The singers we deserve

I read on another blog this week about how you need to go around half naked if you’re beautiful. And it goes without saying that ugly people can’t sing. Or so it seems.

Me, I get tired of seeing yet another look-alike with bare midriff singing on television. I like my singers to be good singers. But it must be the bare midriff syndrome that makes people pity me for liking Roger Whittaker, and he’s not ugly or fat. Just not twenty any longer, and he performs fully dressed.

To jump on the Susan Boyle and Paul Potts bandwagon this week seems a little opportune, but it has to be done. I read about Susan in the paper the other day, but never got round to investigating her on YouTube (because I don’t watch these ‘I want to be famous’ programmes). Then the Guardian did a double spread on the phenomenon of singing on television despite being neither young nor beautiful, and I joined the millions of people who had already heard Susan sing.

Lovely. I particularly liked the fact that she talked and moved as she wanted. She was herself. Then I showed Daughter the Paul Potts video, which only brought home that those three ‘judges’ sit there saying the same thing every time. And they are smug. I gather the job is well paid, so it’s something I wouldn’t mind doing in their place. I could do my bit to stop the midriffs. (I notice the judges have their names displayed in big letters above the stage, which is handy in case they forget.)

Daughter will dispute this, but I firmly believe Susan wasn’t a complete surprise on the show, which makes any mock surprise reactions even worse. Still doesn’t mean that her looks and background, genuine or not, should have much to do with whether she makes it as a singer.

I remember the Eurovision song contest, years ago, where even the lovely Terry Wogan made a comment along the lines of ‘she’s fat, but she can sing’. This was about the Maltese singer, and yes, she really could sing. Didn’t win, of course.

It must surely be a bonus if a singer looks good, not a necessity. How many wonderful voices are we missing because of this obsession with bare midriffs?

I hope Susan does well, hopefully without being ruined by well meaning idiots in show business. And I know the Guardian wanted to come across as better than the rest, but I think they were just as aghast, really. It’s the same in the book business. Authors, who you don’t even see as you read their words, need to look good. Never mind publishing the best book.

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