My wife watches American Idol. I’ve watched it here and there in the past, mainly to laugh at how ridiculous it is, but refuse to watch this year. One of the main reasons is the fact that Steven Tyler of Aerosmith has joined the panel. Nothing says “sell-out” like joining the cast of American Idol. It has made me lose the low percentage of any trace of respect I may have ever had for him, mainly from the early days of the band.
It reinforces my opinion that I formed long ago…singers can’t act and actors can’t sing (with the exception of Elvis). Don’t be misled for a second…what Tyler is doing is acting, or trying to act. It’s not real. And he’s doing a terrible job.
Need more proof of my SCAAACS (WTEOE) theory? Let’s first take a look at singers who tried to act (note: they always try to place a big star with them for “twice the star power!”).
Glen Campbell: Glen had a ton of hits throughout the late 1960’s, plus his own variety show on TV. So in 1969, John Wayne hand-picked him to star opposite him in the motion picture “True Grit”. Maybe the Duke thought he needed to attract a younger audience so he could get a bigger bang for his box-office percentage. Even though Campbell won a Golden Globe for “Most Promising Newcomer”, the critics were less than kind…and fans weren’t very “gentle on his mind” either. Big star: John Wayne.
Neil Diamond: Neil started as a songwriter and hitmaker in the 1960’s, and his output from that decade was pretty good. In the 70’s he started mellowing out, but still collected mega-hit after mega-hit. So naturally, Hollywood tried to make an actor out of him. The result was a 1980 remake of the 1920’s classic “The Jazz Singer”, which originally starred Al Jolson. Diamond was TERRIBLE. It really hurts to watch it. And who was his love interest? Lucy Arnaz…that’s right, Desi and Lucy’s daughter. They must have blown their budget on Diamond and his co-star Laurence Oliviet. Big star: hint-it’s not Lucy Arnaz.
Diana Ross: When the lead Supreme started sleeping with the boss (Berry Gordy), she gave him an ultimatum: “make me a star or I’ll start screwing someone at another label”. So Gordy gave her a solo career, and paid for the production of “Lady Sings The Blues”, a vehicle for Ross to portray troubled torch singer Billie Holiday. As one critic put it, “The acting was good (if you choose to accept the idea of Billie Holiday being a weak minded flake).” They couldn’t even find star power for this dud. Big star: Billy Dee Williams? Richard Pryor? Isabelle Sanford? (yes, that’s Louise “Weezy” Jefferson to you and me).
NOW let’s take a look at actors who can’t sing:
Bruce Willis: On the strength of his smart-ass character on the TV show “Moonlighting”, some poor record company sap was given the order to “sign that kid…he may sell some records”. The result was “The Return of Bruno”. First off, who the fuck is Bruno? Second of all, he had the audacity to cover Atlantic and Stax R&B. It sucked worse than you can imagine. The length of his recording career isn’t what Demi Moore must have had in mind, if ya catch my drift.
Patrick Swayze: Anyone remember “Ghost”? “Dirty Dancing”? “Red Dawn”? (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Now…does anyone remember “She’s Like The Wind”? Huh? The only thought that comes to most peoples’ minds is “Wow, that tune was worse than Red Dawn”…and that’s saying something. Good thing he had the smarts not to try hitting a recording studio again.
Eddie Murphy: What is it with Saturday Night Live cast members? They start getting a little attention, and all of a sudden they’re in a recording studio. First those two dick-wads do the Blues Brothers thing (well, Belushi was ok), then Eddie Murphy is putting out an album called “Party in my Pants” or something like that. I had to play the song “Party All The Time” when I was in radio. I honestly felt sorry for Eddie…I thought he was pretty funny, but it was obvious that he was taking his singing career seriously. Ick.
Remember, Elvis is the exception. So watch an Elvis flick this weekend…anything from “Love Me Tender” (ok, maybe skip that one…and “Kissin’ Cousins”) up to “Change of Habit”. Geez, it’s GOT to be better than anything Jon Bon Jovi is in.