My 15-year old daughter is an aspiring singer, dancer, actor and all-around performer. Over the years, we’ve watched numerous seasons of American Idol. She was always mildly interested. When she was six she auditioned for America’s Got Talent and didn’t make it any further than the local audition, but had her 5-seconds of fame in the intro of the first show. She sporadically tuned into a few episodes over the year. Then came The Voice. I thought she’d love it, but instead explained she couldn’t listen to how “pitchy” many of them were. But a few weeks ago, something changed. Two words: Boy Band.
The power of mildly talented teen boys has proven to be the golden ticket. It’s reached obsession levels. She knows each boy’s first and last name, follows them on Instagram and other social media channels I probably don’t even know exist. She scours the internet and has learned volumes about these boys whose names were unknown just four weeks ago, and who wouldn’t have been recognized in a crowd from thousands of other teen boys.
Like a supportive parent, I’ve watched with her from the beginning. She continuously updates me on these boys, and when she posted a video of her singing a cover song on an Instagram fan page she created, she got two responses that sent her into a fan frenzy. Her favorite contestant, the “angelic” Brady responded with, “I love this.” Then contestant Cam chimed in, “Same.” Things just got very real!
As a parent watching Boy Band, my observations are very different than a teen girl. I find the show highly entertaining and ripe for comments and critiques. Most of the time I’m either cringing or laughing, mixed with a dose of internal cheering. I know this is life-changing stuff for many of these boys. But, we must talk about the song choices, dancing and attire.
Let’s start with the song choices and the keys they choose. I’m no singer. My truth is that I can’t carry a tune, nor find the right key. But, I live with a 15-year old who started singing shortly after she came out of the womb and started voice lessons at six. Over the years, I at least know when someone is on or off pitch, and whether they are singing in the right key, or not.
On Boy Band, they consistently have these boys singing girl songs. Not only have these boys probably never heard of Cindy Lauper, a few of them discolored True Colors because they couldn’t find the key. Frankly, they sounded like they were experiencing a bout of constipation right there on the stage. It was painful like constipation can be.
And please, they had them singing Adele’s, Rolling in the Deep. First, no one sings Adele, but Adele. And really, giving them one of her most iconic songs is just plain wrong. Ouch. Ouch. And more ouch. It was rolling in the deep, but not in a good way.
Again, what’s with the girl songs? Last week one group took on a song from Moana. Studly contestant Sergio sings, “I wish I could be the perfect daughter…” What? Sergio has a lovely, masculine voice and I’m just not envisioning him as a perfect daughter. Who is making these decisions?
Oh, and don’t get me started on one of the opening numbers where the teen boys sang Earned It from The Weekend. People, this is the 50 Shades of Grey theme song. Do I need to explain why it seems super inappropriate for a gaggle of teen boys to sing about a girl’s sexual performance while on network TV with a prime audience of teen girls?
Now, let’s talk dance moves. Not that I want to pick on any of the boys, but one, let’s call him Adam, is so stiff, it makes me compelled to volunteer to give him a few lessons. I have no experience, except living through my teens and 20s and spending way too much time club dancing. Even at my age, I could help him with his awkward hand movements that beg for those in charge to put a guitar back in his hand to thwart the awkwardness.
Here’s a thought. Give these boys boy songs they can sing. Not Bon Jovi’s, Livin’ on a Prayer. The costumes were cringe-worthy enough, but they butchered that song. It’s not meant for boy bands. Period.
Finally, I can’t round this out without talking about Emma Bunton. I’m concerned that not only are all the teenage girls, including my daughter, obsessed with Brady, but she is too. It’s uncomfortable how much she gushes over him. I worry the authorities may soon hear “Baby Spice” over the dispatch, connected to something about inappropriate contact.
Last week’s episode led to tears in my household. While I was also sad for the talented kid that went home, it wasn’t me who cried. Honestly, I laughed, in a loving way, at how passionate my daughter and her friends rally around each of these “unknown” boys.
My parent advice: Let these wanna-be stars since some songs in their range sung by males. After all, they are trying to form a boy band! Oh, and please steer away from dressing them in 80s costumes. For those of us who owned the 80s, it hurts our souls!