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Commentary: Miley twerks, Timberlake shines at VMAs

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won Best Hip-Hop Video for "Can't Hold Us" and Best Video with a Social Message for "Same Love" at the 2013 MTV VMAs, which aired Aug. 25. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Can’t Hold Us” and Best Video with a Social Message for “Same Love” at the 2013 MTV VMAs, which aired Aug. 25. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

From Miley Cyrus’ twerking to Justin Timberlake’s reunion with ‘NSYNC, the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards created enough buzz to serve as conversation fillers for the next few days.

However, even with everything the VMAs offered, the Sunday night airing could be summed up with one word: Justin.

Mr. Timberlake received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and prefaced it with an awesome medley of various hits combined with incredible dance moves that make you wonder, “How does he do that in a ‘Suit & Tie?’”

His medley included a brief visit from his former boy band members of ‘NSYNC, which kind of made you feel sorry for how they have really disappeared into the background of mundane society while their dreamy, curly-haired leader is still making 15-year-old girls squeal as we speak.

Timberlake’s hits, moves, humor (think “D— in a Box”) and charm make him liked by virtually all demographics of people, not just 15-year-old girls. I thought the award was very well deserved, and it made me realize how JT has been there throughout nearly every stage of my 23-year-old life. His talent and knack for entertaining is truly timeless, and that’s the sign of a real celebrity. He also snagged Video of the Year for “Mirrors.”

That being said, a lot of things have changed since I was a preteen watching the VMAs. Miley Cyrus would not have gotten away with her performance when I was in middle school. Remember how upset everyone was when Madonna kissed Britney Spears? Like comedian Kevin Hart said, “Miley better go get a pregnancy test after all that grinding.” It was tacky, bizarre and overtly sexual. The highlight of her act for me was Vanessa Bayer introducing it with her hilarious impression made famous on “Saturday Night Live.”

Inappropriate twerking aside, at least Macklemore & Ryan Lewis made a good impression on the night. They won Best Hip-Hop Video for “Can’t Hold Us” and Best Video with a Social Message for “Same Love.” The latter they also performed toward the end of the show. It takes guts to address the civil rights movement of our day in such a blunt fashion while being the forefront of a genre that thrives on masculinity and sexually degrading women. If you’re going to speak to a million young people, you might as well have something important to say. Kudos to the duo and songstress Mary Lambert, who is featured in the song, for tackling the issue.

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry delivered their usual eye-catching performances — Gaga’s with some incredible mid-performance costume changes, complete with a mermaid thong outfit and Perry’s with an adorable boxer-themed closing performance of her new hit “Roar.” These ladies are now staples of pop performance, and watching them is comfortable and fun.

The Song of the Summer Award went to One Direction’s “Best Song Ever,” but I maintain that “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell was completely robbed. Who was listening to One Direction this summer? Preteen girls. Who was listening to “Get Lucky?” Everyone else. If college kids had the time to vote all day in text messages, I think Daft Punk would have come out the winner. Given the chorus of “boos” greeting One Direction, it will be interesting to see where the boy band is next year. Probably where Justin Bieber was this year ­— old news.

A lot of buzz has also been about Taylor Swift, and not for winning Best Female Video for “I Knew You Were Trouble.” At one point, she was seen in the audience supposedly dropping an F-bomb while her One Direction ex-boyfriend, Harry Styles, was talking onstage. And then, she commented that the inspiration for her winning song knows who he is. She reminds me of that girl in high school who thrived on drama, even while her life was going perfectly well. Spare us Taylor, it’s time to grow up.

Throw in pretty rad performances by Bruno Mars and Drake and this year’s VMAs were pretty exciting. And as someone who couldn’t name 10 people on the Top 40 charts, that’s saying something.

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