The Web is Alive With the Sound of Gaga
I’m not normally one to care about the way the internet talks about celebrities. People have their right to say whatever they like online and who am I to stop them? But over the last couple of days, certain comments have been made that have made me step back and evaluate the way that judgements we make infiltrate our daily attitudes towards people’s capabilities.
The majority of us in Britain slept through the Oscars on Sunday night, but thanks to the magic of social media, everyone is now up to speed with what went down. Who had the most memorable speeches, whose hair was rated and slated, and probably most importantly, who performed.
Neil Patrick Harris is used to stealing the limelight as the chirpy all singing all dancing host of awards ceremonies, but his delightfully cheesy trio starring Anna Kendrick and Jack Black has not received nearly as much media coverage as another performance that evening.
Just in case you didn’t know, here is a reminder of what happened. Sunday’s Oscars marked the 50th Anniversary of the film The Sound Of Music. Halfway through the evening, Lady Gaga appeared in an elegant yet non-descript (by her standards) white gown, and sang a medley of favourites from the beloved film. The entire thing is on YouTube if you’ve yet to see it.
Yes. That is correct. Lady Gaga does musical theatre. And in my humble opinion, she does a damn good job of it too. Gone is the rough and gritty sound we often hear from her, and instead she adopted a more classical sound for the occasion. It was impressive to say the least.
But social media has gone a bit haywire with this performance. True, lots of people have been raving about it and it has given Gaga some really positive publicity online. However, there are those out there who are still very firmly saying nay. Some people have taken great offence that Gaga was chosen to sing rather than a more traditional star, with one notable person writing on Facebook this morning “SURELY they could have got somebody better to do this?”
It is easy to dismiss Gaga as a record-label robot, who relies on auto-tune and seductive dance moves to sell her albums. In actual fact she has been singing longer than many people in the industry, with a primary background in Jazz and Rock. She’s been writing music since she was a teenager, and if you’ve ever doubted her skill as a songwriter I would urge you to listen to Speechless or You and I.
But let’s forget about that for a moment. Let’s not take into account my love for Gaga and the things she does, because my real point is this.
Could they have got somebody ‘better’ to do this? Absolutely.
It would have been very easy for the producers at the Oscars to find a ‘legitimate’ musical theatre personality; A Bernadette Peters or Sutton Foster. It would have been very easy for any big Broadway star to sing those songs because heaven knows they’ve probably been doing The Sound of Music in their sleep since they were twelve.
BUT that would have defeated the entire point. Sure we could have had a very beautifully sung traditional rendition of My Favourite Things, but within the next five minutes we all would have forgotten about it. The performance was an Oscar highlight BECAUSE it was so unexpected. Because Gaga simultaneously busted the myth that Musical Theatre is for stuffy older singers, and the myth that pop stars should only stick to their pre-conceived genre of music.
If we reserved everything for people that were supposedly ‘better’ at them, we would never see anything exciting happen. If the casting directors of Foxcatcher had dismissed Steve Carrell as a comedy actor and waited for somebody ‘better’, we would never have seen that stunning performance. If the suffragettes had waited until somebody ‘better’ at politics came along, women would have been waiting for the vote for a hell of a lot longer.
Gaga’s move was a brave one, and I think that in 2015, it’s high time we stopped confining performers and people in general to tiny little boxes. We need to stop telling ourselves and other people that they shouldn’t do things simply because there is somebody out there that is better for the job. Don’t pass up that interview because you think there’ll be a better candidate to turn up. Don’t let your child give up art at school just because they think that Joe Bloggs in their class is better at it. When I graduate, I hope (touch wood) to be a working actor. I can’t start turning down auditions just because Jennifer Lawrence might play the part better! If the opportunity is there, you should just flipping go for it!