Does Miley Cyrus in spandex mean the “Disney Channel moment” is over?

Sometimes I sit down at my desk and wonder what I’m going to blog about.

And then I see photos like this one of Miley Cyrus, taken at her show in Portugal over the weekend:

Now, this isn’t going to a be a “Is Miley Cyrus a good role model?” post. We all know the answer to that, and it actually has less to do with her Euro-tour, crotch-grabbing leotard moment than it does with the the fact that she is an example of the very worst kind of celebrity: one with little talent, great hair, a famous parent, and the luck to have ridden a tide of corporate favoritism through a cresting cultural moment. She is a high-profile exception to the idea that success takes talent and hard work, something I think we can all agree is good for kids to come to grips with at some point.

No, instead, I like the question posed by the Washington Post’s celebrity blog:Will Miley Cyrus survive her crossover attempt?

Cyrus’ newfound sexuality follows her debut movie role in “The Last Song,” a new album, and a very public shift away from her Disney Channel roots, and WaPo asks whether she can actually become a legitimate Hollywood talent.

The answer, I think, is no, since at some point, people are going to realize that she doesn’t actually sing or act very well. But that’s neither here nor there.

The interesting implication of Miley spreading her wings is that the Disney Channel moment has passed.

In the early 2000s, Disney built an empire on the squeaky-clean personas of Hilary Duff and Raven Anderson. They were funny, cute, and delivered their lines with enough believability to pass onscreen. Tweens loved watching them and, what’s more, parents didn’t hate watching them. Cha-ching!

Yes, child stars will naturally become young adult stars, and new young ‘uns will be there to replace them (see: The Suite Life on Deck, Selena Gomez, etc.). But it’s my sense that the crowd that loved Miley and the Jonas Brothers when they were young and harmless is following them as they shed that image, not looking for replacements on the Disney Channel’s new lineup.

And that’s a shame, because in Cyrus’ case, shedding that image often means shedding quite a few clothes, too. And remember, she’s only 17. Also, only marginally talented.

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