Superstars such as Green Day, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys and Pink will debut new material tonight at the MTV Video Music Awards, but the biggest story could be a local one. Fast-rising R&B star Frank Ocean will perform to perhaps his largest audience ever.

The MTV VMAs are coming off a year when the long-standing show made history. The 2011 edition delivered 12.4 million total viewers, making it MTV's most-watched telecast ever, according to the Nielsen Co.

Ocean's momentum is on the rise. His "Channel Orange" has already cracked the top 10 on the Billboard pop charts, and he will appear on the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live" next week. His pal Tyler, the Creator, the leader of the controversial rap group Odd Future, won best new artist at last year's ceremony.

Now moved to a Thursday, the VMAs will have to vie for viewers with the Democratic National Convention, but MTV has promised the show will be over by the time President Obama speaks sometime after 10 p.m. Eastern time. One storyline worth watching is whether or not any artists opt to get political during this election year.

Even if MTV will keep it focus squarely on pop culture, there should be plenty for music and even movie fans to dissect. To clarify: "Twilight" fans, the VMAs are set to premiere a new teaser for "Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2."

Pop & Hiss will be covering the extravaganza this evening. Look for a post on the show's opening musical numbers to go live shortly after the MTV VMAs begin at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The proceedings, held at Staples Center downtown, are tape-delayed for the West Coast, so Pop & Hiss will begin posting a little after 5 p.m. -- a safe estimate would be 5:30 p.m.

Except there's no need to wait for a post. You can follow the action tonight as Times reporters tweet from the scene and about the MTV VMA show below.

Live #VMA Coverage

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Photo: Alicia Keys. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times