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The video of the year trophy was the final memorable moment of a night full of them for Justin Timberlake at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Timberlake won the top honor for “Mirrors” on the same night he reunited briefly with 'N Sync and received the Michael Jackson Vanguard Video Award on Sunday as the awards debuted in Brooklyn.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were the night's other top winners, taking home best hip-hop video for “Can't Hold Us” and best video with a social message for “Same Love,” a marriage equality anthem. Other winners included Taylor Swift, One Direction, Bruno Mars, Selena Gomez and Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus made Lady Gaga look surprisingly tame as the pop stars opened the show.
Gaga changed costumes four times Sunday night during her first return to the stage since hip surgery as she performed her new single “Applause.” It was a predictably unpredictable appearance for Gaga, who seemed to pump in boos over the over the sound system as she opened the song in a white nun's habit and square headdress. By the time she finished the song, she was surrounded by unitard-clad male dancers and wearing a thong bikini decorated in shells and a long blonde wig.
Cyrus immediately kicked things up well beyond provocative, however, as she appeared on stage with a multitude of dancing teddy bears in a bodysuit adorned with a cartoon character. She twerked, changed into a nude bikini, ran a fan's foam finger along her privates as Robin Thicke appeared on stage to perform “Blurred Lines,” then gave the singer a lap dance.
“Miley better go get a pregnancy test after all that grinding,” Kevin Hart joked afterward.
Other celebrities, however, didn’’t see the funny side.
Actresses Jamie King and Brooklyn Decker both took to Twitter to slam Cyrus’s performance.
Decker wrote ‘I’m so uncomfortable’ while King added ‘A certain mortification swells over me when I watch certain performers.’
Even Mariah Carey’s husband Nick Cannon waded in with his two cents worth. “Remind me never to let my kids into showbiz,” he tweeted.
Taylor Swift, who probably keeps close tabs on Kanye West every time she goes to the VMAs, had Twitter afire early in the evening when she appeared to utter an expletive toward One Direction when the British boy band made an appearance after Gaga's performance. – SAPA-AP and Tonight reporter.