Why Justin Bieber Cried After His VMA Performance

If you're a 14-year-old girl, you probably watched every second of 2015's MTV Video Music Awards live, and then again 4,000 times on your phone. But the functioning members of society who still remember when that channel showed actual music videos probably missed Justin Bieber breaking down in tears after his performance. The Biebs addressed the emotional moment on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, explaining, "It was just so overwhelming for me ... everything, the performance ... What was so special about the emotional moment, it was authentic and real. I was just wanting it so bad."

Still, that's pretty vague, and probably isn't the whole truth, so we've compiled a list of our best guesses as to what might have really turned on the waterworks.

It's Been Five Years Since He Last Performed At The VMAs

Nothing bruises a performer's ego like being forgotten. Granted, nobody's even started calling Justin Bieber a has-been yet, but not being included in one the music industry's biggest nights has to sting a little. On the flip side of that, nothing feels better than being accepted back into the fold, even if once you get back in, you realize Miley Cyrus is the leader. That's what it felt like when Spielberg finally made another Indiana Jones movie, only to position Shia LaBeouf to take over the starring role. And now that we put it that way, that's worth a river of tears. Let it out, Biebs, we fully understand.

His Crotch Harness Was Super Tight

Toward the end of his performance, there was a dramatic cut of the house lights, leaving the theater in total darkness for a few seconds. Then, a single column of light shot up from the stage, with Bieber ascending through its center, arms outstretched, in what can only be described as a messianic pose. Only this is Hollywood, and to defy gravity in such a way, unfortunately a stage effects team has to hoist you upwards by a snug harness at the centerpoint of your body mass: your crotch. Maybe Justin wasn't ready for that kind of pain, or maybe he realized he just lessened his chances of conceiving a child. Either way, we probably would have cried after that, too.

Selena Gomez Didn't Watch Him Perform

According to several eyewitness reports, Selena and her sister from another mister, Taylor Swift, got up from their front row seats and high-tailed it backstage just before Justin's performance. Allegedly trying to avoid any awkward reaction shots, Selena gave the press exactly the kind of scandalous red meat the tabloid fans crave. So, Justin, just after debuting his brand new single with a high-flying acrobatic performance, looked over to see if his old flame was impressed only to find an empty chair. And as if to add cosmic insult to injury, "Where Are Ü Now" is the title of one of the songs he performed. Ice cold, Gomez.

Taylor Swift Probably Told Justin He Wasn't Invited To Her Birthday Party

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez's BFF status was well-established even before they appeared together in their smash music video, Bad Blood, which won Video of the Year. So when they bailed on Justin's performance, it was probably just a final blow to him after they'd already confronted him earlier. We can imagine the scene perfectly: Taylor is inches from Justin's face, drunk with power, as Selena stands behind her, arms crossed, not even looking in his direction. Taylor tells Justin she's having a pool party for her birthday and he isn't invited. "Everyone's going to be there," she probably says. "And there's going to be pizza and a Pinkberry truck in the driveway that's unlimited and free for all of my real friends." How was he supposed to walk into homeroom after that kind of humiliation? Everybody would totally know.

Crying Is Sort Of Justin Bieber's Thing

During his My World Tour in 2011, Justin took a break at the end of performing "That Should Be Me" to walk over to a podium and cradle his head in his arms. Concertgoers claim they saw tears, which would suggest that Justin's weeping might be just a stage trick to drum up sympathy from his fans. Although years later—but before the VMAs—Justin admittedly "cried for days" amidst the scandal involving him telling racist jokes in two videos that leaked online. So maybe Justin's just an emotional guy, or maybe he's mastered control of his tear ducts. We'd be willing to place him in a chamber filled with tear gas to get to the bottom of this. Strictly in the interest of science, of course.

Everyone Was Super Mean About His Hair

Before his "Sally Field at the Oscars" moment onstage, Justin hit the VMAs red carpet debuting a look that we can only guess was the result of him telling his stylist, "I'm going for sort of a k.d. lang, but like, if she was a punk rock cowboy thing." This being the age of the live-tweeted event, the reaction was swift and severe. Memes haven't been generated this quickly since Bill Cosby's social media team asked fans to caption classic photos of the now-disgraced sitcom legend. There are only so many lulz a man can take, and when you show up to a red carpet affair like you dressed yourself at Uncle Jesse's garage sale, the Internet's going to give you all of them.

That Time He Had To Leave His Monkey In Germany

After Justin had his pet monkey, Mally, for just one week, German officials confiscated the beloved pet in compliance with their customs laws. Mally lived in a shelter for months before finally landing in Hodenhagen Serengeti Wildlife Park, where he's happy and healthy. Though their relationship was brief, Justin referred to Mally as "the love of my life," which makes us have to believe that in Justin's most emotional moments, his thoughts drift back to Mally. As the crowd clapped and cheered for his triumphant return to the VMAs, could Justin have been thinking about tiny monkey paws prying open a walnut? Or even dressing Mally up like a tiny sailor? He even did an adorable little salute! Why God, why did you take Mally from Justin?!