Crash! Have you ever heard a car accident and then rushed to see what happened? You brace yourself because you know just by the sound alone the results may well be catastrophic or even fatal. Sometimes the results are not as bad as you first imagined although the scene is permanently branded in your memory and you cannot rid yourself of the picture. For me, the past month of music news feels like a massive car accident. Two major music stars complete with a large amount of negative press collided August 25, 2013 at the MTV Video Music Awards. Robin Thicke and this weeks’ featured artist Miley Cyrus gave an extremely controversial performance together to Thicke’s song Blurred Lines.
The reactions to the performance are still on the minds of many persons, just like a bad accident folks just can’t stop talking about it. Cyrus, already a lightning rod for negative press because of several changes to her image, is seemingly receiving the brunt of the criticism to date. Throughout all the criticism and angry responses I just wanted to know more about her strategy for publicity. We all understand that Miley Cyrus’ actions were deliberate and orchestrated, but also effective. Even with all the extremely negative responses Cyrus has gained much notoriety. Her new video for the song Wrecking Ball broke YouTube viewing records which have created a buzz surrounding her upcoming album Bangerz that any artist would envy.
In order to fully understand her change in image today, we must look back to her image as a teenager. Miley Cyrus found her big break as the star of her own Disney sitcom Hannah Montana. The show premiered on March 24, 2006, to the largest audience for a Disney Channel program, and quickly ranked among the highest-rated series on basic cable, elevating Cyrus’ wealth and fame. Its instant success helped propel Cyrus to teen idol status. The problem for Cyrus, and any other teen star, is that along with success comes the tag role model. For Miley Cyrus it was inevitable that she would be drafted to role model status. Her dad Billy Ray Cyrus is such a likable star and Miley appeared to have a similar personality. Of course her show aired on the Disney network which automatically labeled her family friendly. Then something happened on the way to role model pedestal; Miley grew up. Most folks seemingly forgot that the teen idol is about to turn twenty-one in November.
It appears that team Miley would like to move away from the teen star Hannah Montana image and adopt a more adult image. Why so sexually explicit? Did she have to veer away so far and so fast from the wholesome teen? Well, she might have adopted an image a little less provocative but would that be an honest depiction. Perhaps, Miley Cyrus is comfortable with her new image. This may be the adult she has grown to become and not just another character she is portraying. When Miley Cyrus finished her VMA performance it seemed that thousands of mothers voiced their displeasure. Why? Because they viewed Miley Cyrus as a role model for their children and her graphic albeit adult performance disappointed them, leaving them with what they feel is a flawed role model. I feel that adopting entertainers as role models is not a wise choice for a parent. Singers and actors, even as teenagers, cannot be held responsible for providing a proper example for your own children, especially an entertainer who has now grown to adulthood and is making adult career decisions.
Speaking of adult decisions, what are some opinions from critics and media outlets? An article published in The Hollywood Reporter described the performance as “crass” and “reminiscent of a bad acid trip”. Cyrus’ performance was described by XXL critic B. J. Steiner as a “train wreck in the classic sense of the word as the audience reaction seemed to be a mix of confusion, dismay and horror in a cocktail of embarrassment”, while the BBC said she stole the show with a “raunchy performance”.The performance also became the most tweeted about event in history, with Twitter users generating 360,000 tweets about the event per minute; breaking the previous record held by Beyonce’s Super Bowl XLVII halftime show performance six months earlier. It does not seem Miley has lost much if any of her fan base. What’s next for Miley Cyrus? Her new album Bangerz is scheduled to be released next month. We will wait and see the reception when it lands. Like her or not, Miley Cyrus has a new image. Time will tell how this new image will affect the music she makes.