For Miley Cyrus, it's just a pole vault to attention
Which might explain Miley Cyrus, all of 16, hopping aboard an ice-cream cart for a couple of suggestive dance moves and thrusts alongside a silver pole.
Miley the Minor didn't do anything illegal, or against her will.
According to an interview she gave MTV, Miley and her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, planned the not-so-slyly sexualized performance as part of an homage to the family's small-town, trailer-park, country roots.
One minute, she's Hannah Montana, role model to legions of little girls. The next, it's Miley - a year after her father caught flak for sexually charged photographs of the kid in a magazine - dancing one more step toward goodness knows what.
Not that it mattered to the delighted teens who can be heard screaming in the background on more than one camera-phone video circulating across the Internet Monday.
It doesn't look so bad, not at first glance.
She's singing "Party in the U.S.A." The boots are low and the booty shorts are high. And a few seconds in, she's thrusting her hips on stage.
Beyoncé does it better.
The next thing you know, she's riding "Miley's Ice Cream" cart, and then, whoa, it's a quick squat down the pole.
The woman I saw hawking a pole dance exercise tape on late-night TV does it better.
But then the cart's moving and Miley's over on the other side of the stage. Kids are clapping and Miley, still hanging on the pole, makes a few more suggestive moves.
Real pole dancers do it better. But good dirty dancing wasn't the goal here.
So what was? Exactly what her handlers - some of the adults in her life because Miley's a minor - wanted. Attention. A boost to Miley's career. A pole the teen can use to ford the treacherous waters between child sensation and adult star.
It doesn't matter whether it's literally a stripper pole. The performance will live forever in suggestive still shots.
If it's good enough for a strip club, why not prime time? And if it's good enough for prime time, why not a teen awards show?
Maybe there's a stripper pole in Miley the doll's future.
That'll fit nicely under the Christmas tree.
As it is, the routine worked. Ratings for the broadcast of the Teen Choice Awards - where Miley won several awards for her work on "Hannah Montana" - likely will soar as a result of photos and videos from the taping.
And Miley's gained new fans, too.
Monday night, photographs of the teen sensation popped up alongside videos of real stripper pole dancers on several sites. And a Google search on "stripper pole" turned up Miley - between Carmen Electra, who sells stripper poles, and former Playboy playmate Kendra Wilkinson, who decided to remove the stripper pole from her house because she's pregnant.