Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Beginnings - Young Talent Time

When I say that I have been a fan of Dannii’s for as long as I can remember, I mean it quite literally. Some of the nicest memories from my childhood involve sitting down to watch “Young Talent Time” with the entire family. For those who are not familiar with the show, “Young Talent Time” was a weekly variety hour in which children would sing current chart hits and old pop favourites. I can only imagine how awful the show would be if it were made today. There would throngs of stage mums and pretentious little cunts talking about “following their dream” and “making it happen”. Back then, the stars of the show were completely oblivious to stardom and social mores were such that no one blinked when 10 year olds sang ballads about love-making! “Young Talent Time” was something of an institution by the mid-1980s when I started watching it, having been popular since the early 1970s. During its run the show unearthed some formidable talent – Debbie Byrne, Tina Arena and of course, Dannii.

It must be difficult for people who live outside Australia to imagine a time when Dannii ruled the Minogue roost and Kylie was the designated family joker. However, that was case before Kylie joined the cast of “Neighbours”. Growing up in Australia in the 1980s, Dannii was the coolest kid on the planet as THE star of “Young Talent Time”. Dannii transfixed a generation with her raunchy outfits, big hair and cutting-edge song selection, crossing over from being a mere television personality to being a bona fide pop culture icon. The boys at my (primary - I'm not that old!) school were in love with Dannii and all the girls were envious of her astoundingly voluminous perm. Dannii’s halcyon days came to an abrupt end in the late 1980s when “Young Talent Time” began to decline in the ratings and Kylie’s fame skyrocketed. In the years since “Young Talent Time”, Dannii has obviously gone on to bigger and better things - becoming an international pop superstar and universally praised actress. However, in my eyes Dannii will always be the girl who electrified television audiences with her vast array of sequined bubble skirts and dodgy hairstyles.

I’ve included some of my favourite Dannii YTT performances for your viewing pleasure:

Belle Of St Mark

I love this clip of Dannii covering Prince’s “Belle of St Mark”. The song is preceded with a skit about how much Dannii loves Prince, eating purple hamburgers and purple bread out of devotion to him! It's just too cute.

Open Your Heart

Dannii shows Madonna what “Open Your Heart” should sound like! This clip is pure magic. Dannii appears to be wearing the ugliest dress of the 1980s in some kind of tragic jungle setting. Too fabulous for words!

Ring Ring

Kylie covered “Dancing Queen” in the 90s but Dannii turned in the first ABBA cover version by a Minogue, when she sang “Ring Ring” on "Young Talent Time" a decade or so earlier. Dannii sure did know how to select songs by gay icons.

Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

I still remember this performance like it was yesterday. Dannii and Kylie teamed up for a duet just as Kylie-mania was sweeping through Australia like wildfire. The sisters recently teamed up to sing “Kids” during Kylie’s Australian and UK tour but their defining moment together is this cover of “Sisters Are Doin’ For Themselves”. Those glorious perms and silver dresses! I still can’t believe that Kylie ever sounded like such an Ocker. Her accent is hilarious. The clip is also interesting as it clearly demonstrates Dannii’s superior vocal and dancing ability. Kylie has done some serious work to become the peerless stage performer that she is today.

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