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They Come From The Land Down Under

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The sounds of Kids Incorporated emanated throughout The P*lace, as they played their music for the crowd this day. The Kids on stage – Gloria, Ryan, The Kid, Renee, and her sister Stacy – rocked on and the audience responded with enthusiasm.

During a break in their performance, the Kids sat down at a table and discussed the next set. As they did, Wendy, one of their two dancers, came over with another girl. She had curly dark hair, and wore a red shirt and short black skirt.

“Hi guys,” Wendy said.

“What’s up Wendy?” Gloria asked.

“This is Susie,” Wendy replied. “She’s an exchange student from Australia.”

“Welcome to America, Susie,” Ryan greeted. “How do you like it so far?”

“I love it here,” Susie replied, in a thick Australian accent. “Everyone has been so nice here, and I’ve learned so much about the States.”

“What have you liked so far?” Stacy asked.

“Lots,” Susie replied. “I’ve been to a baseball game at Dodger Stadium, I spent a day at Disneyland, and I’ve surfed out at Santa Monica.”

“Now for the most important question,” The Kid said. “How do you like our band?”

“You guys are incredible!”

“That’s the right answer,” The Kid replied with a grin.

“Just wondering,” Susie said. “Can you play some music from my home?”

“Something from the outback or the bush?” Ryan asked.

“Ryan, I don’t think that’s what she meant,” Renee said. She asked Susie, “Anything in particular?”

“Do you know any Men At Work?” Susie asked.

“We know ‘Overkill’ and ‘Be Good Johnny’,” Ryan replied.

“I could do one or two songs from Olivia Newton-John,” Gloria added.

“What about the Little River Band?” Susie asked.

“We don’t know anything from them,” Ryan said, “but I would like to try a song or two.”

“What about INXS?”

“No, we don’t anything in excess,” The Kid replied. “We might be too young.” They all looked at The Kid, who suddenly realized his faux pas.

“She meant the band INXS,” Wendy pointed out, as The Kid covered his embarrassed face with his hat.

“We can try,” Ryan said.

“That’s good,” Susie said. “You know, seeing your band on stage, reminded me of this group of kids back home.”

“Really?” Renee said. “A band like ours?”

“Not really a band,” Susie replied. “More like a group of kids. They take turns singing and everyone loves them. They perform in Sydney and Melbourne, and all over the country.”

“If they need an American,” The Kid said, “tell them I’m available.”

The band chatted a little more with Susie, as she talked about the recent fires in the Outback, sharks on Great Barrier Reef, and the America’s Cup yacht race.

“Nice talking to you Susie,” Gloria said. “It’s time for us to get back on stage.”

“Nice meeting you too,” Susie said with a smile. The band went back on stage and played another set.

___________________________________

A week later, Kids Incorporated were rocking The P*lace again, and the audience was enjoying the music, like every day when the band played. At Susie’s suggestion, the band picked up a couple of songs from The Little River Band. Ryan preferred songs that had Glenn Shorrock singing lead, not Jon Farnham, so they had learned “Help Is On The Way” and “Lonesome Loser,” not “Playing To Win.” As for INXS, they had tried a couple of songs, but couldn’t get it right.

Still, the songs that the band had added to their repertoire were good fits for them and their school age crowd, so it was all good.

As they played, three girls, each of them around fourteen or fifteen years old, entered The P*lace. They looked like your typical teenaged girls, decked out in casual clothes, except they weren’t from the neighborhood. They weren’t even from California. In fact, they weren’t from the United States at all.

“Wow, what kind of place is this?” one asked in her Australian accent, as she and her friends looked around. She had long brunette hair, slightly teased, blue eyes, and had a fair complexion.

“Looks kind of cool, Dannii,” her friend replied in her own thick Australian accent. She had soft facial features, big brown eyes, and was sporting short brunette hair. “I thought soda shops like this didn’t exist anymore in America.”

“This one exists,” the third girl said. She had dark hair, a slight tan to her skin, and her Australian accent was tinged with a hint of Spanish. “It’s kind of like a milk bar back in Australia.”

Their ears caught the music coming from the stage. They walked in further to get a good look at the music they were hearing. To see the band was made up of kids their own age, they were immediately surprised.

“Oh my God!” Dannii exclaimed. “They’re no older than we are! A couple of them are even way younger!”

The girls looked at the Kids on stage. At the time, the band was playing “Be Good Johnny”, as the girls watched as Ryan played a guitar solo to the song.

“He plays pretty good,” the short haired brunette said. “Don’t see too many lefties.”

“Katie, check out the drummer,” the dark haired girl said.

“Are you sure you can see him Lorena?”

“I can see his dimples from here,” Lorena replied.

Kids Incorporated ended the song, and began a new one. The girls, Gloria, Renee, and Stacy, were singing “Tell Her About It.”

“That one girl has a pretty strong voice,” Dannii remarked. “She sings like you Lorena.”

“She looks a little older,” Lorena said. “She’s probably seventeen.”

“That little blonde girl’s voice is incredible!” Katie remarked, hearing Stacy’s voice. “She’s kind of like Sally Boyden, she’s so young!”

They looked over the school age crowd who were clearly enjoying the music.

“They look like our crowd back home,” Katie remarked. “But I don’t see much in the way of adults.”

“There’s one right there,” Dannii said, pointing to the one behind the counter. Riley, the manager of The P*lace, was filling up glasses with soda as the band played.

The girls walked over to the counter and each took a seat. Riley quickly noticed them and went over to them.

“Hello ladies,” Riley said. “What can I get for you?”

“Just a Coke for me,” Katie said.

“Same here,” Lorena added.

“Make it three,” Dannii said.

Riley asked, “Do you want new Coke, old Coke, or diet Coke?”

“You still got that problem here too?” Dannii returned. Riley nodded. “As long as it’s cold, who cares?” Three glasses of Coke came their way, as the band finished up to the cheers in the crowd. When the crowd noise died down, the girls continued their conversation.

“So, the band,” Dannii said to Riley, “what exactly are they?”

“Kids Incorporated? They’re the best band in the land,” Riley replied. “They’ve been around since I took over here.”

“They got a lot of fans?” Katie asked.

“More than you know,” Riley replied. “They’ve helped out in the community as well.”

“I’d like to meet them,” Dannii said.

“Here’s your chance,” Riley said, as Gloria made her way down from the stage. He motioned to Gloria to come over to the counter.

“What’s up Riley?” she asked.

“New fans,” he replied, pointing out the three girls.

“Thanks!” Gloria looked over to the three girls. “Hi there. I’m Gloria.”

“Hi Gloria,” Dannii said. “You sounded great up there!”

“Thank you.”

Dannii made the introductions. “I’m Danielle, but my friends call me Dannii. This is Katie, and this is Lorena.”

“Welcome to America.”

“That obvious, huh?”

“Very. Australia?”

“Melbourne,” Dannii replied. “All three of us live there now.”

“What brings you to the U.S.?”

“We’re on break from our school, and a bunch of us decided to have a holiday in America,” Katie replied. “None of us have been here before, so that’s why here.”

“How many in your group from Australia?”

“Ten of us,” Lorena replied. “The others are all around the city today. We were just wandering down here and came upon your place.”

“Well, The P*lace is the place to be.”

“You call it The Place,” Lorena said. “Why is that?”

“If you saw the marquee outside,” Gloria explained, “you can see this place was called The Palace. They used to have rock and roll concerts here back in the fifties and sixties. But the ‘a’ burned out some years back, and whoever was supposed to replace it, never got around to it. The P*lace got renovated, and became the teen hangout that it is now.”

As Gloria was explaining, the sisters Renee and Stacy, came over.

“Hi Glo,” Renee said. “Who’s your friends?”

“They’re from Australia,” Gloria replied. She introduced Renee and Stacy to Katie, Lorena, and Dannii.

“Dannii?” Stacy asked.

“Yes. It’s D-A-N-N-I-I,” she replied.

“Never heard it spelled that way before,” Renee remarked.

“Just being different,” Dannii said.

“We saw you two up on that stage,” Katie said to Renee and Stacy. “You two were great.”

“Thank you,” they said back.

“Is performing in your blood?” Lorena asked.

“Of course,” said Stacy. “It’s in the rest of our body too.”

“Yes, we love to perform,” Renee said, as she shook her head at Stacy’s remark.

“You’re sisters, aren’t you?” Dannii asked.

“We are,” Stacy replied. “It’s that obvious?”

“I know where you’re coming from,” Dannii said. “I have an older sister as well.”

“Can she be a pain sometimes?” Stacy asked, as Renee made a face at her question.

“Not really,” Dannii said. “Only when she’s trying to rehearse her lines, while I’m practicing my singing. It can get real loud real fast. She wants to be an actress as well as sing.”

“You sing as well?” Gloria asked.

“We all do,” Katie said. “Dance too.”

“That’s so cool,” said Stacy. “Maybe we’ll get to perform on stage together.”

Dannii thought about that. “We’ll see.”

Gloria and the sisters went back to the dressing room, while Dannii excused herself to the ladies room to freshen up. That left Katie and Lorena at the counter.

“Do you think we should tell them why we’re here in California?” Katie asked Lorena.

“I guess so,” Lorena replied. “But it hasn’t really come up. We already told her we sing and dance.”

“Well, let’s talk it over with Dannii first,” Katie said. “I still think we should tell them.”

The girls took a few more sips of their sodas, as Lorena looked around. “Katie,” she said. “Guitar man.”

Katie looked at Lorena, who motioned with her eyes that someone was coming up next to her. She looked over to the seat next to her, just as Ryan sat down next to her.

“Soda,” he said, as Riley acknowledged his order. He glanced over next to him, and saw Katie. And like the old Broadway song, thump thump thump went his heartstrings.

“Hi,” Ryan quickly said to her. “Hi,” Katie said back shyly.

Ryan broke the ice first. “What’s your name?”

“Katie.”

“I’m Ryan. Enjoy the show?”

“I did. You play the guitar pretty good.”

“Thanks. Do you sing or play music?”

“I can sing,” Katie replied. Lorena, in the next seat, held her tongue, not wanting to burst out. Both Katie and Ryan were verbally fencing, looking for something to hook on to.

“I noticed your accent,” Ryan said. “England?”

“Australia,” Katie corrected. “There’s a slight difference.”

“I’m sorry. I did meet an Australian exchange student last week. Are you here on an exchange program as well?”

“No, I’m here on holiday with my friends. It’s been great so far.”

“Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in America.” Then Ryan asked, “Maybe we can go out on a date before you go home?”

Katie knew that was coming. “I don’t think so,” she said. “But thanks for asking.”

Outside, Ryan kept a brave face on. Inside, he was screaming as he was falling into the abyss of being shot down. “Nice talking to you,” he said, as he got up and walked away, looking for a place he could hang his head in shame until he met the next pretty girl.

Only about a minute passed, when Katie looked around, and saw someone else about to join them.

“Lorena,” she said to her friend. “Dimples.”

Mario, the drummer for Kids Incorporated, calmly walked by the girls at the counter. He took one step past Lorena, then stopped. He quickly glanced over in Lorena’s direction, who was trying hard not to be noticed.

Lorena quietly asked Katie, “What’s he doing?”

Katie replied, “Checking you out.”

“Hi there,” Lorena heard the drummer say.

Lorena turned to face him. Mario sat down in the barstool next to her. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt, showing his thirteen year old muscles made from drumming and wrestling. If it was good enough for the fans, it should be good enough for her.

“Hello,” Lorena returned. “You’re the drummer for the band, aren’t you?”

“I’m Mario.”

“Lorena.”

“You could see me up there?”

“From where I was standing, I could.”

“Thanks for noticing. So, where you’re from?”

“Australia.”

“Really? Are you liking it here?”

“Yes, we are, me and my friends, that is,” Lorena said, admiring how cute this drummer looked while trying not to say anything stupid. Katie took a sip of her soda, watching just how this was going to turn out.

Lorena and Mario continued their parry and thrust conversation, talking about many things like music and Australia. As they talked, Mario changed the subject to wrestling. His arms were resting, one on the counter, but he subtly flexed his biceps, just so that Lorena wouldn’t notice. But Katie, watching their conversation, noticed it, and had to gag to hold back a potential outburst of laughter.

“I don’t see much wrestling back in Australia,” Lorena said. “Then again, it’s not really my scene.” Lorena then asked, “Do you like football, I mean, soccer?”

“Enough,” Mario said. “The World Cup is later this year.”

“I know,” Lorena said back. “I’ll be rooting for – “

“Mexico!” Mario proclaimed.

“ – Argentina!” Lorena finished.

“Argentina?” Mario asked, a little more than stunned.

“I was born there,” Lorena said. “Me and my family moved from there to Australia when I was little. But we still root for Argentina every World Cup.”

“Well, to each their own,” Mario said, trying to make a recovery. “Maybe we can go out on a date later before you go home?”

“I’m sorry, no,” Lorena said politely. “But it’s nice that you asked.”

On the outside, Mario had on a brave face as he reluctantly relaxed his muscles. Inside, he was screaming, falling into the same abyss. Plus, she was not rooting for Mexico in the World Cup.

“Hey, I gotta go get ready for the next set,” Mario said. “Nice talking to you Lorena.” He got up and headed back to the stage.

Katie and Lorena tried to stifle a giggle at both Ryan and Mario’s brave but failed pick up attempts. "Oh well," Katie said, "give 'em points for trying."

Up on stage, Mario walked past Ryan, who was hitching up his guitar. He had been watching the verbal sparring between Mario and Lorena.

“Shot down, too, huh?” he asked.

Mario nodded as he sat down behind the drum set and picked up his drumsticks. “Should have just stuck with talking about wrestling,” he said.

Dannii returned from the ladies’ room, while the rest of the band got back on stage. A couple of songs seemed to do away with Ryan and Mario’s failed pickup attempts.

As the band played, two boys came into The P*lace. One of was blond, short haired, fresh faced. The other was thin, slender, and his thick black hair made him look taller than he actually was. And like Dannii, Lorena, and Katie, they weren’t from the neighborhood, state, or country either.

“Hey, look!” the blond-haired boy said in his Australian accent. “The girls are here.” They walked over to the counter where the girls were. “Hi there!”

The girls turned to look at the boys. “Beven! Vince!”

“What are you girls doing here?” asked the dark-haired Vince.

“Enjoying a show,” Dannii replied, pointing to the stage. Beven and Vince watched Kids Incorporated jamming on stage, as Gloria sang Olivia Newton-John’s “Twist of Fate.”

“Wow, she’s awesome!” Vince remarked.

“Who are they?” the blond haired Beven asked.

“They’re called Kids Incorporated!” Katie answered. “They’re kind of like us!”

“They look great!” Vince added.

“They have lots of fans?”

“Looks like a pretty good crowd here,” Lorena said.

“Maybe they should open for us,” Vince said.

Beven and Vince watched as Kids Incorporated played a couple of more songs, including “Lonesome Loser.” When they were done, Gloria, Ryan, The Kid, and Mario, came off the stage. Renee and Stacy were passing by Gina’s keyboard set, when Gina suddenly said, “Cute guy alert!” She pointed out where Vince was standing. “Dibs!”

“Why you?” Renee asked.

“He’s Italian, I can tell,” Gina said. She followed Renee and Stacy off the stage, as the others joined the Australian kids.

“Hey guys,” Dannii said. “These are our friends, Beven and Vince.”

“Hi there,” The Kids said. They introduced themselves individually. They moved over from the counter and found an empty table and some chairs to sit in.

“The Kid?” Beven and Vince asked. “Don’t you have a real name?”

“I do,” The Kid said.

Ryan motioned the two boys over. They leaned over as Ryan said something to them.

“Oh, okay,” Vince said. They each gave Ryan the OK sign.

“Are you enjoying the States?” Gloria asked Beven and Vince.

“We sure are,” Vince replied. “We’ve done the whole touristy thing. Hollywood Sign. Santa Monica Pier. Rodeo Drive.”

“Not to mention girls, girls, and more girls,” Beven added.

“There’s some more girls here,” Renee added, as Gina subtly moved next to Vince, her eyes all aflutter and imaginary hearts popping out of them. Vince didn’t fail to notice. He looked at Gina, who said something to him in Italian.

“I think she just told him ‘I love you’,” Katie said to Dannii.

“So when do you head back to Australia?” Stacy asked.

“We have another week or so to go,” Katie replied. “I wish we could stay a little longer, but school starts again soon, and we have to be ready as well.”

As they talked, Wendy had gone backstage, then came back out. Her friend Susie, the Australian exchange student, had come in the main entrance.

“Susie!” Wendy called out and went over to her. “How are you doing?”

“Great!” Susie replied excitedly. “My host family just got tickets to the Young Talent Time show at Knotts Berry Farm. I have an extra ticket if you want to go.”

“Sure!” Wendy said. “Hey, my friends are talking with some Australian kids who are visiting Southern California. Would you like to meet them?”

“Okay!”

Wendy and Susie went over to join the rest of the gang.

“Hi guys,” Wendy said to them. “Remember Susie?” The Kids said hi to her.

“Susie, these kids are from Australia like you,” Gloria said.

Susie looked at her fellow Australians. Upon seeing them, her eyes seemed to suddenly pop out of her head. And then she screamed. The sudden increase in decibel level took everyone by surprise.

“VINCE!” Susie exclaimed.

Before anyone could say anything, Susie took off running at Vince. “I LOVE YOU VINCE!” she screamed as she launched herself at him, practically tackling him to the floor, planting numerous kisses on him.

“Susie! What are you doing?!” Wendy exclaimed.

“Hey!” Gina exclaimed. “That’s my next boyfriend!”

Ryan and Mario grabbed Susie and pulled her off Vince, who was somewhat stunned by the sudden frenzy. Gina and Renee helped him up, as Vince’s eyes stopped rolling around.

“Girl, what’s gotten into you?” Ryan demanded.

“Don’t you know who he is!?” Susie finally said.

“Yeah, his name is Vince!”

Beven said, “Girl, what's wrong with you?”

Susie looked at Beven – and screamed again in glee. She reached out for him, but Ryan and Mario held her back.

“You’re here too Beven!” Susie exclaimed. “I can’t believe this!”

“I can’t believe this girl’s nuts!” The Kid said.

“Is Mark here too?!” Susie demanded, still acting a crazy woman. “What about Tim? And Greg?”

“No, the Brady Bunch isn’t here!” Stacy said back.

“I think she’s a fan of ours,” Katie said.

Susie looked over and saw Dannii, Lorena, and Katie. “Oh my God! You’re here too! What about Natalie and Vanessa?”

Gloria looked at Dannii. “Do you know this girl?”

A slightly embarassed Dannii replied, “No, but I’m pretty sure she knows who we are.”

“What?” Renee asked.

Gloria asked, “Dannii, is there something you haven’t told us?”

Before Dannii could say anything, Susie exclaimed. “Don’t you know who these kids are?” The band shook their heads in slight confusion. Susie finally said, “They’re the Young Talent Team!”

More confused looks. The Kid asked, “You guys play ball or something down under?”

“They’re on ‘Young Talent Time!’” Susie said. Still nothing. Then Susie said, “They’re big stars in Australia! They have their own TV show and everything!”

That got everyone’s attention.

“Seriously?” asked Stacy.

The Kid asked, “Do you need an American for your show anytime soon?”

“Is that true, Dannii?” Gloria asked.

“We are,” Dannii replied. “We’re on ‘Young Talent Time.’ It’s a TV show in Australia.”

“What do you all do on that show?” Ryan asked, as he and Mario relaxed their hold on Susie.

“We sing, we dance, we have lots of fun,” Lorena replied.

“Like you, but with lots of cameras,” Beven added.

“It’s also a talent show,” Katie said. “We have kids across Australia audition for a spot to perform.”

“We perform in front of studio audiences every week,” Dannii said, “but we also do concerts as well. We’ve performed in front of thousands of fans at cricket grounds and arenas all over Australia.”

“The show has been on since 1971,” Vince said, his senses finally regained. “A lot of kids have gone through, and some of them have gone on to bigger and better careers in entertainment.”

“Mostly in Australia,” said Beven. “People like Tina Arena, Sally Boyden, Jamie Redfern.”

“I’ve heard of Tina Arena,” Gloria said. “She sounds great.”

“Johnny would love to see you guys perform,” Dannii said.

“Who’s that?” asked Renee.

“Johnny Young, he’s the host of the show,” Beven replied. “He used to be a singer in the 60’s. He’s been in charge since the beginning. He calls us ‘his kids.’ He really loves us and cares how we do away from the show.”

“Sounds like a good guy,” Gloria said.

“But we’re also trying to make it in America,” Dannii said. “That’s another reason why we’re here. Johnny managed to get us some shows here in the United States. We’re performing at Knotts Berry Farm for a week’s worth of shows. The rest of our group is back at the hotel.”

“And I got my ticket to see you guys!” Susie exclaimed. She started to bounce up and down but Ryan and Mario quickly got a hold of her.

“After that, we head home to Australia,” Lorena said. “We’ll be filming new shows when we get back.”

“Sounds like you guys will be really busy,” Renee said.

Mario said to Ryan, “We can forget about dates with those girls.”

“Sorry guys,” Lorena said, obviously hearing them. “Between the show and school, we hardly have time for extra curriculars.”

“Wow,” Gloria said. “This is a lot to comprehend for just one day.”

“Sorry we didn’t tell you sooner,” Dannii said. “We were going to tell you eventually, but for awhile, we just wanted to be normal teenagers. We could do that here in America, not having to worry about school or the show.”

“Well, I’m glad we got that all cleared up,” Gloria said.

“So now what?” Stacy asked.

“We’ll just sit back and enjoy your show,” Katie said.

The Kids exchanged glances. “We can make it our show,” Ryan said.

“What do you mean?” Vince asked.

“You guys want to get on stage with us?” Renee asked.

“You mean perform with your band?” Dannii asked. The young talented Australians exchanged glances, and they all smiled. Kids Incorporated had their answer.

Showtime…..
______________________________________

“Hey everybody!” Gloria announced to the crowd inside The P*lace. “We have an awesome surprise for you!”

The crowd inside The P*lace cheered wildly.

“We have a group of kids from Australia who have their own group back home,” she continued, “and they’re all on TV down under!” The crowd cheered again. “So as a special treat, you all get to hear them today too!” More cheers.

“Are you ready to rock?” Stacy called out. The crowd roared their response. None louder than Wendy’s friend Susie, who promised to behave during the show, including not jumping on stage to snog Vince again.

Gloria introduced the teens from Australia. The agreement was that Lorena, Beven, Katie, Vince, and Dannii, in that order, would each do a song (provided that Kids Incorporated knew the song so they could play it, and they did).

The lovely Lorena was up first, with “How Will I Know.” Her voice was commanding, as the kids in the audience were held, enthralled by her stage presence. She pranced energetically around the stage, microphone in hand, as she wowed the audience with her vocals.

At one part of the song, Lorena made her way to drum platform where Mario was playing his kit. She sang one of the choruses for him, while he drummed away, with a big smile on his face. As she danced away to the front of the stage, Mario was no longer falling into an abyss, but resting on cloud nine.

At songs end, Lorena took center stage and stuck her free hand up in triumph. The crowd roared their approval wildly.

Beven came on next, bringing lot of high energy. Singing “Working For A Living,” he jumped around on stage, wowing the crowd with athleticism and enthusiasm.

At one point, he jumped off the stage, did the splits in the air, and managed to land on the platform where Wendy was dancing amongst the crowd. His landing caught Wendy by surprise but she kept on dancing, trying to contain her excitement. He went back to the stage the old fashioned way – he ran the short distance through the crowd, where he finished the song.

Katie came up next, performing “Moonlight Shadow.” It was a song that both Gloria and Ryan had heard before but wasn’t sure if it was right for their audience. But they played it, and Katie conveyed the power and the emotion of the song.

During the last portion of the song, Ryan, playing his guitar, moved closer to Katie. She noticed but didn’t seem to mind having him next to her, as he played a small solo and she moved to the rhythm of the notes.

When the song was over, the crowd cheered, as Katie and Ryan smiled at each other.

“You were great,” Ryan said to her.

“Thanks, Ryan,” Katie said. She then winked at Ryan and walked away.

Katie’s wink was followed by a clank inside of Ryan. He turned around so no one would see how red his was face turning. Instead of falling in an abyss, he was floating way above cloud nine.

Vince came up next, and all the girls screamed for him. How he managed to sing “Middle Of The Road” with all the screaming directed at him was beyond anyone’s guess. But he managed to get all the way through, wowing the crowd with his presence.

As promised, Susie didn’t jump on stage and make a mad dash for Vince’s affections. To be on the safe side, Wendy switched dance platforms with Andrea to keep a close eye on Susie.

Finally, Dannii took the stage for “Material Girl” As soon as she started to sing, it seemed all the boys, no matter what their age, moved closer to the stage. As she danced around and sang Dannii held the crowd in sway, mesmerizing them with her presence. It didn’t hurt that she was very attractive, regardless of her age.

She even had the members of Kids Incorporated enthralled. There was just something about Dannii performing on stage that was beyond description. Simply put, she had … IT. At least, in the eyes of the Kids.

“She’s incredible!” Renee remarked about Dannii as they watched her on stage behind her.

“Watch, I bet she’s going to be big one day!” Gloria added.

The Kids and the Young Talent Team then finished their show, fittingly, with “Celebration”, as they all joined in and brought the house down, as the crowd cheered wildly for their Australian guests as well as the house band.

Sadly, the show had to end, and it did. The fans inside The P*lace got up and left, and headed home, and soon Kids Incorporated and the Young Talent Team would be headed off too. Vince telephoned the hotel they were staying at and told the others that a van would be coming for them within the half hour.

“Thanks for coming by and joining us,” Renee said to them as they all gathered outside The P*lace.

“Thanks for having us perform for your fans,” Dannii said. “We loved it and they loved us.”

“We should do this more often,” The Kid said, knowing that was wishful thinking.

“Will you be able to come down to Knotts Berry Farm to see our shows?” asked Lorena.

“We’re gonna try to do so,” Ryan said. He glanced over at Katie, and said “I’d know I like to see you – I mean, uh…” The Kids stifled a laugh at Ryan’s gaffe, as he turned slightly red.

“I understand Ryan,” Katie said with a smile.

“If we’re able to be there,” said Stacy, “we’ll let you know. We’ll be the ones cheering the loudest.”

“That’s cool,” Vince said. “Just keep that one girl in line.”

“Your band is pretty cool,” Beven said. “We’ll let our fans back in Australia know about you guys.”

“Thanks,” Gloria said. “We do hope to see you all again.”

“We’d like to see you too,” Dannii said. “But some of us may not be around. The rule is, when we turn sixteen, we have to leave. It will be a couple of months after that, but that’s the rule. It’s how we keep the show fresh and going.”

“And I’m afraid I’ll be the next one to go,” Katie said. “I’m almost sixteen. But I knew that going in when I first started. It’s all part of growing up.”

Kids Incorporated knew that as well. The inevitable would happen and they would grow up and have to leave the band, as new kids would eventually come in. But that was neither here or there, it would be for another time but not today.

The hotel van came by, and Dannii, Beven, Lorena, Vince, and Katie, said their final goodbyes to Gloria, Ryan, The Kid, Renee, Stacy, as well as Mario, Wendy, and Gina. The Young Talent Team got into the van and it drove off.

“Do you think we’ll see them again?” Stacy asked.

“Only time will tell,” Gloria replied. “But time always does.”

The Kids began to walk away from The P*lace, as Kid suggested, “Maybe we should be like them. You know, get our own TV show…”