photo: Getty Images
Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, two of pop music's biggest stars — and biggest controversy magnets — will be taking the stage at the American Music Awards this Sunday, prompting the question: Who is going to bring the most shocking performance?
Let's take a look back at their most recent water-cooler moments to figure out which will be making the most noise in the headlines next Monday.
1. First-Week Album Sales
Miley's first-week album sales for "Bangerz," released on Oct. 8, were higher than Lady Gaga's "ARTPOP," issued five weeks later, but it isn't a landslide victory. "Bangerz" had opening sales of 270,000 — only 12,000 more than Gaga's 258,000.
Though Miley ranks first here based on numbers alone, you could argue that her sales should have been higher considering the success of the singles "We Can't Stop" and "Wrecking Ball," positive reviews of the album, and massive media coverage, including mixed reaction from the everyone from Robin Thicke's mother and wife, Pink, Cher, Justin Timberlake, and even Lady Gaga. Winner: Miley Cyrus
2. Best "Saturday Night Live" Performance
Miley and Gaga's performances on "Saturday Night Live" were two of the year's most anticipated. Though Miley has exhausted nearly every opportunity to add a shocking element to her stage show, she kept things simple and straight forward for her offering of her No. 1 hit "Wrecking Ball." During her Oct. 5 appearance, she stood there, composed in her oversized Poison jersey, belting the emotional power ballad, and she was good.
Gaga brought plenty more to the table when she played "SNL" on Nov. 16. The pop star seemed to be channeling Beyoncé, bouncing around the stage while bumping and grinding "Do What U Want" with duet partner R. Kelly and wearing a sequined one-piece pants suit with a V-cut down to her bellybutton. While it was over-the-top, it was engaging and, as always, Gaga's vocals sounded great. Winner: Lady Gaga
3. Worst Stunt
There is no denying that in 2013 the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana was the queen of outrageous stunts. It is unbelievable that Billy Ray and Tish's baby girl, who is now 20, would dethrone Lady Gaga from a seat she has held since her 2008 debut.
Compared to Miley's VMAs twerkfest, performance with a band of little people for a Germany talk show, that nude-"Wrecking Ball"-riding video, and Halloween costume (a replica of Lil' Kim left-breast-exposing outfit), Lady Gaga's "Applause" listening party at a gay club in West Hollywood, scary "Applause" face paint, and mermaid ensemble on Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens Live" seemed tame.
Still, Miley's stunt that earns her this win is smoking marijuana on stage on November 10 at the MTV's Europe Music Awards in Amsterdam. In an interview with UK Capital FM radio, the singer said lighting up while performing "We Can't Stop" was a last-minute decision: "I was just walking out of my room and then I was like, 'Oh, I have this in my bag. That will be really funny.' And I didn't say anything to anybody. It's not that I think about that ... and I don't tell anyone I'm gonna do it." Even though Lady Gaga says she no longer needs to be high to be creative -- she resorted to the same antics during a concert in Amsterdam last year -- this competition in fun is based on 2013. Winner: Miley Cyrus
photo: Getty Images
4. Most Outrageous Outfit
Under different circumstances, Lady Gaga would win an outrageous outfit costume contest without debate. But Miley Cyrus sucker-punched her contemporaries when she arrived to the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Sept. 21 wearing a white mesh dress, pasties, and a thong. Miley's red carpet arrival and performance in the same outfit instantly eclipsed her heralded VMAs "Girls Gone Wild" extravaganza with Robin Thicke.
Gaga had some solid runner-up moments, though, two from her "Applause" video. In one revealing outfit, Mother Monster wears a black halter-top shaped like a pair of hands, and in another, she dons a bikini top fashioned after two seashells. Winner: Miley Cyrus
5. Best VMAs Performance
No one's talking about Lady Gaga's opening number for the VMAs and that's unfortunate. Miley garnered the most attention for her gyrating foam-finger-pointing, skin-tight, latex-bikini-wearing "Blurred Lines" meets "We Can't Stop" hot mess moment with Robin Thicke that set off one actually spectacular meme storm. (Did you see the Lego reenactment?)
Gimmicks aside, Gaga literally worked her butt off (or, rather, the clothes off of her backside) to deliver a good show. During the Aug. 25 event, it was difficult not to compare her five costume changes that reflected the evolution of her looks to Beyoncé's "Mirrors" Pepsi commercial released earlier this year; it basically used the same concept.
But Gaga did it live. It was quite clever how she incorporated into her choreography switching outfits, wigs, applying makeup and singing. Sure, mooning the audience in mermaid bikini and thong was a bit much, but she still rocks. Winner: Lady Gaga
So, who'll bring it Sunday? When it comes to making ruckus, we're picking Miley as the one who'll generate the most Twitter traffic following this weekend's AMAs. But in the talent department, Gaga is the performer more likely to score raves on Sunday night.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Miley Cyrus
- Lady Gaga
- Robin Thicke