The pop star, 24, returned to the award show’s stage to perform her new single for the very first time on live TV.
Introduced by her father Billy Ray Cyrus and her sister Noah Cyrus — who joked it was Miley’s “first time [appearing] in years with pants on” — the singer let her sultry voice do the talking, in an unusually stripped-down performance.
Sure, there was a sea of balloons that fell from the sky onto the audience. But for the most part, Miley stayed away from theatrics and stuck to pouring her heart out in song.
Wearing a pair of short white jean shorts, a matching off-the shoulder cropped top and a tan cowboy hat, Miley had the beach vibe down pat — part of her new relaxed image and sound.
Debuting the new Miley to the public was emotional for the former Disney star. She choked up at the end of the song, thanking fans.
The moment was so sweet, even Nicki Minaj couldn’t help but smile from the audience.
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“I never would’ve believed you if three years ago you told me I’d be here writing this song,” she said. “[People are] going to talk about me if I come out of a restaurant with Liam. So why not put the power back in my relationship and say, ‘This is how I feel?’ ”