"She's young, she's letting everyone know she's growing up," Timberlake said.
Sunday's Video Vanguard recipient also pointed to the venue as an important factor in this conversation, saying, "It was the VMAs, what did you guys expect?"
Timberlake continued, "It's not like she did it at the Grammys. Let her do her thing."
Cyrus' twerk-heavy, racy performance is certainly not the first controversial one in MTV VMA history. Timberlake went old school for his first example, and then even referenced his own ex, Britney Spears in another.
"Madonna, wedding suit, humping the stage," The 'NSYNC frontman rifled off. "Britney, strip tease."
As for JT, he likes Miley and her performance. Although his favorite moment had little to do with her — in more ways than one:
"My favorite part of the Miley Cyrus thing was the Smith family reaction," Timberlake said in the radio interview. "I was late to the game on that. I was just shown that this morning, so it's fresh in my mind."
No one had the heart — or the knowledge — to tell the "Suit and Tie" singer that the viral reaction photo of Will Smith and family was actually during Lady Gaga's opening performance.