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A ‘Crocodile’ tribute

Bindi Irwin, the 17-year-old daughter of Steve Irwin, the Aussie “Crocodile Hunter,” wowed the audience and judges on the season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday as she hoofed a tribute to her late dad to the tune of the (Elton John-Bernie Taupin) song “Crocodile Rock” with dance partner Derek Hough. With her mom, Terri Irwin, watching from the audience, the bubbly Irwin and Hough topped the scores with their jive number, which prompted judge Bruno Tonioli to dub her “The Wonder from Down Under.” The teen wrote on Instagram after the show: “This experience. I am grateful beyond words for tonight. Thank you all and especially my life coach & dance partner #TeamCrikey.”

Hanging on the telephone

Speaking of “Crocodile Rock” and Elton John, did Russian president Vladimir Putin phone up the singer, or not? John claimed via his Instagram account that he did, thanking the Russian leader for “reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today” and stating that he looked forward to discussing LGBT equality in Russian with him in person. But Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said nyet, it didn’t happen. “I don’t doubt that if there is such a request, the president will be ready to meet with Elton John, among others, to give answers to all the questions that he might ask,” Peskov told reporters. “But we haven’t received such signals yet.” John has been critical of Russia’s official stance toward gays in the past.

Maraniss at Metro Detroit Book & Author Society Luncheon

The fall roster for the Oct. 19 Metro Detroit Book & Author Society Luncheon includes Detroit native David Maraniss, whose “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story” has been excerpted for the past few days in The Detroit News. Bonnie Jo Campbell, whose “American Salvage” was a National Book Award finalist, will discuss her new collection of stories, “Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.” The other authors include novelist Lily Tuck (“The Double Life of Liliane”), thriller author John Katzenbach ( “The Dead Student”) and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Gay (“Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living”).

It all starts at 11 a.m. with the authors’ books for sale; luncheon is served at noon, and the authors speak at 1 p.m. Afterward, the authors will autograph their books. Tickets are $40, available online at bookandauthor.info or by phone at (586) 685-5750. Burton Manor is at 27777 Schoolcraft in Livonia.

Mirren takes on the men

Septuagenarian sex goddess Helen Mirren raised a few male hackles recently when she commented in London’s Mail on Sunday that it irritates her to see men gripping their wives or girlfriends. “It annoys me when I see men with an arm slung round their girlfriend’s shoulders,” the British actress complained. “It’s like ownership. Of course, when you’re young, you want the guy to take your hand and look after you. But when I see girls being leaned on, I want to say, ‘Tell him to get his damned arm off your shoulder.’ ”

Mirren, 70, who also opined that marrying late was “a good idea” for women, further commented: “Women are still toddlers in this modern world, trying to find their position in the age of sexual liberation, birth control, education and financial independence. We’re still finding our path.”

swhitall@detroitnews.com

Wednesday’s birthdays

Flo Rida, 36

Amy Poehler, 44

Mickey Rourke, 63

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