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Pop Battle: Miley Cyrus vs. Madonna

(Getty Images for MTV)By now you've heard: Miley Cyrus had a very special guest at the taping of her upcoming MTV Unplugged special. The former Hannah Montana star was joined by the Queen of Pop for a "Don't Tell Me"/"We Can't Stop" mashup on Tuesday night, and from the sounds of it, it was pretty major.

"Even I didn't expect Madonna to be necessarily down to do something like 'Unplugged' with me, so the fact that she's here doing this like, hoe-down thing with me now is like so unbelievable," Miley gushed in an interview with MTV News (it should be noted that she conducted this interview in a bikini top and sunglasses, as is her way). "I grew up listening to Madonna, and a lot of what she represented for me is what I try to represent to girls now, is not being afraid of sexuality and really being who you want to be and doing what you want to do."

You can catch the golden moment in its entirety on MTV tonight at 9 pm ET/CT, but first... a pop battle. Clearly Madonna and Miley are not direct competitors or rivals — this is not a Gaga situation, here. It's just for kicks. And obviously it would be unfair to compare someone who's near the start of her solo career with someone who's basically the pioneer for pop provocateurs. So we'll narrow it down to just a few categories for you. Let the battle begin.

Round 1: Album Sales
This is a little tricky, as there are all sorts of variables that have to be taken into account when you're comparing the numbers for these two. If we're going by most recent album sales, Madonna's the big winner, as her 2012 album MDNA moved 359,000 units in its first week of release. Miley's Bangerz was a number one hit as well, but with a more modest 270,000 copies sold the first week. But then consider that MDNA was Madonna's twelfth studio album, and Bangerz is only Miley's third (not counting Hannah Montana releases, of course). And that Madonna has had a few more decades to build up her fanbase than Miley. What's more, Miley's singles have performed much better on the Hot 100 than Madonna's. So...

Winner: TIE!
Madonna has sold more records than Miley by a long shot, but by the time Miley is Madge's age, the story's bound to be different.

Round 2: Vocal Abilities
Neither Madonna nor Miley gets much credit for their natural singing abilities — but should they? Let's compare a cappella moments. First, Madonna:

Now Miley:

Winner: Miley
Hopefully after MTV Unplugged people will recognize her skills and her tongue.

Round 3: Signature Dance Moves

Winner: Madonna.
Miley deserves props for her creative use of props, though.

Round 4: Fashion Impact

Winner: Madonna.
Miley gets some credit for helping to make crop tops happen again, for better or worse.

Round 5: Number of people outraged
Back in her day, Madonna angered a lot of people, but if we're talking just the past couple of years then it's pretty clear Miley's doing it better. Madonna still talks a big game about pissing people off, but she was quick to distance herself from M.I.A. after the rapper flipped off a camera at the Super Bowl in 2012. The living legend most recently found herself in hot water for using the "n-word" on Instagram, which was just dumb. 

Meanwhile, Miley's generating FCC complaints out the wazoo every time she shows her face... and her thighs, and her tongue, and her butt...

Winner: Miley
She's taken the crown on this one.

So: IT'S A TIE! Given that I am old and reverent I'd say Madonna always wins. Without her, who knows — Miley might still be a Disney star. Or maybe there would've been another beautiful face of rebellion. But what do you think?

Poll: Miley Cyrus or Madonna?
Click to vote:
  • Miley!
  • Madonna!
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