Miley Cyrus Goes Country, “SMS (Bangerz)” Acoustic & Madonna: MTV Unplugged Live Review

Mike Wass | January 29, 2014 12:34 pm

Miley Cyrus breathed new life into MTV Unplugged last night (January 28) with the kookiest acoustic concert in the franchise’s long and hallowed history. In my mind, Unplugged will always be Mariah Carey belting out flawless power ballads. At least that’s what I thought until the Bangerz diva opened her set with a country version of “4×4” — merrily chirping “driving so fast ’bout to piss on myself” while twerking with a horse.

The opening segment looked like an episode of Hannah Montana on acid. The Disney character isn’t so much dead as banished to a parallel universe where she’s now the baddest bitch at the hoedown throwdown. Rocking a blond wig and cowgirl outfit, Miley effortlessly transformed a trio of urban-pop songs (the aforementioned “4×4”, “Do My Thang” and “#getitright”) into toe-tapping country anthems — showcasing her genuinely impressive voice and performance craft.

Due to media restrictions, I can’t give away the whole setlist but here are some highlights. After a quick costume change (she lost the wig and threw on a rhinestone-covered denim ensemble), the 21-year-old returned with an unfathomably good, stripped-back version of D.O.A. Britney Spears duet “SMS (Bangerz)”. It turns out you can put lipstick on a pig. Another memorable moment was her moving rendition of god mother Dolly Parton‘s signature song “Jolene”.

And then there was Madonna‘s much-hyped appearance. She sat quietly on a bench in the audience before joining Miley on stage for a mash-up of “Don’t Tell Me” and “We Can’t Stop”. The songs blended seamlessly and they sounded great while groping, grinding and slapping each other on the butt. Their sexy antics were mildly embarrassing but really, who cares? Seeing the (different) zeitgeist-capturing pop divas work together was a magical moment and they had to give Twitter something to talk about.

Will you be tuning in for Miley Cyrus Unplugged? Let us know in the comments below.

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