BURLESQUE IDOL Free the tease

Get ready for a high energy and deliciously entertaining evening, jam-packed with talent, humour and audience participation. Burlesque Idol returns to FRINGE WORLD for one night only at The Edith Spiegeltent, Yagan Square on Monday, January 27. The dazzling burlesque talent on show ranges from the emerging to world-renowned, and this year in an exciting spin, the audience holds the voting power in their hands and will determine the winner. ANYA HARRIS spoke to producer, judge and 2018 winner Dee Dee Luscious (pictured above) about her own rise to the top, the most memorable outfit she has encountered, what she looks for in a winner and why audiences can expect an ‘anything goes’ approach to the show this year.

For those of us that have checked out Burlesque Idol before, what’s new that we can look forward to this year?

As always we will have a plethora of talent with a lot of new faces and emerging burlesque artists. These are all new routines to Burlesque Idol sure to stun and delight our audience. We also have the unstoppable company director, producer and burlesque extraordinaire, The Sugar Duchess, joining the judging panel for the first time. I’m no stranger to Burlesque Idol but I have taken on a new role for myself as producer of the Perth leg of the tour. A few more surprises are in store but you’ll have to grab a ticket to find those ones out.

And for those that haven’t been before, what’s it all about?

Burlesque Idol offers so much for the audience and really encapsulates a most memorable night. We have an overabundance of contestants ‘strip’ their stuff in a battle to win you over and get your vote. That’s right, the audience votes and determines the winner. We have the infamous ‘Perthonality’ Famous Sharron hosting the evening in her only FRINGE WORLD 2020 appearance. Come dressed to the nines to be a part of the evening’s ‘Best Dressed’  competition and there’s a raffle with prizes from our wonderful national and local sponsors. Plus, you can’t beat the atmosphere in The Edith Spiegeltent during Fringe. It’s an extravaganza show jam-packed with talent.

As a previous winner and now judge for the competition, what do you look for in a performance?

Personally, I look for connection with the audience and musicality. I want to be swept away. I want to escape from my reality. I want an experience to excite and inspire me.

The competition is certainly unique in its judging style. Could you tell us a little bit about how it works at Burlesque Idol?

The Burlesque Idol winner is determined by vote. Each audience member is given a voting card upon entry, meaning it isn’t just a popularity contest. We have had a previous winner compete not knowing a soul in the audience. A national winner and previous ambassador discovered their own mother hadn’t voted for them. There are no scorecards or categories, embracing the true ‘anything goes’ approach that welcomes diversity and uniqueness. Each contestant has one opportunity to wow the audience and do what they do best. Each contestant has one opportunity to be the favourite of the night.

Talking about your own burlesque career, where did it all start and what drew you to the art form?

I began my burlesque career in May 2015. I had recently returned from abroad and was looking to find another way to express myself creatively. Friends in the cabaret scene were producing and performing around Perth, exposing me to the scene and the spark was soon ignited. I remember my first show. So much went wrong and many lessons were learnt but I have never regretted it. Burlesque for me is not only an art form enabling me to express myself but a creative outlet to communicate in a way I feel safe. Who would have thought being nude on stage under the lights would be my safe place where I’m heard, accepted and feeling more confident?

Being a part of this competition means a lot to me. Being a previous winner, it’s personal. I see contestants’ excitement and nervousness. I’ve been there. I can help them along in their journey as Burlesque Idol helped me on my journey to where I am now. Since winning in 2018 I’ve reached many goals including performing whilst travelling, winning other titles, and achieving milestones such as being a part of festivals and producing. There’s no telling where you’ll go but we all need that first step.

What’s the most memorable outfit you’ve ever seen at Burlesque Idol?

Oh my, that’s a tricky one. I can’t go past 2018 finalist Possum Galore’s roach costume. The biggest cockroach I have ever laid eyes on. No amount of bug spray could have brought her down. I am personally drawn to comedy and found it to be hilarious. I haven’t looked at a roach in the same way since.

I understand you’re not allowed to play favourites but are there any upcoming burlesque artists we should keep an eye out for? I imagine a lot of them will have their own Fringe shows we can check out as well…

That’s like asking a mother to pick her favourite child! Sure she has one but she’ll never admit it. In all honesty, all of the contestants have something unique they’re bringing to this year’s show. For some, this is their first performance in a burlesque competition, however, almost all of them are producing or performing this season and can be seen in other shows around FRINGE WORLD.

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