Battle of the babes singing for babies

Ya know, back in the 80’s and 90’s, kid shows in America seemed to be missing something compared to children’s television in some other countries — something that might have made parents, dads in particular, more interested in watching TV with their kids. I wonder what that certain something could have been?

Chantal – France

Dorothée – France

Xuxa – Brazil

Douchka – France

Xou de Xuxa

Sociologist Amelia Simpson says in her 1993 book, XUXA: The Mega-Marketing of Gender, Race, and Modernity

She descends from her spaceship as if it were a fashion show runway, her blondness on display along with her other physical attributes, highlighted by the revealing costumes she never repeats. The ritual of arrival places the star in a glamorous context that conveys the modernity and sophistication of the first world.

I first heard about Xuxa on an NPR segment. My curiosity piqued, the first Xuxa show I saw was also the last that was shown on Univision. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. The cultural differences between mainstream America and Latin America were as stunning as, well, Xuxa herself. The blending of catchy songs, weird games, and an unbelievably flagrant display of hotpants went way beyond the Mickey Mouse Club and boys staring in wide-eyed wonder at Annette Funicello and, my favorite Mouseketeer, Cheryl Holdridge.

See for yourself in this video of Xou de Xuxa I edited from a recording made on January 9, 1993. It’s in Spanish, and not Portuguese, Xuxa’s native language. It features a few songs from the show. They are, like the K3 tunes, exemplary examples of the craft of Pop music.

From Brazil to Belgium

OK, you’ve had your little break from K3, but now we’re back with more of Karen, Kathleen, and Kristel. I can’t say if Xuxa’s success in Brazil 15-20 years ago had any influence on Studio 100’s introduction of K3 as a Pop act that hosts a children’s show, but watching these videos I have to wonder.

This is K3 with a Latin beat. The second video, “Feest” (Celebration), has some bizarre CG models of the ladies. The last video is a live version of the same song, and at the moment it’s having buffering problems on YouTube, and that’s why it’s last. If it locks up, drag the button past that point and it should pick up again. The third tune is their brand-new single, which is somewhat evocative I think of ABBA’s “Fernando.”

But now let’s meet Xuxa. This is a 1993 feature from Inside Edition, and it’s introduced by none other than…. Bill O’Reilly.