By Lauren Rearick
For one brief moment, Miley Cyrus took the audience of the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards on a trip through time. Performing her latest track, “Midnight Sky,” live for the first time, Cyrus took a cue from the single’s vintage-inspired visuals, incorporating elements of disco and dance into her VMAs return.
In the feverish performance, Cyrus wore a shimming black dress with a slit up the thigh and accessorized with a huge chain holding a silver cross pendant. She stood in front of a circle of white light that flashed in time with her music. Throughout the delivery, the cherry-red circle below Cyrus grew bigger and brighter, rising in intensity with the track. Just as the song started to conclude, Cyrus climbed a set of stars, floating away on a disco wrecking ball, which stood as an obvious reference to her 2013 single, “Wrecking Ball.”
Prior to tonight’s performance, Cyrus had teased followers with a few social media posts from her VMA rehearsals. One photo had the singer posing in a room lit by blue light, her face covered with a mask. In a second image, which proved to be a pretty good indication of what Sunday’s performance would include, her silhouette, which showed her holding a microphone, was the only thing visible against an entirely dark backdrop.
In a previous Billboard interview, the former Disney Channel star had revealed that “Midnight Sky,” themed around the idea of finding personal independence, was inspired by the concept of eternity. “I think we're kind of set up for devastation — in that, from the time we're little kids, we're taught to claim other humans as our best friends forever. And you just don't know who you're going to be sitting with here right now. You never know who you're going to evolve to be and who they're going to evolve to be. So I think that we, especially as women in relationships, a lot of the time we can get villainized when 'forever' doesn't happen,” she said.
This definitely wasn’t the first time Cyrus made major headlines at the VMAs. She served as host of the ceremony back in 2015, and last year, she delivered a stunning and emotional performance of “Slide Away.”
The 2020 VMAs have kicked off across MTV's linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find the complete winners list here and everything else you need to know at vma.mtv.com.