When you heard the name Miley Cyrus, it used to conjure images of a smiling teenager who made a name for herself playing a secret superstar on the Disney channel, and whose biggest offense was moving her hips like yeah. Fast forward to 2013, and the Miley Cyrus you knew and loved has transformed into a twerking, smoking, wrecking-ball-riding pop phenomenon — and though she's still got that gorgeous smile, it's usually accompanied by a gold grill. Much has been made of Miley's recent exploits — a raunchy MTV VMAs performance, a stripped-down music video, and, most recently, a crop of rather risqué Terry Richardson photos — and the country seems to have fallen into two camps: those who miss the old Miley, and those who love her even more.
Throughout all of the Miley mayhem, even some of her fellow celebrities have come out to defend her new image. Industry fixtures like Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and Britney Spears (who contributed to Miley's new album, Bangerz) have all spoken out in support of her current path, while other stars (Sinead O'Connor chief among them) have blasted Miley's public persona as "shocking," "tacky," and "highly styled pornography." We've listed some of the more noteworthy reactions to Miley Cyrus's self-proclaimed "movement" and are tallying up which celebs are on her side, and which are just not having it — plus one star who seems to be on the fence. See her celebrity scorecard after the break.
Part of the Movement
- Justin Timberlake: After Miley's now-infamous VMAs performance, Justin defended her onstage antics and even compared her to Madonna and Britney Spears, adding, "Listen man, you know, it's the VMAs. What did you guys expect? I like Miley. I like her a lot. I think, you know, she's young. She's letting everyone know that she's growing up. I just think it's the VMAs. It's not like she did it at the Grammys. Let her do her thing. You know?"
- Britney Spears: When asked about the VMAs uproar, Britney told reporters, "I think anytime you do a performance that is that memorable, you're going to have criticism. I think she's doing her thing. She's being herself, so I give props to her."
- Demi Lovato: Earlier this year, the former Disney channel star revealed that she warned her pal about partying too much, but overall, Demi seems to have nothing but good things to say about Miley's new image. In a recent interview, Demi said, "She's doing what she wants to do and this is her time to break out and figure out, you know, what she wants to do in her career and her image and everything. I'm happy seeing her happy because I love her so much. And, you know, she doesn't care what people think, nor should she."
- Pharrell Williams: The music producer appeared in the MTV documentary Miley Cyrus: The Movement, and said about his friend and collaborator, "You have to remember this a 20-year-old evolving. Her dad is Billy Ray Cyrus, her godmother is Dolly Parton, and she’s raised in the era of 'hip-hop is king.' So when people go and look and ask, 'Why is she twerking, why is she doing this?' It’s because she’s a byproduct of America."
- Lil' Kim: In her recent Rolling Stone interview, Miley revealed a text message from the rapper that read, "My little pumpkin, I just had to tell you you're so f*cking smart. I love you and all the press you are getting. Sad I didn't run into you at the VMAs. Keep killing it, boo."
- Kanye West: Kanye reportedly visited Miley in her dressing room at the VMAs and told her, "There are not a lot of artists I believe in more than you right now." He also tapped Miley to lend vocals to the remix of his single, "Black Skinhead."
- Lady Gaga: She's done her fair share of shocking stuff, so Lady Gaga was naturally defensive of Miley, telling Andy Cohen, "I just think everybody needs to lighten up and leave her alone. Because it's pop music. Everybody's entitled to their own artistic expression, and if you have a problem with it, just change the channel. I give her props."
Not Totally on Board
- Sinead O'Connor: The Irish singer-songwriter didn't mince words in an open letter to Miley, saying, "The music business doesn't give a sh*t about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think it's what you wanted. None of the men ogling you give a sh*t about you either, do not be fooled."
- Pink: The singer's reaction to Miley's VMA performance could have been considered a compliment: "She's really freaking talented; she's beautiful. She can sing her ass off and to go up there and do that? She's cheating herself and she's cheating the rest of us." She added, "I think it's tacky. She can do what she wants. People can like it if they want. I'm not going to buy it. She can do better. I've seen her do better."
- Kelly Clarkson: Kelly got candid after the VMAs, tweeting, "Just saw a couple performances from the VMAs last night. 2 words.... #pitchystrippers."
- Cher: Though the iconic singer later took back her comments, saying, "I'm a little ashamed", she originally told USA Today that Miley's VMA performance "just wasn't done well." Cher went on to explain, "She can't dance, her body looked like hell, the song wasn't great, one cheek was hanging out. And, chick, don't stick out your tongue if it's coated."
- Annie Lennox: In a slightly veiled Facebook post, the singer said she was "disturbed and dismayed" by what seems like an onslaught of overtly sexual performances and videos, adding, "You know the ones I'm talking about." Annie went on to say that record companies are making a habit of "peddling highly styled pornography," calling it "a glorified and monetized form of self harm."
- Elton John: The legendary performer called Miley a "meltdown waiting to happen," adding, "And she’s so young! But she’s got two records in the top 20, so who is going to stop her?"
On the Fence
- Katy Perry: In an interview for Cosmopolitan's December issue, Miley spoke about getting support from her friend and fellow pop star Katy Perry, saying, "Katy Perry has been so cool. For Katy to say that she appreciates what I'm really doing for the pop industry, that keeps you going." During a recent sit-down on NPR, however, Katy made some comments that could indicate that she's not as encouraging as Miley may think: "Females in pop; everybody's getting naked," she said, adding, "I'm not talking about anyone in particular. I'm talking about all of them. I mean, it's like everybody's so naked. It's like, put it away. We know you've got it. I got it too. Sometimes it's nice to play that card, but also it's nice to play other cards."