This article responds to Phillip Auslander s call for performance studies scholars to engage analyses of popular music performances, particularly those that consider the performers themselves. The author takes Auslander s tripartite scheme for the performerperformance interaction as a starting point for looking at how torch singers and torch singing are heard, understood, fixed, loved, reviled, and dismissed. In contrast to musical performers and performances as conscious constructions of purposeful identities (separate from the musician as person), the torch singer and her performances are understood as an inevitable collapse of person, performance persona, and character. This is particularly evident in discussions of Billie Holiday s performances of torch songs and the antilynching anthem Strange Fruit, as well as commentary on her love life and sexuality. (c) 2010 SAGE Publications.