Miley Cyrus Recreates Her Iconic Wrecking Ball Moment at the VMAs

The singer performed 'Midnight Sun' during Sunday's awards show.

No audience? No problem. Miley Cyrus blew viewers away Sunday night during the 2020 Video Music Awards  (opens in new tab)with a performance of "Midnight Sun." Despite a crowd-less audience (due to COVID-19 restrictions) the singer delivered a powerful rendition of her latest single.

The singer—who is nominated tonight for VMAs in best art direction and best editing for "Mother's Daughter"—took us back to a simpler time with her performance, recreating her iconic 2013 "Wrecking Ball" video. Clad in a slinky black sequined dress and diamond crosses and plenty of mixed metal jewels, Cyrus rocked out while flooded in red and blue lights before climbing atop a larger-than-life disco ball.

Cyrus dropped "Midnight Sky," including a self-directed, '80s-inspired, glitter-fueled music video for it, earlier this month. With lyrics like (opens in new tab), "See my lips on her mouth, everybody's talkin' now, baby / Ooh, you know it's true (Yeah, yeah) / That I was born to run, I don't belong to anyone, oh no / I don't need to be loved by you," the song seems to address the singer's very public relationships (and even more public breakups) with ex-husband Liam Hemsworth and Kaitlynn Carter.

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Upon releasing the album Cyrus also confirmed on Instagram Live (opens in new tab) that she and recent beau Cody Simpson were also taking a break. "A year ago, almost to this exact date, the media tried to tell my story for me and control my narrative, and I'm just not accepting that," she said, referring to her breakup with Hemsworth. "So today, it came out that me and my boyfriend have broken up, it was confirmed by a 'reliable source' even though no one is reliable in a relationship except the two individuals that are participating in it." She added that "two halves can't make a whole," and that she and Simpson are friends who are "just working on ourselves to become the people that we want to be."

Cyrus, 27, is no stranger to the VMAs stage. Last year, she made her first public appearance, post-divorce announcement, to perform her emotional breakup anthem "Slide Away" at MTV's award show. In 2015, Cyrus also hosted the show, and in 2014 the singer won video of the year for her hit song "Wrecking Ball." And, of course, the VMAs was the site of Cyrus's controversial 2013 performance alongside Robin Thicke. In March, the singer revealed on social media (opens in new tab) that the body shaming that occurred after that performance led her to stop wearing bikinis for almost two years.

“No one thought that that would’ve ever made me feel some type of way,” Cyrus added. “It was just really, really hurtful to be so body-shamed like that. And it really affected me in my personal life.”

She continued, "I felt like having this persona of being the most confident girl on the planet was actually kind of fraud because I was so insecure on the inside that in my personal life I wasn’t even wearing bathing suits and shorts. And when I was wearing like my little leotards and things, I had on f—ing four pairs of tights because I was so insecure."

Fans were obsessed with the performance and callback to her Bangerz daysSee the best reactions to Miley Cyrus's VMAs performance below.

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And in case you forgot about the iconic video for "Wrecking Ball" watch it below.

Neha Prakash
Neha Prakash

As Marie Claire’s Entertainment Director, Neha oversees pop culture, celebrity, and current events features with a focus on elevating diverse voices and stories in film and television. She also oversees the brand's print and digital covers as well as book and produces MC's video franchises. She loves a hot-take, hates TV reboots, and is always happy to discuss reality television. Before joining Marie Claire, she held positions at Glamour, Brides, Condé Nast, and Mashable, and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.