Cubic Zirconium

Jewel joins Ronnie Milsap, Howie Mandel and Chris Gaines on the dustbin circuit

The only gig missing, it appears, is a half-hour, lip-synched set from Jewel during "At Ease Friday" at an army base in Maine, with Rick Astley and the Thompson Twins sharing the bill.

So what went wrong? It's as simple as Britney to Beyoncé. Back in Spears' jailbait years, she could have been reciting lyrics from a trigonometry textbook and her horny, obsessive fan base would have lapped it up. Christ, come to think of it, she could have been Marlee Matlin-mute: The American people were so hungry for eye candy at that point in history (and Spears is history, as the disappointing sales numbers of her latest album attest) that vocal cords mattered not.

But what the smolderingly talented Beyoncé has proven is you can have your sexy cake and eat it, too. In a post-Britney age, one must have chops to back up the bootylicious posterior. Hence, the bar is higher for she-who-will-be-diva -- and Jewel doesn't have the talent to do even one chin-up.

Mark Poutenis


Jewel and her drum machine will perform selections from 0304 throughout the month at the Valley Ice Garden in Bozeman, Montana; at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield, Missouri; at the Coronado Theatre in Rockford, Illinois; and at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana, among other venues. Road trip!

But hey, she's hella easy on the eyes. And rumor has it Chris Gaines is looking to get back in the studio with a duet partner in tow.

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