It was the twerk seen 'round the world.
The MTV Video Music Awards bump-and-grind fest created a pop culture shock moment and will forever change the way we look at foam fingers.
But in the last few months Miley Cyrus has become a one-woman wrecking ball, crashing through what most of us think is acceptable. More proof of a child star gone off the rails? Or is it a brilliant marketing move keeping her in the spotlight?
“I really feel like things have really begun after the VMA performance,” said Cyrus in an MTV documentary released this week. "It's not a transition, it's a movement. For me, being a movement is us all being on the same page, like an army. I think if people could see the details, they would know that this isn't just some mess. This is all thought out in my mind.”
Industry insiders like Janice Min, editorial director of “The Hollywood Reporter,” call her a genius.
“Miley is going to make millions and millions of dollars off of that one VMA performance,” explained Min. “Listen, we're in an era of a government shutdown, international strife. And what are we all talking about? We're talking about Miley Cyrus and it's almost going into a full month. That is pop culture power.”
Going raunchy appears to be paying off. Her new song “Wrecking Ball” is topping the charts. But Miley has been pushing the envelope for years. At 16, she was already pole dancing on an ice cream cart at the Teen Choice Awards.
“Miley has spent the last 5 years killing the ghost of Hannah Montana,” said Min. “She is doing what any respectable young pop star is doing. She's making parents appalled. She's making parents outraged and she's making young fans love her.”
So why are we all shocked when Cyrus strips down again? After all, doesn't this happen to all child stars who want to grow up? Britney Spears infamously locked lips with Madonna. And this week Rihanna reminded us she's the baddest of them all, unveiling her video for "Pour It Up."
But seeking notoriety can be like a runaway train. You have to be careful that it doesn't go off the rails.
“Miley Cyrus is no Lindsay Lohan,” said Min. “Anyone who thinks she's a train wreck is very wrong. This is a young woman who is completely in control of her career. She knows what she is doing.”