Miley Cyrus, Genius Marketer

Miley Cyrus takes the stage

Miley Cyrus takes the stage

Whatever Miley Cyrus’ outrageous “Bangerz” tour is trying to say, after just four stops, it has earned the twerking pixie something far more than mere controversy: Cred.

From the moment she took the stage at Staples Center on Saturday night, Cyrus was in command like a bona fide star, strutting around in what the Hollywood Reporter termed a “cannabis leaf-o-tard” with matching gold medallion, rubbing her crotch atop the hood of a mini gold cutlass with the sort of abandon that would make the girls at Crazy Horse in Vegas blush.

Not for the Hannah Montana crowd, but then, when the competition is Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, one has to up the ante. Which would explain the spectacle that opens with a pair of knockout drag queens and then quickly morphed into a David Lynch scene complete with dancers dressed as stuffed animals, a pint-sized seductress wearing a giant Britney Spears mask and, a woman dubbed “Amazon Ashley” in red Spandex who Cyrus gleefully spanked.

Before long, the aforementioned Ms. Perry appeared in the front row just in time to offer Cyrus a big wet one. By the end of the night, Cyrus sat astride a giant inflatable hot dog, mimed fellatio on Abraham Lincoln and shared a mic with the beloved Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne.

So far, the tour has made for some good headlines, but even better reviews. Which speaks to Cyrus’ business acumen. She may come off as a living internet meme, a Disney star gone horribly awry, but as her father Billy Ray Cyrus’ wave from the engineer’s pit reminded us all – Miley’s got showbiz in her blood. And it takes a lot of to get attention from teenagers these days and even more to convince their parents to pay upwards of $1,100 a piece on StubHub for Bangerz tickets.

For all the bum-shaking silliness of her performance, she’s got the pipes to fill arenas and the good sense to lampoon herself while she’s covering the likes of Outkast and Dolly Parton.