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Miley’s marketing growing pains

Tween queen's adult moves downplayed by Disney machine

They grow up so fast.

Miley Cyrus certainly has in the past four months since the last episodes of “Hannah Montana” aired on Disney Channel in March. With the show heading into its fourth and final season on July 18, the Mouse House faces something of a marketing quandary in how to present its once-signature star these days on the family-friendly channel.

Cyrus, who will turn 18 in November, has grabbed attention for her sexy outfits and risque moves displayed in her recent musicvid, both of which were also on parade at last month’s MTV Movie Awards and Toronto’s MuchMusic Awards. And then there was the candid vid that popped up on TMZ in May of her giving a lap dance (admittedly a PG-13 style lap dance) to helmer Adam Shankman at the wrap party for “The Last Song.” Even the fact that Cyrus is now starring in a Nicholas Sparks romancer like “Last Song” puts her at odds with “Hannah’s” wholesome tween queen image.

The title of Cyrus’ new album, “Can’t be Tamed,” seems an apt description of her attitude toward bridging the difficult last mile between moppet (she was 11 when “Hannah” started) and young adulthood.

“I’m really happy to move on to a new chapter of life,” Cyrus told “Access Hollywood” about the end of “Hannah Montana,” which she described as having been a “security blanket” during the past few years as her career exploded.

Disney may want to tread lightly in the on-air space where Miley and Hannah meet, which may explain why there hasn’t been as much marketing and tubthumping for “Hannah’s” farewell season as might have been expected. But then again, the Mouse doesn’t really need to pull out all the stops for a “Hannah” send off. Disney Channel already tackled the toughest part of growing up by grooming a new crop of shows (“Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Jonas L.A.,” “Sonny With a Chance,” “Phineas and Ferb”) and stars (Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato) to fill Cyrus’ sequined pedal-pushers.

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