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Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 06/ 1/2010

Will Miley Cyrus survive her crossover attempt?

By Liz Kelly

Make no mistake, Miley Cyrus is intentionally pushing her image into adult territory and positioning herself on the playing field with the likes of today's biggest female pop stars -- Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera. But after years spent building up a wholesome image -- selling oneself as the kind of girl who parents of 13-year-olds wouldn't mind their daughters hanging with -- is it possible to shed those years of cred in favor of a decidedly edgy new persona?

As mentioned in the Morning Mix, pictures of the 17-year-old popster performing over the weekend in Portugal have again caused an uproar (no doubt, the intention) and launched a debate about Miley's age appropriateness. Is young Miley leading her hordes of heretofore innocent tween fans into a hyper-sexualized zone where grabbing one's crotch and hitting a stripper pole are the natural next step once one graduates from Disney? Or is she, like, just wearing a leotard?

Celebritology reader Chasmosaur1, commenting this morning, said she herself wore a similar outfit to Jazzercise classes and added, "If leotards are too racy, then the 'Single Ladies' video should be X-rated. GaGa should be banned completely since she apparently finds them too confining."

But, Cham, neither Beyonce nor Lady Gaga ever marketed themselves as a squeaky-clean teen sensation. And it isn't just the outfit that's getting panties in a bunch -- it's the gestures. As in the picture above where Cyrus is clearly grabbing herself. From INF Daily:

We watched some videos of Miley Cyrus’s "Rock in Rio" performance, and when she’s just walking around on stage the outfit really doesn't seem inappropriate. But as soon as she busts out her booty-shaking-body-grabbing business, we can't help but feel we should look away.

What do you think? Is it possible to shed years of G-rated cred in favor of a edgy new R-rated persona? Or will the backlash block Miley's attempt to crossover into adult territory?

Share your thoughts below...

By Liz Kelly  | June 1, 2010; 10:47 AM ET
Categories:  Miley Cyrus  | Tags:  Miley Cyrus  
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The problem she faces isn't "Is she presenting an appropriate image for her existing fan base," it's "Does she have any credibility as an independent, creative, adult musician/entertainer?" IMO, she's spent so much time as the face of the Disney machine that she'll never have any crediblity as an autonomous, adult performer... there's just too much tween-sensation baggage there, She's never going to win audiences beyond her existing fan base, and they're getting too old to take her seriously anymore.

Posted by: DCLocal20 | June 1, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

next up for miley.. drugs, porn, and finally a fake christian repentence.


Posted by: newagent99 | June 1, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

next up for miley.. drugs, porn, and finally a fake christian repentence.


You laugh/sigh, but that might be the route with the most earning potential (she could even probably skip some of the drugs and porn). However, she'd have to accept that she was not going to be a major player in adult pop music but more of a niche act (Amy Grant vs. Beyonce). But, Amy Grant still makes $$.

Posted by: DCLocal20 | June 1, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I sincerely hope not. I long for the days when teen idols, say Debbie Gibson or Tiffany, took their 15 minutes of fame and then blessedly left our consciousness to dwell in obscurity, only to be resurrected on "Where Are They Now" specials. But our mega-super-constant entertainment media of today keeps these marginal talents in our face way past their shelf date. And if they start to falter, a little scandal will push them back in the public eye yet again. But since her father, another less than stellar talent, continues on, I don't think we've seen the end of Cyrus Junior yet.

Posted by: curtb | June 1, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Making little girls into sex objects is nothing new in history. But on the scale of global mass merchandising? It's disgusting. We have finally reached the day when nobody will pay attention to a nimble, lithe, somewhat pretty 17 year old unless she is grabbing her crotch.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | June 1, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Liz -

First, it's Chas, not Cham ;)

Second - you posited about the outfit, not about the gestures, hence my comment.

I just see this as Britney Spears, redux. Mickey Mousketeer turned teenager trying to break away from squeaky clean. We can only hope that Miley Cyrus' parents do a better job keeping her out of the downward spiral.

And by the way - you also skipped over the part where I mentioned modern dancers frequently wear just leotards on stage, and they are frequently as young as Miley Cyrus. But that's "art" so it's okay. Ditto for someone like Ashley Simpson - pure bubblegum pop - to play Roxie Hart on Broadway. Ever seen the outfits for "Chicago"?

Yes, Disney used her as a "squeaky clean" role model for years, so she should be more careful about her transition. But I've got a tween living next door to me. She's been over Miley Cyrus for a while now, and onto whoever it is that Disney is pushing these days. Not to mention her love of Twilight (with the cute boys and Kristin Stewart mania - don't talk to me about what a hideous role model Bella Swan is for young women). It's not like these girls are all slavishly following Miley Cyrus' example until their dying days, media bias to that fact notwithstanding.

And then, you know, there are those pesky little things called "parents" - responsible ones just keep the Hannah Montana reruns flowing.

All Miley Cyrus is doing is emulating what "adult" female rock stars are doing - at least the ones with the most lucrative careers and highest name recognition. Look at Lady GaGa, Beyonce and Christina (and scores of others). Their performance costumes can barely be called that some days.

Blame the music industry - to get attention, you have to have a look. If you are an attractive woman (and what popular female performance artist isn't attractive), they have to get more and more racy. There are some examples of women who aren't racy - Tori Amos gets by on her odd persona, for example - but mostly, if you name a female pop star right now, they are prone to skin-tight and/or skin-revealing dress.

It's a societal thing, not exclusive to Miley Cyrus. She just makes good fodder for entertainment news.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 1, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"IMO, she's spent so much time as the face of the Disney machine that she'll never have any crediblity as an autonomous, adult performer..."

Definitely going the way of Annette Funicello. Once those beach blanket movies went out of vogue, she was left selling peanut butter.

Posted by: haveaheart | June 1, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Big mistake. I don't see it working for her. Was expecting to see her take more of the Christina Aguilera route.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | June 1, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Um - she'd have a better shot at the whole "crossover" thing if she actually had some musical talent.

There's absolutely nothing new or interesting about her whole "pop-star" approach. At least when Madonna did the "Like a Virgin" thing, it was brand new - no one had ever seen anything like THAT before. Miley's schtick is tired and boring - and she needs to learn where to put her hands when she's in public.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 1, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Such a dilemma for the Artist Formerly Known as Destiny Hope. So many paths.

Should she take after Hilary Duff and settle for modest sales / image intact?

Or should she model herself after Christy Carlson Romano and be the next Belle in the "Beauty and the Beast" touring company? (Yeah, she's a dim memory to many, but she seems like a nice girl.)

Miley's voice is better than that of either of those two (and has probably sold many more CDs than Hilary), but she's not quite in the Christina Aguilera category.

I would've expected her to go country like her father, where she can sing all sorts of double entendres but in that genre, everyone just smiles and sings along.

Let's hope Miranda Cosgrove has wiser parents than Miley does.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | June 1, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to contrast this to Steve Burns' attempt to switch from Blues Clues to adult-ier rock. He did it great actually, but he just didn't catch on (not that he really tried). I guess if the goal is stardom vs plain old expression there are different approaches.

Posted by: HardyW | June 1, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Her acting is still immature. Her instrument still sounds like that of a child. What else does she got? She has a better chance of repeating the Britney route to hairless, pantiless stardom than the Christina route to diva-wannabe stardom.

But forget about the age-image transition. Her real problem is that long careers for singers of pop/rock are just RARE.

Posted by: prokaryote | June 1, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Miley Cyrus? Who cares? There seems to be more outrage in America over these pop diversions. Why don't you all get a little hot over the BP spill?

Posted by: tablogloid | June 1, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"There seems to be more outrage in America over these pop diversions. Why don't you all get a little hot over the BP spill?"

Because we're all uncaring, apathetic losers. DUH.

What's your excuse for hanging out somewhere you don't want to be? You got the jimmy finger and clicked on the wrong link?

Posted by: DCLocal20 | June 1, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Oddly, her facial expression in the picture above reminds me of Michelle Obama. (NOT the crotch-grabbing, though).

Really, Miley - YAWN. We've seen it all before and it wasn't that exciting then. It would have been more startling for her to act modest and innocent than for her to go the tramp route.

Posted by: Amelia5 | June 1, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Miley should try cross dressing if she wants to cross over.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | June 1, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I can't get too worked up about the leotard (like Chas, wore 'em to Jazzercise -- they rocked comfort-wise) and I've seen higher-cut bathing suits so no biggie. But the hand gesture -- ICK NAST.

-Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | June 1, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

tablogloid, this is the CELEBRITOLOGY Blog, not the BPOilLeakOlogy Blog. And besides, what's the point of getting all "hot" over something I can't fix? Who do you think I am, Kevin Costner?

-Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | June 1, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Who do you think I am, Kevin Costner?

SPLOOT, all over the keyboard!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 1, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Apologize for misspelling your name, Squirrel. Fingers slower than brain.

How about James Cameron takes his 9/10 scale copy of the Titanic and drops it on top of the Gulf spill, to block the oil-gusher? After all, we know the Titanic is sinkable.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | June 1, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Curtb, you would have a point if both Tiffany and Debbie Gibson hadn't resurrected their careers recently in bad SciFi channel movies.

If you want plot details of their movies, just ask.

Posted by: epjd | June 1, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

she's a minor. her stage conduct is horrible and horrifying. her parents should be flogged.

Posted by: frieda406 | June 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Tiffany and Deborah Gibson are still out there doing their thing. Deborah does Broadway and has a camp for aspiring young kids. Tiffany has written songs on her last three albums and all are amazing. You should check out her Color of Silence album as well as Dust Off and Dance. She is now out in Nashville doing a country album.

You should really do some research before making such unwarranted claims. Just because they were part of the 80's era doesn't mean they aren't talented. I've seen both perform live and both are phenomenal. Definitely not marginal especially when it comes to their voices and songwriting talents.

Posted by: Holysm0ke | June 2, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Um, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson did fade from the spotlight they were under as teens. Debbie started using "Deborah" and Tiffany - and this comes from a HUGE fan during the day, didn't seek as much fame as she once had during the 90s.

I loved both. I think Debbie got a little more respect since she was known right away as a songwriter, and that was a little uncommon for someone her age back then, but Tiffany is a great part of my 80s memories.

Anyway, on Miley... A) Britney and Christina weren't the stars of their own shows, they were on a revolving ensemble show. They weren't plastered on merchandising crap until they were pop stars. B) Christina and Gaga can actually sing and are known to at least co-write their songs. Miley isn't really known for having an original idea. C) After all of Miley's "scandals" she claims she doesn't know why people are picking on her, that she's just growing up. Most of the people I knew when I was that age, and the people I knew who were close to her age while I was in the military, actually tried not to repeat mistakes.

And... I don't think she's growing up to be a great beauty or a great singer. So maybe she should go to college to figure out what she actually can/wants to do? Maybe she could study finance so she can control her money before she becomes a has-been...

Posted by: Aloe9678 | June 2, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Just because someone isn't out there in the spotlight constantly anymore doesn't mean they are no longer successful. They are both still successful and still have the talent. If anything they still both shine in what they do. They certainly aren't has-beens. In fact, Tiffany has actually written songs that have been on the dance charts in the past two years. Both songs of which fell within the top 25 on the charts which actually did better than I Think We're Alone Now in 1987. Too bad people stigmatize the both of them without ever giving them a chance.

And what does Deborah changing her name have to do with anything? It was a stage name which she hated and has said she has always used Deborah. It really doesn't have anything to do with the fact that she is talented and successful in what she does.

Posted by: Holysm0ke | June 3, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

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