Even though other curses during musical performances were bleeped, the censors were not prepared when McClean said "s–."
"Oh s–, my bad," McClean said as he struggled to open the envelope. Other members of the group then made fun of McClean for his not so clean slip of the tongue.
"You can't say that on TV," Brian Littrell said.
Kevin Richardson then made a comment about McClean's manicured nails.
McClean then cleared his throat as he finally got the envelope open. He then announced Post Malone as the winner of the award for his hit "Rockstar."
Earlier in the night, the Backstreet Boys performed "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," the new single from their upcoming album, during the preshow atop the Radio City Music Hall sign. The song is their highest-charted single since 2005's "Incomplete," peaking at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Fans on Twitter caught McClean's mistake, with some laughing at the incident. Others said they will still support the group.
"Omg AJ Mcclean said Oh s– on live tv lmfao get Backstreet Boys off the stage before they never get invited back," one fan wrote.
Omg AJ Mcclean said Oh shit on live tv lmfao get Backstreet Boys off the stage before they never get invited back #VMAs— lah-juh (@fabuLaja) August 21, 2018
"AJ McClean still my favorite," another wrote.
AJ McClean still my favorite— Gigi Greenleaf (@JacqN4Tweets) August 21, 2018
"I dont know which was better @aj_mclean saying s– on the #vmas or @backstreetboys sang the nominees? Haha. But yet they are only preshow? @MTV get it together," another fan wrote.0comments
One fan thinks it will be awhile before the Boys are invited back to the VMAs thanks to McClean's mistake. "AJ McLean of The Backstreet Boys just guaranteed they won't be back for another 10 years by saying s– on live TV. Oops," one person wrote.
AJ McLean of The Backstreet Boys just guaranteed they won’t be back for another 10 years by saying shit on live TV. Oops.— chris kelley (@bychriskelley) August 21, 2018
Photo credit: Getty