Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on Aug. 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/WireImage)
Cindy Clark , USA TODAY
"It happened!" exclaimed Fallon after the performance, where he went on to present Timberlake with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. "He's the best in the business!"
"I don't deserve this award, but I'm not going to take it back," said Timberlake. "Half of the Moonmen I've ever won, I won with those four guys right there," he said, referencing his 'N Sync bandmates. "So above all else, I'm going to share this -- we can keep it at my house -- but I'm going to share this award with them."
After a week of rumors on whether or not the boy band would reunite, it was definitely the highlight of the evening, but plenty of other artists sizzled on stage. After showing up on the red carpet in a surprisingly simple black dress -- no meat or anything -- Lady Gaga kicked things off with a performance of her new single Applause.
The first Moonman statuette of the show went to Selena Gomez for best pop video for her hit Come and Get It. "This is heavy, oh my goodness," said a hoarse-sounding Gomez, who kept her acceptance speech short and sweet. "This is my first actual Moonman, thank you so much!"
Scantily dressed in a teddy, Miley Cyrus emerged from a large bear and sang her hitWe Can't Stop as a chorus line of bears danced in the background. As Robin Thicke joined Cyrus on stage, she stripped down even further to a nude bra-and-panty set as they sang and danced down and dirty to his sexually charged Blurred Lines.
"Miley better go get a pregnancy test after doing all that grinding," joked comedian Kevin Hart after their performance.
Shrouded in darkness against a backdrop of a dark forest, new dad Kanye West took to the stage to perform Black Skinhead.
Best female video went to Taylor Swift for I Knew You Were Trouble. "I want to thank to fans. I tweeted about this a lot. I really, really wanted this, and thank you so much for doing this for me," she said. "I also want to thank the person who inspired this song who knows exactly who he is, 'cause now I've got one of these," she said, holding up her Moonman as the audience cheered.
Earlier on the red carpet, Gomez arrived a "little bit" jet lagged. "We were doing a Canada run and we finished the run," she told MTV during the pre-show.
WINNERS LIST: Who took home Moonman trophies?
Clad in a leopard print dress by Emanuel Ungaro -- perhaps a nod to her single, Roar-- Katy Perry looked as fierce as ever. "Reflection is a great word for Prism," she told MTV during the red carpet pre-show of her new album. "At first I thought there were going to be darker songs...but I let the light in."
Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer from MTV's late-night laugh riot Nikki and Sara have one hope for the VMAs tonight: they want to find Perry and become her new best friends. "She just seems real nice!" says Glaser of the pop dynamo, standing tall in metallic heels and a neon, floral-print mini dress. "I don't know what I have to do to ingratiate myself to get in her inner circle," continues Schaefer, "but I'll do whatever it takes!" Perry is rumored to be performing not at the Barclays Center but beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, so hopefully between here and there the MTV comediennes will get their wish.
Timberlake, along with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, leads this year's VMA pack with six nominations each. Timberlake's nominations include video of the year, best male video, best pop video and best editing for Mirrors, while his Suit & Tie featuring Jay Z, scored nods for best collaboration and best direction.
Contributing: Hilary Hughes