NEW YORK — It may not be a good thing for her, but Miley Cyrus had the most memorable moment at the MTV Video Music Awards.
The provocative pop singer was the hot topic at Sunday night's show: Cyrus eclipsed Lady Gaga's opening performance of her new single, Katy Perry's closing rendition of her latest hit and Kanye West's artsy set. The 20-year-old even grabbed more attention than Justin Timberlake's performance with his 'N Sync band mates.
Cyrus twerked and gyrated, stripped and swayed. She sang, too.
She had a helper at the VMAs: Robin Thicke. After performing her edgy hit, "We Can't Stop," she sang the first verse of Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and then grinded on the R&B singer in a nude bikini. The wild child also slapped a girl's butt onstage.
Call it the "Blurred Lines" music video 2.0., which aired live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a first time.
"Amazing. I thought it was awesome," Selena Gomez said of Cyrus' performance backstage. "I love Robin Thicke, too, so I like that they collabo'd."
Artist to watch winner Austin Mahone also seemed to enjoy the performance: "I thought it was pretty creative. I thought it was pretty cool."
Twitter said early Monday that Cyrus was mentioned 4.5 million times on the social network site, ahead of Timberlake's 2.9 million mentions. Cyrus and Thicke's performance led in tweets per minute peaks with 306,100.
Though they were attention grabbers and nominated for four moonmen each, Thicke and Cyrus walked away empty handed Sunday night.
Timberlake earned three awards, including video of the year and best male video for "Mirrors." Days ahead of the VMAs, his rumored reunion with 'N Sync dominated headlines, and he and his former band mates delivered at the awards show.
As Timberlake performed a medley of his solo hits, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick emerged from the bottom of the stage in suits to sing some lines from their hits "Girlfriend" and "Bye, Bye, Bye." Gomez, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and possibly the entire venue were giddy as the boy band danced like they did a decade ago. Even rappers Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J admitted on the red carpet they were excited to see 'N Sync hit the stage.
"Half of the moonmen I've ever won, I won with those four guys right there," Timberlake said of his band mates when he accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. "So above all else, I'm going to share this — we can keep it my house — but I'm going to share this award with them."
Cyrus wasn't the only pop singer with edge at the VMAs: Swift also turned heads. The 23-year-old, who won best female video, appeared to utter an expletive to Gomez when Swift's rumored ex, One Direction member Harry Styles, was onstage. The boy band also earned boos when it won best song of the summer for "Best Song Ever," beating out Gomez, Thicke, Cyrus, Daft Punk and Calvin Harris.
Rapper A$AP Rocky also provided an awkward moment Sunday when standing next to NBA player Jason Collins, who were both announcing Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' performance. Collins, who recently said he was gay, spoke about coming out as A$AP Rocky looked uncomfortable.