1. Miley Cyrus: No longer a Disney girl
In case you missed the memo that Miley Cyrus is older, edgier, and totally not Hannah Montana anymore, just watch her performance of "We Can't Stop" and you'll get clued in real quick. The twerking, the gyrating... it was basically a giant middle finger to Disney, Billy Ray Cyrus, and common decency. The shenanigans continued when Miley joined Robin Thicke in a rendition of "Blurred Lines" that featured her getting personal with a foam finger. Lizzie McGuire was unavailable for comment, but we're fairly certain she's scarred for life.
2. Lady Gaga gets weird
Miley Cyrus wasn't the only musician to offer a thoroughly bizarre performance. The night started off with Lady Gaga making super creepy faces in a Flying Nun-esque ensemble. So... the usual. Gaga made an impressive five costume changes during her performance of "Applause," donning everything from 1980s business chic shoulder pads to a clamshell bra. While Gaga's sartorial choices were flashy, her performance lacked pyrotechnics or other gimmicks, allowing the audience to pay closer attention to her vocals, which were pretty darn good.
3. Justin Timberlake reunites 'NSync
Justin Timberlake made a convincing case as to why he won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, performing an entertaining medley of his solo hits for a good 10 minutes. But the highlight was definitely the brief 'NSync reunion, which proved that a) Chris Kirkpatrick is still alive and b) muscle memory is amazing, as they were able to bust out the moves to "Bye Bye Bye" like it was 2000.
4. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis get emotional
It was a big night for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who picked up a few VMAs and performed "Same Love" with Mary Lambert and special guest Jennifer Hudson. It was heartfelt and emotional, and made for a touching moment.
5. Katy Perry gets pumped up
Katy Perry loves a good theme, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that she went all out and performed "Roar" inside a boxing ring under the Brooklyn Bridge. Channeling her inner Rocky, Katy did everything from jumping rope to spitting into a gold bucket held by a trainer. The only thing missing was an opponent — maybe Russell Brand can join her next time?
- 5 books to read before your 30th birthday
- What to expect when you're expecting (100 years ago)
- Is it possible to live forever?
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- The indignity of canine bath time
- How to make the perfect hot chocolate
- No, Obama doesn't have to fire everybody in the White House
- Watch The Daily Show definitively prove that corporations are not people
- Remembering Nelson Mandela: A tribute in photos and prose
- How America's unions can reinvent themselves in the new economy
Subscribe to the Week