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Monday, January 17, 2011

‘Hannah Montana Forever’ Series Finale: A Miley Cyrus Slideshow

“Hannah Montana” is drawing to a close tonight with a series finale on the Disney Channel. But is the career of Miley Cyrus, the actress who has played the title character through four seasons, just getting started?

Cyrus has grown up with the show and fans and critics have followed her through some sometimes turbulent times. Cyrus has penned a bestselling memoir, starred in movies (including a 3-D concert film), taken heat for a back-baring photo in Vanity Fair that some saw as too racy, and been hit with criticism for a pole dance that other folks saw as, well, too pole dancing-y. Her movie “The Last Song” wasn’t a major hit, but, in the wake of the successful run of “Hannah Montana,” she’s sure to hit the big screen many more times in the future. And she’s still only 18 years old.

Teen stars aren’t built to last. It stands to reason that if you’re growing out of your jeans and Nikes, you’re probably going to grow out of some of your cultural tastes as well. Cyrus, however, has become more than just another interchangeable starlet. She helped usher in a wave of Disney-produced singer-actor-merchandisers, and she became the focal point for a debate about whether some 21st century Xbox-fueled kids are growing up too fast.

A reality check: Cyrus has never actually posed for any really naughty photos. And she never really does anything that’s crazier than what typical teenagers usually do. Plus, when we talked to Cyrus some months ago, she seemed perfect lovely and level-headed. Is she up to a Tiger Mom’s standards? Maybe not. But has she pulled a Lindsay Lohan? Definitely no.

Taylor Swift, who made a brief appearance in “Hannah Montana: The Movie” was able to move from teen idol to twentysomething superstar by digging deep and releasing a confessional set of songs that she wrote completely by herself. Cyrus would do well to follow that example and create her own material that reveals who she is as an artist, or seek out quality work that’s not pandering to flash and controversy.

Critics have sometimes knocked her acting and singing, but one can easily see Cyrus generating fan goodwill in a well-made indie film, or a sharply-written sitcom. As fans of the new Showtime series “Episodes” starring Matt LeBlanc have seen, viewers love when a star is able to send up their own success in a knowing, self-deprecating way.

If she makes the right choices, as fans say good-bye to Hannah Montana, they may soon be saying hello to the real Miley Cyrus.

“Hannah Montana” will air at 7 p.m. ET.

In the slideshow, a look back at the many moods of Miley.

What do you think of the show and Cyrus’s career? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Source: wsj,com

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