(CNN)Miley Cyrus is no stranger to shocking moments at the MTV Video Music Awards. But the musician preferred to let her vocals do the talking at the 2019 ceremony.

Clutching a microphone as the color on screen shifted to black and white lighting, Cyrus gave a powerful performance of her song “Slide Away.” With lyrics like “once upon a time, it was made for us / woke up one day, it had turned to dust,” the number felt particularly potent given her recent separation from husband Liam Hemsworth — and especially when the camera panned to show her parents, Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, cheering her on.

🚨 @MileyCyrus‘ IMPACT!!! 🚨She performed ‘Slide Away’ for the first time EVER at the #VMAs 🌊 pic.twitter.com/wfinno9eie

— Video Music Awards (@vmas) August 27, 2019 Strong in voice and standing center stage throughout the ballad, Cyrus’s presence was a contrast to her headline-grabbing 2013 performance with “Blurred Lines” singer Robin Thicke, which featured little costuming (on her part) and a lot of pelvic grinding (from both of them). She hosted the 2015 VMAs and also performed at the event in 2017.Cyrus has several VMA nominations and won the video of the year award in 2014 for “Wrecking Ball.” This year, the video for her song “Mother’s Daughter” was nominated for best power anthem and song of summer.

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