Cyrus steps out of tween idolhood toward "Liberty"

Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:57pm EDT
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By Ann Donahue

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Miley Cyrus' audition tape for the Disney Channel's "HanID be found on YouTube. In it, the 12-year-old Cyrus is sporting frizzy hair, a big smile and, even then, her trademark whiskey drawl.

She displays the practiced poise of all child actors -- a fearlessness when it comes to staring straight into the camera and reciting her lines -- and her posture and mannerisms reveal that she knows this is a business opportunity and not a social call.

Flash-forward five years, and Cyrus' latest YouTube offering, her video for the title track of her album "Can't Be Tamed," involves a bird-cage set that doubles as a pole-dancing playground, writhing background dancers and an outfit notable for its feathers and décolletage.

Like Disney teen idols Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake before her, Cyrus is making the often-murky transition into adult artist. The June 22 release of "Can't Be Tamed" is the boldest statement in a years-long process of transitioning Cyrus away from the scrubbed cheeks and all-American girl charm of "Hannah Montana" to a modern pop diva.

"I'm just at a certain place where I've changed a lot as a person," she says. "I've grown up a lot, which everyone does."

Everyone does, but very few have to do it in the public spotlight with all the divisions of Miley Inc. -- from film to TV shows to voice-over work to apparel -- riding on the success of the transition.


It's no secret that Cyrus has been publicly testing the waters of adulthood for the past few years -- making dramatic displays like the bed-head Vanity Fair photos or the vaguely stripperish dance moves at Nickelodeon's Teen Choice Awards -- followed by an equally dramatic retreat.   Continued...

<p>Singer Miley Cyrus performs on ABC's Good Morning America in New York June 18, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>