She has to be cute. She has to be smart. She has to have the nerves of a seasoned actor and the stamina of a professional athlete.
And above all, she has to not pose semi-nude for a Vanity Fair photo spread.
Those are the requirements for the contenders for Miley Cyrus' crown. After the "Hannah Montana" star incited a controversy by posing provocatively for the magazine's June issue, Hollywood is wondering who might have what it takes to assume her title as the queen of teen/tween entertainment.
Pigtails and a toothy smile alone won't cut it. Cyrus has already done more work in 15 years than most people do in a lifetime.
Not only does she star in the Disney Channel's most popular show, she's put out four chart-topping albums and just traveled cross-country for her sold out "Best of Both Worlds" tour. Last month, she signed a seven-figure book deal to publish her memoirs next spring.
Of course, she could keep her crown — Cyrus' fan base runs deep, and her teen/tween audience probably won't care that she bared some skin for a magazine their moms read.
"Ultimately, Miley's fans are right there with her. They make mistakes, too," said Bradley Jacobs, senior editor of Us magazine. "I think it's a blip, it's not that big a deal."
But all girls grow up. Eventually, Cyrus will have to move on and let another kid rule.
"Those photos make her look so much older than 15. They put a big stamp on her expiration date," said Joy-Ann King, editor of ELLEgirl magazine. "She's moving from a tween idol into a more controversial, wild pop star, like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan. She can't be a wholesome Disney star for many more years."
Here are some of her potential successors:
In many ways, she is Cyrus' carbon copy: The 15-year-old boasts dark hair, sweet eyes and Disney Channel stardom. She stars in her own show, "Wizards of Waverly Place," and coincidentally appeared on Cyrus' "Hannah Montana," playing a rival pop star. "She's a lot like Miley in that she sings, she dances, she acts. She has a lot of great buzz," Jacobs said.
Lovato's another member of the Disney empire. The 15-year-old stars in the Disney Channel original movie "Camp Rock," premiering in June and poised to be as big a sensation as "High School Musical." "Anyone that's involved in 'Camp Rock,' which is like the next 'High School Musical,' is looking at becoming the next Miley Cyrus," King said. Lovato also happens to be best friends with Gomez. Ambitious, tech-savvy child stars that they are, the two star in a series of self-made videos on YouTube.
Cosgrove has a resume most up-and-coming child stars would give up texting for. Currently the star of Nickelodeon's "iCarly," the 14-year-old is also known for her roles in Nickelodeon's "Drake and Josh" and the Jack Black movie "School of Rock." Cosgrove released her first album, "Leave It All to Me," in 2007. "She has the look, she has the experience," Jacobs said. "She's definitely one to watch."
Aly & AJ
Imagine Miley Cyrus times two. That's what Aly & AJ could be if the teen pop duo play their cards right. Sisters Alyson Renae "Aly" Michalka, 19, and Amanda Joy "AJ" Michalka, 17, have put out three albums since 2005. Time magazine named "Potential Breakup Song," off their latest album, one of the 10 best songs of 2007. Now, they're looking to make the jump from the music world to the big screen: AJ stars in the upcoming film version of "The Lovely Bones," and Aly will appear in "Will" with "High School Musical" star Vanessa Hudgens. They're a few years older than Cyrus, but that may not matter. "They look so young, and girls are always looking to idolize stars a little out of their league," King said. "They're so pretty and so cute, they're almost like future Olsen twins."
She's only 13-years-old, but she's got a role in one of the hottest movies for pint-sized Hollywood stars: "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," the first of the "High School" musical movies to debut on the big screen. Come October, this British actress could be as big as her co-stars. "We know that Disney would like to continue the 'HSM' franchise, and it's very unlikely that Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and the other big stars will be coming back beyond 'HSM3,'" Jacobs said. "So, it's in Disney's best interest to mint some new stars with this movie."