August 2009: Pole Dancing at Teen Choice Awards
Shortly before releasing her third studio album Can't Be Tamed (the title says it all), the firebrand made her boldest statement yet about her burgeoning sexuality. At the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, she sang "Party in the U.S.A.," the mega-hit which launched her into full-fledged pop stardom, gyrating on a pole atop an ice cream cart. Those provocative moves and pelvic thrusts weren't exactly a striptease, but still sparked a widespread debate about how appropriate the performance was for an underage star. Disney refused to comment on the controversy at the time.