For better or for worse, Miley Cyrus has become somewhat of a pop culture juggernaut. You know her better as Hannah Montana, and she was the tabloid princess of 2007. Early in the year, she was criticized for those scandalous sleepover photos where she simulated kissing with a female friend. Then, in September, J-14 magazine reported that Cyrus was two months pregnant. Now she’s facing allegations that the Hannah Montana tour uses a Miley Cyrus body double.
But Cyrus is not a teenaged lesbian mommy-to-be. Sure, the body double thing was true, but at this point no amount of bad press can stop Hannah Montana from dominating the teen pop universe. Only 15, she’s sold millions of records, she stars on her own TV show, she’s an upcoming movie star, and she’s got about seven identities. And the body double has since been nixed from her national tour, so fuck you.
How do I know this all this? On Monday, I went to see Hannah Montana with opening act Aly & AJ in Chicago. Needless to say, it was an experience. But before I delve into that, a little background info on Miley Cyrus. First, her real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus, which is composed almost entirely of stage names for strippers. Second, her father is country singer Billy Ray Cyrus of “Achy Breaky Heart” fame. Third, she makes about $4 million a year…so fuck me. But onto the show!
I’ll start by saying this: as a 20 year-old white dude, attending a Hannah Montana concert was almost like auditioning for To Catch a Predator. I’m not old enough to be a Disney dad, nor am I young enough to be a sexually confused Hannah Montana boyfan—so I came off as a complete pedophile. I’m not even allowed to find Miley Cyrus attractive, as she’s 15.
So about halfway through the show, as I tried to figure out whether I “hypothetically” think Cyrus is hot (final verdict: no), out came Aly & AJ (yes and yes) to spice things up. This was the highlight of the show: the three ladies sang KISS’ “Rock and Roll All Nite,” and even the parents got into it. Hell, I stood up and sang. But as great as those four minutes were, they also broke the cardinal rule of performing: never let the highlight of your own concert be someone else’s song. None of Miley’s twelve-odd songs, either as Hannah Montana or as herself, could touch the cover.
So if you plan to shell out for a couple of Hannah Montana tickets, expect the kind of overproduced, Disney-fied glamour fest that incorporates just enough glitter to keep people from asking “child labor” questions. As for talent, Cyrus can’t really dance, and she lip-synchs all but the last number (a touching tribute to her late grandfather). Her personality alone, as shining as it is, just can’t entertain for two straight hours. That said, it’s not awful. You’ll be home by ten. You’ll get bright lights, pyrotechnics, a big band sound and some amount of showmanship. And all that without body doubles!
Bottom line: if you want shrieking preteen girls and songs that sound eerily similar, go see Nickelback. Miley Cyrus brings just a little bit more to the table—although nothing good enough to pretend your dad died in Iraq.