By Alexandra Smith
On Aug. 25, Miley Cyrus performed at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in Brooklyn New York, which garnered 10.1 million viewers according to an Aug. 26 article on variety.com. Cyrus generated considerable media attention and public scrutiny following her performance and duet with fellow artist Robin Thicke.
According to an Aug. 27 article on post-gazette.com, Cyrus performed her hit song “We Can’t Stop,” and then “stripped off her outfit to reveal a nude bikini. She sang the first verse of Mr. Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines,’ then grinded on the R&B singer and made suggestive moves with a foam hand.” An Aug. 25 article on hollywoodreporter.com noted that “MTV also bleeped the word “molly” in her song, which is believed to be a reference to ecstasy.”
In the days following Cyrus’ performance, it seemed as if everyone had something to say about the 20-year-old recording artist. Steve Chmelar, the inventor of the foam finger, was quoted in an Aug. 28 news report on foxnews.com saying that Cyrus “took an honorable icon that is seen in sporting venues everywhere and degraded it.”
The Parents Television Council, an advocacy group that opposes explicit programming, was unimpressed by the awards show in general. Dan Isett, PTC director of public policy, was quoted in an Aug. 26 article on usatoday.com stating that MTV “once again succeeded in marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars.” The article also noted the irony in the fact that Cyrus’ father sits on PTC’s advisory board.
Actress Brooke Shields, who played Cyrus’ mother in some episodes of the Disney television show “Hannah Montana,” was quoted in an Aug. 27 article on post-gazette.com saying “I was Hannah Montana’s mom! Where did I go wrong?”
Not all reactions to Cyrus’ performance were negative. Singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake said that everyone should “let her do her thing” in an Aug. 27 article on hollywoodreporter.com. Former American Idol winner Adam Lambert had an attitude similar to Timberlake’s when he Tweeted “And listen if it wasn’t ur cup of tea— all good but why is everyone spazzing? Hey – she’s doin something right. We all talkin.”
Positive and negative reactions aside, some news outlets consider Cyrus to be the biggest winner of the VMAs even though she didn’t win any awards. An Aug. 27 article on forbes.com noted that Cyrus added 100,000 Instagram followers and received 50,000 Facebook likes within hours of the program. An Aug. 26 article on hollywoodreporter.com also pointed out that the performer’s “We Can’t Stop” and “Blurred Lines” medley garnered 306,100 Twitter mentions per minute, only slightly less than the rate of 327,452 during the 2012 presidential election.
Love her or hate her, there’s no doubt that Cyrus is being talked about in the media. If people are so upset by the attention and popularity she’s receiving from her VMA performance, they should stop giving it to her. The old saying “any publicity is good publicity” seems to be true. If people want to stop giving Cyrus “good publicity,” they shouldn’t be giving her any at all. Perhaps we ought to be more focused on the crisis in Syria than on Cyrus’ “twerking” skills.