Billy Ray Cyrus Defends Miley’s Teen Choice Pole Dance

'I just think that Miley loves entertaining people,' singer's dad says.

After [artist id="2408193"]Miley Cyrus[/artist] performed her new single “Party in the U.S.A.” at the Teen Choice Awards on August 10 — while dancing around what appeared to be a stripper pole — the singer garnered criticism about the performance, not least from Disney, the company that airs “Hannah Montana” and releases her recordings.

But her dad, Billy Ray, is coming to the defense of his 16-year-old daughter and the performance that had everyone talking. “You know what? I just think that Miley loves entertaining people,” Billy Ray told Access Hollywood. “She loves singing [and] songwriting.”

He added that he tells his kids to do what they think is right, no matter what other people might have to say about their decisions. “I always tell her to love what you’re doing and stay focused for the love of the art and not worry so much about opinion,” he said.

Billy Ray also spoke to UsMagazine.com about the performance, noting that he isn’t there to inhibit his kids’ creative and artistic expressions. “I give my kids a lot of freedom to make the art they wanna make, and make it in their own voice,” he said. “I think it’s important.”

In the days after the show, Disney issued a statement about the performance, noting that what the “Hannah Montana” star did onstage there had nothing to do with the network. “Disney Channel won’t be commenting on that performance, although parents can rest assured that all content presented on the Disney Channel is age-appropriate for our audience — kids 6-14 — and consistent with what our brand values are.”