Miley Cyrus stunned viewers at Sunday’s MTV VMAs
Cyrus has increasingly worked to shed her Disney image
CNN News Wire | 8/26/2013, 2:33 p.m.
“Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by Miley Cyrus’ #VMAs performance,” tweeted E! Online.
“Do you think (Miley’s dad) Billy Ray Cyrus woke up with an achy breaky heart this morning after his little girl’s performance at the VMAs last night?” said Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelly.
Judd Apatow, posting a picture of Cyrus from her 2012 movie “So Undercover,” tweeted that he’ll “always have this version of Miley. Let’s live in the past and heal.”
Cyrus herself has been silent about her set and its overwhelming reaction, but anyone who’s paid the slightest attention to the star wouldn’t be too surprised by her routine.
Although she rose to fame on “Hannah Montana,” a role she landed at just 13, Cyrus has always had a rocky relationship with the squeaky clean image she was expected to uphold. At 15, the singer/actress came under fire after she posed topless for Vanity Fair, holding a sheet to her chest as she gazed at the camera.
The following year, Cyrus was criticized for her Teen Choice Awards performance, during which she danced atop an ice cream cart — complete with a pole — while singing her hit, “Party in the U.S.A.” The moment would infamously become known as Cyrus’ “pole dance.” She was 16.
In the days following her 18th birthday in 2010, Cyrus was subjected to more scrutiny when a video surfaced of the star smoking a bong apparently filled with salvia. The attention has only increased in the years since, as Cyrus has tried to transition from her Disney days into being a grown-up pop star, complete with an eye-catching haircut and the occasional middle finger thrown up in photographs.
While her critics have been vocal about their discomfort with her behavior, Cyrus has said that she’s simply being herself.
Speaking on her new album, “Bangerz,” to Billboard magazine, she said that she feels like “I can really be myself. ... I really have more of a connection of who I am, and I feel like I can maybe express that more in my music now.”
Basically, we’re hearing Britney Spears 2.0. The moves Madonna and Spears once performed at the VMAs are now an indelible part of pop culture history, moments that make the VMAs appointment-viewing after 29 years. (BuzzFeed, for example, has come up with an astonishing 95 reasons why the “VMAs are absolutely nothing without Britney Spears.”)
Will Cyrus’ 2013 performance receive the same fate? It’s far too early to tell. But if the legacy of the MTV VMAs is any indication, she’s going to express what she wants — whether we like it or not.
Breeanna Hare | CNN