When Jimmy Fallon announced Miley Cyrus‘ name as winner of Video of the Year for “Wrecking Ball,” the singer stood and directed a young man with long, blonde hair to the stage. “Thank you, all,” he said, as Cyrus looked on. “My name is Jesse.” He explained that there were more than 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the U.S. – “I’m one of these people,” he said. It was the beginning of a touching speech that put an emotional Cyrus into tears.
“I’ve survived in shelters all over the city,” Jesse said. “I’ve been an extra in your movies, I’ve been an extra in your life…. Outside these doors are 54,000 human beings that have no place to call home.”
The speech was a call-to-action to visit Cyrus’ Facebook page, where she spoke in a video about a campaign to bring awareness to youth homelessness via the fund-raising site Prizeo. It benefits My Friend’s Place, a homeless center for young people in Hollywood. Part of the campaign includes a contest to see Cyrus live in Brazil. Jesse closed the acceptance speech by saying, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream we dream together is reality.”
“I’m just getting started and I want to make sure my fans are part of helping me to give back and make an impact on this issue – we all have the power to make change happen,” Cyrus said in a statement after the event. “This is about helping youth, people just like you and me have the opportunity to find their inner power and potential, no matter what their circumstances.”
This year’s Video of the Year category was almost impossible to predict as even oddsmakers couldn’t agree on who’d take home the evening’s biggest Moonman. Cyrus beat out tough competition from fellow nominees Beyoncé‘s “Drunk In Love” featuring Jay Z, Iggy Azalea‘s “Fancy” with Charli XCX, Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy” and Sia’s “Chandelier” to take home the prestigious Moonman.
Rolling Stone‘s prediction panel put their money on a victory for Azalea, while award odds site Gold Derby picked “Wrecking Ball” as the 12/5 favorite. Yet another betting site chose “Happy” as the overwhelming 1/4 favorite to take home Video of the Year. “Fancy” was considered the video with the second best odds (2/1), while “Drunk in Love” (6/1), “Wrecking Ball” (8/1) and “Chandelier” (10/1) were the underdogs going into the ceremony.