What happened with Miley Cyrus at the VMAs?

If you tuned in to see more of Miley Cyrus’ boobs at the 2014 VMA Award show, you got the shock of your life – and probably felt a little bad about your obsession with that young woman’s body. After all, just how old is Miley Cyrus anyway?

For someone who was born in 1992 and only released her debut album in 2007, she has captured the world’s attention. In 2013, she took away everyone’s breath was a surprisingly raunchy performance with the then king of the waves, Robin Thicke.

From there she bared more and more with videos that toed the line between music and adult entertainment; so expectations were high for antics when the 2014 Miley Cyrus VMA appearance was announced.

What was the deal with that man?

Miley won an award, but it was accepted by a young man named Jesse Helt. Helt was not only young and very photogenic; he was also homeless and accepted the award on her behalf while delivering a small awareness speech about homeless youth. Fans cheered, critics jeered, and hundreds of men who shouldn’t be looking at someone so young with less than musical thoughts in their head felt chagrined.

And then the sordid surprise

Unfortunately, that young and photogenic homeless man happened to have an arrest warrant out for him. He turned himself in, and the media quickly tracked down his mother in Oregon who outlined his “homeless plight” as being more of a self-serving failure to launch a career as an actor and model. Now everyone is confused. Is America’s sweet Hannah Montana now a rabid twerking, pot smoking singer with a penchant for sob stories she doesn’t check out?

Miley With Jesse Helt

Understanding Miley

Miley Cyrus was born in 1992. She came to everyone’s attention as the star of the Disney show, Hannah Montana. Miley also became a star of the bubble gum pop crowd and her image was one of wholesome sweetness. She had just enough edge as the daughter of country rocker Billy Ray Cyrus to make everything about her goodness feel like it was only a matter of time before it wasshed like an old skin.

That shedding happened right before she came of age. She signed a new record deal and launched a career as a pop star. It has been debated how much of the sudden availability of Miley Cyrus sexy pictures stemmed from her “getting sexy” and how much came from a very coldly calculated marketing strategy to break free of the Disney mold and to create an audience that would expect more from her.

The Miley Cyrus 2013 Show

It may have been known as the VMAs, but it will be forever remembered as the show where Miley Cyrus pantomimed fellatio and other sex acts on stage in a nude bodysuit with Robin Thicke, all under the artistic expression of “twerking.” It is rare in this day and age that the onstage antics of any female performer really cause a controversy, but Miley found a way.

Miley Cyrus At VMAS

It revealed the extent to which it is acceptable for a women to be passively sexual on stage – see Rihanna – but to be aggressively sexual was a taboo area still. The reaction was so strong that people started tuning in to see what she would do next. There was half an expectation that what we were witnessing – graced with boobs and thighs – was yet another breakdown a la Brittney Spears or Amanda Bynes.

The other half of the crowd was just hoping that Miley had escaped the Disney curse and was breaking free to shake her natural talents, while producing and performing some of the top songs of the year.

When things got serious

While the Miley Cyrus VMA performance caught everyone’s attention, the songs she was recording were doing the same thing. 2013 saw her produce such hits as Get it Right, Drive and FU challenged her bubblegum image, but also revealed a talent that most people didn’t realize came with the pretty package. It was the Miley Cyrus songs and videos from her hit album Wrecking Ball that really got things going.

Not only was she firmly established as the inheritor of Britney Spears role as Pop Queen, but she had managed to tick off all the right people. You couldn’t ask for better publicity that to have Sinead O’Connor write a public letter telling you to basically put your pants back on.

The World Miley will Conquer

What O’Connor and many of the critics of the raunchy performance style Miley crashed into our adult consciousness have missed is that the world she is performing in is far different from their heyday. Social media and the immediacy of the Internet, plus the constant bombardment of infotainment, make it hard to create an impact with audiences.

Miley and her crew have created a strategy that is more complicated than first appears. While you may have been distracted by her fellating a sledgehammer, she also had your attention when she talked about legalizing marijuana and then allowed a homeless man to deliver an awareness speech as he accepted her award.

Life isn’t perfect, and that is how it is supposed to be

That Jesse Helt is now in jail really doesn’t diminish the impact Miley had with the choice of having him accept her award. She is brilliantly bringing together awareness and entertainment without a visible agenda. She isn’t following the ham-handed awareness tactics of Bono; she is making sure that you never know what you will get when you tune in to see a Miley Cyrus VMA appearance.

One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t discount the plans and logic of someone raised in an entertainment family who spent her childhood working for the largest and most successful entertainment company in the world. Whatever Miley has up her sleeve you can bet it will keep you on your toes, while keeping you coming back to follow her in whatever direction she goes.