Some of you may have noticed a little thing called the MTV VMAs (not to be confused with the Valentina Monetta Awards) took place in the US last weekend. And you just might have heard about Miley Cyrus’ onstage antics. Might? Who am I kidding? Everyone has seen the footage. The performance created a media storm, and has fueled the tabloids and gossip sites all week. The story gained extra longevity when several organisations including the PTC and a teddy bear charity publicly criticised Miley. To be honest, I don’t see what they’re getting so worked up about. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, particularly if you’re a Eurovision fan. Because essentially Ms Cyrus is a magpie, shamelessly stealing various aspects of Eurovisions past. Don’t believe me? Let’s break her performance down into 10 key elements and you’ll see what I mean.
1. Pre-show Buzz
By the time Miley took to the stage last Sunday her performance had already been hyped up to the max, thanks largely to a very suggestive promo clip. Viewers tuned in expecting to see something controversial and they weren’t disappointed. Back in 2003 a similar buzz surrounded the Russian entry t.A.T.U. Following their global hit “All the Things She Said” and its explicit (for the time) video, which told the story of doomed lesbian lovers, audiences were expecting something big. Add in rumours of a pre-show falling out and the consensus was that we were to be treated to something verging on spectacular. In the end nothing special happened. They briefly held hands but that was all. But that didn’t matter, they still got the attention of millions.
2. Removal of Clothing
Conservative Americans looked on in horror as Miley ripped off her costume to reveal an even skimpier one beneath. Big wow! Eurovision’s being doing that for years. Since 1981 to be precise, when Bucks Fizz stormed to victory with their cheesy little ditty “Making Your Mind Up”. And in the process Bobby G and Mike Nolan ripped the skirts off Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston. Like Miley, this too brewed up quite a media frenzy.
3. Controversial Lyrics
Much criticism has been leveled at the lyrical content of the two songs Miley sang. “We Can’t Stop” makes reference to drug taking while “Blurred Lines” has been accused of promoting rape culture. Pah! She’s an amateur in comparison to Eurovison. Just take a look at the lyrics for Krista Siegfrids’ “Marry Me”. You’ll hear allusions to S&M (“I’m your slave and you’re my master”) and one night stands (“I’ll walk the walk of shame”). As if that wasn’t enough the official video makes hints at all sorts of sexual fantasies, while her Eurovision performance had a Vegas wedding and lesbian kiss. The whole thing got the poor Turks in quite a fluster.
4. Ass Action
A lot has been made of Miley’s twerking, even Morgan Freeman has spoken on the subject. Now, bum movements have been a key part of Eurovision for some time. Perhaps the best example is France’s Jessy Matador 2010 performance. It had it all – arse slapping, crotch grabbing, bum wiggling and grinding. And just like Miley, Jessy made sure the audience weren’t left out, reserving his best ass shaking efforts especially for them.
5. Inappropriate Age Difference
One factor which Miley’s detractors have particularly zoned in on is the inappropriateness of her interactions with Robin Thicke. Their issue is the age difference, Miley is 20 while Robin is 36. Really, only 16 years? In 2005 we saw the lead singer of Zdob si Zdub sing to a woman old enough to be his grandmother. And with lyrics like “You make me wanna dance, you’re a slapping queen” and “She wanna play jumparale to make you spin” it’s hard to argue the whole thing was platonic. His roar of “Lets make love” at the end confirms our suspicions.
6. Over-sized Toys
Miley had her gigantic teddy bears, we had a turkey sock puppet. And obviously a turkey in a shopping trolley is so much better than a load of bears strapped to the backs of dancers. Similarly to Miley, Dustin was also hoping to make a career outside of children’s tv, as he had been axed from “The Den” only a few months previously. And what better way then to squawk on stage as topless male dancers jump around you, while the audience barrage you with boos (the VMA audience, including One Direction and Drake, were unimpressed by Miley too).
7. Excessive Public Displays of Affection (PDAs)
It may have been very brief but Miley’s nuzzling of Robin’s neck caused uproar. Was it just kissing or was she giving him a hickey? Or was she secretly a vampire and sucking his blood? The moment lasted just seconds and was nothing compared to Birthe Wilke’s and Gustav Winckler’s kiss back in 1957. Just as the Danish duo came to the end of their earnest ballad about ships sailing they decided to kiss. And not a brief little peck on the lips. No, this was a full on snog, French style, with tongues very much included. And it goes on, and on, and on. They finally come up for air, with huge grins plastered across their faces. Obviously, since this was the 1950s, the conservatives got into a bit of a tizzy.
8. Get a Little Sexual
Sex. Everyone loves it and as the saying goes it sells. Clearly Miley knew this. Her skimpy outfits and provocative dance moves are all well and good, but where are the pole dancers, or the light up underwear? Really Miley, to be outdone in the sexy states by a band called Trackshittaz who sing about popo. You should be ashamed.
9. Get Very Sexual
Ah, but we all know that Miley didn’t give up that easy. Because when in doubt produce the … ermm … giant foam finger. Honey, is that the best you’ve got? In 2009 Ukraine’s Svetlana Loboda had giant metal wheels, ladders and near naked gladiators. And she had her wicked way with the lot of them while she sang lyrics such as “You are sexy BOM” and “I’ll show you to my nest, you’re under arrest”. And if you thought her stage show was saucy you should really check out the official video!
10. All of the Above
At this stage it’s pretty clear that Miley wasn’t that original at the VMAs after all. Although she probably should get some kudos for combing all of the above into one performance. Except the legend that is Silvia Night has already beaten her to it. Silvia literally threw everything into her effort. Costumes were ripped off and bums shaken. She made her entrance on a slide shaped like a huge high heel and played with giant candy canes. She sat atop her dancer’s bare chest holding on with only her legs. And if you look carefully you’ll even see her do a bit of tongue action to rival Miley (albeit much briefer). There may not be any overt PDAs or inappropriate age differences but I think her one-on-one conversation with God covers those two points. And as for audience anticipation, well you just need to take a look at this news-clip to see why she will live on forever in Eurovision lore. As she said herself “I’m so f**king brilliant … I’m the best thing that has happened to this f**king competition from the very beginning”. Miley you have much to learn.
Who’d have thought a competition which brought us such darling maidens as Dana and Nicole would produce such “filth”? To quote the Simpsons’ Helen Lovejoy “Won’t somebody please think of the children!”
Cover Photo: Indrek Galetin (EBU