REVIEW: Pussycat Dolls wow Belfast

GIRL band - The Pussycat Dolls - set pulses racing as they brought their raunchy routine to Belfast.

The all-girl troupe came to Northern Ireland on Tuesday night amid a storm of controversy.

Over the past few weeks concerned parents have spoken out about the Californian five-piece's sexualised dance workouts, risqu lyrics and manipulative marketing.

Phone calls have been made to radio shows; letters have been written to newspapers and tickets have flown out the door.

There's nothing quite like a scandal to get people interested, and around 6,000 fans had made the trip to Belfast's King's Hall.

The Dolls took to the stage on motorbikes, and launched straight into a steamy version of Takin' over the World from new album Doll Domination.

Beep and I Don't Need a Man upped the tempo, with the ladies rocking out in an array of skin-tight skirts and thigh-high boots.

The audience appeared to be 95 per cent female, 90 per cent under 18, and 10 per cent clothed. Some of the 'tweenies' couldn't possibly have known what to make of the Kiss-meets-Pretty Woman spectacle onstage, and the robotic thump-thump of hits such as Buttons and When I Grow Up won't have done their young ears much good.

Nicole Scherzinger is the Dolls' lead singer, and the one who's going out with Lewis Hamilton. Kimberly Wyatt and Ashley Roberts are the blondes. Jessica Sutta is the redhead. Melody Thornton is, by her own description, "the baby".

Belfast didn't seem to care there are no original members left founding Doll Carmit Bachar left last year and lapped up the burlesque routines, solo songs and theatrical sequences.

Nicole even led the crowd in a chorus of Happy Birthday, for Kimberly.

"She's 12 today," joked the frontwoman, a tongue-in-cheek nod to their young following.

Some parents might baulk at the thought of their pre-teen daughter wearing a 'Doll in Training' t-shirt, or ogling half-naked male dancers.

But the Pussycats' shtick is nothing new in the world of cynical, sexed-up pop Elvis and Chuck Berry were at it over 50 years ago.

Nicole et al aren't the greatest vocalists in the world, and their songs aren't classics. But they're entertaining as hell, and their saucy antics should concern us far less than, say, global warming sceptics or religious fundamentalists. Hot pants and liquid leggings can't kill you, for a start.

The group's final offering was a rousing encore of Don't Cha ("wish your girlfriend was hot like me," etc), which brought the house down in a sea of confetti and more pyro than Mtley Cre.

Earlier, warm-up act Lady GaGa had performed a selection of tracks from her debut album, The Fame. Looking like the brat offspring of Jenna Jameson and Marky Ramone, the New Yorker tottered in high-as-hell heels and Wonderbra, a platinum-blonde mullet trailing behind her. "My name is Lady GaGa and this is my house!" she declared, before dispatching a high-energy set including Just Dance and Beautiful, Dirty, Rich. Headline status is surely just one or two hits away.