An estimated 10.1 million people  — 4.6 million of them aged 12-34 — watched the public sexual blossoming of Miley Cyrus, the non-performing of Daft Punk, the bat-of-an-eye reunion of ‘N Sync, and the Taylor Swift-to-ex STFU-ing that was the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. That’s a big step up from last year’s overall audience of 6.1 million but still far short of the 12.4 million who tuned in in 2011 — or the runner-up 11.95 million crowd of 2002. The 4.6 million in the age bracket makes it the No. 1-rated cable entertainment telecast of the year in that key MTV demo. According to Twitter, Cyrus was quite a hit. When Cyrus, dressed up in a Disney-kid-star-image-shedding nude bikini, dry-humped Robin Thicke, who was dressed up as an NFL referee on a night out, as they sang “Blurred Lines,” she set a new Twitter record –  306k tweets per minute — surpassing the previous record holder: Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance.

Related: Parents Television Council and VMAs Continue Their Mutually Beneficial Relationship

VMA performers also included Justin Timberlake, his former band ‘N Sync, and Bruno Mars, MTV noted, adding that after Timberlake won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, took home three Moonmen for categories including Video Of The Year and received a standing ovation for his endless medley of old hits and nano-second reunion with his old group, Timberlake posted a 1,876 percent increase in sales, while ‘N Sync was up 156%. And remember how Daft Punk famously stood up Stephen Colbert because they were scheduled to perform at the VMAs? Didn’t happen, though they were among the presenters. Another year, TV critics might have worked up a good head of steam over that one –  today they were too busy clucking over the show-stopping performance of Miley and Her Reptilian Tongue w/ Foam Finger.

MTV had to be happy with Sunday’s numbers; last year the VMAs took a dive, when the orgy of image adjusting was moved from its usual Sunday berth to Thursday (its original berth), which put it on the same night President Obama was scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention. Making matters worse, just two days before the trophy show, MTV announced it was moving up the ceremony by one hour — to start at 8 PM instead of 9, which had been the show’s start time since 2007 — to blunt the Obama-speech impact. Prior to 2012, the VMAs had been on the rise, jumping to its largest audience in a decade in 2010 and then a new record in 2011.

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