Surprise, All You Naysayers: Miley Cyrus Really Can Sing

Wendy Geller
Maximum Performance

Say the name "Miley Cyrus" and what comes to mind? If you're like 99% of most people, it's probably "tongues" or "twerk" or "teddy bears." The young pop singer, who has come under fire for her increasingly wanton public performances -- which peaked with her infamous 2013 VMAs appearance and hasn't abated with her nudity-inclusive video for latest single "Wrecking Ball" -- has unfortunately covered up something that has been woefully ignored in the wake of all the chatter about her antics.

That is: The girl has serious talent.

Cyrus seemed on a mission to prove this Saturday night at the 2013 iHeartRadio Music Festival. Sure, she did choose to show up in an eyebrow-raising see-through outfit which revealed most of her figure, consisting of a white fishnet minidress, black pasties, and what appeared to be black-and-white bikini bottoms underneath. And she did greenlight a stage set with rainbows, mushrooms, and dancing little people. Oh yes, and she sang into a banana-shaped microphone.

However, aside from those details, the singer's most shocking move was her admirably restrained set. This included the surprise inclusion of "Look What They've Done to My Song," a 1972 Melanie Safka tune she covered last year as part of a "Backyard Sessions" project filmed without much fanfare or promotion, as well as a jaw-dropping, emotion-packed, and banana-mic-free delivery of "Wrecking Ball."

Reaction from viewers at Las Vegas's MGM Grand Garden Arena proved aghast at the singer's talent, while Twitter exploded with a mixed bag of comments -- some discussing the revealing outfit, but many praising her heartfelt delivery.

Cyrus actually has shown over and over that she has the vocal chops to hang with the best of them -- we just haven't been paying attention, for the most part. To wit, a minor viral wave occurred around her pre-haircut, pre-foam finger "Backyard Sessions," which in addition to the Safka cover included a particularly stunning version of her godmother Dolly Parton's classic "Jolene." (Cyrus infamously denounced country music as "contrived" back in 2010, which of course is such sweet irony.)

Combine this with her years of solid (yes) work as an actor, and one is left scratching one's head yet again at what malicious imp has tampered with Cyrus to cause her to take the route she has chosen.

Ultimately, however, we'll leave it up to you. Were you surprised by Miley's performance at the iHeartRadio Music Festival? Be sure to let us know your thoughts.