I watch the TV show The Voice fairly regularly. I always record it, so that I can fast-forward though the parts that annoy me, but by and large I find it pretty entertaining. (And far more entertaining with their "alternate" cast of coaches, because Shakira comes across as warm and charming and adorable and funny and self-effacing -- beyond her other attributes -- and Christina Aguillera does not.)
But there is one thing on the show that has my teeth gnashing whenever it happens. It's not exclusive to The Voice, I've heard it elsewhere, but it occurs regularly on the show, which has such a high viewership, so it gets my wrath.
It doesn't happen much in the early rounds (though did tonight), but later when the singers get to choose their own songs to perform. They come on stage and say, as the young girl did tonight, "I'm going to sing 'Where the Boys Are' by Connie Francis."
Please, dear God, make this stop. "Where the Boys Are" is not by Connie Francis. It's by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. If they want to say, "...made popular by..." Or "...first sung by..." Or "...that so-and-so sang," fine. Great, swell. But please, unless the performers who sang the songs actually wrote them, please, please, puh-leaze will someone on the show please inform the contestants what "by" means.
"I'm going to sing 'Since U Been Gone' by Kelly Clarkson. No, it's by Lukasz Gottwald and Max Martin.
"I am going to sing 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' by Aerosmith." All of them? No, sorry, it's by Diane Warren.
And no, Frank Sinatra did not write "My Way." It is by Claude Francois and Jacques Revaux, and Paul Anka adapted it.
"I am going to sing 'And I Am Telling You I am Not Going' by Jennifer Hudson." No, it's by Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen. Hey, at least get it right that Jennifer Holliday is who sang it first and made it famous.
"I'm going to sing, 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion." No, you aren't. It's by James Horner and Will Jennings. Look it up. It'll say it right on your album notes. They also now have something called the Internets, you can check it out, right there. Really. Or ask a librarian if you're stomped. It won the Oscar. Horner and Jennings won it. Not Celine Dion.
On and on and on. Endlessly. C'mon, people. This is what you say you dearly want to be your profession, that you've been dreaming of all your life. Make an effort then to understand it.
Hero worship or ignorance are not excuses. If an actor won an Oscar for a famous production of a Shakespeare play, no one of any sense would say, "I am now going to recite "To be or not to be" from Hamlet by Ralph Fiennes. Because
I'm actually a bit surprised that none of the coaches have ever said something (off-camera at the very least), since they deal with songwriters all the time, and I'd like to think they're more sensitive to the issue, and may have even had their songwriter friends say something to them. But apparently not.
I'm sure a lot of people will say, "Oh, but y'know what they mean..." But that's not good enough. It perpetuates erroneous information, and (more to the point), no I don't know what they mean. I don't know if they know what they mean. And I certainly don't know what percentage of others know what they mean.
Please make it stop.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor