Melissa Etheridge in "Fearless" mode after split

Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:29pm EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Melissa Etheridge can barely stop herself from uttering a swear word as she surveys her unfamiliar surroundings.

The 48-year-old rock singer is sitting in a trailer backstage at "Dancing with the Stars," a talent show watched by virtually everyone in America, except for her.

Etheridge, on the promotional trail for her 10th album "Fearless Love," has just finished rehearsing a song that she will perform live on the telecast a few days later.

"I feel like I'm going into the belly of the beast here," she said with a resigned laugh.

At the Etheridge household northwest of Los Angeles, her four young children are allowed to watch television and log on to the computer only during the weekend, and even then with conditions. "They TiVo 'American Idol' ... No commercials. That's bad stuff."

Etheridge views "Dancing with the Stars" as "the epitome of ... this hypnosis that our media has on us. That's what we care about. Who got kicked off 'Dancing with the Stars?'"

Yet, she also understands that the show strikes a chord with millions of Americans who appreciate the varying degrees of artistry on display.

And of course, with some 20 million U.S. viewers, it's an enviable showcase for music stars as the industry's decade-long decline shows no sign of ending.   Continued...

<p>Musician Melissa Etheridge arrives at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 22, 2009. Etheridge is on the promotional trail for her 10th album "Fearless Love." REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>