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Calling all gay icons

Bryan Ochalla | February 26, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Do you know what shocked me most about the Madonna concert (Madonna: The Confessions Tour Live from London) recently aired on NBC? It wasn�t the multi-faceted, multi-talented entertainer�s fabulous physique, and it certainly wasn�t the much maligned sequence depicting her hanging from a cross. The thing that sent shivers down my spine was coming to the realization that Madonna, on the brink of turning 50, is our most current and active �gay icon.�

Now, I�m not implying some up-and-coming pop tart should pull an All About Eve on the singer-affectionately-known-as-Madge across the pond and knock her ABBA-esque butt to the curb (on the contrary!), but it�s pretty obvious Madonna won�t be hoofing it on stage to Lucky Star for a whole lot longer. And as her career eventually winds down, someone has to step into her rainbow spotlight, right?

The problem is, I don�t see anyone preparing to step into Madonna�s pricey Manolo Blahniks anytime soon. Actually, scratch that�there are plenty of girls looking to take her place as a �gay icon,� but I�m not sure many of them deserve the title (I�m naming myself head of the nominating committee, in case you didn�t already know).

Here�s a shortlist of the ladies I see as either contenders or pretenders to the �gay icon� throne currently comforting Madonna�s amazingly gym-toned ass (and which previously hoisted a few gals who go by the names of Judy, Babs, Bette and Cher, among others):

1. Kylie Minogue�It seems strange to list the Aussie pop princess as one of the women most likely to take Madonna�s spot as the premiere gay icon, partially because in the eyes of many gay men she�s already bested her musical muse.

That said, Ms. Minogue is hardly a household name in the US (outside of the clubs, of course) and isn�t getting any younger (she�ll turn 40 around the same time Madonna turns 50). Kylie certainly has the sex appeal and camp factor required to pull it off, and her most recent tours are even gayer than their Madonna counterparts, which is no easy task!

2. Dannii Minogue – I�m guessing more than a few people read that name and thought, �huh? Kylie�s got a sister?� Yep. She�s quite a hot little number, too, and sings the same kind of fizzy dance-pop for which big sis is known around the world. Unfortunately for her, she can probably wander wherever she wants here in the States, as the only real hit she�s had was 2003�s 'I Begin to Wonder'. I�m beginning to wonder why I put her on this list�

3. Britney Spears – Now that the former Musketeer has pushed her way back into the spotlight (stumbled drunkenly into it sounds more like it), Britney Spears may just make that run to the top of the gay music charts that she was never quite able to accomplish earlier in her career. Hell, she can call on that video of Madonna tongue-kissing her for years to come, if she wants. Not sure how the whole Sinead O�Connor look-alike thing is going to work out, but it definitely got her back into the headlines, something her matronly mentor has always been good at as well. Who cares if she can sing as long as she can titillate, right?

4. Christina Aguilera – I feel like I�m on a roller coaster when I contemplate Christina's spot on a list like this. She�s blond, leggy and pretty enough (when she�s not dressing like Twisted Sister�s Dee Snider, as she did during that whole Lady Marmalade phase. Eeek!). And we all know she has the pipes.

Her problem is that, like her Musketeer sister mentioned above, she isn�t really known for her wit. Hey, say what you will about Madonna, but no one�s calling her dumb! Britney and Christina, on the other hand, may be challenged to spell Mensa, let alone know what it is.

5. Paris Hilton�I know, I know. How the hell could I put Paris Hilton on here? Well, she�s young and blond and pert and all those traits that have suddenly become prerequisites for entering the �Gay Icon Hall of Fame� (Judy, Babs, Bette and Cher certainly didn�t fit that bill!). And she has attitude to spare – always an important trait when you�re trying to woo the gays. What about her music, you ask? Eh, some people liked it well enough, others didn�t – and the worst most of it can be called is boring. That sure didn�t stop Madonna at the beginning (early detractors said her voice sounded like �Minnie Mouse on helium�), did it? I�m not betting she�ll be pushing Madonna around in a wheelchair anytime soon, but I�m sure she has the bucks to take a stab at it if she wants to.

Looking back at that list makes me gag a little bit. Christina brings some artistic credibility to the list (especially her most recent transformation into a vampy, va-va-va-voom crooner), but that�s about it as far as depth goes. At least we know Madonna – when she eventually decides to hand over her well-deserved rainbow-colored crown to the next gay-icon-in-waiting�will be leaving us pop music fans in some expensively manicured, if not altogether musically accomplished, hands. – Gay Link Content

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