From Twerking To Tears: Miley Cyrus’ Stunning VMA Transformation

brenna ehrlich, MTV.com
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She had been working up to it for a while beforehand, shedding that Hannah Montana image, but Miley Cyrus officially unveiled her new, double top-knotted persona at 2013′s MTV Video Music Awards. It was the twerk heard ’round the world, if you will.

This year, Cyrus stunned us all yet again by … not stunning us, really. At least not in the jaw-dropping-look-at-her-flesh-colored-undies way. Nope, she stunned us by revealing yet another iteration of Miley — one that is, dare we say, a bit more grown up.

On The Red Carpet

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

When Miley hit the red carpet in 2013, she was in full BANGERZ mode, her hair twisted up like a ’90s cartoon character, ever-present and protruding tongue at the ready. Energy high and outfit covered in the kind of jewels we bedazzled onto our jean jackets back in the day, her demeanor seriously forecasted what was to come later that night. I mean, nothing could havereally prepared us, but we were duly warned.

On Sunday night, Miley turned up in simple (by-her-standards) black leather, preferring to put the focus on her words and her music instead of her antics.

2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

In Interviews

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Speaking of antics, last year’s Miley, in interviews, was all frenetic energy and tongue (in the pic above she’s trying to lick MTV’s Christina Gaibaldi during a pre-show interview). This year, the “Wrecking Ball” singer announced her retirement from twerking — preferring to leave that move to “Anaconda” singer Nicki Minaj — and spoke passionately about her music.

“I can bring that body, I can bring that wrecking ball, but I can’t bring that ass. Not that Anaconda,” Miley said. “I’ve retired [from twerking], yeah … This [next] record might take me five years. I don’t know. I’m just going to work on it until I’m done.”

Onstage

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Last year, however, Miley was all about the twerk — in case you could ever forget this moment.

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Or this one.

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Or this one.

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For 2014, though, Miley’s only onstage moment didn’t actually include Miley. After Jimmy Fallon announced that she had won the for Video of the Year VMA for “Wrecking Ball,” Cyrus sent a young, formerly homeless man named Jesse to the stage to accept the award on her behalf and to promote her efforts to raise money for runaways and homeless youth in L.A. While he spoke, she sat in the audience, wiping years from her eyes. Quite the departure from last year’s booty-smacking spectacle.

A demure and somber Miley? Stranger things have happened.

Who knows what next year will bring.