Miley Creates Good, Bad & Ugly Controversy

Miley Cyrus Creates Good, Bad & Ugly Controversy
The “Party in the U.S.A.” pole-dance by Miley Cyrus still has everyone buzzing. Seriously!

The 2009 Teen Choice Awards had the fanzine favorites Jonas Brothers accepting some wild dares (if only they would have done them seriously). Plus tabloid queen Britney Spears made an appearance looking like her old sassy self (taking herself too seriously). And if that wasn’t enough, Twilight’s attention-grabbing stars were finally divulging their hook-ups (yeah, seriously, like we didn’t already know).


So, seriously, why did Miley Cyrus create the biggest buzz surrounding the show? Miley’s pole-dancing “Party in the U.S.A.” number, which had her dressed like a trashy “bad girl” emerging from a trailer-park, is still the talk of the town.

Some are shocked at her behavior, others angry that she abandoned her wholesome role model image, and some actually defend her right to breakout and grow up. Everyone has something to say long after the Fox TV special faded from the air waves.

I talked with Miley briefly as she arrived and walked down the faux green grass carpet before the show. Super-sweet, she was happy to pose for photos with some excited little girls and sign autographs. That’s when I asked Miley why she was so excited about the Teen Choice event.

As she was being pulled along by her handlers, she stopped to gush about presenting Britney Spears with the Ultimate Choice Award. It’s the honor given to a performer who is recognized as an icon in the entertainment industry, and deemed the Ultimate Choice of the fans.

“I’m such a fan of Britney’s. She is so talented and she’s a Southern girl too,” Miley said with pride about their shared roots, and revealed that she was looking forward to hanging out with her. Miley also mentioned that she’d be introducing a new song, without any indication that she’d be causing any fuss.


I noticed that Miley had on a cute short denim skirt, white tank top and she was wearing a whole jewelry box full of silver and blinged-out necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. The bangles with her outfit looked pretty cool, and the only thing that I was surprised about was the silver stud in her right nostril. I thought it was an edgy touch for her.

Of course that was before she took the stage to sing “Party in the U.S.A.” in the short-shorts and halter top showing off the back of her lace bra.

Just before that Billy Ray Cyrus received the Choice Parental Unit at the awards. Backstage he commented about his daughter. “Miley’s doing great. My advice to her has always been just be happy and love what you’re doing.” So dad seemed to have no problem with her performance on the show.


Okay, so let’s take a deep breath, calm down, and take a serious look at the controversy– the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The GOOD: The new song “Party in the U.S.A.” is great! It’s the kind of tune that could turn into a universal party song like Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.” And Miley sang it to perfection. Her voice was strong and playful. There’s a big difference with being a pop star and being a rock star, and the 16-year-old sensation was rockin’ the Gibson Amphitheatre with her performance.

The BAD: The 16-year-old sensation is still 16, and some say that’s too young to dress and act like a pole-dancing stripper. Some people are still in denial about the dance routine, saying that she was just hanging on to the ice cream cart as it was pulled across the stage. But the TV audiences didn’t see everything. The cameras kept a close-up on her face as she was making gyrating moves while straddling the pole. It was very obvious that this was choreography better suited for an adult audience.

The UGLY: The critics who don’t want Miley to grow up. And the handlers of her career who are pushing her to grow up too fast. Both can share the blame of making too much of this debate.

The truth is that Miley Cyrus is one of the most talented performers on the scene right now. She is a fine actress, who shows off her undisputed comedy skills on the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana sitcom. And she surprised tough critics with her dramatic scenes in Hannah Montana the Movie. Upcoming, there’s great buzz about her new feature film The Last Song.

As a songwriter she has a remarkable gift. And as a singer she is truly a superstar.

The strength of her vocals and stage presence has made her a star who will have a long and enduring career. She didn’t have to resort to the tacky gimmick of creating controversy over a poor choice of costume and dance partner.

Miley told me she was a big fan of Britney Spears, and admires her talent as a performer. Maybe just like her idol, Miley is trying to push the envelope to be taken seriously.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.