Maybe you grew up with them. Maybe you discovered them while scanning playlists for your kids on Spotify.
Chances are, once you came in contact with the Wiggles — and their irresistibly catchy hits like "Hot Potato" and "Fruit Salad" — you couldn't forget them.
As hard as it may be to believe, Australia's the Wiggles have been around for 28 years, revamping their lineup in recent years after three of the four founding members retired.
The current lineup includes founding member Anthony Field (blue Wiggle) as well as Lachlan Gillespie (purple Wiggle), Simon Pryce (red Wiggle) and Emma Watkins (yellow Wiggle).
Before the group's Monday night show at ACL Live as part of its touring Wiggle’s Party Time Tour, we checked in with Watkins, 29, about the show, being a role model for millions of children and what exactly it means to be a Wiggle.
How did you get involved with the Wiggles?
I was auditioning for lots of different shows in Sydney and getting really, really close but never getting any real shows, just lots of random dance shows and gigs. They had an audition for (the Wiggles') Dorothy the Dinosaur's traveling show for a fairy. I went to do the audition. There were about 50 of us there, and we all had to do a dance routine one at a time. They said, "We’ll call you if we need you." Three days later they said, "Can you come to read a script?" That was a Friday. They said we’re filming this DVD on Monday and the rest of the cast knows the show. Over the weekend I learned a 60-page script and filmed it Monday.
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After that you worked as a dancer and filmed content for the Wiggles YouTube channel. How did you officially become the yellow Wiggle?
(Founding member) Anthony Field just asked me one day before a show in Sydney. I thought he was joking because they always play jokes. I couldn’t really gauge whether he was having a laugh or not. He told me the original members were retiring and they were starting a new lineup. He said, "I want to know if you’d like to be the first girl Wiggle."
What is this opportunity like for you?
I’m basically the Wiggles generation. The Wiggles are 29 this year and I’m 29 this year. I started dancing in the first place because I was watching them on TV and at the school hall. It was such a part of Australian childhood. As a child, I’m in one of their videos in the audience watching. When I got the job I was in awe, it was just so good. These are the people I used to watch when I was little, and now I’m part of it.
How has the reception to this tour been?
It’s been great. We’ve seen so much change. We had a period when people didn’t really know who we were. I’m sure this is how the original Wiggles felt. It took us about two, three years after were on TV in Australia for it to really kick back in again. Here in America we’re on Hulu and Universal Kids, so that’s just starting to grow. We get lots of people telling us they’ve seen us on the TV here.
What is it like inspiring children as the first female Wiggle?
We've heard so many parents saying their children are starting dance or going to their first ballet class or playing the drums because of me. They are coming to the show wearing these huge yellow bows. The audience gets so creative with craft at home. Here in America, they’re the loudest audiences in the whole world.
How do people respond when they learn you're a Wiggle?
Most of the time they’re like, "I used to watch that when I was little!" There is this huge generational phenomenon. The parents who are coming now were the children back then. They know the words, the choreography, the characters. They know everything.
What's your favorite song to perform?
It changes for me all the time. At the moment I’m loving the "ABC" song because I get to sign it in American Sign Language in the show. It’s great fun for me. I don’t get to practice American Sign Language very much.
What's your goal as a performer?
I said to Jeff (Fatt, retired purple Wiggle) that if he wiggled until he was 60 then I’m going to have to try that, too. I’m on this amazing ride with the Wiggles and I’ve been able to do so many things. There's live performing, performing for TV, DVDs, recording music, meeting people. You just never get bored. It’s different every single day, and I’m just going to see how long I can do it for.
What should people expect from the show?
It’s a really interactive show. It’s great for preschool-age children and really the whole family. We have people at the show that are all different ages, children with autism. It’s a really mixed audience. The show has lots of singing, lots of dancing, ballet, Irish dancing. Our characters include these big animals: an octopus, dog, unicorn. Come on down. It’s a musical extravaganza.