The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards rolled into Brooklyn on Sunday night, bringing twerking teens, passive-aggressive behavior from Taylor Swift and a reunion more hotly anticipated than your high school’s 10-year.
Lady Gaga kicked off the night with a performance of her new single, “Applause.” She went through a number of costume changes, one in which she bore a striking resemblance to Joan Rivers. Thankfully, there was no blood or meat dress this year, though her audience outfit of a seashell bikini did turn heads. Also, as Kevin Hart (the “de facto host,” as the reporter next to me called him) said, girl’s got a booty.
Selena Gomez picked up the first Moonman of the night for her single “Come and Get It.” It was her first Moonman and she gave a cute speech. Gratefully, Kanye was nowhere to be seen to interrupt her. Taylor Swift also won an award for “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and Kanye also did not interrupt her, though she did make a veiled dig at the boy who inspired the song. But it was her behavior before winning — muttering “Shut the f— up” when her ex Harry Styles from One Direction presented an award — that got people talking. [embedgallery id=207972]
A steamy duet from Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus left audience members wondering a) what the hell happened to Miley and b) why Thicke was dressed like Beetlejuice. Miley gyrated, twerked and humped her way through the song, a desperate plea that seemed to yell “HELP ME I NEED LOVE.” Other performances — like Kanye West’s silhouette-only song and Drake’s audience-involving numbers — were tamer.
It was a big night for Justin Timberlake, who received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, presented by Jimmy Fallon, as well as the coveted Video of the Year for “Mirrors,” which he dedicated to his grandparents. Timberlake performed a medley of his solo hits, bringing it all the way from “Like I Love You” to “Suit & Tie.”
But the most decibel-crushing 90 seconds were when he brought out his ‘NSYNC boys for a reunion on stage. The group performed “Bye Bye Bye” (with the same dance moves you could probably still do if someone tested you), but interestingly, their reunion was not the final part of JT’s performance. Hilariously, the trap door Chris Kirkpatrick was supposed to travel down through after ‘NSYNC’s moment in the sun malfunctioned, leaving him alone on one stage waving to the crowd awkwardly. Poor Chris could never catch a break, could he? In all seriousness though, Timberlake noted that half of the Moonmen he won were during his ‘NSYNC days and dedicated the award to his former bandmates.
It was also a big night for Macklemore, who won Best Hip Hop Video for “Can’t Hold Us,” plus a social message Moonman for “Same Love,” which he performed onstage with Mary Lambert, who sings the song’s chorus. They were also joined onstage by Jennifer Hudson, who gave hugs to Macklemore and Lambert after the performance.
Katy Perry closed the show under the Brooklyn Bridge with her new single, “Roar,” and while it seemed like the crowd at her performance was totally digging it, herds of people started exiting the Barclays Center once she got started (gotta head to those after parties, amirite?)
Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithAtMetro.