Miley Cyrus Broke Down While Performing 'Wrecking Ball' at the Super Bowl

She also threw it back by belting out "The Climb."

miley cyrus super bowl
(Image credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez)

If you really think about it, Miley Cyrus is the ideal Super Bowl performer: The annual event is quite literally the nation's biggest party in the U.S.A., both teams have to overcome a truly taxing climb as they battle it out for the Lombardi trophy, and, more often than not, the game's MVP bursts onto the field with the speed and intensity of—say it with me—a wrecking ball. Fortunately for us all, the pop star finally fulfilled her destiny by performing at the TikTok Tailgate before Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 7.

Cyrus' show-stopping performance took place in front of a crowd of 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers. She wore a black leather cheerleading outfit and matching knee pads decorated with metallic magenta highlights and silver studs, and emblazoned with "FTW."

Her setlist ranged far and wide, from past singles like "The Climb," "Party in the U.S.A.," and "We Can't Stop," to "High" and "Edge of Midnight" from her most recent album, Plastic Hearts. She also showed off her cover skills by taking on her godmother Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Blondie's "Heart of Glass," and Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole," then brought out Billy Idol and Joan Jett to duet with her on some of their own hits, including "White Wedding" and "Bad Reputation."

Though the performance was full of Cyrus' signature unstoppable energy, it did take an emotional turn while she belted out "Wrecking Ball." Afterwards, per People, she attributed her tears to her habit of wearing her heart on her sleeve. "Singing that song, 'Wrecking Ball,' about feeling completely broken and shattered...everyone's suffering is different," she said. "I wear a lot of glitter and I wear a lot of armor, and I also wear my heart on my sleeve, and it gets broken a lot."

On a happier note, here's her performance of that great American classic, "The Climb." You're welcome.

Andrea Park

Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.