Miley Cyrus Is Doing All This On Purpose

by Kate Ward

In recent months, Miley Cyrus re-emerged onto the music scene like a wrecking ball — giving herself a drastic makeover, delivering a hyper-sexualized performance at the MTV VMA awards, and releasing photo after photo that has parents and former Hannah Montana fans worried about the mental health of the actress. Would she go the same way of former troubled Disney stars Amanda Bynes and Britney Spears? The barrage of press surrounding the "We Can't Stop" singer might certainly indicate that, but her words on TODAY seemed to indicate Cyrus is completely in control.

Speaking to Matt Lauer in between performances on the morning show, Cyrus confirmed that she does what she does precisely to get attention. "I'm an artist," she said. "So I'm hoping I get a little attention, otherwise my record sales will be a little sketch."

And Cyrus knows how successful she was in starting conversation. Said the young singer, who also announced she would tour next year, "It's a month later and we're still talking about it, so it went as planned ... I don't ever really plan to offend people, but sometimes it happens because I think people are not open to what they don't understand. What I'm doing is for my fans, because they're all really young, so they understand what I'm doing."

That last line might concern some parents who saw their young children grow up fans of Hannah Montana and Cyrus' Disney past, but Cyrus still maintains she's somewhat of a role model for fans. Because, in her words, it's less important what you wear on stage, and more important how "you treat people."

Apparently, however, it's not quite important how you treat your interviewer — Cyrus clearly got increasingly miffed over the course of the sit-down, which focused almost exclusively on Cyrus' new sexual image. Asked when she thinks she might drop her current phase, Cyrus sarcastically told Lauer, "Well, I heard when you turn 40 things start o get a little less sexual ... So probably around then?" (When Lauer told her he was 55, she responded, "Then you're definitely not sexual.")

The interview, of course, did briefly touch on Cyrus' feud with Sinead O'Connor, who, last week, wrote a series of open letters damning the singer, who drew inspiration for "Wrecking Ball" from "Nothing Compares 2 U." And regardless of how you feel about how the "Wrecking Ball" singer handled the fight — especially when she appeared to mock O'Connor's struggles with mental health — it's undeniable Cyrus had a point when she said, "I think she's an incredible artist ... I don't know how someone can start a fight with someone who says ... 'I respect you.'"

So criticize her clothing, her performances, and her action, but it seems the only one manipulating Cyrus' image is Cyrus herself. She might not be able to stop, but it seems she doesn't want to stop. After all, as Cyrus said, "This is the happiest I've ever been in my life."