Wednesday 27 October 2010


I subscribe to the belief that if you are going to do a job, do it right and to the best of your ability. Otherwise, what is the point? You’re better off sitting on the sofa eating bon-bons letting someone else do the job for you. On this note, I was watching some show the other night where a ‘pop star’ was performing. I use that term not having a clue what it means anymore, as these days the qualifications to become one are getting more unimpressive by the second. It used to be that a ‘star’ held some sort of charisma or 'star quality' - hence the name - that bled from their pores like sunshine, coupled of course with a talent that surpassed the rest of us. Nowadays, not so much. It seems you can become a pop star in eight short weeks if Simon Cowell and the general public deems it so; and get this, you don’t have to even know how to sing.

So this pop star in question was all dressed up in some ridiculous outfit, or as I like to call it, ‘a distraction from the fact that I most likely won’t be able to carry a tune.’ And she took to the stage to perform her new single, and I suppose for some, she did perform it. The problem was, she wasn’t singing, not live anyway. What she was doing was miming to a pre-recorded track as she carried out a series of highly choreographed dance moves. So, in short, she was showing she could dance, somewhat anyway, but not sing live. Or period, as unless you can sing live, how do we really know what your abilities are? I’ve always had a real problem with miming (also referred to as lip syncing) as it not only means you are taking the easy way out, but the singer in question is not fulfilling their job requirements, i.e. actually SINGING. I mean, that is their one job, is it not? We’re not asking them to perform a root canal as they balance on one toe and fly an airplane. We’re asking them to show up, sing the song they’re wanting us to go out and purchase, and for that, I want to know they are at least capable of carrying out the task; especially as compared to the rest of the world, they are making an obscene amount of money.

Let’s be honest, singing is not even that complicated; some of our most famous ‘singers weren’t even about the voice, at least not in the technical sense. It was about the performance, the charisma and confidence that they could carry off just about any song handed to them. But these days it’s not about performing a song well, it’s solely about the packaging and what can be done in a studio; and do not kid yourself, everything can be done in a studio. You can make my incredibly tone deaf mother sound like Maria Callas.

The most pathetic part of all is that these days, when I do in fact see someone sing live, I am so impressed that they are doing it, I actually give them bonus points for getting through the song. And if they do it well, well hold the phone, I’m ready to have them canonized. Last year a singer was on the Grammys and her performance was so incredible that everyone stood up and gave her a five-minute standing ovation. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredible. But I think the audience was also applauding that she showed up and could actually do what most of the other ‘stars’ that evening could not do, which was get through a song live and sound good doing it. All I can say is I’m glad neurosurgeons and pilots don’t mime when they show up for work. Could you imagine? “Ladies and gentleman, I want to thank you for choosing Sub-Par airlines. I hope you have a safe flight, especially as I’m going to pretend to fly this plane for you. In fact, I’d suggest buckling up and holding on tight. Godspeed!”

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