In the first visible sign that I’ve never accidentally consumed water from a fountain of youth, I have a skunk stripe. I don’t hate it, but I do not love it. My mom, on the other hand, thinks it’s awesome. Whenever I lament it, she says, “It lets people know your color is real,” which is hilarious because no one but my mom has ever asked if I color my hair and because of how much time and money I spend to enhance my “real features” in so many other ways. I don’t care if anyone thinks this is my natural eyebrow shape*, but I like the idea of being like “Look how good this thing I have is. You can tell it’s really mine because there’s one thing that makes it less than perfect.”
I haven’t written anything about the Beyonce lip-synch scandal, mostly because I can’t find a single fuck to give about it. Sixteen years ago, when I was a new singer full of all the ego and self-righteousness of a person who has discovered a talent, I refused to listen to Britney Spears because I found out she didn’t sing live. Slowly, I learned that boycotting singers who lip-synch (or “mime” as our more sophisticated British friends say) is like boycotting clothing stores that exploit cheap labor to make their clothes. You will find yourself naked and in silence.
But people will not let Lip Synch Gate** die. It’s crappy that singers lip synch. We should hold them to a higher standard. But instead of wanting the best, most talented singers, we culturally gravitate towards the best looking people or the ones with the most charisma. I dropped my Britney boycott over a decade ago and learned that though she is no Maria Callas, she is a fascinating performer who puts out fun music. Beyonce is a superstar, and her voice is beautiful, but she relies heavily on vocal tricks rather than natural talent and strong technique. Had she fucked up the National Anthem, which is a rangy and difficult song, that is all anyone would be talking about. Instead, she played it safe, which doesn’t make her unique in the entertainment industry in the slightest.
Allow me to assuage your anxiety over whether she will have backing tracks during the Superbowl; she will. It is a multi-million dollar production. There will be backing tracks for her backing tracks. Get the fuck over it. It would be awesome to hear someone sing totally live for an entire production, knowing that any imperfections just made the performance all the more theirs. But no one is going to take that risk at such a big event, least of all someone who has built an empire on flawlessness at any cost.
*For the record, it is not. Simply making them two separate entities destroys what nature intended to occupy my face.
**For the second record the leader of America’s swearing in and Inaugural speech were more important to me personally than Beyonce’s performance.