There's no doubt that Madonna's R18-rated Rebel Heart Tour concert at the National Stadium is shaping up to be one of the biggest gigs of the year, if not the decade.
On Feb 28, history will be made as the legendary US pop diva performs in Singapore for the first time.
As of yesterday, 80 to 90 per cent of tickets to the show, which reportedly cost its Taiwanese investors US$10 million (S$14m), have been sold.
In response to demand for cheaper tickets, organisers have cut out some tickets in the $688 category and opened up a new category of $388 standing room tickets facing the centre stage. These will go on sale today.
The more expensive Category 1 to 3 tickets, priced at $488 to $688, are still available.
VIP tickets at an eye-watering $1,288 each are also still up for grabs.
Tickets in the $108 to $288 range have sold out.
As one of the most iconic and polarising female musicians in the history of music, the 57-year-old mum of four has drawn both adoring fans and vitriolic haters in her 36-year career.
But love her or hate her, Madge cannot be ignored.
M challenged two groups of DJs - Jean Danker, Vernetta Lopez and Yasminne Cheng making up the pro-Madonna group, and Glenn Ong, Andre Hoeden and Shaun Tupaz as critics - to get into Madonna-inspired costumes (from Customade Costume & Merchandise) and give their take on whether the Queen of Pop still deserves her crown.
(From left) Vernetta Lopez, Yasminne Cheng & Jean Danker. Photo: The New Paper
Lopez, 42, and Danker and Cheng, who are both 37, will be seeing their idol live for the first time at the Rebel Heart Tour and they couldn't be more excited.
Dressing up as Madonna was a chance for the trio to have some fun as they traded accessories and practised their Madonna-esque poses.
They laughed as they blew kisses to the camera and attempted her Vogue dance moves before deciding they were too difficult.
"We'd better not mess up the vogueing, because the Madonna fans will come after us if we don't get it right," said Lopez, who turned up as Madonna in her Papa Don't Preach era, complete with her own corset.
She also had her blonde locks styled specifically for our shoot.
Said Danker: "For (local retro concert series) Retrolicious, I've also dressed as Madonna twice.
"Once, I wore her signature conical bra top and the other time I was in a white bridal outfit from her Like A Virgin video."
Why should people bother to see Madonna live in concert? Isn't she already past her prime?
Cheng: It's history in the making... I know she's no spring chicken, but this could be one of her last tours.
Lopez: It's a goddess live on stage. Plus, Madonna's appeal transcends age... Anyone can appreciate her talent.
Danker: I've always heard how her concerts are so "wow". Over the years, not one person has told me they were disappointed with her live performances.
What's your favourite Madonna song or memory?
Cheng: I enjoyed singing Papa Don't Preach at my cousin's house when I was in primary school. Although for the longest time, I thought the lyrics were "Purple down reach".
Lopez: Papa Don't Preach is my favourite. It was the first time I really connected with Madonna - she looked great in the music video and the story of teenage pregnancy was so dramatic to me as a teen.
She was always a trendsetter, both in fashion and music and that's why I love her.
Danker: I love Take A Bow, that slow one... And I remember being excited when the Vogue music video came out - the arm movements were so iconic.
What would you ask Madonna if you had the chance?
Danker: "Can we take a selfie?" (laughs).
Cheng: I'd want to know what she eats to look like that.
Lopez: Also, is it true she once gave Justin Bieber a Vitamin B shot in the bum to help boost his energy?
Danker: Are she and Sean Penn getting back together?
Lopez: We should start a hashtag for Sean and Madonna: #S&M. It could be a whole campaign. Madonna, if you're reading this and think it's a good idea, all we ask is a 10 per cent share of the profits (laughs).
(From left) Glenn Ong, Shaun Tupaz & Andre Hoeden. Photo: The New Paper
ONE FM DJs and producers Ong, Tupaz and Hoeden were gleeful at the prospect of taking the mickey out of Madonna's legacy with ghastly imitations of her iconic outfits.
"You look like a tranny undertaker," Tupaz, 28, told Ong, 45, who was channelling Madonna's Evita look with a veiled hat and a garish pink polka dot dress.
The guys also hooted over Hoeden's curly blonde wig, which covered his signature bald head.
Tupaz clearly had the most fun at the shoot, hiking up his skirt and striking confident poses worthy of a real drag queen. At several points, he suffered "nip slips" when the bodice of his dress fell down, but he gamely continued posing.
"It's scary how comfortable Shaun is in that red dress," Hoeden, 41, said. "I think we're going to call him 'Lucky Star' from now on."
Why aren't any of you attending Madonna's concert?
Ong: I actually loved her earlier albums. She was a trendsetter and her music definitely improved over the years. I just want to remember how good she was in her prime...
"In recent years, I think she has gone downhill. Come on, even her fans can't possibly like her new song B***h I'm Madonna. That's like the worst music video she has ever made.
Tupaz: That's not a song, it's just noise.
Hoeden: When I was a teen, I even carried a photo of her in my wallet. I think she is talented, but I'm uncomfortable with how sexual she has become. When you're 57, old enough to collect CPF, you should just not dress so scantily. I think she has kept her figure because she sold her soul to the devil. Either that or she is sucking the youth out of these younger guys.
Ong: Local fans are wasting their money by seeing her here because the tickets are so expensive, and the concert is going to be censored anyway.
Do you think Madonna is still relevant today?
Ong: Of course, she is... to her naive fans. I think people just go to her concerts because of the hype. A lot of people are going just to look cool, but do they really like her songs?
Tupaz: I think she should just stop performing and stick to mentoring. She should be far, far away, in the background.
Hoeden: Ever since she started kissing celebs like Britney Spears to get attention, I thought she was trying a bit too hard.
What would you ask Madonna if you had the chance?
Hoeden: "Do you have a minimum age for your toy boys?"
Ong: "Would you agree that you have sold out?" or "Why can't you be more classy, like JLo?"
Tupaz: I would ask her to marry me. Or, failing that, ask her to adopt me.
Madonna Rebel Heart Tour 2016 - Singapore
Feb 28, 8pm
Sports Hub Tix (3158-7888 or www.sportshubtix.sg)
This article was first published on February 17, 2016.
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