year’s Video Music Awards, every performance seemed to be an opening act leading up to Beyoncé’s end-of-the-night extravaganza.

The diva was the recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, the same lifetime achievement prize that brought together *NSYNC at last year’s ceremony. Perhaps thinking the snippet of Destiny’s Child at last year’s Super Bowl was enough, Beyoncé had no supporting players on her stage — nor did she need them.

Playing nearly the entirety of her latest visual album, Beyoncé sang lesser known singles like “Haunted” and “Rocket” before bringing the crowd to their awkward feet — oh, Taylor Swift — as she brought down the house with “Drunk in Love” and “Partition.”

But it wasn’t her spot-on choreography or runs that seemed to enamor the Twittersphere, but rather the small glimpses into her personal life. The camera consistently panned to her husband Jay Z and two-year-old daughter Blue Ivy throughout the performance.

Seemingly trying to quell persistent divorce rumors, Beyoncé’s set was peppered with shots of Jay Z on the projection screen, including the happy family frolicking on the beach as the clearly emotional singer crooned “Blue,” an ode to her daughter. Her mogul hubby introduced her as the “greatest living entertainer” and she called him her “beloved” — a far cry from tabloid tales of strife and separate rooms.

Beyoncé took no prisoners as she seamlessly transitioned between soulful ballads and gyration-heavy anthems that ordered fellow females to “bow down.” But the most poignant moment came from a part with no words. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, sampled in “***Flawless,” played with lyrics plastered largely in the background, Queen Bey posed in front of one word that spoke volumes.

From Jim Carrey's on-stage tumble to Beyoncé's nearly 20-minute performance, here are the must-see moments from the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. (Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)