NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (L-R) JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick of N'Sync pose with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV)
In a short but oh-so-sweet reunion, Justin Timberlake reunited with his 'N Sync bandmates Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, J.C. Chasez and Chris Kirkpatrick at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.
His former bandmates joined him onstage to perform snippets from the group's hits Girlfriend and Bye, Bye, Bye.
The crowd went wild, including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez, with Gaga shouting the words to Girlfriend as loud as she could. One Direction stood in respect to their boy-band forefathers.
And just like that, it was over.
Timberlake went on to perform his newer hits Suit & Tie and Mirrors, the latter of which won video of the year. His set kicked off after an introduction by Jimmy Fallon with new hit Take Back the Night, followed by JT solo-career classics including SexyBack, My Love, Cry Me a River, Senorita and Rock Your Body.
"It happened!" exclaimed Fallon after the performance, and went on to present Timberlake with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. "He's the best in the business!"
"I don't deserve this award, but I'm not going to give it back," said Timberlake. "Half of the Moonmen I've ever won, I won with those four guys right there," he said, referring, of course, to his 'N Sync bandmates. "So above all else, I'm going to share this - we can keep it at my house - but I'm going to share this award with them."
After a week of rumors of a possible 'N Sync reunion, it was the undisputed highlight of the evening, but plenty of other artists sizzled on stage. After showing up on the red carpet in a surprisingly simple black dress - no meat or anything - Lady Gaga opened the night with a performance of her new single, Applause.
The first Moonman statuette of the show went to Selena Gomez for best pop video for her hit Come and Get It. "This is heavy, oh, my goodness," said a hoarse-sounding Gomez. "This is my first actual Moonman, thank you so much!"
Scantily dressed in a teddy, Miley Cyrus emerged from a large bear and sang her hit We Can't Stop as a chorus line of bears danced in the background. As Robin Thicke joined Cyrus on stage, she stripped down even further to a nude bra-and-panty set as they sang and dirty danced to his sexually charged Blurred Lines.
"Miley better go get a pregnancy test after doing all that grinding," joked comedian Kevin Hart after their performance.
Shrouded in darkness against a backdrop of a dark forest, new dad Kanye West took to the stage to perform Blood on the Leaves.
Best female video went to Taylor Swift for I Knew You Were Trouble. "I want to thank my fans. I tweeted about this a lot. I really, really wanted this, and thank you so much for doing this for me," she said. "I also want to thank the person who inspired this song who knows exactly who he is, because now I've got one of these," she said, holding up her Moonman as the audience cheered.
"This is for you, Granny," Timberlake said as he accepted video of the year for Mirrors.
Backstage, Austin Mahone was walking around with a grin as shiny as his newly acquired artist to watch Moonman. When asked who he'd like to perform or collaborate with most from tonight's sterling lineup, his answer - "Drake!" - was a quick one. "He's one of my biggest inspirations. Hopefully, we'll make it happen."
The crowd was apparently full of people who didn't vote One Direction's Best Song Ever as song of the summer, given that the room heavily booed the British boy band the second they got up to accept their award.
Jennifer Hudson joined Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert during their performance of Same Love. The song, which talks about legalizing same-sex marriage, took home the award for best video with a social message.
"We have to contractually sell one (trophy) to Drake for $200,000 Canadian dollars," joked Macklemore backstage after winning a third Moonman. How does it feel? "It feels amazing. Out of all of them, Same Love hit my heart tonight."
Earlier on the red carpet, Lambert dished on the pow-wow that takes place in the dressing room right before they hit the stage. "We do a little magic circle where we have a bit of a pep talk, just so that we can remember what it's all about," she said.
Gomez arrived to the red carpet a "little bit" jet-lagged. "We were doing a Canada run," she told MTV during the pre-show. But later backstage, she was pumped up about her award. "I didn't think I was going to win, I'm going to be honest," she said. "I think Robin Thicke should've won! I loved his and Miley's performance!"
Ariana Grande took to the stage at the end of the red carpet for a hot minute for a performance as Lil' Kim, T-Boz and Chilli of TLC and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis strut their stuff before her.
Clad in a leopard print dress by Emanuel Ungaro - perhaps a nod to her single, Roar - Katy Perry looked as fierce as ever. Her performance of the song at the close of the show put her in a boxing ring on the Brooklyn Bridge, followed by Lady Gaga rounding things out back in the Barclays Center.
Contributing: Hilary Hughes in Brooklyn
Cindy Clark , USA TODAY