LOS ANGELES - Miley Cyrus is grabbing headlines for the wrong reasons again. A public row with pop veteran Sinead O'Connor is raising questions over whether she may be the latest onetime child star heading for a fall.
The former "Hannah Montana" actress turned pop princess burst into the wider public's mind with her sexually suggestive twerking performance at the MTV video music award show in August.
Then came the video for her latest single "Wrecking Ball," in which she swings naked on a demolition ball and licks a sledgehammer in an almost laughably suggestive manner.
The 20-year-old has defended herself by saying she is merely growing up.
And the publicity will certainly do no harm to sales of her records.
But others warn she could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and more recently Zac Efron, as she makes the transition to the grown-up world.
"There is such a thing as bad publicity," Robert Thompson, a professor of pop culture of Syracuse University, told AFP.
"Especially these child stars in their transition years, some of the publicity turns them from people who actually had promising careers to... objects of mockery.