Post-So You Think You Can Dance, no one was quite sure what would become of the chipper, implausibly flexible contestants who’d danced their way to momentary fame.
Would they return to their previous roles, shimmying in the background of Nikki Webster videos, or would they forge new careers in the spotlight?
So far, most have been conspicuously quiet. Except, of course, for Rhys Bobridge, runner-up but undisputed star of the show, who has launched his post-show career not as a dancer, but as a singer. The new vocation has earned him some sarcastic media coverage.
-˜So he thinks he can sing?’ I’ve had that one a few times -” I read it again today, he laughed wearily, before Southern Star promised we’d come up with a different headline.
Yay! No, it’s fine -” I’ve been expecting it.
Luckily, Bobridge has a strong defence against such lazy criticisms: his first single, Hot Summer, is an absolute corker. Produced by two of the boys from Van She, it’s a cover of a 2007 number one single by underrated German girlband Monrose, themselves products of a reality TV show (Popstars).
If you’ve watched TV in the last month, you’ve probably already heard the song. In a nifty bit of cross-promotional advertising, Channel 10 is using it for their network promos.
It’s getting whored out all over the network. It’s a nice little jingle, he laughed.
The song is accompanied by a surprisingly high-gloss video, complete with an ’80s Flashdance feel. One almost expects to see Bobridge sprawled on a chair and dousing himself in a bucket of water, Jennifer Beals-style.
It’s like your old studio-style dance music video. It sounded a little bit extreme to the point where I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to pull it off, but we did an incredible job in the end. It’s unlike anything we’re seeing at the moment, he said proudly.
The single isn’t an opportunistic one-off either -” Bobridge is currently working on an album, to be released next year after single number two, Click Your Heels.
I’ve been writing for the last three months with people like [Darren Hayes co-writer] Robert Conley and Bryan McFadden. I’m loving the writing process -” I’m finding I don’t have to force myself, it’s coming quite naturally.
In the months since the show finished and the surrounding hype has died down, Bobridge has felt his newfound fame wane.
I’ve totally noticed it -” straight after the show, there was such a hullabaloo, and everywhere I went followed screams from teenage girls, but it definitely has cooled off. Now it’s not so much the immediate reaction, it’s the delayed reaction. People walk past me in the street and wave because they think we went to high school.
But judging by the frenzied postings on his Facebook fan pages, there still seem to be many teenage girls out there who want a piece o’ Rhys.
Yeah. I try to respond to the fans as much as I can, but I feel a need to specifically do so when they say stuff like, -˜Oh, it’s such a shame that he’s gay.’ I immediately feel the need to say, actually, that’s a hugely offensive thing to say.
The flipside of all this female attention is that gay male entertainers are sometimes met with a cool reception by other gay guys. Mention Anthony Callea, Darren Hayes or Will Young to many a gay and you’ll be met with snooty disinterest. Bobridge is unperturbed.
That’s fine by me, because I’ve been the same as well. I grew up on the scene as a drag queen. I get that gay guys are very good at controlling their excitement and playing it cool. A lot of people are going, -˜oh my God, the guys must be throwing themselves at you now.’ It’s actually quite the opposite, he said.