As Miley Cyrus herself surely anticipated, the internet has embraced her simulating fellatio on a man in a Bill Clinton costume as the micro-scandal to help promote the start of the Bangerz Tour. I was there in Vancouver on Valentines Day, and I completely missed this bit of theater. Probably because I was in the throes of sensory overload—the kind of state one hopes for but so often finds missing from a proper arena show.
In the issue of Entertainment Weekly arriving on stands on Thursday, I wrote all about the mind-frying experience that is Miley’s new tour, and how persuasively she sells the genre-bending songs from Bangerz live. In the meantime, here are five reasons to buy a ticket, even—or especially—if you think Miley’s little better than a human meme. And they have almost nothing to do with fake Clinton fellatio.
The crowd: If you’ve got any curiosity at all about teen girls and what intrigues and excites them in popular culture in 2014, you can see thousands of them respond to Miley in real time. (There weren’t only teen girls at the show in Vancouver, but as grown man who wore khakis there, I can tell you that I was very much in the minority.) They’re entertained, rather than dully influenced, by the spectacle of the teenage id. And they get to enjoy it free from the looming eye of boys, schoolmasters, and parents. Most importantly, they’re fun—fully engaged and raring to party.
The comedy: Miley, a great Saturday Night Live host with years of lowbrow comedy training in the Disney coal mines, sends herself up better than anyone else could. She starts the show by sliding down a giant tongue, landing smartly, and giving a friendly wave, then proceeds to rain down gag props and costumes, taking every opportunity to undercut her own tawdry image. How can you not laugh when she wears a shirt covered by her own face, with her actual butt sticking out right under it?
The costumes: Marc Jacobs, Jeremy Scott, pieces inspired by the camp master Bob Mackie: More athletic than they are sexy, the designer clothes on display here could fill a runway. And yet they don’t even have a whiff of high-fashion snobbery.
The covers: She does the same mean “Jolene” you’ve seen on YouTube, plus a cover of “Hey Ya!” that sounds like OutKast mated with Fleetwood Mac. Miley’s a master interpreter.
Her real voice: Miley doesn’t indulge in a lot of banter on the tour, but it’s a trip every time she speaks. With her wonderfully weathered drawl, she sounds like an old movie star or a treasured country singer. And indeed, she’s got a healthy helping of both in her entertainer’s soul.