Miley Cyrus is bringing her headline-grabbing "Bangerz" tour to a living room near you this Fourth of July weekend. The "We Can't Stop" singer kicked off the trek back in February, and with nearly every stop, she's managed to raise eyebrows with her onstage antics.
However, when the show arrives at NBC on July 6 (airing at 9 p.m. Eastern), the tour's creative director, Diane Martel, says that what will stand out most is the 21-year-old's vocal ability. "Her performance in this special is flawless and passionate," Martel tells Billboard exclusively.
In addition to giving fans a front row seat, it will also gives Smilers behind-the-scenes access to the pop star. Martel teases, "We see Miley as she is in her private life; very sweet, tender, loving and playful. Miley speaks about her personal growth to date during this tour. We get a sense of the smart and thoughtful artist she is. ... It's very low-key and intimate," she adds. "She’s sophisticated in many ways and a young, silly girl in others… When you watch these brief, but effective scenes you see how relatable she really is. She really balances being an artist with being a 21-year-old quite well."
The special will also include appearances by other members of the Cyrus family, including brother Braison and sister Noah. The trio cover a Dolly Parton song in what is described as a "very unusual location."
Much of the attention around the "Bangerz" tour has been on Miley's racy props, which has included a giant inflatable penis prop and a bodysuit emblazoned with marijuana leaves. But Martel insists the distractions are just that — the real show is in her musicality.
"Miley is a very serious musician. If this is something someone doesn’t know, they will certainly know it after seeing this special," she says. "She’s charming, daring, loving and she gives deeply and profoundly from a very old soul. She’s got instincts that are beyond explanation. There is one close-up in 'Wrecking Ball' where she has the gravitas of a Diana Ross or a Renata Tebaldi."
Martel feels the "truly electric" spirit of the live show is captured in the special. "In this TV special, I think you have a sense if the energy in the arenas," she says. "Miley's performance is intense and wild. She’s got a thrilling command of her stage and the room; this is something I was excited by in the edit. To see her eyes close up, to see her lithe body and huge voice making this collection of people respond in tandem, that's the important thing to translate from stage to the small screen."
And, Martel insists fans stick around until the very end. "One of the most fun parts of the show is what you will see under the credits."
Martel and Miley's collaboration began in 2013 when the singer enlisted the "Blurred Lines" video director to helm her "We Can't Stop" visual. They then worked together on Miley's unforgettable 2013 VMAs performance, which featured Robin Thicke.
And now, they have been keeping their collaboration alive during the "Bangerz" tour, which wraps up later this year in Australia. Martel also confirmed she will direct Miley's video for "4X4" later this summer.
"The ['Bangerz'] show has changed immensely where her performance is concerned. She is so crazy and spontaneous each night. With each different audience, whatever they give her in terms of energy and actual gifts (hats, clothes, dolls, weird props), she works into each song," Martel says. "I’ve never seen anything like this. One editor on the show said she was a mixture of Johnny Rotten and Elvis. She literally will make anything handed to her onstage a seamless part of the number."