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Miley Cyrus brings new image to Nassau Coliseum

Miley Cyrus performs at Disneyland on Oct. 5,

Miley Cyrus performs at Disneyland on Oct. 5, 2008 in Anaheim, California. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Like every teenager, Miley Cyrus is having some growing pains. Unfortunately for her, they are playing out in a very public way.

The 16-year-old Disney superstar is clearly stretching, trying to shed her previously squeaky-clean image. She is in the middle of her first headlining tour of arenas as herself - and not her fictitious alter ego, Hannah Montana. Her recent singles, "The Climb" and "Party in the U.S.A." have not only continued her run at the top of the charts, but have offered a look at how she may plan to build her grown-up music career.

>>PHOTOS: Miley Cyrus rocks Nassau Coliseum

>>VIDEO: Click here to watch Long Islanders react to Miley Cyrus' pole dancing routine at the Teen's Choice Awards

New York songwriter Claude Kelly, who wrote "Party in the U.S.A.," said he is thrilled with what Cyrus did with the song, even though it wasn't originally written for her. "We made some tweaks to it to reflect who she is and what she's doing as an artist," said Kelly, who also has written recent hits for Whitney Houston and Kelly Clarkson. "Then, she took it into the studio and just killed it."

Though "Party" is essentially an age-appropriate teenage anthem, Cyrus' performance of it on the Teen Choice Awards raised eyebrows as she danced around what some considered a stripper pole. Between that performance and a photo where some felt she was mocking Asians, Cyrus has run into some controversy, including being named Worst Celebrity Influence of 2009 in a poll of tweens and teens for AOL's JSYK.com last month, ahead of Britney Spears and Kanye West.

On her current tour, which stops at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday and Thursday, Cyrus hasn't shied away from pushing the envelope. She has, however, tried to step away from the spotlight slightly. Last month, she deleted her Twitter account, explaining later (via a YouTube rap), "I want my private life private."

WHAT CRITICS SAY

"It was abundantly clear Cyrus will try anything - anything! - to shake her Disneyfied past. And that's just what she did, bouncing from sleek, '80s-style power ballads to No Doubt-style ska to Southern-fried hip-hop." -Ross Raihala, St. Paul Pioneer Press

"It's starting to look like Miley and her dad came to a fork in the road, and instead of taking a right at Hilary Duff, they decided to go the way of Britney Spears."  -Timothy Finn, Kansas City Star

"In concert, she knows to surround herself with big set pieces and scenic bells and whistles designed to make her young female fans' eyes pop. And pop they did."  -Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

>>VIDEO: Click here to watch Cyrus talk about finding her voice in the music industry

Miley Cyrus: 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale. Tickets: $39.50-79.50; 631-888-9000, ticketmaster.com

The set list

Breakout
Start All Over
7 Things
Kickin' and Screamin'
Bottom of the Ocean
Fly on the Wall / Thriller
Let's Get Crazy
Hoedown Throwdown
These Four Walls
When I Look at You
Obsessed
Spotlight
Girls Night Out
I Love Rock 'n' Roll
Party in the U.S.A.
Hovering
Simple Song

ENCORE
See You Again
The Climb

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