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She’s bigger than Beyoncé, nastier than J-Lo and just plain better than Britney: PINK has become one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. Mark Robertson asks how the hell that happened.

f Madonna came up to me with her mouth open I wouldn‘t honestly know what to do.’ Pink is rarely intimidated. But the suggestion of a spot of tonsil hockey with Madge is enough to send shivers of trepidation down the 24 year-old‘s spine.

Pink is in a peculiar and precarious position at the moment. She is at a point where she could take the baton from Madonna and run with it. becoming the pop diva that all should be compared with. liven with Beyoncé. .l-Lo. Christina and Britney (does anyone actually have a surname?) wrangling for the crown you get the feeling that out of all the pop princesses to strut out of the US. Pink has what it takes to run the show.

‘She was my god when l was eight and she‘s still hot.’ she laughs. ‘l‘m a die-hard fan and I always have been.‘ And so Pink should be in awe of Madonna. She pioneered this pop shit she holds so dear: from the hard knock life story to the sneering attitude to the ever-mutating image.

She is already. albeit unintentionally. filling the role that Madonna has vacated since her being waylaid with children‘s books. more terrible movies and (erm . . . sorry Madge) middle age. Madonna‘s inevitable shift further into the elder stateswoman role means she can grow old disgracefully on her own terms without having to keep up stylistically at least with the (metaphorical) new kids on the block.

Like her idol. Pink deftly taps into a huge cross-section of the record buying public: pre-teens sing along. adolescents gurn along, gay men and women dance along and thirtysomethings commute along to her heady pop potion but more importantly perhaps, unlike the aforementioned contemporaries. Pink has the potential to change.

Her back story reads like the archetypal rags to riches tale. Born Alecia Beth Moore on 8 September 1979 in Doylestown. Pennsylvania to Jim Moore. a Vietnam Vet. and his wife Judith. an ER nurse raised in Philadelphia. she was spotted in the city‘s Club Fever as part of R&B outfit Basic Instinct and later in Choice. While neither group was up to much. a record company scout saw potential in Pink and tipped the nod to Antonio ‘LA‘ Reid. the man responsible for unleashing the likes of ()utkast. TLC and Usher on an unsuspecting public. and he offered her a record deal. Her debut album Can 'I Take Me Home was a tight and shiny pop affair. which she now admits was unrepresentative of her real tastes at the time. It still went on to shift a cool two million copies.

18 Mar—1 Apr 2004 THE LIST’ 13