Having left MTV and the pop scene behind many years ago, this week’s disturbance in the entertainment force – Miley Cyrus’ ill-conceived, and very badly performed, “twerking” to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” with him right behind her – has intruded on the focus of the current drama in the Middle East.
Naturally, I had to go to YouTube and see what the big fuss was, especially after the inventor of the twerk came out and said that Miley Cyrus can’t do it right. (I agree with him, actually.)
In watching that performance, a couple of things came to mind: whoever designed Robin Thicke’s black and white striped suit is a Shakespearian hosiery fan, and Miley Cyrus has no business being on a stage. She has absolutely no control over her body. (She can’t sing, either, but we’ll get to that later.)
I realize that the consternation has been all about Hannah Montana behaving lewdly in front of the entire planet. While I completely agree that performance was downright raunchy, and that her bikini, flesh colored or not, belongs on a beach (as bikinis go, it wasn’t that bad), she does not have the natural ability, or the training apparently, to pull off a Madonna-Lady Gaga kind of performance using half asked ghetto moves rather than real dance.
Bear with me.
Madonna Louise Ciccone and Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known to the world as Madonna and Lady Gaga, have more in common than just being big city (Detroit and New York) Italian girls who spent their early lives being outcasts and oddballs in Catholic schools and have spent their careers rebelling against what we were all taught (not all that uncommon, actually). Both are VERY smart business women (somewhat of an Italian trait, actually) and both use artistic culture and creativity to full advantage, reinventing themselves as they go along. They both also really know how to sing correctly. I mean as in the Italian technique that a lot of us paid big money to learn.
But, most of all, they both know just how far to push before their “shock” moves are really too much. They also know their limits.
Madonna was primarily a dancer, actually, and has limited acting range on film, but what she did do made an impact. Her Evita was fantastic. Lady Gaga moves like she was made to be Cyd Charise’s double – and Cyd Charise was every male dancer’s favorite partner in the MGM glory days. There’s a lot more of the Michael Jackson kind of maneuvers in Lady Gaga’s videos under all that “we’re trying too hard” couture, but she is in complete control of her body at all times. (By the same token, her acting could use some work. The lip syncing is pretty lame.) Germanotta was in musicals in high school and attended an arts school. Ciconne was in ballet. Both write their own material, which is impressive. Both started out small and made names for themselves in New York City before hitting it big.
Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, is a product of Hollywood, a child star trying to transition into being an adult star with far more range, a trick that has not been pulled off all that often since the demise of The Dream Factory. And even with the dream factory, there had to be some innate talent there to begin with, even at Warner Brothers where children were exploited in a number of different ways. It does not look like there has been much in the way of talent development with Ms. Cyrus. It’s just…blah.
Well, twerking – very badly – on stage with the entire world watching ain’t going to help Miley Cyrus be anything other than Hannah Montana trying to act like a slut. I wouldn’t even call that gyrating. (Did the producer not see rehearsal? Director? These people along with the choreographer should never work again after that monstrosity.)
As bad as that number was – and as tame in comparison to the original video of “Blurred Lines” – what was almost more objectionable was the costuming of Lady Gaga’s performance of her new single. Quick changes are always great on stage (and a feat that requires advance planning), but some of us object to going from nun (similar to the novices in Dialogue of the Carmelites), to vamp, to – and this was the kicker – Lady Godiva meets Bottacelli’s Birth of Venus meets Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello.
Yeah, those really don’t go together. (It was the blonde wig. Desdemona always wears one and is dressed as the Virgin Mary – and she doesn’t wear a sea shell bra.)
At any rate, since Monday’s disaster, there have been countless lumpings of Miley Cyrus in with Madonna and Lady Gaga, mainly due to the shock value of their videos and stage performances. That’s where the similarities end. Plain and simply, Miley Cyrus is not in the same league. The other two actually have talent, even if they use it badly. Please, don’t try to put Miley as a pea in the same pod.
BTW, the inventor of the foam finger is also most upset as to how his kitschy appendage extension was used. He claims it was degraded. Fortunately, it’s been around long enough that we all know it goes up in the air, not where Miley put it.