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Miley Flirts... With Disaster (Part One of Two)

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Newsflash: A drug-glorifying hypersexual exhibitionist named Miley Cyrus murdered Hannah Montana.

I thought everyone knew this until I read that some parents want the performer's tour cancelled; apparently it's too racy for children.

You don't say?

One parent left the "porn show" claiming it was inappropriate for a nine-year-old.


The following is a public service announcement for all out-of-touch parents: Ultimate Fighting, most live comedy shows, Hedonism Resorts, wine tastings, strip clubs, and fraternity parties are generally inappropriate for toddlers; you can go ahead and add a Miley Cyrus concert to the list.

Miley appears unfazed by the criticism; she tweeted: "You can't say I didn't warn you."

She is absolutely right. Nobody should be surprised that her Bangerz concert tour is uber-risqué.

In 2009, at the age of 16, Cyrus pole danced while performing her hit "Party in the USA" at the Teen Choice Awards.

That was five years ago.

In the summer of 2010 the entertainer released her third LP "Can't Be Tamed." The album cover featured Cyrus in black leather and a cropped top; the title track's lyrics gave more clues:

I wanna fly I wanna drive I wanna go
I wanna be a part of something I don't know
And if you try to hold me back I might explode
Baby by now you should know

I can't be tamed, I can't be saved
I can't be blamed.

Finally, how could one miss seeing or hearing about the 21-year-old grinding Robin Thicke into the doghouse at the MTV Video Music Awards; it was standard issue water cooler talk for months.

As a branding and reputation professional, I marvel at Cyrus's marketing prowess; she is a sage promoter who in my opinion knows exactly what she is doing... to a point (I will come back to this).

The seemingly "out of control" acts that cause many to gasp are more likely precision movements manufactured by the entertainer. What America sees is a blend of the real Miley mixed with heavy doses of an alter ego she created for the hypercritical public.

Think of Macaulay Culkin gasping with hands on this face in Home Alone; that is precisely the reaction Cyrus is looking for.

While most appreciate that we are observing a sophisticated teen-to-adult rebranding campaign, it would be wrong to compare Cyrus to the teen stars preceding her -- not yet at least.

It appears that the young businesswoman/performer has her sights set on more than simply transitioning into adulthood; she also wants to sell records and concert tickets.

As obvious as that might sound, her focus and well-rounded marketing approach are light-years ahead of her teen star peers.

But as much as she must love the handsome financial rewards she is receiving, Miley Cyrus might have goals way beyond monetary success.

Perhaps the entertainer wants to do more than sing and act, she might want to influence how you think and what you wear as well.

Miley Cyrus wants to be culturally relevant, much in the way of Michael Jackson and Madonna. The difference might be that her approach is more strategic, and, conceived at a much younger age than either of the two.

I am not suggesting that she is in their league, yet, it is too soon to tell.

As a singer, Cyrus has three number one studio albums and two number one soundtrack albums, all at the age of 21; Madonna's first number one album, "Like a Virgin," came at 26 and Jackson's "Thriller" was released when the performer was 24. This makes no mention of her numerous television and film credits.

Commercially, she is certainly on pace to be considered among the greats. What remains to be seen is if she can consistently stay relevant and how big of an impact she can have beyond the music.

Herein lies my concern for the young performer: How will she keep herself in the headlines? How will she reach her goal to have impact beyond the entertainment business?

As smart as I think Miley is, it is my professional view that she is flirting with disaster.

Unlike so many in our gossip-ridden society, I will take no pleasure in her tumbling. It is my hope that it does not happen; I would love nothing more than to see Miley continue to be a huge success.

But, I am worried.

The pressure on her, mostly self-applied, is immense. Her inventory of shocking acts must be on short supply.

Miley Cyrus is twerking on the ragged edge of a dangerous cliff. The good news is that she can both achieve her goals and also avoid falling off the ledge.

PART TWO on Miley will be my efforts to talk her back to safety.