Sunday, February 20, 2011

Somebody To Love, again…and again


Media Moment: Ella Enchanted and American Idol
Queen-related: Somebody To Love featured

In a previous blog, I commented on Anne Hathaway’s performance of Somebody to Love from the 2005 film, Ella Enchanted. (It was rebroadcast on television again recently so I opted to record it and watch her performance again.)

On EE’s trivia section on IMDb, it states that STL was not the first choice of song for Hathaway but she was struggling vocally with the original song selection (harder to sing that STL?), and it was only when director Tommy O’Haver spotted her singing and dancing to STL that they both felt it would be a better fit.

Serendipitously, I had EE on my PVR at the same time that my wife had recorded the second Hollywood Week episode of American Idol, which just happened to have a double-dose of STL as part of the group auditions.

Two vocal groups had chosen STL for their performance and the producers of AI opted to set up a rivalry between the groups as they rehearsed into the late evening. One group (second photo from top) had complained that the rival group were getting unfair coaching from their parents and the producers of the show thought that this would make for a dramatic showdown.

The first group had failed miserably, according to the judges, with only two of the five members being pushed through to the next round. The second group did a much better job of the harmonies and choreography, which seemed to have been a result of their parents’ guidance during rehearsals. Even Steven Tyler made the comment that “Freddie Mercury was smiling down on them from above.”

Tyler’s Freddie comment made for a convenient segue to the next scene . . . We Are the Champions starts up and the winning team is shown jumping for joy with their parents when they discovered all were going through to the next round. What’s the point of playing WATC if it’s not to rub salt in the wounds of the losing team, right?

So we were treated to three back-to-back Queen occurrences during this episode of Idol. Not bad for a North American audience but still far short of Queen’s involvement on Simon Cowell’s latest British talent show, The X Factor. Oh well, let’s see what the remaining season of AI brings.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Supersize them Fat Bottomed Gleeks

Media Moment: Glee and Super Size Me
Queen-related: Fat Bottomed Girls featured

Well, Ryan Murphy did it again. He drew upon the Queen catalogue to help the latest Glee storyline be put to song and dance. This time, he took the blossoming romance (or was it stalking?) between Puck and Lauren, a heavier-set character and set it to Fat Bottomed Girls (a song he used in his previous hit series, Nip/Tuck as well).

Not only was I impressed with how the males in the cast dealt with the heavily overdubbed chorus section of the song, but also the guitar-playing of Puck (is it really him?), and his playful skinny boy persona who is in lust with a “fat girl.” (There’s even a well-timed hand-clap by Lea Michele at the beginning of the song, which was a quick nod to the hand-clap in the original.)

Lauren’s response to Puck’s romantic overtures was that she appreciated the effort he was making in trying to woo her but she had never been so insulted at the same time. This was actually the first time I’d seen the song portrayed in a negative way rather than the tongue-in-cheek attitude that (I think) Brian had in mind when he wrote it.

Morgan Spurlock, on the other hand, intercut FBG into the opening credits of his award-winning documentary, Supersize Me. One part of me was excited to see Queen featured prominently in a controversial documentary, but now that I’ve seen it a few times the song’s inclusion in the film strikes me as being:
– Heavy-handed, like when we hear the lyrics “You’re gonna take me home tonight” being intercut with someone holding a McDonald’s carryout bag, and;
– Inaccurate in its emphasis on heavier women…especially when it’s a man (Spurlock) who becomes the hefty test subject by the end of the 30-day experiment.

Nonetheless, it keeps the Queen momentum going, I suppose.