The 30th MTV Video Music Awards arrived with quite a bang last night — the debut performance of “Applause” by Lady Gaga, which critics agreed was pretty amazing — and proceeded to stumble (Miley Cyrus‘ embarrassing, pointlessly trashy spectacle in a teddy bear thong) and soar (Justin Timberlake tearing through his hits for 20 minutes — including those with *NSYNC) in the two-and-a-half hours that followed.
Below, we rounded up some thoughts the Internet at large had about VMAs. See if the critical consensus matches your own!
:: Devoted Britney stan MuuMuse had to give props to Lady Gaga’s opening act: “There was real dancing during this performance! And it was very good! She even did the Illuminati eye thingy a few times — cheers to that! It was all sorts of The Fame/The Fame Monster-era splendor.”
:: And speaking of Ms. Spears, Chart Rigger has this to quip: “For the first time since Britney gave her career-defining performance of ‘Gimme More’ in 2007, the MTV Video Music Awards gave us all something (good) to talk about. Lady Gaga continuously snatched her own wig as she opened the VMAs with ‘Applause’ last night, and it was the best performance…until Justin Timberlake hit the stage for about 20 minutes (!!), belting out his entire catalog of hits and doing a quick ‘Girlfriend/Bye Bye Bye’ medley with his old *NSYNC boy bandmates.”
:: TIME also singles out Timberlake’s spectacle: “He shared the [Video Vanguard Award] credit with his former bandmates from ‘NSYNC, who joined him onstage for a show-stopping performance of ‘Girlfriend’ and ‘Bye Bye Bye.’ Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez leapt out of their seats to sing along. The brief performance triggered an explosion of nostalgic social media comments.”
:: NBC calls Gaga’s performance “colorful,” but chastised Miley Cyrus’ out of control bump ‘n grind: “The young singer indulged in some very non-Hannah Montana style gyrating during her number, which included dancers wearing giant teddy bears on their backs and Cyrus rubbing up against and grabbing at Thicke’s crotch. Reaction on Twitter and other online outlets was immediate and mostly negative.”
:: E! Online also zings Miley…and Taylor: “As for the most awkward moment, aside from Miley’s hair, did Taylor really drop an F-bomb while One Direction and ex Harry Styles were on stage?! The Internet sure thinks so. And another awkward moment for the ex couple? While accepting the Moonman for Best Female Video for ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ Taylor said thanks to ‘who I wrote this song about cause you know who you are and now I have this award,’ while MTV then cut to a smirking Harry, who kept chewing his gum.”
:: SPIN joins in on the Miley ranting: “Even if you were prepared for this, you weren’t prepared for this: a Flaming Lips concert, a Pokémon-themed soft-core porno, a nightmarish Japanese game show, and a ‘white girls twerking’ YouTube video colliding over Brooklyn, leaving no survivors. Not Billy Ray Cyrus, not Rihanna, not America.”
:: The New York Times is unimpressed with the entire event: “…if the cutaway shots during the show of the famous and bored were any indication – One Direction studiously mute during the brief ‘NSync reunion, Drake averting his eyes as Miley Cyrus twerked, Rihanna barely moving her head for anyone. To be fair to the celebrities trapped inside the Barclays Center, though, there wasn’t much to look at during the VMAs this year…”
:: The Washington Post sums the whole night up with this: “Unlike, say, the Grammys, the VMAs do not exist as a nostalgia delivery system. The ceremony possesses a ruthless forward motion, one that usually doesn’t allow for honoring legacy acts, or even acts that were popular six months ago. But on the occasion of its 30th birthday, the VMAs — held for the first time at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — indulged in a bit of pure nostalgia. ’N Sync, arguably one of the last groups that MTV steered to stardom, re-formed to honor member Justin Timberlake, the recipient of MTV’s vaunted Video Vanguard award. The sense of longing — not just for ’N Sync, but also for MTV’s own long-ago relevance, which foundered around the time the channel relegated the actual playing of music videos to the graveyard shift — was palpable.”
What were your own thoughts on this year’s MTV Video Music Awards? Let us know below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter.