Kylie Minogue at the Dubai World Cup

The National, March 2015

When Kylie Minogue plays at the Dubai World Cup, it will mark 30 years in show business for the Australian pop star. Bet you still can’t get her out of your head …

1. If there’s a hit sound, Kylie is on it

Kylie, bless her, has always been a crowd-pleaser. Her shows in Australia this week worked the full range of her spectacular pop career, from the cheesiest, chart-topping school-disco 1980s pop (I Should Be So Lucky,Hand on Your Heart) to the cool millennial electro of Can’t Get You Out of My Head, and finishing up with the glossy 21st-­century disco sounds of last year’s Kiss Me Once – which features, somewhat impressively for a 46-year-old on her 12th album, a dubstep track. Basically, a Kylie concert is a bluffer’s guide to the past 25-or-so years of pop, and all the more fun for it.

2. Everybody needs good neighbours

Expats of a certain age will be fully aware that this week marks 30 years since Kylie burst onto our screens as tomboyish teenage mechanic Charlene on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. Her marriage to Jason Donovan’s Scott was the stuff of misty-eyed, 1980s television majesty and, coupled with their triumphantly soppy duet Especially For You, made Kylie the girl-next-door extraordinaire. All of which made the part of her later music career where she aped Madonna’s highly sexual Justify My Love era a bit, well, awkward. But the good ship Kylie navigated around such embarrassments and she now luxuriates in being much-loved by just about ­everyone.

3. She’s never too late

There is a mean-spirited school of thought that, well, Kylie’s best years are probably behind her. About 14 years behind, to be precise, when she released the career-high album Fever. It’s true that boasting Can’t Get You Out of My Head, Love at First Sight, Come into My World and In Your Eyes, the record is peak Kylie. But give the Antipodean pop princess her due: she doesn’t stand still. She invited the Daft Punk-approved synth-­disco don Giorgio Moroder on her latest tour, covering his most famous production I Feel Love, and got Pharrell Williams to write her a song. No news on whether Marvin Gaye’s family think it sounds familiar … probably because it sounds like Daft Punk instead.

4. She’s a showgirl

There was a time when, let’s put this delicately, the image of Kylie performing in gold hotpants was enough to make even the most ardent of pop naysayers reassess their feelings about I Should Be So Lucky. Perhaps wisely, given that watching Madonna perform live these days is just a little toe-curling, said garment has now been consigned to pop history – but aside from the music, Kylie can certainly still put on a show. “It’s kitsch, sequinned and themed – each outfit change takes the audience to a different era or song style and the dancers add to what is really more of a theatre show than a music gig,” said The Guardian’s review of her concert in Perth, Australia this week. Can’t wait.

5. She’s a survivor

Take a look at the Wikipedia entry for Kylie. Listed alongside “occupation” is “singer, songwriter, actress, record and film producer, author, entrepreneur, fashion designer, showgirl, humanitarian”. Pretty good for a woman who started out as a teenage hopeful on an Australian soap, was once dropped by her record label and survived breast cancer. And if you’re still not convinced, consider this. How many people are so iconic, they’re known by just one name? Elvis, Madonna, Beyoncé, Cher, Rihanna … not bad company for Kylie to keep, is it?

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