Ashley O made her long-awaited concert debut at the Glastonbury Festival in the U.K. over the weekend. The latest alter ego of pop star Miley Cyrus showed up to perform the hit song “On a Roll.” Cyrus’ character and the track debuted in the most recent season of Netflix’s “Black Mirror” and have since taken on a life of its own, with “On a Roll” recently debuting at number 19 on Billboard’s Pop Digital Song Sales chart.
Despite the growing popularity of Cyrus’ Ashley O, her “Black Mirror” episode “Rachel, Jack and Ashley, Too” proved incredibly divisive among television critics. The episode finds Cyrus riffing on her own industry experiences by starring as Ashley O, a global pop star coming undone because of the pressures to keep up her uber-positive pop persona. The actress drew strong notices for pulling off the role, but the episode as a whole was criticized for going “wildly off-the-rails without bringing any depth.”
“This is a mess,” IndieWire critic Ben Travers wrote in his C- review of the episode, making it IndieWire’s worst-reviewed installment of Season 5. “This overly cutesy entry feels like the biggest punt of them all. Somewhere buried within the 67-minute episode is a discussion about replacing pop stars with holograms and mining their memories for new marketable material, but the whole thing is so cartoonish it’s impossible to take any aspect seriously.”
The hit song “On a Roll” is actually a pop remix of the Nine Inch Nails song “Head Like a Hole.” “Black Mirror” creator Charlie Brooker told Billboard last month he reached out to Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and got permission to put a pop-infused spin on the song.
“He got it straight away,” Brooker said of Reznor. “It was via email and he was really happy. He wanted to see the script and I got to rewrite his lyrics in a chirpy way. I’m not the best lyricist in the world, and there’s one point where she’s singing ‘I’m stoked on ambition and verve’ instead of, ‘You’re gonna get what you deserve.’”
Cyrus’ “Black Mirror” episode is now streaming on Netflix. Watch Ashley O’s concert debut in the video below.
— BBC Radio 1 (@BBCR1) June 30, 2019