August 26th, 2013
12:47 PM ET

VMAs rewind: Whose performance came out on top?

Contrary to Internet buzz, there were other performers besides Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV VMAs.

For starters, she wasn't alone on stage last night, and we're not talking about those huge dancing bears - Robin Thicke, in a "Beetlejuice"-inspired striped suit, performed "Blurred Lines" before getting an assist on his new single, "Give It 2 U," from Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz.

And how dare we forget Lady Gaga's rapid-fire open with "Applause"?

So in case you missed last night's show or just need to rewind the tape to a memorable moment, here are all of the live performances from the awards ceremony. (If you want to check out Austin Mahone and Ariana Grande from the VMAs pre-show, watch them here.) Which is your favorite?

Lady Gaga's "Applause"

Lady Gaga had been sidelined by a serious injury earlier this year, but you wouldn't have known it from her opening performance at the VMAs. The Lady wanted "Applause," and she earned it, plowing through dance moves while simultaneously swapping costumes (and sometimes her makeup and wig). It may not have been the most scandalous, and was soon pushed out of the viewers' short memory by the slew of other things happening on stage, but the Mother Monster did succeed in getting us to put our hands up and make 'em touch.

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke featuring Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz, "We Can't Stop"/"Blurred Lines" medley

There are bears, twerking (no whistling, though), and Robin Thicke in a very tight striped suit. If you watch this, you might see it in your dreams. Just a warning.

Justin Timberlake's reunion with 'N Sync

Justin Timberlake, being the elected President of Pop, had the longest set of all Sunday night. (He was also the Video Vanguard award winner, so there was that, too.) He ran through a medley of his hits, from "SexyBack" and "My Love" to "Senorita" and "Cry Me A River." The grand 'N Sync reunion was well-teased but over-hyped - the band was barely on stage long enough for us to put in a song request. During his acceptance speech, JT acknowledged his former boy-band brethren with a sort-of endearing (maybe?) comment: "Half of the Moonmen that I've ever won, I've won with those four guys right there. So ... we can keep (the award) at my house, but I'm gonna share this with them."

Drake starts from 'The Bottom'

For Drake, "the bottom" was being a teen actor on the long-running teen soap "Degrassi," but we suppose everyone has their definition of a starting point. Although the rapper began with "Hold On, We're Going Home," he soon turned up the energy with "Started from the Bottom." The audience looks a little stunned when he jumps into the pit with them, but no Miguel-esque accidents occurred.

Katy Perry roars through Brooklyn

Katy Perry shut down the VMAs without breaking a sweat, although she had every reason to: The pop star climbed into the ring for an outsized, outdoor performance of her new single "Roar" as the grand finale.

Kanye West goes dark with 'Blood on the Leaves' 

Given his history with the VMAs, we understand why Kanye played it low-key this year. Yeezus made a moving appearance in the first-half of the show, performing "Blood on the Leaves" on a completely darkened stage with nothing but a tree as his backdrop. It was artistic and appropriately theatrical for the song, although we wondered if the performance was ultimately a little lost on the crowd.

Bruno Mars slows it down with 'Gorilla' 

Bruno Mars, too, kept it simple with his performance of "Gorilla," but the beauty of this singer is that he needs little more than a mic and a spotlight. The set was sensual, evocative and - most importantly for a night filled with audio issues - crystal clear and on-key.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis share their 'Love'

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were big winners on Sunday, and their video for "Same Love" won the award for best video with a social message. Macklemore said as he accepted the Moonman that this was the most important song he's written, and in case anyone didn't know why, the group's stripped-down performance allowed the lyrics to shine.

Filed under: MTV VMAs • Music • television

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