The Cyrus Effect

July 15, 2008

Its a craze, its a phenomenon, its Miley Cyrus. But is it right? When it comes to tween entertainment, there is no one else that has the credentials, or the personality for that matter, that can please your average 6 to 14 year old better than Hanna Montana. She has mesmerized thousands of kids, fascinated critics, and put smiles (and cash) onto Disney’s otherwise sinking television market, and most of all, took the child entertainment business by storm. How did she do it? Obviously not by herself. 

From the start, Cyrus (who was born Destiny Hope, but recently changed  her name) relied on her father to get her roles on TV. At age nine, when living in Toronto, she played a girl named Kylie on her father, country star Bill Ray’s show Doc. She landed other minor roles at ages 10 and 11, but meanwhile, Disney was starting to dream up the show that would make her famous, and later, infamous. At age 12, Cyrus tried out for the lead role of what was then Disney’s new show, Miley Stewart/Hanna Montana. Originally Disney thought she was too small, but later gave her the role. 

The show hit home, where Disney’s main audience (9 to 12 year olds) lauded the show, making it the new big hit with young fans. But it was when Cyrus went global that Disney turned genius. After the successful show, Disney attempted to sell an album with 8 of the show’s top tracks. The public pounced, and it sold like crazy. This was the beginning of the bad for Cyrus as her career stood on the gas pedal and sped away. 

Cyrus released more albums which sold more and more, and she went on tour, making tons of money and multiplying her fan base for every city she toured. But as she aged, it became harder and harder for her younger audience to relate to her, and so with that many more older kids jumped on the Miley Cyrus train. Now, with Cyrus making money in her sleep, half of the girls in my school between 6 and 10 obsessed, and Disney soaking it all up, one might wonder when the downfall would come. One might point out that it has already come, with the photo scandals, but in truth, it has only tightened the bond with Cyrus’s more committed fans. 

But what do I think? When Cyrus turns 16, then 17, then 18, she will be in deep trouble. Unable to please anyone under 11 at that point, her show will require a new lead actress. This is why: no one on this planet over 17 could possibly star in a Disney show today that is geared towards 9 year olds. And with her happy go-lucky acting style, there is no way she could land any kind of role in the darker, more sarcastic shows kids 16 and above watch. Getting a lead role in a movie would be even harder, because her acting talents pail in comparison to her personality. My point? Unless Cyrus can change her ways soon, she’s going to struggle later on.

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