Miley’s Tongue Is Misunderstood, Says The Mind Behind Her VMA Performance

Director Diane Martel tells MTV News why she's so surprised by the jaw-dropped reaction to Miley's performance.

In the days since Miley Cyrus took over the Barclays Center for her twerk-filled “We Can’t Stop” performance at the Video Music Awards on Sunday, it seems everyone, from fans to celebrities, like Anderson Cooper and Adam Lambert, has had something to say about it.

The performance’s creative director, Diane Martel — the woman behind the VMA-nominated videos for “We Can’t Stop” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” — opened up to MTV News about some of the performance’s more shocking moments.

When MTV News spoke to Miley during the VMA pre-show, she promised a VMA moment “crazier” than the iconic Britney/Madonna kiss , and it seems she delivered. Martel said that after she suggested Miley walk out of a giant bear, producer Mike Will Made It wanted to bring the video’s bear dancers to the stage and “the rest is history.”

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“Miley had ideas about how she wanted to perform; she was excited to play it mega-campy style,” Martel said. “For ‘Blurred Lines’ I decided to use the [foam] finger and she took it and ran with it. She’s into being over the top right now and I’m right there with her.”

Days before her performance, Miley told us she was excited to link up with Martel again for the VMAs, especially because the Brooklyn native could bring East Coast swag to the L.A. “We Can’t Stop” party.

“It’s going to be awesome because she’s from Brooklyn so, it’s gonna be sick to be here on her turf. We made it look like an L.A. party and now just being her in New York with her… it’s gonna be fun.”

And for anyone who was offended by Miley’s constant tongue-wagging, Martel explained that it was never meant to be shocking.

“And for the geriatric crew, the tongue out is not sexual,” she said. “It’s selfie code. It’s mocking ‘pretty.’ It’s not for your gaze. It’s for a young audience’s gaze. There seems to be an enormous generation gap.”

The buzzed-about performance has certainly received its criticism, which Martel thinks is undeserved, it’s also been praised by fellow VMA performer Justin Timberlake .

“I am shocked by their shock,” Martel said. “I think there is other news we should be focusing on … Syria? Egypt? Not a 20-year-old girl wilding out in a campy rendition of her #1 song and Robin’s #1 song. At the heart of this noise, you have a young lady playing with a performance.”