First the Inaugural Ball, then every Grammys for the last few years, and now she’s all over the Oscars … AGAIN: the ubiquitous Beyonce.
And while I enjoy the occasional Beyonce jam, I’m going to be honest, if this had been any other singer giving this lackluster of a performance at the effing Oscars it would have been devastating, but it was Beyonce, so she could just skate by on the ordinary.
I normally don’t watch the Oscars, but I had it on in the background while I worked on a screenplay and looked up when I noticed host Hugh Jackman start doing a musical number. I like musicals, so I stopped what I was doing to watch, but when Beyonce appeared I realized that I will never be able to get away from this woman. Will it NEVER END? You’d think folks were suffering for talent or something, but there are other women who can dance and sing who aren’t Beyonce who probably would have done a better job.
One: She can’t really dance. She’s good with regimented, terse movements (a la Janet Jackson), but has no natural flow or body lift that an actual dancer would possess. Her feet are always heavy. Her moves always look regimented and stiff. She’s good at wilding out, but musical numbers rarely involve flailing around and tossing ye olde lacefront for good measure. Compared to Hugh and all the actual dancers on that stage she was really out of her element.
Two: Um … no.
They could have at least put her in some Ginger Rogers-esque ball gown, not something Catherine Zeta Jones left crumpled up in a corner after “Chicago” wrapped several years ago. She’s a beautiful, curvy woman, but that outfit made her look enormous next to all the other tinier, more athletic dancers. No one wants to look enormous. Not even the pretty ones. Especially when Bey is not actually fat. She just has thick legs. A ball gown really would have helped and she would have matched Hugh’s top hat and tails, Fred Astaire homage. But she was going for something tough, sexy and Fosse when she is neither tough or “Fosse.” It was a massive fail for me. That whole outfit.
Three: Baz Lurhman, I really expected better from the guy who gave me Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom. That was the most bizarrely edited and thrown together musical number ever, which didn’t help Beyonce out at all. Did you want her to look like a slow moving marsupial on purpose?
And let’s be honest, Bey has no history with musical theater other than she had a wooden, dull part in “Dreamgirls.” And I can name, off the top of my head, at least ten actresses/singers, white and black, who probably could have soft-shoed their way through that to match Jackman’s verve.
1. Vanessa Williams (obvious choice)
2. Catherine Zeta Jones (even more obvious choice)
3. Anika Noni Rose
4. Sharon Leal
5. Mya (The child trained with Savion Glover)
6. Jasmine Guy (I know she’s not really famous anymore, but she did restart her career on the stage, in “Chicago” of all things and has a very “Fosse-esque” style)
7. Anne Hathaway (even though she popped up in the opening segment she has a nice “Julie Andrews” thing going on)
8. Christina Aguliera (if they could have gotten her to dial it back five or ten notches)
9. Bernadette Peters
10. Vanessa Hudgens (Hell, she went through the histrionics/gymnastics that was “High School Musical” one, two and three)
11. Heather Headley (She was “Aida!”)
Even Rosario Dawson, who can barely sing would have been better. But Beyonce is the “It” everything of the moment. So rather than watching someone who’s actually been in a theater musical on stage, or seeing someone who is a more natural dancer go through the motions, I got Beyonce. And I’m sick of Beyonce. It’s like showing up at a restaurant and always getting steak. Yeah, steak is nice. But maybe I wanted the Chilean bass this week. Or the Mahi Mahi. Or some damn chicken. Or a bacon cheeseburger.
I can’t live on a diet of Bey alone!
I know that Beyonce wants to take advantage of every little opportunity that comes her way and she did star in “Cadalliac Records” (a sort of musical) this year, but so did Sharon Leal (the lesser celebrated “Soul Men”) and why NOT Sharon Leal? Doesn’t she suffer enough having to pretend to be attracted to Taye Diggs on “Private Practice?”
All I’m saying is … give another sister a chance. Any sister. I’m not picky. Keke Palmer (even though she’s like 12 or something). The OTHER former members of Destiny’s Child. Any of them. Janet Jackson. It doesn’t even have to be a black woman either. Drag Nicole Kidman’s non-singing ass back up there. She bombed in “Australia” too. Just someone who can actually pull off a musical. When Hugh announced “The Musical Is Back!” at the end I thought, “and that production just murdered it! Bring back Debbie Allen and the Oscar dancers!” If that were my only experience with Hollywood musicals I would hate musicals and I have HATED Beyonce in musicals since “Carmen: A Hip Hopera.”
It should have been you, Lauryn Hill! It should have been you!