"Me and Robin [Thicke,] the whole time said, 'You know we're about to make history right now.'"
In an exclusive clip provided to MTV News by a crew filming a previously announced documentary, Miley Cyrus has addressed, for the first time, reaction to her performance at last Sunday's Video Music Awards.
Cyrus had one goal in mind when she agreed to perform: to give folks something to talk about... not just now, but for years to come.
And so far, it looks like she's accomplished that goal. In the days since the VMAs, her daring performance of "We Can't Stop" has dominated discussion. It's been subject to criticisms and critiques, called "hyper-sexualized," "the nadir of American Civilization," "an exaggerated spectacle meant to subvert pop-culture sexism," and just about everything in between.
Yet, it also drew praise for embodying the signature style and swagger of the VMAs, and for boldly going to places pop has rarely dared. It was a polarizing performance, one that made parents nervous and had pundits' pulses pounding ... yet, also thrilled her fans, inspired no shortage of memorable memes and bested Beyonce's Super Bowl mark for most tweets per minute.
In short, it became a moment, one that instantly told you which side of the generational divide you stood on.
And because of that, "We Can't Stop" may very well be on its way to joining the ranks of other VMA performances that touched nerves, rankled reactionaries and have come to define a time and place in pop: Think Madonna's iconic "Like A Virgin" or Britney's "Oops ... I Did It Again," performances that were strident, defiant and certainly scandalous in context.
But while those stars learned there was a price that came with provocation, Miley isn't about to back down. She did what she came to do, nailed it, and feels great about it.
"What's amazing is I think now, we're three days later and people are still talking about it. They're over thinking it," she says. "You're thinking about it more than I thought about it when I did it. Like, I didn't even think about it 'cause that's just me."
And, to that point, Cyrus isn't going to let her detractors hold her back. She's doing things her way, defining her career on her own terms. After all, though she may be just 20 years old, she certainly knows a thing or two about pop history.
"I don't pay attention to the negative because I've seen this play out so many times," Miley asks, "How many times have we seen this play out in pop music?"
"Madonna's done it. Britney's done it. Every VMA performance, that's what you're looking for; you're wanting to make history."