Through a black and white filter, Cyrus stood center stage with an orchestra backing her. The stripped down and raw performance was one of the highlights of the evening.
Fans took to social media to praise the 26-year-old singer for the performance, which is the first time she has performed publicly since her breakup.
"Damn Miley Cyrus killed that performance... so good," one wrote.
Another added: "Such a beautiful performance. So proud of you."
Many of the song's lyrics appear to reference her breakup from Hemsworth.
In "Slide Away," Cyrus sings, "Move on, we're not 17. I'm not who I used to be. You say that everything changed. You're right, we're grown now."
Cyrus was 17 when the pair met on the set of the movie "The Last Song" in 2009.
Artwork for the song includes a bottle of alcohol and pills floating in a pool, which mirror the references to both in the lyrics: "I want my house in the hills. Don't want the whisky and pills. I don't give up easily but I don't think I'm down."
Another verse in the new single says, “Once upon a time it was made for us, woke up one day and it turned to dust.” Cyrus continues, “Baby, we were found, but now we’re lost. So it’s time to let it go.”
After less than a year of marriage, news broke earlier this month that Cyrus and Hemsworth had separated.
“Liam and Miley have agreed to separate at this time,” Cyrus’ rep told TODAY in a statement.
“Ever-evolving, changing as partners and individuals, they have decided this is what’s best while they both focus on themselves and careers. They still remain dedicated parents to all of their animals they share while lovingly taking this time apart. Please respect their process and privacy.”