Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance has the interwebs abuzz. BuzzFeed had the Will Smith family’s reaction gif up before I’d gotten home from the Barclays Center last night. Now they’ve followed that up with “15 Weirdest and Craziest Moments from Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance.”
CNN's entire VMA section is entitled “Miley Cyrus and the VMAs.” As if, you know, the rest of the VMAs were just a second act in Miley's first. ”Whoa. She did what???” they proclaim underneath that headline.
Think about how many clicks that got.
I’ve seen friends post online about how “scandalized” they are:
"She touched herself!"
"That kind of behavior belongs in the bedroom!"
To these scandalized viewers I have this to say: take out those internet / TV viewer lenses for a second. Let’s talk about PR and dollar dollar bills.
So far, ”We Can’t Stop" has sold over 1.2 million copies in the United States alone since its release on June 3, 2013. According to Billboard, “No video has gained 100 million VEVO views faster than the pop singer’s latest visual.” (It’s now at 157,512,468 views, in case you are wondering - that’s roughly 57.5 million more views since July 29).
There are a lot of people who think Miley has gone off the rails. Let’s contrast that quickly against the behavior of other starlets who undeniably have had issues:
Unlike Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes, Miley has a song at the top of the charts, looks like she’s in pretty good shape, hasn’t recently been arrested, thrown a bong out the window, been to rehab, or quit singing or acting. Maybe she takes it too far sometimes, but no further than Madonna rolling around in front of a wedding cake and humping a bridal veil with a self-proclaiming ‘boy toy’ sign on her belt. Most of this looks to be part of her ‘branding’ rather than an actual relocation to Crazytown, USA.
Someone who is legitimately suffering from a mental illness wouldn’t have the capacity to keep a song at the top of the charts, let alone launch an album in the coming months.
To me, it sounds like Miley is doing pretty well with this new “bad girl” image. And with a fourth album due out this Fall, she’s playing it up - and succeeding. Her personal brand (“branded content” if you will) is ubiquitous. She’s already basically eclipsed the rest of the VMAs, according to CNN.
To my scandalized friends, I hear you. The performance was crazy and weird. If you felt a little shocked, then I think Miley did exactly what she came to the VMAs to do. She’s a media maven and her net worth is about to be a lot more than 120 million.
I, for one, am wondering when people are going to start talking about NSync’s rather lackluster performance or Lady Gaga’s 'Birth of Venus' thong.