The provocative pop singer was the hot topic at the show: Cyrus eclipsed Lady Gaga’s opening performance of her new single, Katy Perry’s closing rendition of her latest hit and Kanye West’s artsy set. The 20-year-old even grabbed more attention than Justin Timberlake’s performance with his ‘N Sync bandmates.
Cyrus gyrated, stripped and swayed. She sang, too.
She had a helper at the VMAs: Robin Thicke. After performing her edgy hit, ‘We Can’t Stop,’ she sang the first verse of Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ and then grinded on the R&B singer in a nude bikini.
“Amazing. I thought it was awesome,” Selena Gomez said of Cyrus’ performance “I love Robin Thicke, too, so I like that they collaborated.”
Twitter said Cyrus was mentioned 4.5m times on the social network site, ahead of Timberlake’s 2.9m mentions. Cyrus and Thicke’s performance led in tweets-per-minute peaks with 306,100.
Though they were attention grabbers and nominated for four awards each, Thicke and Cyrus walked away empty handed.
Timberlake earned three awards, including video of the year and best male video for ‘Mirrors’. Days ahead of the VMAs, his rumoured reunion with ‘N Sync dominated headlines, and he and his former bandmates delivered at the awards show.
As Timberlake performed a medley of his solo hits, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick emerged from the bottom of the stage in suits to sing some lines from their hits ‘Girlfriend’ and ‘Bye, Bye, Bye.’ Gomez, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and possibly the entire venue were giddy as the boy band danced like they did a decade ago.
Cyrus wasn’t the only pop singer with edge at the VMAs: Taylor Swift also turned heads. The 23-year-old, who won best female video, appeared to utter an expletive to Gomez when Swift’s rumoured ex, One Direction member Harry Styles, was onstage. The boy band earned boos when it won best song of the summer for ‘Best Song Ever,’ beating out Gomez, Thicke, Cyrus, Daft Punk and Calvin Harris.