The show was most notable for Miley_Cyrus' and Robin_Thicke's raunchy and sexually-driven performance of their hit songs "We Can't Stop" and "Blurred Lines", which received negative reactions from critics and mixed reactions from fans and fellow celebrities. The ceremony also gained mass media attention when 'N Sync made their first appearance together since the group's break up in 2002 during Justin Timberlake's fifteen minute performance leading up to his acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award.
During her "We Can't Stop" performance, Miley Cyrus caused controversy when fans interpreted a line of the hit single to say, "We like to party/dancing with Molly"
Miley Cyrus' performance of her song "We Can't Stop" featured the former child star entering the stage through a giant teddy bear wearing a one-piece bodice with a teddy bear styled on it. The singer performed with a group of back-up dancers dressed as giant bears before singer Robin Thicke joined Cyrus on stage to perform his song "Blurred Lines". Cyrus then stripped down to a flesh colored bikini and proceeded to perform her signature twerking dance moves, simulating sex with Thicke, french-kissing him on his neck and groping his genitals with a giant pedicured foam finger. The flabbergasted reactions of several celebrity audience members, including Rihanna and members of One Direction, also gained attention in the media.