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Jett Superior laid this on you on || January 30, 2003 || 2:17 am

Here’s something:

I’ve tried like hell not to comment on this ‘American Idol’ frackas, but Lordhelp, sometimes you just gotta open them jaws.

I watch it. I fully admit that I do. My teevee viewing is selective at best, and I pick this nonsense to groob on for some gooey reason. Don’t ask me, for I do not fully understand it myself.

Anyway, I watch this program and I think, Wouldn’t it be great if we had the technology to tap into the contestants’ brains and see what the track in their minds are playing while we are hearing this really putrid, pick-a-chicken-and-sacrifice-it-to-the-God-of-bad-sounds-for-some-aural-relief, vocalizing? Yes, I think things like that. I think things like that because I really and truly want to know what these people sound like to themselves. What amazing joojoo has come over their ears that the sounds they are producing become even remotely golden and enchanting?

As a vocalist, I can tell you that you are not always ‘on’. Nobody is. Everyone misses a note, falls flat on pitch, abuses the vibrato, falls out of tempo, confuses the accompanist, trips over breathing, cracks a note so wide open that its momma would be embarrassed. EVERYONE does it some time or another and if they tell you different they fucking lielieLIE or they are so special that they should be cradled and treasured as a magical wonder, a glorious aberrance of nay-chuh.

Somewhere, in all of us, even those that are so monumentally shy that to garner someone’s gaze brings on huge waves of nausea, there is a desire for the spotlight, to be the center of the room, to bask in the adulation of others. There are people that sit in their heads, conducting mock interviews, allowing the reporter to ask them the ‘tough questions’ and gracefully responding to same. There are people that dream and dream of the minutes that they might be able to stand in front of a crowd of people and have those people anticipate the words and better yet, feeeeeel the words right there in the pit of their emotions where they are the most potent.

My mother will tell you matter-of-factly that I sang before I talked. She will also point out the entry in my baby book, right there next to a delicate blonde curl, that says, “Loves to sing nursery rhymes. Can’t carry a tune in a bucket.” I was always a performer of sorts. The very minute I could be tapped for a part in the school play, sing a solo in front of all Morning Glory Preschool and their hapless parents, I did it. I did it with aplomb.

Let me run off and chase a rabbit here for a minute. Not long ago, we took a family outing to the movie theater. As the projector began to roll, all the house lights went down. Well….all, that is, except for one. Can you guess where it was? Why, silly, it was right above my very head! The Superior children were equal parts amazed and annoyed and I quipped, “See, darlins, the spotlight loves your mommy.” Maxim looked on, one corner of his mouth tucked, and shook his head.

So, then, after my stage debut, things came easy to me. Without even asking or auditioning, I’d get a finger pointed in my direction: “Miss Superior, you will be Butterfly Number Three in the manger scene. You have ten lines and eight bars.” ALRIGHT MISS CLARY. PUT THAT THING AWAY. I became comfortable in my voice pretty early on, though I don’t know if that’s a positive or negative. You’d have to ask a previous audience, I guess.

So I got my time out there, and predictably or tritely enough, I learned that being stage center leaves you rattly-kneed and exhilerated and wanting for more. It’s an excellent living metaphor for sex. There are people that experience it and live for it the rest of their days. There are those that wait on the sidelines, begging the Cosmos for it.

I’ve experienced these people firsthand, in all forms, from the harpy stage mother who shoves a Shirley Temple lookalike toward a casting coordinator to the drunkard who begs the microphone while you are between songs and taking a quick gulp of beer or water or whatever is free in exchange for you keeping the patrons occupied with heckling or hell-yeahing.

Sometimes in these moments you want to hand some reeling sonofabitch the mike and tell the band to lay it on. Sometimes in these moments, you see the reeling sonsofbitches and say to yourself, ‘ahnomannottonight…’ Hell, sometimes in these moments, it’s not even up to you whether that cowpoke gets his time in the saddle. There are some club/bar owners that don’t give a fuck what your set is comprised of, long as you don’t burn the place down or defecate on stage. Others have a strict policy of ONLY THE BAND UP THERE. ONLY THE BAND, YOU HEAR ME? There are various reasons for this, I’d imagine, but I’m one for not much giving a fuck about what doesn’t concern me.

There are those times, though, that you hit paydirt. You give that person a big go-ahead for the climb onstage, you let them fondle your mic and squint shyly forth. Then they just blow you the fuck away with something bottled up inside of them. This may be the only song this person knows or would ever be able to perform in their lifetime, but they own that fucker. They live up inside it, pumping the bellows of breath and heartbeat. Occasionally, they even get the blink right. And you feel good, all communal and knowing, knowing what it is they’re experiencing.

There’s always a flipside to it, and it comes up more often than not. You hand your mic and your piece of worn stage over so that the audience of five or fifteen or fifty can give their attention to someone else for four minutes, fifty-two seconds. And that person, they sing like their heart is on fire and they’re wrestling it out, but it sounds like metal grinding on concrete and you want to stop them out of mercy but you don’t because maybe letting them finish up would be merciful, too. Lots of times, they want to perform a second number (number two, ar-ar) either right then or later on and you have to bat them off time and time again. It feels icky to have to deny someone the spotlight, whether you know it’s best or not.

When they DO deserve it or want it so badly, though, when they crave it like nothing else…

Welp, I can understand why Paula Abdul had to leave the room crying tonight.

4 worked it out »

  1. April Love 1.30.2003

    I think I can relate. :) I watch it too and I cried, and my Daddy made fun of me.

     
  2. Keith 1.30.2003

    Did you just say joojoo?

     
  3. ChristoCarto 1.31.2003

    Can I just say…in my drunken stupor…that as a MERE performer myself….that I ate every bit of that last ENTRY UP. And can I just say….that as a lame ‘look ma….i’m acting’ kind of has been….that I deep down inside sympathize with all of those ‘american idol’ denizons…Naaaah…it’s just the Jim Beam. I love you, YOU FUCKING GODDESS!!!

     
  4. Jett 2.1.2003

    I SAID JOOJOO AND I AM NOT ASHAMED.

    I’m not.

     

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