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Janet Jackson
Ciara, a fiery performer desperately in need of better material
Ciara, a fiery performer desperately in need of better material

Ciara appears to be at an impasse. An R&B siren whose first introduction to listeners came through the stereo-rattling thumpers of 2004's "Goodies," Ciara has pushed out enough sweat-inducing grooves to score the perfect club or gym playlist. But she's never quite managed to become a standout in the pop conversation. Perhaps she has remained on the edges because she doesn't indulge in provocative behavior that courts the gossip sites, or maybe it’s that her voice isn’t nearly as elastic as her slinky, high octane dancing, which has made her a singular performer in her own right. Although that breathy, sensual voice paired with intense...

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