To sing, or not to sing. That is the question prospective contestants, of reality television singing shows, should ask before subjecting themselves to possible ridicule from so-called judges. The first thing aspiring professional crooners should do, before appearing in front of a national audience, is to at least be honest with themselves about their singing ability. However, based on what I’ve been hearing through my television speakers, the past few weeks, wannabe singers are not heeding that sound advice. I am of course referring to this year’s new show, Rising Star, and I’m only aware of it because someone in my household was a fan of the program although she somehow managed to miss the season’s finale the other night. I won’t embarrass this lovely woman by revealing her identity.
You know a television network has hit the bottom of the judge’s barrel when Ludacris, Ke$ha, and Brad Paisley are chosen to critique the performances of those hoping to become singing sensations. Ludacris is a rapper, and we know rappers can’t sing. I’ve barely heard of Ke$ha, although I’m at least hip enough to know the proper spelling of her name, and Brad Paisley is merely a country artist (enough said), so who are they to evaluate who can, or cannot sing. The personalities of the Rising Star judges seems to mimic every other panel, of reality show competition analyzers, beginning with talent shows’ pioneer, American Idol. I did watch the first two seasons, of the enormously successful program, but only because I found performances like William Hung’s to be hilarious, yet even he received a recording contract. I guess (actually I know) I’m “old school,” and think all artists should have to go through a period of suffering, for their art, before becoming nationally famous.
Now back to comparing the panel of judges from Rising Star and American Idol. Ludacris appears to be the Simon Cowell of the show, honestly assessing each contestant’s performance, but he does so in a much nicer fashion. Ke$ha is a younger version of Paula Abdul, but just as annoying, and she elevates the mushiness factor of the show to another level. She lends her support, during the performance, by always pushing the green ^ button, regardless of how miserable the singing actually was, and then afterwards she has a compliment awaiting each and every contestant. Brad Paisley’s comments are typically somewhere in the middle (a la Randy Jackson). I’m positive that even I would receive a compliment from Ke$ha if I was one of the participants. Heck, I’d probably win the whole competition considering the rest of the contestants on the show. Not really. I’m a realist, and although I am a pretty decent crooner I’m not quite that good.
However, I was generous enough to bestow my vocal talent to my junior high school choir, for all three years I was a student there, but I really don’t know why. Maybe because my older sister had paved the way, or possibly because a lady at church, sitting in the pew behind me, had told my mother I had a nice singing voice. Most likely though I joined the school chorus after calculating the girl to boy ratio of the class. There was bound to be only a handful of guys enrolled, so the odds of me finding a special someone was quite favorable especially for a “playa” like myself. Just kidding of course. Those who truly know me are well aware I’m a pretty reserved person at heart, and don’t yearn to be the center of attention.
For example, when I was a freshman, and our choir was to perform at our school’s annual talent show, I was asked to sing a brief solo during our rendition of the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin’.” The teacher had meandered through the male vocal section of the choir, during one particular rehearsal, and narrowed the field down to two, myself and another guy, of who could adequately sing the solo. I wasn’t near as brave as my sister, who had sung a portion of “Summer Nights” from the movie, Grease, by herself two years prior, so I refused the offer. The other guy declined as well. Eventually an alto, of the female persuasion, was man enough to volunteer singing the minimal part, so us two scaredy-cats were finally let off the hook. I’ll never know how well I would’ve performed, if I had decided to sing that solo, but I do know Ke$ha would have given me a standing ovation.