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'Bangerz' tour a long way from 'Hannah Montana' for Miley Cyrus

| Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Miley Cyrus performs at the Barclays Center in New York.

When pop princess Miley Cyrus brings her controversial “Bangerz” tour to Consol Energy Center on Aug. 4, concertgoers will see a very different performer than the “Hannah Montana” show in 2008 at Mellon Arena.

At that last concert, Cyrus, now 21, still donned her squeaky-clean image from the Disney show that ran from 2006 to 2011 and performed mostly for tween-age girls, who filled the arena with high-pitched, piercing screams as they watched their idol on stage.

Now, after a few years of dramatic persona change — as Cyrus walks the often-rocky road from child to adult stardom — the singer is bringing to Pittsburgh the tour many parents are pushing to shut down.

According to MusicFix, Cyrus' management has been inundated with complaints about the performance, which they say is too racy for young audiences. Some of Cyrus' concert antics, according to published reports, have included straddling a flying hot dog, stuffing a thong in her mouth and simulating sex acts. Critics have called the live show loud and lewd, but laudable, fun, campy and surreal.

Love her or hate her, then or now, Cyrus' colorful life and career still attracts and retains millions of fans around the world.

Early fame

Cyrus was just 14 when she debuted on Disney's “Hannah Montana.”

As the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus (of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame), she was familiar with fame. But little could have prepared her for the adulation of her young fans.

On the show, she starred as a teen pop star who used a disguise onstage so she could have a normal teenage life off the stage. Her dad co-starred as her father.

The show was four times nominated for an Emmy for outstanding children's programming. Cyrus sang on the show, including some of her own songs. She released five soundtrack albums under the name “Hannah Montana,” all of which went to No. 1 on the U.S. charts. The show spawned a theatrical release, “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” and a 3D tour film, “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert,” both of which achieved overwhelming commercial success.

Cyrus started recording under her own name in 2007 with “Meet Miley Cyrus,” but it was 2010's “Can't Be Tamed” that started to show a more grown-up and risque style.

She has reportedly told her godmother Dolly Parton that she needed “to murder Hannah Montana” to get on with her career, and Cyrus told the “Saturday Night Live” audience last year that Montana had been “murdered.”

Hot album

Cyrus' latest album “Bangerz,” which includes the hit singles “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can't Stop,” has done very well, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

“Wrecking Ball” became Cyrus' first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 and her fastest-rising Top 10 hit. U.S. Weekly called “Bangerz” “the year's most titillating pop explosion” when the album came out in October 2013.

Several shows on the U.S. leg of the “Bangerz” tour were postponed this spring after Cyrus reportedly had a bad reaction to an antibiotic used to treat a sinus infection. She resumed the show in May in Europe. The Pittsburgh show was added when the original dates were rescheduled for August.

Twerking and tongues

Cyrus' high-profile evolution from strait-laced, long-haired Hannah Montana to short-haired seductress largely began six years ago in a controversial cover photo for Vanity Fair, where she was wearing only a loosely draped sheet.

If we weren't already convinced her teeny-bopper image was dead, she made it painfully clear at last year's MTV Video Music Awards. Her appearance started with her cavorting and twerking with dancing bears as she sang “We Can't Stop,” and then grinding against Robin Thicke and a foam finger as he sang “Blurred Lines,” all this with her tongue hanging lasciviously from her mouth.

She followed that up with the video for “Wrecking Ball,” which featured her naked on a wrecking ball and licking a sledgehammer with that infamous tongue. The video had a record 19.3 million views in 24 hours.

Cyrus also hasn't been shy about her expressing her love of marijuana. Last year, she told Rolling Stone magazine, “I think weed is the best drug on Earth. One time, I smoked a joint with peyote in it, and I saw a wolf howling at the moon. Hollywood is a coke town, but weed is so much better. And molly, too. Those are happy drugs — social drugs.”

Love life

Cyrus was famously engaged to actor Liam Hemsworth (“The Hunger Games”) until last fall. The two had been together for almost four years after meeting on the set of the 2010 movie “The Last Song.”

Many have rumored that the song “Wrecking Ball” is directed at Hemsworth, and Cyrus went on an expletive-laden rant that was seemingly directed at her ex during an early stop on the “Bangerz” tour. But Cyrus has denied Hemsworth was the target of her ire.

Early in her Disney career, she also was linked to Nick Jonas.

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