They said Bye, Bye, Bye to their boy band days years ago, but on Sunday night, ‘NSYNC took center stage – albeit briefly – at the MTV Video Music Awards and it was just like old times.
Justin Timberlake accepted his Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award (prior to taking home the night’s top prize for video of the year), telling the packed crowd, “I don’t deserve this award, but I’m not going to give it back,” after he performed a bunch of singles, including “SexyBack,” “Suit & Tie,” “Mirrors” and “Cry Me a River.” After presenter Jimmy Fallon called him the President of Pop and gave other effusive praise, Timberlake said, “I’m taking Jimmy on the road with me, that was incredible.”
Mid-performance, the room went silent for a couple of seconds and suddenly attendees, including Lady Gaga, jumped out of their chair in excitement to see Timberlake and his four fellow former band mates – Lance Bass, J.C. Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick – bust out some of their classic dance moves, while belting out “Girlfriend” and “Bye, Bye, Bye,” which is the song PEOPLE readers voted they were most hoping to hear.
Up until this point, no one had officially confirmed the much-hyped reunion, which took place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, was really happening.
The performance was a highlight for many of the show’s celebrity guests.
“Their voices were so vulnerable and open,” Jordin Sparks, whose favorite ‘NSYNC song is “Gone,” told PEOPLE prior to the performance. “I also love ‘Bye Bye, Bye’ and ‘It’s Gonna Be Me.’ I’m going to be up in my chair dancing or on the ground because I’ve fainted. It’s going to be either one.”
Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland also professed her love for the five guys. “Freaking out” about their upcoming performance, she said, “I was a huge fan growing up. I was that girl listening to the CD and looking at the pamphlet memorizing all the words. When I was little, my favorite was JC. I thought he was so cute! Everyone was obsessed with Justin, but not me. JC was always hot to me.”
Jennifer Hudson was happy because the group reminds her of her childhood, and even Ed Sheeran showed some love for the boys, calling himself a “fan.”
“I love ‘Dirty Pop,’ ” he said. “That’s my favorite. It makes me want to start dancing and circulate my head every time I hear it.”
And from the way it sounds, Timberlake, himself, was pleased to be back in action with his pals.
After thanking every video director, his manager and his folks (but not wife Jessica Biel!), he said, “But most of all, half of the moonmen I ever won, I won with those four guys right there. So above all else, we can keep it at my house, but I’m going to share this award with them.”
To top it off, the group of guys haven’t just reunited on stage. They’re all together in cyberspace, having joined Twitter on Saturday.
The very first Tweet that came from their verified account said, “Mic check, mic check one.. two… is this thing on?!”