NEW YORK (Reuters) – Justin Timberlake won big on Sunday at MTV’s annual Video Music Awards, taking home the top prize for video of the year for “Mirrors” and a special achievement honor, and also led a much-anticipated onstage reunion of the boy band ‘N Sync.
Hip-hop artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars were among other top winners, with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis taking home three awards, including best hip-hop video.
But even top VMA nominees had been overshadowed in recent days by the rumored ‘N Sync reunion, their first performance since 2002, which took place in the midst of Timberlake’s lengthy medley of hits ahead of his accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
As the star wound down his solo performance, the band’s other members rose up through the stage and slowly turned to face the audience, spotlights shining from above. The ‘N Sync members then performed another extended medley of hits.
“I don’t deserve this award,” Timberlake, 32, said after TV talk show host Jimmy Fallon presented it to him. “But I’m not going to give it back.”
He noted that half of the many VMAs he had won were “with these four guys right here,” referring to ‘N Sync singers JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick.
“I’m going to share this award with them,” Timberlake said.
Lady Gaga opened the live broadcast with a splashy rendition of her new single “Applause,” appearing in a series of outfits ranging from a riff on a nun’s habit, with pearls, to a seashell-and-string bikini.
Gaga marked her comeback after hip surgery earlier this year, but the act lacked the shock value of past VMA shows when she was drenched in blood or sported a dress made of raw meat.
Other performance highlights of the evening broadcast from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center included Miley Cyrus backed by a lineup of dancers outfitted as giant teddy bears as she sang “We Can’t Stop.” She was then joined by Robin Thicke as the pair led into a duet of “Good Girl.”