Justin Timberlake defends Miley Cyrus' controversial VMAs performance

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on Aug. 25, 2013, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Justin Timberlakehas come out to defend a fellow performer from this year's MTV Video Music Awards.

In a radio interview with Fresh 102.7 on Tuesday, the "Take Back the Night" singer said he doesn't understand all the controversy behind Miley Cyrus' provocative set at Sunday's ceremony.

Donning a flesh-colored bikini, the 20-year-old former Disney star was seen by millions of viewers sticking her tongue out repeatedly, seductively twerking and suggestively groping fellow performer Robin Thicke during renditions of "We Can't Stop" and Thicke's ubiquitous hit, "Blurred Lines."

The blogosphere quickly erupted with condemnations pointed at Cyrus, and some celebrities even publicly criticized the performance as inappropriate. But Timberlake doesn't see it that way.

"It's the VMAs, what did you guys expect?" Timberlake said during the radio interview.

"I like Miley. I like her a lot. I think, you know, she's young. She's letting everyone know that she's growing up," he continued. "I just think it's the VMAs. It's not like she did it at the Grammys."

He also pointed out that there have been many risque performances at the VMAs in year's past, including the famous Madonna/Britney Spears kiss in 2003.

In contrast to Cyrus, Timberlake has been receiving strong praise for his VMAs number. The 32-year-old performer, who won video of the year for "Mirrors" and the Michael Jackson vanguard lifetime achievement honor, sang a medley of his top hits and briefly reunited with his *NSYNC bandmates at the awards ceremony.

But Cyrus' routine continues to be the most-talked-about performance of the night.

Earlier this week, the Parents Television Council publicly blasted Cyrus and MTV, accusing the cable network of marketing sexual messages to young children.

Cyrus' father, Billy Ray Cyrus, serves as a PTC advisory board member and there has been speculation that he may now step down from that position after the organization publicly condemned his daughter.

Tell us: Do you think Cyrus went too far with her performance?

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.