Justin Timberlake soars, Miley Cyrus startles at MTV VMAs
No one grabbed anyone else's trophy at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, but Miley Cyrus made headlines for grabbing other things.
As always, the award-winners themselves made fewer headlines than the surrounding story lines. Cyrus had social networks buzzing thanks to her raunchy performance with "Blurred Lines" singer Robin Thicke. The young singer indulged in some very non-"Hannah Montana" style gyrating during her number, which included dancers wearing giant teddy bears on their backs and Cyrus rubbing up against and grabbing at Thicke's crotch. Reaction on Twitter and other online outlets was immediate and mostly negative.
But Justin Timberlake, who won the night's Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award, tilted the applause meter the other way, earning multiple standing ovations for his lengthy mini-concert, which included a brief reunion of his 1990s boy band *NSYNC.
"I don't deserve this award, but I'm not going to give it back," Timberlake said, going on to thank the video producers he's worked with as well as his fellow *NSYNC members.
Timberlake was back on stage later to claim the night's biggest award, video of the year, for "Mirrors."
"This is a really special video for me because it's a tribute to my grandparents," Timberlake said. "My grandfather actually passed in December. I hope my grandmother's watching. This is for you, Granny."
Lady Gaga opened the show with a colorful, costume-changing performance of her new single "Applause."
Beginning with her face sticking through a large white square and wearing a long white gown with train, Gaga continued to sing while moving through multiple costumes, including a sequined black leotard, a variety of wigs and a shell bikini.
British band One Direction presented the award for best pop video to Selena Gomez for "Come & Get It."
"My first actual moonman!" said Gomez. "This is so cool, thank you!"
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took home the award for best hip-hop video for "Can't Hold Us." Crowed Macklemore, "They let some independent hip-hop artists up here at the VMAs!" They later picked up the award for best video with a social message for "Same Love," a song about marriage equality.
Macklemore accepted the award for "Same Love" by saying he'd been writing songs since he was 15 and that "this is the most important out of all of them." He went on to call the award a "testament to what is happening right now in America on the forefront of equality. Gay rights are human rights, there is no separation," he said.
He later performed "Same Love" live on stage, and was joined by Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson.
Taylor Swift won the award for best female video for "I Knew You Were Trouble." The singer thanked her fans and added, "I also want to thank the person who inspired this song who knows exactly who he is." The MTV camera then cut to a shot of One Direction's Harry Styles. Swift has publicly hinted that the song is about Styles, whom she dated for several months in 2012. Swift herself was the focus of MTV's cameras for much of the night.
Styles later got his own chance on stage, when One Direction won the award for best song of the summer for "Best Song Ever," but he refrained from mentioning Swift in his acceptance.
Bruno Mars took home his first moonman when he claimed the best male video award for "Locked Out of Heaven."
Austin Mahone won the artist to watch award. Mahone, 17, built his fame via YouTube videos and has opened for Swift.