Awards Daily talks to Miley Cyrus about changing the way we celebrate New Year’s with NBC’s Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party.
Right after Miley Cyrus released her experimental, psychedelic fifth album, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, NBC called and offered her a gig as judge on their hit singing competition show, The Voice—a move no one was more surprised about than Cyrus herself.
“It showed that they aren’t afraid of some danger and experimentation,” says Cyrus.
This connection turned into a long-term relationship with NBC, which eventually led to opportunities like Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party, which aired on New Year’s Eve in 2021 (and will be back for 2022) and was produced by Lorne Michaels.
“We’d all done New Year’s Eve shows before and they’re not necessarily a fun time. I wanted that to be something different. I didn’t want to work on New Year’s. We wanted to put together a New Year’s show that could be improvised and not feel rigid. Being perfect has never been ideal to me. I’m a professional partier, so that helps,” she says with a laugh.
So rather than set the typical New Year’s Eve show in chilly New York, Cyrus opted for. . .Miami?
“I despise being cold,” she says. “There’s nothing fun about freezing. Plus, [with typical New York New Year’s Eve shows] I always seem to perform in a place that’s disconnected from the people in the street, like a rooftop.”
Thus, Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party would set their stage in the streets of Miami, where everyone could be a part of the fun without freezing their buns off.
The next thing on Cyrus’s checklist was to eliminate something very integral to most New Year’s Eve shows.
“You didn’t want a show based on counting. If you’re watching a clock, it feels like time is drawn out. That was one of our last priorities. Half the time on New Year’s Eve, my family is trying to wrangle people together to celebrate at midnight.”
But one thing she couldn’t count on was of course a little pandemic that was having a holiday surge.
“Because of COVID, we weren’t sure if the show was going to happen. We were losing [performers] and adding [performers] at the same time. We didn’t even have a dress rehearsal. Our pyrotechnics team tested positive for COVID, and it’s not a lo-fi show. People want to see fireworks on New Year’s Eve.”
Cyrus credits the musical artists’ professionality and flexibility as one of the reasons why they pulled everything off, and how excited her fans were to see her perform with more contemporary artists like Saweetie and 24KGoldn. Although when everyone was dropping out, Cyrus had a backup plan.
“We could just make Brandi Carlisle do karaoke.”
Or they could get Pete Davidson, too—which they did (but to co-host, not do karaoke).
“We wanted to add in this element of sexiness to the show. Obviously, Pete has become this staple heartthrob of pop culture.”
Cyrus even got to do a bit of comedy with Pete’s New Year’s Resolutions song, something she had kicked around with the Please Don’t Destroy guys when she went to visit Billie Ellish on SNL.
The holiday special was also the first time she got to sing on stage with her little sister, Grammy-nominated singer Noah Cyrus.
“We were having Christmas dinner, and I realized she hadn’t been part of the show yet. I always think of my sister as my sister and she was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammy’s.”
Even though they had no rehearsal, this was one musical act Cyrus wasn’t worried about.
“We’ve been singing ‘Jolene’ together our whole lives.”
Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party will be back in 2022.