Last night at the MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus won Video Of The Year for “Wrecking Ball.” Instead of accepting the award herself, however, in a nod to Sacheen Littlefeather accepting Marlon Brando’s Oscar in ’73, Cyrus sent a young homeless man (since identified as Jesse Helt of Salem, OR) to the stage. He spoke briefly about youth homelessness, urging fans to go to Cyrus’ Facebook page where she outlined a fundraising campaign.
In a pre-show red carpet interview, when asked how anyone could ever top her twerk-tastic performance at the VMAs last year, Cyrus replied by teasing, “There’s something I’m doing that’s really special that I’m really excited about, which I’m not gonna say, I’m saving it ’til the end so it doesn’t get canned, but I think it’s gonna make a different kind of impression, so it’s gonna be cool.” Which pretty heavily implies that she knew beforehand that she was going to win.
Maybe not too shocking — it makes sense that some awards shows would tell winners in advance (in order to get them to show up) and in order for Cyrus to pull off the timing of this campaign (it launched right after she won) she’d have to know she was gonna be on stage. But still, probably not a great look. As Buzzfeed points out, Cyrus put her new friend up in a hotel five days before the ceremony. According to Spin, however, Cyrus told Ryan Seacrest this morning that none of the VMA producers knew what she had planned, only Juicy J, who was sitting next to her. Her rep also told Mashable MTV had no idea Cyrus would have a homeless youth accept. In the NY Times today, Cyrus again makes it clear she knew she was gonna win: after Katy Perry tried to give Helt alcohol during the ceremony, Cyrus said, “no, this kid has to go read a speech.”
In related gif news, here (via BuzzFeed) are Miley’s not-too-surprised-to-win face along with some great side eye by Katy Perry and Sam Smith.
The Oregonian spoke with Helt’s mother Linda who says that Cyrus gave her son money to fly back to Salem. So, a happy ending.
After the show they went to in n out and *didnt* make out. Miley says Jesse gets to keep the moon man
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) August 25, 2014