Every era needs an impossibly perfect vocal goddess, and Beyoncé Knowles ably fills the role. On the surface, the various elements that make up her image — Texas homegirl, classy song stylist, steamy temptress, hip-hop honey — don't seem compatible in the slightest. Somehow, though, they fit together to create a vision of feminine pulchritude that tautens every muscle in the average man without triggering the gag reflex in most women. Even her relationship with rhymer-turned-mogul Jay-Z works for her: Despite his prominence, he seems as much her trophy as she represents his. She's not infallible, as her moderately awkward performance in Dreamgirls demonstrated. When asked to convey complex emotions through dialogue, she typically responded in one-dimensional fashion. But when that one dimension looks so spectacular perched on the lip of a stage she'll share this Wednesday with Robin Thicke, who needs more? In time, Beyoncé's beauty will fade, but this moment — her moment — will live forever. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to change, because I just sweated through my drawers.


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