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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 02:53 GMT
Kylie's sweet run of success
Kylie Minogue in the Spinning Around video
Kylie: Hotpants and disco relaunched career
Aussie superstar Kylie Minogue is up for four awards at the MTV Europe Awards on Thursday. BBC News Online takes a look at the diminutive diva.

The undisputed queen of the entertainment world career change, Kylie Minogue, heads into the MTV Europe Awards with four nominations, alongside the likes of Eminem, Coldplay and Enrique Iglesias.

Soap stars turned popstars are not supposed to have a run of success like this.

Just look at the competition - Natalie Imbruglia has found herself on the margins of the pop world after swapping the role of Beth in Neighbours for the world of music.

Jason Donovan and Craig McLachlan's singing careers have faded into obscurity. And only time will tell whether Holly Valance will still be troubling charts in 15 years' time.

Clever

But in the last year, the 34-year-old has turned her comeback into the stuff of legend.

Her album Fever, released in September 2001, has amassed 2 million sales in the UK alone, and the single Can't Get You Out OF My Head was a devilishly clever - and credible - pop hit.

And she is one of a handful of recent artists who are big in the UK but have managed to win the Americans over as well.
Kylie Minogue
Kylie's comeback shows no sign of waning

Fever debuted at number three in the US album charts when it was released earlier this year.

At the Brits earlier this year, Fever picked up best international album, and Minogue picked up best international female artist.

She made a cameo appearance in the recent hit film Moulin Rouge, and last year sang in front of an audience of billions at the Sydney Olympics.

She also appeared in a one-off TV special, An Evening With... which saw her belting out recent hits and duet with none other than chief muppet Kermit The Frog.

The Midas touch is in stark contrast to her doldrums in the mid-90s, when the fallout from her Stock, Aitken and Waterman years made her something of a pop casualty.

She found herself without a record contract, and at one point was in the public eye only for a series of ads for a lingerie designer.

Grease-streaked

Kylie's fame began in 1988, as a pop phenomenon swept both Britain and Australia. The word Kylie entered the UK's national vocabulary and babies were named after the Australian star.

Kylie with Jason Donovan in Neighbours
Love thy Neighbour: Kylie and Jason's on-screen wedding

Not bad for someone who came to the public consciousness from the underside of a broken-down car.

As the dungaree-clad, grease-streaked mechanic Charlene in hit Australian soap Neighbours, young Kylie proved an unlikely superstar.

But with her big, blue eyes and bigger bubble perm, she captured the late 1980s zeitgeist.

When Kylie and boy-next-door Neighbour Jason Donovan walked up the television aisle, international celebrity was assured for both.

Revelations of their off-screen affair did nothing to hinder their popularity.

The young couple were both signed to formulaic hit-makers Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

They had no control of their own music, but the collaboration capitalised on their fresh-faced appeal.

Kylie with a more torrid image
A hint of Hutchence: Kylie's new image
If Kylie felt constrained by her squeaky clean image, she soon turned it on its head. She started a romance with the bad boy of Australian rock, the late Michael Hutchence, who she started dating in the early 1990s.

Kylie's music and appearance became dramatically less innocent, and heralded her gradual divergence from her fan base.

According to Kylie, however, Hutchence didn't corrupt her.

"He wasn't as bad as everyone thought," she said, "and I wasn't as good. We met somewhere in between."

Her fans remained equally nonplussed when, in 1992, Kylie changed record label and made an attempt at musical reinvention - the SexKylie period.

Her sexy new image was cemented with the sultry video for her 1994 hit Confide In Me.

Credibility

Collaborations with Nick Cave and the Manic Street Preachers followed.

Kylie reportedly found "singing at the Jazz Cafe with Nick Cave more important than having a number one single" - just as well, as her newly-found credibility did not exactly make for a host of hits.

By 1998, Kylie Minogue was without record label and, apparently, a future.

Kylie Minogue performing at the 2000 Olympics
Glamour at the Games: Sydney 2000
But like all real divas, Kylie came into her own when the chips were down.

Her ability to hit the high notes and camp up her own outrageous glamour had long earned her a loyal gay following.

That same year, she went out on the road, dressed like a trapeze artist, and played to the gallery of these appreciative audiences.

The latest fightback started in 2000 with Light Years, which introduced a brazen, camp pop diva back into the pop arena.

The campaign's biggest bombshell was the video for the disco-classic Spinning Around, which saw the Australian star make headlines with a revealing pair of gold hotpants.

Kylie Minogue
Kylie: Her luck's holding out
She apparently bought them in a street market for a few pounds - a great investment in her career and pin-up status.

Light Years has gone on to sell well over a million copies in the UK. But the return of Kylie Minogue, as the last year has witnessed, was only in its infancy.

Australian to the core, Kylie is regarded as a British national treasure and fantasy figure. Her performances are flirtatious, but she is sharing the joke.

What has always been beyond doubt is that Kylie can actually sing, and her talent continues to pull her through.

In a business that has seen multitudes of grinning starlets fall off the branch, Kylie is back at the top of the tree, better for the years in the wilderness.

She has said: "You can't manufacture a relationship with your audience. If you're pretending, you can't get away with it."

See also:

13 Nov 02 | Entertainment
11 Nov 02 | Entertainment
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
27 Sep 02 | Wales
25 Aug 02 | Entertainment
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