Not talking about Miley's propensity to deface her own body with big ugly tattoos (as Rihanna has also done), or her raunchy exhibitionism. But my wife's religion teaches us to look for what's worthy/admirable everywhere, not just within the circle of those we approve of in all regards.
And Miley, as of her American Music Awards performance, shows things Jackie would find it useful to pay attention to.
something for the refined soprano to learn from.
1. Miley has a strong voice. It's not beautiful like Jackie's but it is strong--a bit like Martha Raye's was--and Miley knows how to exploit the voice she's got.
2. Her performance was innovative/clever/memorable while staying within her genre. The giant back-projected lipsynching pussycat was very effective, and the way Miley organized the different elements of her performance, from her costumery to the back projected stuff to her gestural repertoire, all were mutually reinforcing and even pertained to the words she was singing.
3. She's kind of fearless. I realize fearlessness is not by itself a survival trait, but I think she uses her bravery to contribute to her genre. At the same time I don't hear about her partying wildly like Lindsay Lohan and her drug-using ilk. I don't heed the scandal rags, but I get the impression that Miley's antics are more performance art than the expressions of personal dissolution as with Lohan and poor Amy Winehouse.
4. Her performance was passionate and vulnerable; not just another "let's party!" anthem as many of her peers stick to.
5. Her outfit, while skimpy, wasn't so much lubricious as showing how incredibly fit she is--something not possible with a dissolute personal lifestyle BTW. And the pussycat pattern resonated with the giant puddy tat singing behind her.
Of course I am not recommending that Jackie dress like or sing like her. Only that there are things to learn from musical innovators in other genres, and Miley is one of those.