Monday, November 25, 2013

Lessons for Classical Crossover singer Jackie Evancho from the American Music Awards

Lessons for Jackie from the American Music Awards (last night)

The band Imagine Dragons added a taiko-ish set of drums to their setup and did some taiko drumming with some choreography during their song
Lesson: bringing in stuff from outside the normal context of the genre. It worked, too.

Miley Cyrus probably did the most innovative performance of the evening, near the end, with a giant puddy tat on a rear projection screen lipsynching her song with her, with a funny/sad tears effect midway and a very Japanese anime-style cat wink at the end.
Lesson: again, bringing in stuff from outside the normal genre boundaries, plus a sense of humor/whimsy. I also noticed that Cyrus isn't half bad as a singer and as a songwriter. Just because she's OTT doesn't mean she isn't creative.

Conversely, Katy Perry performed in Geisha drag (sans the white makeup) at the beginning but didn't use the "look" very creatively, I thought. Not integrated with the music. Pretty but superficial. On the other hand she brought a disabled girl and her family to the show as her guests. That was classy.

Lady Gaga channeled Marilyn Monroe's affair with JFK. Then she had big headlines rear-projected about stuff like "Lady Gaga is fat" "Lady Gaga is washed up."
Lesson: Be careful when you use a murdered major historical figure to obsess about yourself. She'd really thrown herself into the production and the music, but the stuff on the wall behind her made her look small.

Ariana Granda sang a neo-Doo-Wop number dressed in an elegant floor-length gown
Lesson: I think she's one of the classier pop celebs out there right now. I could imagine Ariana and Jackie doing something together at some point. I thought the song and the performance were quite good--and quite tasteful.
Lesson: Don't wear a gown that looks great if you're standing still but which makes you look ridiculous if you're going to be seen walking in it. Ariana won New Artist award and had to totter up onto the stage because she basically couldn't move her legs above the knee. Had to go up the steps one at a time. Reminded me of why they're called Hobble Skirts.

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