Never before have we lived in a time where fame and celebrity status seems so reachable for everyone. Since several years our living rooms are flooded with reality shows and talent scouts such as Big Brother American Idol (or fill in the country where you live), X-factor and The Voice, offering you the possibility to either become a shining star in the entertainment industry or a socialite. Talent for the latter is not required. Yes, nowadays we all have a reasonable chance to become a star outside the shower or – and that is something we can all participate in – be a very credible critic when it comes to performances. And that of course than makes us automatically sound judges when it comes to those who already more than deserved their stripes.
Earlier this week the world was shocked by the fact Beyoncé Knowles might have mouthed her way through her much-anticipated version of The Star-Spangled Banner during an outside event at a temperature just under the freezing point. I vaguely seem to remember that specific event had something to do with the inauguration of President Obama, but I might be mistaken here. It seems to have moved into the shadows as rapidly as the praising tweets about B’s performance made place for the devastating criticism after the lip-sync rumour popped up. Personally, I couldn’t give a sh*t. I think Beyoncé sounded as star-spangled as ever, and looked likewise. However, the whole incident does raise some questions. Not so much about her, but about all of us.
Let’s just assume that whatever Beyoncé did, she probably did it for very good reasons. She is a professional after all and has proofed on many occasions that she isn’t faking her vocal talents in any way. Than who are we to judge her? And even worse, to shout it from our digital roofs as the fanatic little twitter birds we have all become. Watching a televizionized singing competition or two does not make us the experts on the subject we all think we are. It is even surprising how strong our reactions have become when we discover something to be less authentic as we thought it would be, considering we are part of a culture with very vague standards on the matter and in which we are as much the deceiver as the deceived. Our expectations of the ones we have placed on the pedestals of celebrity have become higher and higher. We think it is normal that today’s pop stars are able to perform super human choreographies on life stages, while continuously displaying their full lung capacity in non-wavering crystal clear voices. Or Presidents to speak out in their own words. And so we choose to be deceived. Of course some people will be of the opinion that yes, that is what they signed up for. But let me pop your little bubble here. No one is capable of doing that and every pop star, big and small, uses lip sync every now and then.The real art is to do it in such a way that no one notices it. And if Beyoncé really silently moved her well shaped lips on a recording that – indeed – she recorded herself with her own voice earlier, than she did a pretty good job.
Anyway, President Obama seemed to have enjoyed it. He went inside the Capitol building a happy man and has been back at work ever since, probably without asking himself any questions about the so-much discussed performance. Maybe we should all do the same. But before doing so, log on to your Facebook account and see how many friends you have and think about how many friends you really have. Let’s face it people, deception is all around us. It’s just a matter of going with the flow and enjoying the moment. And we did enjoy Beyoncé, didn’t we. –BM-
Cover photography: Seth London . Model: Jared Goodloe
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