Not a riff on her Sinéad O'Connor feud, no references to her breakup with Liam Hemsworth, and precious little twerking. Yes, after Miley Cyrus' past few weeks, her 90 minutes on SNL seemed like a snoozefest.
That's not to say her SNL turn wasn't good. Cyrus is a seriously seasoned performer. And she's funny! She knows what to do when a camera's pointed on her. Even when the material's less than stellar — as was the case with that half-finished cheerleading sketch — she still commands attention.
The highlight of the night was the shutdown-themed digital short, "We Did Stop," a shot-for-shot spoof of Miley's party-till-you-drop anthem "We Can't Stop." This time, she played Michele Bachmann in leather short-shorts and a brown bob. And she was joined by SNL regular Taran Killam as an overly tanned John Boehner, bragging about their ability to stop the government in its tracks: "And everyone in line for early childcare / Anyone who planned to see a grizzly bear / We are all shut down here / Getting so shut down, yeah, yeah."
Miley-as-Bachmann was the sketch to beat, but the show's opener came in a close second. The pop star kicked off the night by imagining a postapocalyptic future of misery. Our downfall? Not the government shutdown or Obamacare, but Cyrus' 2013 VMA's performance. In a series of flashbacks, we see Cyrus visited by Vanessa Bayer playing old Miley, convincing her to put on some clothes, stick her tongue back in her mouth, and reconsider her life choices.
Of course, Cyrus wasn't just hosting — she also pulled double-duty as the show's musical guest, first singing her power ballad "Wrecking Ball" and then doing a stripped-down acoustic version of her party anthem, "We Can't Stop." Both, but especially "Wrecking Ball," reminded us that Cyrus can be a raw, emotional performer when she wants to.
When it comes to hosting SNL, Cyrus might not be on Justin Timberlake's level (though, who is?), but her turn this weekend proved she can laugh at herself and carry a show. And that's a Miley Cyrus we want to see.
What did you think?
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.