The singer ended the ceremony by performing a medley of new tunes with her pals The Flaming Lips and an army of colourfully-dressed drag queens and then dropped the bombshell about her new release.

As the audience cheered and balloons dropped from the rafters at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, she said, "Everybody, listen up. My new album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, is online for free right now. Thank you for tuning in to the f**king VMAs. I'll see y'all next year."

A statement announcing the album reads, "On the heels of hosting the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus released a unique collaborative project called Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz. This project is Cyrus' first album to be released free to the consumer.

"The album grew out of a close collaboration with Wayne Coyne, the visionary frontman of acclaimed indie-rock legends The Flaming Lips..., and some of her usual producing partners.

"The title of the project refers to the album's actual inspiration: the deaths, in rapid succession, of Cyrus' beloved dog Floyd, her blowfish Pablow and dear friend's cat Twinkle. The period of mourning that followed evolved into artistic catharsis for Cyrus."

Recorded in The Flaming Lips' native Oklahoma City and Cyrus' garage studio in Los Angeles, the new release features collaborations with Mike WiLL Made-It, producer Oren Yoel, Phantogram star Sarah Barthel and Ariel Pink, and includes 23 songs with titles like F**kin F**ked Up, Bang Me Box, Milky Milky Milk, Miley Tibetan Bowlzzz and Pablow The Blowfish.

Meanwhile, throughout her stint as VMAs host, Cyrus flashed her flesh in an assortment of barely-there outfits that had the censors on high alert, but it was a backstage moment at the end of the show that caught them out.

The pop star's bare breast featured on camera for a split second as she attempted to cover up behind a curtain.

As live cameras shot to scenes of the audience, Cyrus could be heard saying, "What's happening? Oh sorry, my t**s out?"

It became clear that the Wrecking Ball star was changing for her headline-grabbing finale.