Who would have guessed that the rumors of 'N Sync getting back together would come true... and that the reunion would be one of the briefest, least memorable moments of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards?
The boy band went "Bye Bye Bye" before anyone had a chance to say "hi hi hi." Their blink-and-you'll-miss-it homecoming wasn't much of a water-cooler moment, at least compared to Miley Cyrus getting dirtier than ever with Robin Thicke, or Taylor Swift baiting the nation's lip-readers before taking a more audible swipe at an ex in the audience.
Here's what had viewers talking afterward (at least for as long as it took to dial up Breaking Bad on the DVR):
1. Lady Gaga proves she really did lose all that weight...and has been to the beach lately. Gaga's goal in her opening number at first seemed to be to prove that she could do as many costume changes as Cher, but all in one song and all in full view of the cameras. But it became clear when she bared her bum at song's end what her real motive was: to make us forget all those gossippy photos of her at a heavier weight forever. After starting the show as a blockhead version of the Flying Nun, she ended by wearing not much more than a couple of conch shells. (We "sea" Paris, we "sea" France...)
2. Taylor Swift has one or two things to say about Harry Styles. When One Direction first took to the stage, MTV inevitably cut to a reaction shot of Swift with BFF Selena Gomez, which had a lot of viewers pretty sure they saw Swift saying "Shut the f--- up." It became the most circulated fan GIF of the night on the web. Later, when she won best female video for "I Knew You Were Trouble," Taylor said, "I want to thank the person who inspired the song, because now I have one of these." And according to us and pretty much Swift herself, the song was about her first breakup with Harry Styles back in the spring of '12. In a moment almost too good to be true, MTV's cameras cut to Styles applauding his own dissing!
3. Miley Cyrus makes sure Disney will never, ever air another Hannah Montana re-run. At one point in the show, Bill Maher, not exactly a puritan, tweeted, "Watching VMAs. Haven't been in a strip club in a while, but good to see nothing has changed." Yes, he was talking about the ex-Miss Montana. When Cyrus hooked up with Robin Thicke for a duet, we wondered if we were witnessing the first live STD transmission in VMAs history. She came bearing a giant foam finger that rarely ventured outside the vicinity of either Thicke's crotch or her own. Never mind the moments that had her breaking down the barriers between twerking and porn. After sticking out her tongue sideways for most of her photos on the red carpet, Cyrus also gave us the same tongue action throughout much of her performance. Maybe it's not an affectation but just a bizarre neurological tic?
4. Justin Timberlake shoehorns a fleeting 'N Sync cameo into the middle of an epic promo for his new projects. There might not be a calculator in the world powerful enough to count just how many songs Timberlake squeezed into his 15-minute mid-show medley. Unfortunately for everyone looking forward to the 'N Sync reunion, "Bye Bye Bye" was merely one of them, and those other four dudes were toast after just a couple of minutes. Could this world-shaking moment really have been just a teaser for Justin to sing "Suit and Tie" on TV for the 5,000th time? Yep. Shades of Beyonce hustling the rest of Destiny's Child offstage at the Super Bowl as quickly as possible. If he was going to do it so begrudgingly, why do it at all?
5. Kanye West forgets to pay the electric bill. The new dad performed almost the entirety of "Blood on the Leaves" without benefit of a single spotlight. All we could see was his silhouette against a photo of trees shot by film director Steve McQueen. Viewers wondered if it was just a bad camera angle that rendered West invisible, but attendees inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center tweeted that it looked like the generators had failed inside the hall, too. Whatever you thought of it, it was one of the few visualizations of the night that seemed original and didn't inspire Bill Maher to become an honorary bluenose.
The full list of 2013 VMA winners is as follows:
Video of the Year - Justin Timberlake, "Mirrors"
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 and 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, "Same Love"
Best Rock Video - Thirty Seconds to Mars, "Up in the Air"
Best Hip-Hop Video - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton, "Can't Hold Us"
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"
Best Song of the Summer - One Direction, "Best Song Ever"
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award - Justin Timberlake