Like every year, the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards had its shares of highs and lows, but this year, the highlights were so bright they blow the roof off the place. From raucous performances to "surprise" guests, and a few big winners, the show rocked the house from start to finish.
Kicking off the night and opening the show was a killer number by Lady Gaga, who not only performed her new single Applause, but did so while dancing, and changing into half a dozen different costumes, on stage. From a white nun's habit to a white clam shell bikini, Gaga pulled off an opening act that set the bar high for future VMAs.
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And to her credit, she spent the rest of the night in that revealing white swimsuit.
After Gaga's number, the new adult-themed Miley Cyrus hit the stage for what some might consider a very graphic duet with Robin Thicke and an army of sex-crazed Teddy Bears. As crazy as that sounds, that was all before Miley ripped off her corset and touched Robin Thicke in his bathing suit areas with a foam hand.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis had a big night as well, with a win for Best Hip Hop Video, for their song Can't Hold Us, and Best Video With A Social Message for their song Same Love.
Macklemore said that, while he had been hoping to win the Best Hip Hop Video Award (which they did,) that Same Love was the most important. "Out of every single song that I have ever written, to me, this is the most important."
Later, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed Same Love live.
The elctro-funk duo Daft Punk appeared, but not to perform. Decked out in glittery tuxes they presented the award, along with their Get Lucky collaborator Pharrell Williams and Niles Rodgers, for Female Video of the Year, which they presented to songstress Taylor Swift for the video for her song I Knew You Were Trouble.
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Swift took the stage in a beautiful black dress with deep plunging neckline to accept the award. She thanked the fans, her video director, and her video co-star for the award. She also thanked an unnamed ex-boyfriend who, according to Swift, "inspired the song."
Swift said he knows exactly who he is. Apparently, the VMAs' thought they knew as well, as they immediately cut to a shot of an annoyed looking Harry Styles sitting with his One Direction band mates.
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Other notable performances were Kanye West's long-awaited appearance, which he sang and danced almost entirely in silhouette, and Katy Perry's boxing-themed musical number of her new song Roar, which closed out the show.
However, undoubtedly, the performance of the night came from Justin Timberlake, who was given the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award. Everyone knew that this was likely going to be the time for the 'N SYNC reunion that people had been freaking out about since late last week, and Timberlake delighted fans by performing a medley of his solo hits before hopping on stage and getting the band back together. The four former band mates, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, J.C. Chasez and Chris Kirkpatrick, rose out of the stage like the living dead, and brought the house down with a very energetic performance of Bye Bye Bye.
Then, before you knew it, it was Bye Bye Bye to the band, and Timberlake kept going with his medley. However, this short appearance didn't stop the audience from nearly tearing the seats out with nostalgic joy. One of the highlights of his set had to be all the other big-time musicians in the audience gleefully singing along to Timberlake's catchy hits.
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The Michael Jackson Vanguard award was presented to Timberlake by his friend and occasional comedy partner, an overly-excited Jimmy Fallon. Later, Timberlake took the top prize of the evening, Video Of The Year, for the music video for his song Mirrors.
This year, for the first time, the MTV VMAs were presented live and broadcast from Brooklyn, New York, at the Barclays Center, and the attitude of New York could be scene stamped all over the show. One Direction gave a shout out to New York, and later, Katy Perry's musical number was performed under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Check out the full list of VMA winners below:
Video of the Year: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors
Best Hip-Hop Video: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us
Best Male Video: Bruno Mars - Locked Out of Heaven
Best Female Video: Taylor Swift -I Knew You Were Trouble
Best Pop Video: Selena Gomez - Come & Get It
Artist to Watch: Austin Mahone - What About Love
Best Collaboration: Pink feat. Nate Ruess - Just Give Me a Reason
Best Video with a Social Message: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lewis - Same Love
Best Rock Video: Thirty Seconds to Mars - Up in the Air
Best Art Direction: Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu - Q.U.E.E.N
Best Choreography: Bruno Mars - Treasure
Best Cinematography: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us
Best Direction: Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z - Suit & Tie
Best Editing: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors
Best Visual Effects: Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
Song of the Summer: One Direction – Best Song Ever