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Miley Cyrus performed at the VMAs on Sunday night, and the world can’t seem to stop talking about it. Most controversies leave the world shocked for a day or two and then everyone moves on. But this time, it’s days later and here we still are. (With articles like this to blame, but that’s beside the point).
What was it about this particular performance that has left everyone talking about it? Miley wasn’t the first to shock the audience at a VMA show. Even Justin Timberlake mentioned as much to Rolling Stone.
"It's the VMAs. You know what I mean, like, it's not the Grammys," he said. "We're talking about Madonna in a wedding dress humping the stage, we're talking about Britney doing a striptease. This cycle is not uncommon."
But, I’ve done my best to look over this performance and figure out why Miley is getting such a hard time, and here is what I came up with.
1. The world is having a hard time adjusting to Miley Cyrus growing up.
She isn’t Hannah Montana anymore, and she wants us to know it. This is particularly hard for parents to understand. They once saw this girl as a performer on a children’s show and now she is all grown up shaking it onstage.
It was easier for people to watch Britney do a strip tease at the VMAs because, as an artist, she wasn’t introduced with a squeaky clean image. Though she did work on The Mickey Mouse Club early in her career, it’s not what she became known for. Her first single was “Baby One More Time…” and the music video featured her dressed like a sexy schoolgirl.
2. The performance wasn’t done in an artful taste.
It truly was not a great performance. Even without all the criticism for her dancing and foam finger and such, she can and has done better. She sounded pitchy and the choreography didn’t look rehearsed. It was a mess. People have an easier time looking past sexual innuendos for an amazing performance, but this just wasn’t one so her sticking her tongue out and twerking all over the place just gave people something to talk about. While she definitely looked like she was having fun, it just wasn’t something that looked on-point.
3. People love to hate on Disney Stars.
They really do. This is an opinion obviously, but just look online at all the hate that Miley, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, the Jonas Brothers and stars similar to them get. It's the same idea as preschoolers making fun of Barney. They get older and move on to the next big thing.
But in Miley’s case, people just have a hard time seeing a Disney Channel celeb shed that persona and move on. No one is used to seeing Hannah Montana in a nude bikini. Personally, I don’t think the outfit deserved backlash. While I can understand parents being upset seeing Miley touch herself and a grown man with a foam finger, her outfit was relatively modest. Lady Gaga wore a thong, a literal thong onstage and there isn’t nearly as much criticism being thrown her way.
4. Sex sells.
And while that makes some people mad, Miley capitalized on it.
Smilers! My VMA performance had 306.000 tweets per minute. That's more than the blackout or Superbowl! #fact.
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) August 26, 2013
5. Miley loves the shock factor.
This isn’t the first time Cyrus has shocked the world. Whether it’s her shaving her head, making a surprise YouTube video of herself doing the “Wop” or anything else, she knows how to push the envelope. We live in an age where the shock factor draws people in. I mean look how much attention she has gotten from this performance. So if that’s what she wants, and dancing onstage with foam fingers and teddy bears will give it to her, that’s what she is going to do.
Timberlake added in his interview with Rolling Stone, "If something like that doesn't happen at the VMAs, I feel like it was boring.”
And while people may call Miley’s performance many things, no one can call it boring.