Miley Cyrus is controversial, talented, and, quite honestly, fun—albeit with a current hypersexual persona that can verge on the bizarre. I’ve always applauded her individuality, but I was on the fence about the infamous pop star–until her Bangerz tour came to St. Paul last night.
The crowd at the Xcel Energy Center was a mix of adolescents in sparkles and feather boas, women who grew up with the more innocent Hannah Montana, and even a sprinkling of middle-aged men.
Cyrus entered the stage as only she could—by sliding down a giant replica of her notorious tongue protruding from an image of her face on the big screen.
And as promised, the 21-year-old delivered “the best f-ing party” to the sold-out crowd. For nearly two hours, Cyrus danced with life-sized neon animals and her 6-foot-7 backup twerker Amazon Ashley, fondled a little person, romped around in bed, and spit water on her fans.
As a college student who grew up in a generation of Britneys and Christinas, I’m fairly desensitized to sexual images and innuendoes. But more than once, I found myself—eyes wide, jaw dropped—feeling embarrassed for the teens in the audience who came with their mothers.
During “Love, Money, Party,” Cyrus emerged in a high-cut leotard covered in bejeweled marijuana leaves. As money flew in the air and a life-sized bobble head danced around her, Cyrus sang on top of a car and then quite literally rode it—just not in the way we generally think a car is meant to be ridden.
For her ballad, “Adore You,” a kiss cam emerged on the big screen, and Cyrus instructed the crowd to “get dirty” and make out with the person next to them. Sweaty, regrettable chaos ensued.
With all of her antics, though, it’s easy to forget that Cyrus is not only a shocking entertainer, but she’s also a shockingly good singer.
Even in shaky health, her voice was impressive. (Cyrus greeted the crowd by saying, “I’m feeling a little bit sick tonight. I’m going to need you guys to give me even more energy,” after she’d tweeted about a sore throat that morning.)
Near the end of the show, Cyrus slowed it down with renditions of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness,” and her godmother Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
Cyrus’s Bangerz tour seemed like a giant thumbed nose to the controversy. By putting on a uniquely entertaining show with such great vocals, Cyrus proved that there’s a purpose to her chaotic lifestyle. Yes, she plays hard, but she works hard, too. For Miley, life’s a party, and everyone’s invited.