Here’s Miley Cyrus yesterday leaving a studio session, 80s hair on point. Miley just turned 29 (what?!) and she’s been famous most of her life. In terms of her musical career, well, she’s been places – from kid-pop to teen-pop to mainstream pop to appropriation and then soft-pop (not many people remember Malibu) but for the last couple of years now it’s been pop-rock…and it suits her. Dave Grohl was on the Smartless pod last week and he actually namechecked Miley as perhaps the biggest rockstar on the scene right now with what she’s been doing musically.
Now that she’s almost 30, Miley is building towards career sustainability. She has a deal with NBCUniversal to develop scripted and unscripted projects and as part of that partnership she’ll be hosting and producing NBC’s New Year’s Eve special alongside Lorne Michaels and Lindsay Shookus. Pete Davidson will be her hosting partner that night. But my focus is on her because she has a dual role – as a producer, she’ll have a lead voice in shaping that show which, of course, is going head-to-head with the most well-known NYE brand name, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
NBC’s ambition, obviously, is to challenge the Dick Clark NYE institution and begin their own tradition, attractive to perhaps a demographic that would be more interested in their NYE offering with Miley and Pete, maybe grittier, less conventionally polished, than what you get with Ryan Seacrest. And it’s not necessarily “young” people either, in the hopes that what’s on the TV will get them off TikTok. Miley, while not my generational peer, does have broad appeal. Her fanbase has grown with her, she’s still cool to those who are younger, but people who are older are still engaged – like me. I haven’t agreed with all of Miley’s artistic choices, but I am definitely interested in Miley Cyrus as an artist. She’s an electrifying live performer, she can act, she can sing – VERY WELL – she gives great visuals, and she’s kind of a wildcard.
I’m excited about what she’ll bring to live TV. And yeah, I’m curious about her chemistry with Pete. Miley and Pete would have been more likely the predicted couple than Pete and Kim Kardashian, right? That would track and maybe that’s why it doesn’t, because it’s too obvious. The reason Pete and Kim are PETE AND KIM WTF is because it felt – still feels? – like a WTF.
Still, I wonder if the NBC execs are hoping for a Kardashian cameo that night. And I wonder if Miley, the producer, actually wants it. She may not be a Kardashian but she’s still knows how to play the media game. Miley’s showing her work on New Year’s Eve. I actually can't wait to see it.