Miley Cyrus took the stage at the VMAs on Sunday night and gave a performance that was so embarrassing, I was uncomfortable FOR her. (And since I soak in celebrity news, my bar for something like that is pretty damned high.)
But a little perspective, please. She’s not the first marginally talented star to humiliate herself in public and she won’t be the last. Everyone screaming about how Miley will be the downfall of Western civilization either has a super short memory or simply assigns too much power to half-naked little girls who desperately want someone to think they’re all grown up now.
And speaking of such … in the coverage I’ve read, more than one writer has name-checked Britney Spears and her smokin’ performance at the 2000 VMAs. And yeah, there are some similarities. Brit was almost 20, Miley’s 20. Both had to bust outta the Disney princess thing. And so on. But if you watch their respective performances, they are WORLDS apart.
Britney, for all the emotional problems that would follow, owned her on-stage sexuality. Possessed it. Attached strings to it and made it dance — and it danced its ASS off. Spears, like many pretty pop stars of the 2000sies, has limited vocal gifts. But who cares when she can move like that?
(Brief aside: I saw Janet Jackson during her Rhythm Nation tour in 1990 and was astonished how many people were disappointed she lip-synced some of the show. Dude. If you went to a Janet Jackson show for the vocals, YOU MISSED THE POINT.)
Miley, on the other hand, showed no such physical prowess on Sunday night. That wasn’t dancing. It wasn’t sexy. It was only meant to get attention. She might as well have just come out, flipped the audience off and pooped right there on stage. End result would’ve been roughly the same: shock and awe and half the talking heads on TV hysterically predicting the imminent arrival of the apocalypse.
Stop it already. What we saw was just a little girl who doesn’t know what sexy is because she doesn’t yet possess the nuance required to properly express it, so she did the most cliched shit possible — she wore very little, did a bunch of pelvic thrusts, and wiggled her ass in everyone’s faces. LOOK AT ME BEING SEXY. LOOK! I MADE IT SUPER OBVIOUS SO YOU WOULDN’T MISS IT.
Think about a toddler who plays dress-up with mommy’s clothes and shoes and make-up, clopping around the house in too-big high heels and smeared red lipstick. That’s what I saw when I watched Miley. (Except toddlers are often cute and don’t, you know, reek of desperation. Or try to be a race they aren’t.)
Anyway, watch Britney’s performance and then watch Miley’s. Pretty sure you’ll see what I’m saying.