Michael Jackson was paid high tribute at MTV's Video Music Awards on Sunday night, said Rolling Stone. In a surprise appearance, Madonna started the evening off with "a long, heartfelt speech about her personal relationship to Jackson," during which she called the late King of Pop "a hero" and "reflected on how his early stardom led him to forever search for his childhood." (watch Madonna's tribute to Jackson) It was incredibly moving.

But what followed was a little disappointing, said Michael Slezak in Entertainment Weekly. "The hyper-fast cuts of the MTV cameras and the presence of a giant video screen playing 'Thriller,' 'Bad,' and 'Smooth Criminal' made it difficult to focus on the actual dancing taking place on the stage." Luckily, Janet Jackson eventually "came to the rescue, shattering through a safety glass screen to rec-reate that classic 'Scream' dance-off with her big brother." (watch Janet Jackson at the VMAs)

Both Janet Jackson's performance and Madonna's speech were "poignant" moments during the VMAs, said Kevin Amorin in Newsday.com. And even the usually snarky and provocative Russell Brand, who hosted the show, "played nice" when it came to the King of Pop. "Tonight is dedicated to the great Michael Jackson," the British comedian said. "Let's honor Michael tonight by loving one another in his memory."