Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue performs at the Cardiff International Arena in March in Cardiff, Wales. (Matt Cardy, Getty Images / April 28, 2011)

Australia's Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, has 20 years on her American counterpart. She has 12 albums to Gaga's three. And she's a major touring draw overseas.

But despite all that, she's just a niche star in the United States. Her first American tour came only two years ago and stopped at just six cities. This year, though, she's at least doubling up on the engagements, and, she's playing a show at Patriot Center on Saturday.

Perhaps it's unfair to compare Minogue to Gaga. Madonna would be the fairer analogy. The two came of age in the 1980s, when Minogue followed in Olivia Newton-John's delightfully cheesy footsteps.

Her first album, "Kylie," spawned hits like "The Loco-Motion," upbeat, innocuous pop fit for the 20-year-old that she was.

While Madonna became an international headliner, Minogue stayed popular only in her native country and in Europe, where the draw for her brand of unapologetic pop has never wavered.

Mention Minogue here, and she's likely to be dismissed as a one-hit wonder, the voice behind the impossibly sleek dance anthem "Can't Get You Out of My Head."

But in 20 years in the business, Minogue's been an indispensable force on the dance and club charts, cranking out classics as easily as Gaga changes hats.

Minogue's never exhibited Madonna's uncanny knack for controversy. At heart, she's a disco queen, happy to stay within the carefree boundaries of the genre.

But the two of them share a passion for memorable iconography. Her greatest hits — "Slow," and "Can't Get You Out of My Head" — are accompanied by striking music videos. "All the Lovers," off the new album, is no different. It shows her singing the track standing above a pyramid of naked people.

The new album also shares a producer with Madonna: Stuart Price, the man behind her hit album "Confessions on a Dance Floor."

With that kind of DNA, it's not surprising to find the album's found a more receptive audience in the United States.

Singles "All the Lovers" and "Get Outta My Way" have not surprisingly been embraced by her legion of gay fans, but for mainstream music buyers, they have also made her more than a proto-Gaga.

It debuted at No. 19 in the Billboard 200, her highest position on that chart in almost a decade.

Kylie Minogue performs Saturday at Patriot Center, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax City, Va. Doors are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, at $55, are on sale at Ticketmaster.com.

erik.maza@baltsun.com