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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Miley Cyrus then and now: What her fans think

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  • Laurie Clark and then-teenage daughter Ashley Meiter had their tickets. For the second time in the span of a few years, they were off to see pop sensation Britney Spears.
    Spears famously grew up a member of the Mickey Mouse Club and was marketed as a wholesome role model for tweens and teens across the country. The first concert kept with that theme. The second? Not quite.
    “She came out in a see-through bra and underwear,” Clark said. “Then they literally started making it rain on her. It wasn’t exactly appropriate for the young girls who were at the concert.”
    Clark has seen a similar transformation with her daughter’s current favorite performer, Miley Cyrus.
    Meiter is now a 20-year-old nursing student. She, along with her cousin, 18-year-old high school student Alissa Courtney, will see Cyrus perform for the first time when her tour comes to Columbus, Ohio, on April 13.
    Cyrus went from cute, bubbly Disney star to scantily clad, wrecking-ball riding media machine in the span of a few years. She has made twerking a household word, and is often heralded as the next annoying pop diva in a long line of shock-makers. However, there are those that are also calling her a creative and inspirational genius.
    SHOCK-MAKER OR GENIUS
    Her tongue may always be sticking out, but with all the attention she’s garnered, it’s also often firmly planted in her cheek.
    Courtney and Meiter understand the shock aspect to her performances, but their love for Cyrus goes far beyond stage antics.
    “I used to always watch her as Hannah Montana,” Courtney said. “She’s always been a real inspiration, because her songs have a lot of life lessons.”
    Courtney sees much more to Cyrus’ transformation than visual effects. She says her most overlooked quality is the message in her music.
    “She has always been that way,” Courtney said. “She gives you really good advice. Before it was about life lessons and falling in love. It’s the same now except she’s talking about her break up and moving on and being strong.”
    Among friends and family, when it comes to supporting Cyrus, Courtney is in the minority.
    “A lot of my friends think she’s kind of disgusting now,” Courtney said. “They think her haircut is ugly and that she doesn’t look as good as she did before. They all think she’s kind of gross.”
    ‘IT’S SAD’
    Like Courtney, Meiter has followed Cyrus since her inception as a Disney star, but she admitted the new-look Miley took some adjusting to.
    “It was a little bit surprising to me, but I understand it,” she said.
    Meiter explained she feels Cyrus has been sheltered and controlled by many aspects of her own celebrity.
    Page 2 of 3 - “I’ve just kind of accepted her transformation because of all the things she has been through, growing up in the music industry.”
    Meiter has to deal with the same opposition as all Cyrus supporters, including her mother.
    “My mom was really unhappy with it when she changed,” she said. “A lot of younger fans can take her has a role model and behave the way she has, and that wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing.”
    Clark isn’t opposed to her daughter attending the concert, but she would be opposed if suddenly her daughter and her friends started mimicking Cyrus’ stage antics.
    “It’s sad what’s happened to Miley,” Clark said.
    “I like her voice, and I do really like her music, but I’m not proud of how she has gone about making it big in the business.”
    If the Cyrus concert was the same situation as Britney, would Clark take her daughter to see her?
    “That’s a hard call,” she said. “If I was the one taking her, probably not. But I don’t know how I would handle that. As far as shock value, I tell my daughter, for Miley it’s okay, but it’s not for you and your friends.”
    ‘BRILLIANT PROMOTION’
    Canton, Ohio, radio station Q92 FM’s program director Nikolina Karovski sees both sides of the coin. Karovski knows first hand having interviewed Cyrus as “Hannah Montana,” as well as having met Cyrus at an album release party for her most recent effort “Bangerz.”
    “She is definitely a smart and talented girl,” Karovski said. “She was very put together, and very well spoken. She has a great team and great head on her shoulders, and she knows what she’s doing from a publicity standpoint.”
    Karovski doesn’t see Cyrus publicly falling from grace like some of her pop predecessors, including Spears and Christina Aguilera. She said her moves are too calculated and her management team is too strong.
    “Miley has plotted everything out,” she said. “It’s brilliant promotion. Whether you like it or hate it, everyone is talking about her.”
    John Stewart, Canton’s Mix 94.1 FM program director, agrees.
    “I don’t think she’ll go as far as Britney and Christina did,” he said. “Having her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) in the management group, and having him be an artist himself, I think he’s tried to steer her clear of a lot of the pitfalls that come with being a young entertainer.”
    Courtney’s perspective comes in simpler terms.
    “Miley wants to be seen as who she is now and not who she used to be,” she said.
    “She’s an amazing singer and entertainer. She always has been.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Reach B.J. at 330-580-8314 or bj.lisko@cantonrep.com. On Twitter: BLiskoREP
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