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10. October 2: Miley is the subject of a documentary
Proving that the network had been hip to the Miley narrative all along, MTV spent months documenting the making of Bangerz. The finished product, Miley: The Movement, aired a week before the album was released. Though the film didn’t really reveal much that fans didn’t already know, its very existence was proof that first-name-only Miley was enough of a star to merit such treatment. (The documentary was also the week’s second most tweeted-about show, according to Nielsen’s Twitter tracking.)
9. April 4: Miley appears on a Snoop song
Even before any of the songs from her own album were released, Cyrus made it clear that her new style would be far from what it had been in the past. Case in point: the star was featured on a track with Snoop Lion (Snoop Dogg’s reggae incarnation) — “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” — perhaps foreshadowing her decision to smoke a joint onstage at MTV’s European Music Awards in November.
8. March: Miley hires Larry Rudolph as her manager
Following her January 2013 decision to leave Hollywood Records and sign with RCA, Cyrus also picked up a new manager — someone whose name might be familiar to pop fans. Before Miley, Larry Rudolph was probably best known as Britney Spears’ manager. Though Rudolph doesn’t take personal credit for Cyrus’ creative decisions, her career after signing on with him has drawn parallels to that of boa-constrictor-era Spears.
7. Sept. 16, 2013: Miley’s engagement ends
Miley Cyrus met her erstwhile fiancé Liam Hemsworth when they starred together in 2010’s The Last Song and they were engaged in mid-2012. In April, they announced that they’d decided to put a hold on wedding planning — months after her father told Us that they were planning three separate ceremonies to celebrate their love — but she went back to wearing an engagement ring over the summer. In September, they announced that they were officially calling it quits.
6. October 5: Miley hosts Saturday Night Live
The third most tweeted-about show this week — the week of Miley: The Movement — was Cyrus’ turn hosting SNL. From topical sketches (like one mocking the government shutdown), to her two musical performances, Cyrus drew generally positive reviews. Viewers curious to see how she would top a month of crazy buzz also drove the episode to a ratings high, the most viewers since a Justin Timberlake episode in March.
5. October 26: Paris Hilton dresses as Miley for Halloween
What’s the ultimate proof of pop-culture permeation? The instantly recognizable Halloween costume, of course. Just a year ago, a Cyrus costume might have drawn a “who are you?” this year’s holiday came with multiple options, from teddy-bear teddy to white leggings and sports bra to, for the truly adventurous, underwear/boots/sledgehammer. Paris Hilton opted for the first, complete with foam finger.
4. October 9: Miley removes her name from songs by Hannah Montana
Though it’s not clear exactly when the change happened, the celebrity blog “Oh No They Didn’t!” noticed in October that Cyrus’ name was no longer attached to any of the Hannah Montana material available on iTunes. A few months earlier, in a Billboard cover story, the singer had admitted that she was unhappy that a search for her music turned up both incarnations of her career — but by the fall her evolution was complete, taking her from squeaky-clean Disney girl to, well, pretty much the polar opposite of that.
3. June 3: “We Can’t Stop” is a hit
The first single from Cyrus’ 2013 album debuted in June and put the pop world on look-out. Though Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” eventually emerged as the consensus winner for the song-of-summer=2013 title, “We Can’t Stop” was an early contender and its “la da di da di” hook was inescapable. Though the song only made it to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (it debuted at 11), it was a No. 1 hit in the U.K. Later in the month, the song’s video would set a new VEVO record for the most views in 24 hours.
2. September 9: The “Wrecking Ball” video goes boom
Proving that her album Bangerz, which would debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in early October, was not just about not stopping, Cyrus made another splash — or, rather, a crash — with the clip for “Wrecking Ball.” The scantily-clad singer rode the titular piece of construction equipment all the way to the bank, as the clip quickly became the most-viewed video on VEVO. (Bonus for Cyrus: she bet producer Dr. Luke that the song would go to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and she won; the wager was a $10,000 toilet.)
1. August 25: Miley stuns at the VMAs
Few six-minute periods in the year generated as much buzz as Cyrus’ appearance with Robin Thicke at MTV’s Video Music Awards. The tongue! The teddy bears! The twerking! Whether the performance was great, tasteless, racist, inappropriate or awesome — or all of the above — it was the top culture story for days and is still being talked about. Without this appearance, this list probably wouldn’t even exist.
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