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Puerto Rico's hottest gossip queen? A puppet !

La Comay, a five-foot-tall puppet, is Puerto Rico's newest gossip queen.

The character, a foam head painted with outrageous red lips, has legions tuning into her show every afternoon, ready for the gossip's latest bombshell.

With her trademark "Ayayayayayay!" shriek punctuated by the kind of wailing sirens reserved for nuclear meltdowns, La Comay delivers what has consistently been one the most popular shows in Puerto Rico for a decade.

The program has been derided for being over-the-top sensationalist and for broadcasting derogatory comments against women and gays, but "Super Xclusivo" remains the main news source for thousands in the U.S. territory and hundreds of Puerto Ricans in Florida and New York. The island comes to a stop every afternoon to watch La Comay not only talk small-town gossip but also expose government and business corruption scandals.

"It's an addiction," said Iris Laboy, a longtime follower in San Juan. "It is the TV show with the most impact in Puerto Rico."

That isn't lost on government officials including the island's governor, its justice secretary and the Senate president, all of whom have granted La Comay live interviews while sometimes shunning other media. Gubernatorial candidate Rafael Bernabe raised eyebrows when he recently rejected an invitation to appear on the program, becoming one of the first campaigning politicians to skip the La Comay's hot seat in recent history.

Puerto Ricans praise her confrontational style, taking glee in interviews such as that of the president of a state electric-company workers' union whose power was cut off because he hadn't paid his bills.

"To be honest, I hadn't addressed the situation," the president said sheepishly to a "Super Xclusivo" reporter, to the guffaws of La Comay.

Fans of La Comay say she has enough power to make or break someone, giving the show relevance on an island rife with corruption. She reflects Puerto Ricans' natural curiosity in their neighbors' affairs and has demonstrated the importance of demanding explanations from people in power regardless of their social position, according to one fan who identified himself as "Jorge" in a public online discussion about La Comay.

Antulio "Kobbo" Santarrosa, who plays La Comay, "is teaching our masses to be irreverent when it comes to questioning and confronting our social and government leaders," wrote the fan, who didn't respond to requests for an interview.