Miley Cyrus channeled her country roots and covered a Madonna throwback with the Queen of Pop herself during her MTV "Unplugged" special.
Cyrus' "Unplugged" aired on Jan. 29 on the cable network. The mini concert was decidedly country themed, down to the rodeo-looking set pieces, the instruments used by her live band and, especially, the costumes. Full performances from the show can be viewed here.
The singer sang several songs off of her hit fourth studio album, "Bangerz," including the singles "We Can't Stop," "Wrecking Ball" and "Adore You." Cyrus also sang several other album cuts and covered godmother Dolly Parton's "Jolene" as well as Madonna's "Don't Tell Me."
Cyrus told MTV prior to her performance that she wanted to do "Unplugged" to focus solely on the music, differing from performances she has done in the past.
"I wanted to do 'Unplugged' because, at the end of the day I'm, like, a musician and that's what I love to do. I wanted it to be just really about the music, but then also I'm from Nashville, so I think 'Unplugged' is kind of the perfect place to show those roots. I like shock value and I like all that, but that is all second to music for me."
Check out the 5 best moments from the special below.
1. The (amazing) costumes.
If country was what Cyrus was going for, she achieved it flawlessly with her costuming. While still maintaining the style edge she has become known for in recent months, Cyrus' red gingham bodysuit and denim bikini-and-pants ensemble was country flair at its best. Despite being relatively covered up, things got a little steamy for Cyrus, saying, "It's hard to sweat in a bikini. But I'm sweating in a bikini."
2. Cyrus' performance of the "Bangerz" bonus track "Rooting For My Baby."
Considered a fan favorite, Cyrus' performance of the track "Rooting For My Baby" was a highlight of the "Unplugged" special. The song, written by Cyrus and frequent collaborator Pharrell Williams, serves as a bonus track on "Bangerz," one the more mature sounding offerings on the album that shows off Cyrus' country twang vocal abilities.
The performance's overall tone stood apart from the rest, opting for a more melodic vibe compared to Cyrus' country-driven and emotionally-charged ballad performances.
3. The "Don't Tell Me / We Can't Stop" mashup with Madonna.
Where Madonna's infamous kiss at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards was considered a "passing of the torch" to a then 21-year-old Britney Spears, simulating twerking and sticking her tongue with 21-year-old Cyrus is, essentially, the same.
The two performed a mash-up of Madonna's 2000 single "Don't Tell Me" with Cyrus' "We Can't Stop." In addition to busting out choreography Madonna originated in the video, Cyrus spanked and caressed the pop legend throughout the memorable performance.
4. That "horse."
Cyrus' stage performances over the last year have consisted of strange background objects and props, ranging from foam fingers to lip-syncing cats. For Cyrus' "Unplugged" special, the singer incorporated a "horse" of sorts into her performances of "4x4," "Do My Thang" and "Get It Right," where she, as expected, proceeded to twerk and straddle the horse in the performances.
5. Cyrus' cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene."
Cyrus has covered Parton's 1973 classic "Jolene" in the past, most notably in a series of YouTube videos known as "The Backyard Sessions." Cyrus' command for her country roots and voice shines in the performance, as about a beautiful woman who has the power to take her man away from her. Cyrus appeared to have the most fun performing the track, making for one of the show's best performances.