Madonna is a vibrant and generous performer, able to put on a hell of a show. But as a live performer, Madonna’s a bit of a dichotomy. Though she’s a vocalist, her singing isn’t the biggest draw of her shows. Madonna is. She’s a thoroughly modern showgirl, a revamp to the razzle-dazzle song-and-dance ladies like Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret, Liza Minnelli, or Lola Falana, women who dazzled audiences in Atlantic City or Vegas. They weren’t just singers. They were entertainers.

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