What we saw on the faces of these trophy-toting, tabloid-tweaking millionaires, for a little while, was the same look of joy you’ll see on any fan singing along with a huge hit.

2013 VMAS: WE CAN'T SHUT UP ABOUT 'EM

A Few Thoughts About Last Night's Show, From Inside a 30-Foot Teddy Bear

The VMAs gave us some killer performances, some moving testimony, some outrageous attire, some rather extreme gyration and one genuine "oh, no, she di’n’t" moment.

The latter, of course, was Taylor Swift’s on-camera "shut the fuck up," one of the most tweeted-about (and most easily lip-read) things that happened all night. Tay muttered the phrase offhandedly to pal Selena Gomez when former beau Harry Styles and his band, One Direction, were onstage.

Don’t take it too hard, Harry; people have been saying that to us for 27 years.

In any case, these proceedings—from Lil’ Kim’s beloved Brooklyn—weren’t dominated by a single winner. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took home three trophies, but the major moonmen were distributed more or less evenly among such artists as Justin Timberlake (who, to be fair, also got the foreordained Video Vanguard award), Swift,  Gomez, One Direction, Bruno Mars, Austin Mahone and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Nobody bum-rushed the podium, which gave tweeters less to dish about, but you can't have everything.

The testimony we mentioned earlier: Macklemore’s "gay rights are human rights" acceptance for "Video With a Social Message" ("Same Love"). The indie rapper declared that of all the songs he’d written, this one meant the most to him. And his rendition (with Mary Lambert, who sings the hook on the record, and guest vocalist Jennifer Hudson) was among the evening’s most resonant.

There were a number of other strong performances and a couple of eyebrow-raising ones (Robin and Miley: Get a room, already). But Timberlake’s career-survey set (which commenced in the Barclay Center lobby and proceeded to the stage) blew the friggin’ roof off the joint, no question. And man, is there a lot of love for NSYNC after all these years.

And you know what else? Let the social-media snipers take their shots, but the VMAs also give us a chance to see music’s biggest stars not only playing in the same sandbox but really enjoying one another’s songs. What we saw on the faces of these trophy-toting, tabloid-tweaking millionaires, for a little while, was the same look of joy you’ll see on any fan singing along with a huge hit.

It’s the peculiar bliss of popular music, and watching those who cast that spell also fall under its sway is a pleasure all its own.

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