Ever since Kathy Griffin was unceremoniously banished from CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage after posing with a papier-mâché version of Trump’s bloody, decapitated head—remember when the Trump family claimed that Barron thought it was his dad’s real head?—there’s been a gaping void in the NYE TV arena. In Crip-walked Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson, co-hosting the first “Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party” on NBC.
“Miley called me and asked, ‘What are you doing on New Year’s? I’m throwing a party, you want to help me host it?’” said Davidson to the crowd. “And I just looked across the table at my mom and was like, ‘Yeah, I’m in.’”
The star-studded staged event began with a bizarro rendition of Will Smith’s “Miami”—because the party took place in Miami, where all the stars (and AOC) seem to be this New Year’s Eve—that saw the SNL star and Artist Formerly Known as Hannah Montana attempt to rap, followed by a passable performance from Saweetie, and Brandi Carlile and Cyrus duetting for Carlile’s hit tune “The Story” and Cyrus’ “The Climb.” (According to Cyrus, everyone in attendance was tested and had to show proof of vaccination in order to gain entry to the outdoor event, plus most of the crowd were wearing masks.)
It’s here we should mention the elephant in the room: the optics of NBC airing all these A-list stars living it up in Miami while so many are cooped up inside, either due to COVID infection or an abundance of caution. While an argument can certainly be made that this all seems rather discordant given the state of things, those of us celebrating New Year’s Eve in our living rooms were in need of some entertainment. Plus, it took place outdoors and required a negative test as well as proof of vax, so the health and safety protocols seem sufficient.
Rapper Jack Harlow, who looks like a ’70s porn star and sounds like Post Malone’s drafts, performed (I hear the TikTok kids love him), then Cyrus and Davidson took part in a drawn-out sketch where they mock-confessed that they were actually “normies” who didn’t do drugs or party, preferring Oprah’s Book Club to The Club (they are both quite charming). Another Cyrus performance—a cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” with the singer donning a blood-red blazer and matching disco jumpsuit—came next, once again showcasing her exceptional range.
In addition to Miley and her little sis Noah singing “Jolene,” the evening’s unequivocal highlight came courtesy of the actor Steve Buscemi, who popped up during a Cyrus/Davidson musical sketch called “Unrealistic Resolutions” that had the two aboard a yacht breaking down all of Davidson’s resolutions that he’s doomed to fail in 2022 (e.g. reading at least three books). Suddenly, he gets a FaceTime call from Buscemi, who tells Davidson it’s “on sight” if he ever returns to New York City since he was never paid for his turn in The King of Staten Island.
One minute before the clock struck midnight, Davidson asked everyone to raise a glass and toast the loss of television icon Betty White, who passed away on New Year’s Even, mere weeks shy of her 10oth birthday. In lieu of a ball drop, the event had a giant light-up champagne bottle spray fireworks as Davidson exclaimed, “Happy New Year! Go to hell 2021!” Shortly thereafter, Cyrus suffered a slight wardrobe malfunction, causing her breast to be visible to those watching at home.
In some ways, a fitting end to a disaster of a year.