The VMAs, MTV's ever-shocking Video Music Awards turn 30 this year, which is about how old you'd have to be to remember when MTV played music videos.

But the triumph of pregnant teens, Snookis and the concurrent decline of the music industry has hardly made this annual pop-star bacchanal any less enjoyable. With One Direction hosting, Lady Gaga opening, Drake starting (from the bottom) and rumours of *NSYNC reuniting, it was bound to be fun.

It was also bound to be Justin Timberlake's night, with the former *NSYNCer clocking almost as much performance time as the rest of the artists on the VMAs bill, as he performed a lengthy medley of his similarly-lengthy string of solo hits. The reunion with his boy band was short and little underwhelming, but perhaps that's as it should have been, so as not to overshadow his considerable achievements since striking out on his own a little over a decade ago.

Timberlake's Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award wasn't one of those honourary awards for an over-the-hill artist, as he also snagged the Best Video VMA for "Mirrors," which he said was a tribute to his grandparents. "Don't get soft, we all have grandparents," he joked, before adding, more seriously, "My grandfather actually passed in December. I hope my grandmother's watching. This is for you, Granny."

But those aww emotions were in short supply during what is bound to be the most talked about song of the night -- Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" which began as a bizarre, trying-too-hard-to-be-Gaga performance before segueing into a raunchy duet with Robin Thicke for "Blurred Lines." The crotch-rubbing with the blue-eyed R&B singer not only made Miley look bad, but managed to somehow make Thicke seem even creepier since he's nearly twice Cyrus' age. (It wasn't just us, either, Rihanna and One Direction looked similarly aghast.)

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  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Musician Kanye West performs onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Press Room

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Justin Timberlake attends 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)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Press Room

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Best Pop Video winner Selena Gomez attends 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)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Press Room

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Bruno Mars attends 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)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for MTV)

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-MTV

    Justin Timberlake with his four awards at the MTV Video Music Awards August 25, 2013 at the Barclays Center in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-MTV

    Selena Gomez, winner of Best Pop Video, holds award at the MTV Video Music Awards August 25, 2013 at the Barclays Center in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-MTV

    Justin Timberlake with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards August 25, 2013 at the Barclays Center in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-MTV

    Taylor Swift, winner of Best Female Video, walks from stage at the MTV Video Music Awards August 25, 2013 at the Barclays Center in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Taylor Swift speaks onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Audience

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (L-R) Jayden Smith, Willow Smith and Will Smith attend the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for MTV)

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-MTV

    30 Seconds to Mars at the MTV Video Music Awards August 25, 2013 at the Barclays Center in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-MTV

    A reunited 'N Sync including Justin Timberlake (C), JC Chasez (L), Lance Bass (2nd L), Joey Fatone (2nd R), and Chris Kirkpatrick (R) at the MTV Video Music Awards August 25, 2013 at the Barclays Center in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-AWARDS-MTV

    Justin Timberlake with his four awards at the MTV Video Music Awards August 25, 2013 at the Barclays Center in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Ciara

    Ciara arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga performs "Applause" at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga performs "Applause" at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Selena Gomez

    Selena Gomez arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus perform during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for MTV)

  • Adam Lambert

    Adam Lambert arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Jennifer Hudson

    Jennifer Hudson arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Taylor Swift

    Taylor Swift arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Katy Perry

    Katy Perry wears a grill that says "ROAR" as she arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • Joey Fatone, Justin Timberlake, Kris Chris Kirkpatrick

    Joey Fatone, from left, Justin Timberlake and Chris Kirkpatrick of 'N Sync perform at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • Fitness guru Richard Simmons, left, kisses the hand of singer Katy Perry at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Scott Gries/Invision/AP)

  • Bruno Mars

    Bruno Mars performs at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Musician Katy Perry performs during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Musician Katy Perry performs during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Musician Katy Perry performs during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

  • Miley Cyrus

    Miley Cyrus arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Musician Katy Perry performs during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Musician Katy Perry performs during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Musician Katy Perry performs during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Empire-Fulton Ferry Park on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus perform during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Actress Sarah Hyland attends 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)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Daft Punk attends 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)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Drake performs onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for MTV)

  • 2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for MTV)

  • Rita Ora

    Rita Ora arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Speaking of Gaga, she also tried to out-Gaga herself, but the fact that people on Twitter couldn't tell if the boos that preceded her performance of "Applause" were real or part of the shtick just goes to show how poorly she was received. Was it as bad as Britney's disastrous "Gimme More" a few years back? No, but Brit was going crazy at the time and Gaga has no such excuse. If her upcoming album "ARTPOP" bombs, expect to see a lot more rehashing of her VMA performance as a portent.

Macklemore also out-Gaga'd mother monster with his same-sex social activism. Onstage to accept an award for "Same Love," he said, "out of every single song I've ever written, to me this is the most important record out of all of them. To watch this song over the past year spread around the world is testament to what is happening right now in American at the forefront of equality. Gay rights are human rights," he added, "there is no separation."

Later, he performed "Same Love," an almost-spoken-word piece about the need for not just tolerance but acceptance of homosexual relationships, which got a nice boost at the end when -- surprise! -- Jennifer Hudson came out to help sing the emotional chorus.

Macklemore's other hit (or, given the success of "Thrift Shop," other other hit) "Can't Hold Us" won best hip-hop video, beating a much stronger collection of nominees including A$AP Rocky, Kendrick "the verse" Lamar and Drake.

But don't feel bad for poor Drizzy. Though Toronto's biggest musical export got saddled with the on-camera loser reaction shot by the VMA producers, the Junos have made him an expert in managing expectations after he lost every nomination the same year he hosted.

But no matter, Drake killed it where it matters -- nobody ever remembers who won a Moonman, but they do remember the performances. He stunned with his sung vocal on new track "Hold On, We're Going Home" before proving to one and all that he can be a badass rapper too, with a hard-hitting rendition of "Started From the Bottom." (And loved the part where he let the crowd rap back a line with cursing it in, forcing the producers to actually drop the volume on the audience itself.)

Maybe One Direction should have joined in on "Going Home," since the so-called hosts were barely there, forcing last year's host Kevin Hart to pitch in while fans of the Brit boy band will have to console themselves with giving them an undeserved "song of the summer" award for "Best Song Ever." Seriously, once that prize didn't go to either "Blurred Lines" or "Get Lucky," it ceased to matter. No wonder the crowd booed.

Oh, and where did Daft Punk's performance go? Colbert got screwed over for this?

Bruno Mars also showed up to perform "Gorilla" and win an upset VMA for best male video (presumably so Justin didn't take home everything) while Katy Perry closed the show with the boxing-themed "Roar," which mentions both the eye of the tiger and floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, hopefully bringing in some royalty money to Survivor and Muhammed Ali.

Speaking of roaring, Kanye West didn't win or bum-rush the stage, instead performing an intense and artistic take on "Blood on the Leaves" that reminded us that when he's not being an ass, he's one of the greats of our time. As for his nemesis Taylor Swift, she won again, for "I Knew You Were Trouble" and thanked the boy who inspired the song who was, if VMA camera operators are to be believed, One Direction's Harry Styles. (She was also unwittingly caught on camera telling them to "shut the fuck up," in a very GIF-worthy moment.)

So another VMA is over, having managed to honour a deserving artist (JT), spark some socially conscious conversation (Macklemore) and some not-at-all socially conscious conversation (Miley). Really, that's about as good as MTV and viewers could have hoped for.

Click here for the full winners list.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Miley Cyrus

  • Katy Perry in Emanuel Ungaro

  • Lady Gaga in Prabal Gurung

  • Selena Gomez in Atelier Versace

  • Taylor Swift in Hervé Léger By Max Azria

  • Rita Ora in Alexandre Vauthier Couture

  • Ciara in Givenchy

  • Ellie Goulding in Brian Atwood

  • Miley Cyrus in Dolce & Gabbana

  • Katy Perry in Emanuel Ungaro

  • Robin Thicke

  • Erin Wasson in Alexandre Vauthier Couture

  • Naya Rivera in Vintage Paco Rabanne

  • Lady Gaga

  • Adam Lambert

  • Lady Gaga

  • Rihanna in Rihanna for River Island

  • Drake

  • Lady Gaga

  • Jennifer Hudson in Christian Dior

  • Shailene Woodley in Emilio Pucci

  • Shailene Woodley in Emilio Pucci and Miles Teller

  • Robin Thicke and Paula Patton

  • Wiz Khalifa

  • Iggy Azalea in Emilio Pucci

  • Holland Roden in Naeem Khan

  • 2 Chainz in Versace

  • Lil' Kim

  • Riff Raff

  • Chilli

  • Coco Rocha in Fausto Puglisi

  • Daft Punk

  • Kanye West

  • Justin Timberlake

  • Ryan Lewis and Macklemore

  • Mary Lambert

  • Ashanti

  • Willow Smith in G Star and Jaden Smith in Alexander Wang

  • Joan Smalls in Viktor & Rolf

  • Allison Williams in Valentino

  • Grimes

  • Jemima Kirke

  • DJ Cassidy

  • Sarah Hyland in Marchesa

  • Kendrick Lamar

  • Jillian Rose Reed

  • Flying Lotus

  • Tomo Milicevic, Shannon Leto and Jared Leto

  • Jermaine Fowler

  • J Woww

  • Ronnie Magro and Sammi Giancola

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The 2013 MTV VMAs were something else. Thanks for joining!

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Katy Perry performed "Roar" for the first time, and it was glorious.

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With a silly voice.

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Let's remember this:

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He loved it.

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Drake shifts into "Started From The Bottom," obviously.

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Because when he isn't taking photos with Taylor Swift, he's a great rapper.

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Because why not?

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He thanks God, his publicist and his "Mahomies."

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After having a major year with the breakout success of their hit single "Thrift Shop" and the follow-up "Can't Hold Us," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit the stage at MTV's Video Music Awards to perform their song "Same Love."

Click here for more on Macklemore's MTV VMA performance.

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Oh, OK.

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After being introduced by NBA player Jason Collins and A$AP Rocky.

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One Direction for "Best Song Ever," which was clearly not the best song of the summer, but #mtv.

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