We just can't get Kylie out of our heads
The pint-sized Australian pop queen is about to release album number 12. We should be so lucky to have a star like her, writes Deirdre Reynolds
Pop queen Kylie's latest single hits the airwaves this week. And more than a quarter of a century after 'The Loco-motion' sped to the top of the charts, 'Into the Blue' is sure to be another runaway success for the unstoppable Aussie.
The 45-year-old has been credited with performing CPR on The Voice UK after replacing Jessie J as coach earlier this month, boosting the ailing show's ratings by two million to a staggering 10 million on her first night in the red chair.
But the winner of the third season of the reality TV show faces some stiff competition, as the typically poptastic debut single from her upcoming 12th studio album Kiss Me Once proves that coach Kylie isn't hanging up her hot pants any time soon.
Over the years, there have been reports of Simon Cowell trying to secure the pocket rocket for The X Factor. So why The Voice and why now?
"I said no, I said no, I said no," Kylie, or 'Min' as she's known to her friends, tells. "But you can only fight it for so long.
"I just thought, 'I haven't had this experience – let's give it a try ... '"
From Ramsay Street to Moulin Rouge!, all while 'Spinning Around', mistress of reinvention Kylie certainly isn't afraid to try new things.
Two weeks into her latest incarnation as a musical mentor, Pete Waterman (he of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman songwriting team that propelled her to super stardom) says he isn't surprised that we just can't seem to get her out of our heads.
"At the time, people attacked us for signing Kylie, but I always said this girl was a bit special and would be around a lot longer than anybody else," he says.
"Kylie was always the sort of person that, when the camera was on her, it really loved her."
"And, if you watch The Voice, that's what you see – someone with such amazing charisma that it just oozes from the television."
Former child star Kylie famously got her big break as curly haired mechanic Charlene Mitchell on Neighbours back in 1986.
But it was her on (and off) screen romance with Jason Donovan, who played Scott on the soap, and such earworm duets as 'Especially For You', that really revved fans up.
Today the so-called 'Singing Budgie' has sold more than 70 million records worldwide.
On the secret to her success, Kylie says: "My secret weapon has always been my work ethic.
"I grew up on television doing a daytime show and they have the most brutal regimes – but that discipline stuck.
"It was a great way to start, because you quickly understand that this business isn't about glamour and glitz; it's about being there and putting in 100 per cent every day whether you feel tired, stressed, cranky or emotional."
From Indie Kylie (penning songs with the Manic Street Preachers and dating INXS frontman Michael Hutchence) to Sexy Kylie (staging the comeback of a lifetime in a pair of 50p gold hot pants in the video for 'Spinning Around'), the multidimensional diva from Down Under has been compared to Madonna throughout her career.
Unlike Madge, though, Minogue has always been able to poke fun at herself, memorably once reading out the lyrics to 'I Should Be So Lucky' at the Royal Albert Hall's poetry Olympics in 1996.
More recently, she laughed off rumours of a fake sex tape that went viral online last week. It was quickly quashed by her agent who pointed out "It's obviously not Kylie."
But Kylie has certainly known the lows just as well as she's known the highs.
"I had a long period where I wasn't having hits and my life was pretty different," admits Dannii's big sister. "Then when it happened for me again I was doubly appreciative, because I knew what it was like not to have it."
When it comes to matters of the heart, single Kylie hasn't been so lucky, lucky, lucky.
She split from Spanish model Andrés Velencoso last year, reportedly due to their hectic work schedules, and previously dated French movie star Olivier Martinez, who went on to wed Halle Berry.
Although she maintains marriage isn't for her, aunt-of-three Kylie admits that motherhood is still on her mind.
Sadly, it may not be an option after gruelling treatment to beat breast cancer in 2005: "After everything I've been through – the treatment for breast cancer – I may not actually be able to conceive.
"I would absolutely love to, but I just don't think it's going to happen, and that's okay, because I'm well and I can enjoy the children around me.
"Having a serious illness like that really teaches you about yourself," adds Kylie, who was awarded an OBE for "services to music" in 2007. "One important thing I realised is that you're still the same person at the end.
"You're stripped down to near zero, but you come out the other end feeling more like yourself than ever before."
"You change, you transform yourself, you adapt with the evolution of times, fashions and desires," said designer Jean Paul Gaultier in her book Kylie/Fashion. "And still you always stay yourself: our Kylie!"
Indeed, there's something very familiar about the cover of her most recent track, featuring the star in a bum-baring gold crochet dress.
Having recently signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation label alongside Rihanna, however, Sexy Kylie is back. She promises of her upcoming album: "[It's got] some sparkle, some sex, some insouciance. And joy – that's what I would hope.
"There's a lot to be said for making people feel good. That's the most rewarding part of what I do.
"When I'm in the retirement home, I'll still be getting out my old costumes and feathers and putting on a show," jokes Kylie. "I feel like I'm just hitting my stride."
Kylie by numbers
20 million: Number of people who tuned in to watch Scott and Charlene tie the knot on Neighbours in 1987
62: Height in inches of the diminutive Melburnian
50: Pennies paid by her stylist for those gold hot pants (above) in an Oxfam store
1 million: Amount in pounds sterling they're reportedly insured for today
40: How many minutes it took Stock, Aitken and Waterman to pen 'I Should Be So Lucky', which shot to number one in seven countries, including Ireland, in 1988
500,000: How many pounds Kylie is said to pocket for her appearance on The Voice UK