Want to be Mi­ley Cyrus’s best friend? Well, get back, Louise Bru­ton was there first,

There’s a fine line be­tween su­per­fan and stalker, but when it comes to Mi­ley Cyrus, is ready to cross it

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FRONT PAGE - Louise Bru­ton

She’d bet­ter not bail. I’ll be fu­ri­ous if she can­cels. No, I’m not talk­ing about a flaky best friend, I am talk­ing about in­ter­na­tional pop star and twerk­ing de­viant Mi­ley Cyrus, who is bring­ing her sold-out Bangerz tour to Ire­land next week. The divil can­celled a num­ber of US tour dates due to an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to an­tibi­otics and as a re­sult left a large por­tion of her Euro­pean fans, aka The Smil­ers, bit­ing their nails and wail­ing “me nerves!”.

Since the dawn of time, Mi­leys have been at the cen­tre of con­tro­versy, from rolling in the hay with Fidelma in Glen­roe (ask your nan/mam/ aun­tie) to grind­ing on Robin Thicke at the VMAs. How­ever, young Cyrus, the Mar­mite of the mu­sic world, used her scan­dals to shoe­horn her name into ev­ery house­hold with an in­ter­net con­nec­tion. Mi­ley has ex­posed her­self a lot in the past year, fig­u­ra­tively and lit­er­ally. So why am I still wait­ing for more at her show in the O2?

There have been zil­lions of think-pieces out­lin­ing her con­tri­bu­tion to/de­struc­tion of fem­i­nism, mu­sic and hu­mankind, many telling me why I re­ally shouldn’t like her. But I can’t help it. I ad­mire Mi­ley’s chutz­pah and I’m sure, given half the chance, we could be­come BFFs.

As Dolly Par­ton’s god­daugh­ter and Mr Achy Breaky Heart’s daugh­ter, coun­try mu­sic is in Mi­ley Cyrus’s blood and, damn, she can re­ally sing. This de­tail was of­ten missed when she was singing the awe­some Party in the USA or the Jonas Brother-jeer­ing 7 Things. Wwith all of the shock tac­tics she has used in the past year, you can of­ten for­get that there is a tal­ented per­former be­hind that twerk­ing arse.

One quick Youtube search will bring you to Mi­ley’s Back­yard Ses­sions. They fea­ture Mi­ley singing in her gar­den with just a mi­cro­phone and a blue­grass band, and you re­alise that her grav­elly voice is the rea­son why we should be pay­ing any at­ten­tion at all. Mi­ley can make Dolly’s Jo­lene sound like her own cre­ation or bring added heartache to the al­ready dev­as­tat­ing Lilac Wine, made fa­mous by Eartha Kitt, Nina Si­mone and Jeff Buck­ley.

In­stead of us­ing her ton­sils to deliver a bal­lad-heavy al­bum that Adele could re­lease or bat­tling with Tay­lor Swift in the genre of coun­try pop, Mi­ley un­hinged her jaw like a cobra, stuck out her tongue and had fun with her mu­sic. Luck­ily for her, the gam­ble paid off and Bangerz – a bizarre yet won­der­ful hy­brid of pop and hip-hop – went straight to the top of the charts and spawned two num­ber one hits, We Can’t Stop and Wreck­ing Ball, that de­fined the pop cul­ture we con­sumed in 2013.

Ob­vi­ously her risky gam­ble in­volved a game of strip poker which en­sured that Mi­ley’s left and right arse cheeks are now celebri­ties in their own right. Her fond­ness for semi-nu­dity of­ten dis­tracts from the fact that she can re­ally sing. Dozens of other pop stars dis­play their rumps ’n’ bumps in or­der to hide their lack of talent. Not Mi­ley.

Of her in­fa­mous VMA per­for­mance, she said: “I wasn’t try­ing to be sexy. If I was try­ing to be sexy, I could have been sexy. I can dance a lot bet­ter than I was dancing.”

Mi­ley is a grad­u­ate of the Mickey Mouse Club. Other no­table grad­u­ates in­clude Brit­ney Spears, Justin Tim­ber­lake and Ryan Gosling. If there is one thing that they can do, it’s “sexy”. As a teenager, Cyrus’s mu­sic videos were geared at tweens and played off her role on the Dis­ney Chan­nel’s Han­nah Mon­tana, but as she – and her fans – grew older, her videos skipped straight to raunchy.

While us plebs cel­e­brate our adult­hood by go­ing to col­lege or learn­ing how to drive, pop stars – who al­ready have ev­ery­thing – link their artis­tic ma­tu­rity to ex­treme sex­ual ex­pres­sion. The likes of Rolling Stone cel­e­brated both Lind­say Lo­han and Justin Bieber’s 18th birth­days with “Hot, Ready and Le­gal” head­lines, and it’s al­most ex­pected that pop stars shed an item of cloth­ing for ev­ery year they’ve been on earth.

We have seen vir­tu­ally ev­ery ori­fice of Ri­hanna, ev­ery curve of Shakira and ev­ery sex­ual de­sire of Bey­oncé, so why are we so of­fended by this young wan leap­ing about like a scant­ily clad tod­dler on Skit­tles? In­stead of do­ing FHM sexy, she chooses to go all out with legs flail­ing and em­bod­ies the at­ti­tude of Cyndi Lau­per on Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Her sexy isn’t for men, it’s for her.

Cyrus’s Bangerz tour – named af­ter Su­perquinn sausages – par­al­lels the crit­i­cism she gets on­line. She pokes fun at her wag­ging tongue and at the ruckus she causes when­ever an inch of flesh is re­vealed. With fly­ing hot­dogs, Abra­ham Lin­coln and an ar­ray of cartoon an­i­mals (de­signed by Ren and Stimpy cre­ator John Kric­falusi), ev­ery show is gif-wor­thy.

Sure, the wild child schtick can be a bit tire­some, but it is also clever, con­trolled con­tro­versy. Al­though her In­sta­gram feed boasts a love of the sweet Mary Jane and there was a brief le­gal-high scan­dal when she was 18, the con­tro­versy that has sur­rounded Mi­ley in re­cent years is mainly a re­sult of what she has done on­stage, not off it. As less of her pri­vate life is re­vealed, she puts more into her ca­reer. And as her best friend, Les­lie (soon to be re­placed by me), once sagely said: “She’s just be­ing Mi­ley.”

Mi­ley Cyrus’s Bangerz tour hits Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on Mon­day, May 19th, and Dublin’s O2 on, Tues­day, May 20th

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