Miley Cyrus' VMAs Performance Is Causing Quite The Stir

The MTV Video Music Awards are always a chance for artists to push the limits and the 2020 ceremony was no different. While it was a little more tame than in past years, due to being broadcast in accordance with social-distancing protocol for COVID-19, there were still some iconic moments. One of those moments was most definitely Miley Cyrus' 2020 VMAs performance of "Midnight Sky," which she performed solo in front of a simple set. But it was the simplicity, and a callback to her "Wrecking Ball" days, that made Cyrus's VMAs performance so epic and talked-about. 

Cyrus did not come to play at the 2020 VMAs either. She arrived on the socially distanced red carpet with a retro shaggy haircut, a bold red lip, and donning a sheer, rhinestoned Mugler dress, per Vogue. It was a vibe that she would carry over into the first live performance of "Midnight Sky" ever later that night. 

Miley Cyrus has a long history with the VMAs

Miley Cyrus has been a staple at the MTV VMAs since she was first nominated for Best New Artist in 2008. Despite being nominated for Best Pop Video and Song of the Summer, among other awards, for "We Can't Stop" in 2013, she hasn't actually won at the award show too many times. Her first win ever at the VMAs was when "Wrecking Ball" won for Video of the Year in 2014, and Cyrus definitely didn't forget that when she was planning her performance of "Midnight Sky."

This year, that single was nominated for Song of the Summer, and another single, "Mother's Daughter" — which was also nominated for Song of the Summer last year (yes, it's confusing) — took home the award for Best Editing and Best Art Direction. Cyrus also hosted the show in 2015 and has performed at the VMAs five times, including this year. Last year, she debuted her single "Slide Away" at the show, just after her split from her ex-husband, Liam Hemsworth, per People.

But Cyrus' performance of the song "Midnight Sky," which she released in mid-August 2020 after announcing her breakup from Cody Simpson, will certainly be one that everyone remembers. 

Fans loved Miley Cyrus' 2020 VMAs performance

Miley Cyrus self-directed the actual music video for "Midnight Sky," the first single off her next album, She Is Miley Cyrus, which has no release date yet, per People. The video was released just weeks before the 2020 MTV VMAs, so the performance was all the more impactful with its newness. Cyrus opened the performance singing in a slinky dress and stilettos in the dark, with a white light behind her, reminiscent of the moon. As she sang, the lighting changed from white, to blue, and to red, with closeups of Cyrus. There really wasn't that much to it, but with Cyrus' vocals, it was hard to not be captivated by the pared-down performance. 

Of course, this is Miley Cyrus we're talking about and "pared-down" never really lasts all that long. At the end of the performance, the lighting changed back to black, and when the lights came back on, a staircase and a massive sparkly disco ball appeared onstage. She ripped off her skirt to reveal a bikini bottom and hopped on the disco ball to finish out the song, a nod to her iconic music video for "Wrecking Ball" in which she rides a wrecking ball all but naked. 

People loved the performance on Twitter. One fan wrote that she "absolutely killed" her performance; another tweeted, "STOP SLEEPING ON MILEY CYRUS! SHE'S AN ICON!" That pretty much sums up the majority of the reactions to Cyrus' VMAs performance on social media.

Miley Cyrus says 'Midnight Sky' is about independence

If there is one word to describe Miley Cyrus' 2020 MTV VMAs performance and her new, punk-rock-y mullet look, it's fierce. Which seems to be the vibe Cyrus is going for these days. In mid-August 2020, she told SiriusXM's The Morning Mash-Up (via Billboard) that "Midnight Sky" is all about finding personal independence.

"I think we're kind of set up for devastation — in that, from the time we're little kids, we're taught to claim other humans as our best friends forever," Cyrus said. "And you just don't know who you're going to be sitting with here right now. You never know who you're going to evolve to be and who they're going to evolve to be. So I think that we, especially as women in relationships, a lot of the time we can get villainized when 'forever' doesn't happen." 

If the song is about personal independence, the powerful VMAs performance of "Midnight Sky" and its callback to her hit video "Wrecking Ball" are right in line with that. Who knows what Cyrus will think of next?