The Agora

A rally of ideas.

Singers: Look Good, Sound Good?


By Keshav Raj

The (pop) music fans nowadays seems to have an increasing inclination towards idolizing singers based on their appearance rather than their singing ability. As objective as I try to be, I must regretfully point out the stark reality to many fans of Justin Bieber and Ke$ha and their ilk that their idols’ live singing is lacking; their techniques sometimes flawed. If one compares their live session with Jessie J’s, for example (I am neither Justin Bieber’s anti-fan nor Jessie J’s supporter), one must be very biased against Jessie J to praise the mewling of the others. Yet Jessie J’s number of Twitter followers is only one seventh of Justin Bieber’s. Though I agree that there are other factors contributing to this disparity- like the aid of the mass media and how Justin Bieber’s music is probably more appealing to the youth, who takes up a large part of the music lovers community- I still find it rather disturbing when I read reviews and comments about Justin Bieber’s ‘hotness’ written by his fans. Not that admiring others for their looks is wrong- as humans beings we are naturally attracted to beauty- but music lovers are now troubled by the fact that some budding ‘stars’ are given record deals for their ‘sell-ability’ instead of their ability to express music beautifully and creatively. What is to be the future of the music industry, then?

Pessimists sigh dejectedly when they watch reality shows like American Idol, where the judges’ excited exclamations like ‘You are star-material!’ and ‘You look like a star’ have become banality. Perhaps these pessimists will be less troubled now with the rise of new reality shows like The Voice, where contenders are given opportunities to reach the top, regardless of whether or not they have pretty hair or dashing smiles. Javier Colon (winner of Season 1 of The Voice) is adorable, but evidently no one is going to look at him and mistake him for Mr. World. Even before the initiation of The Voice, there have been singers whose looks are, to be quite truthful, not so appealing, yet they manage to captivate millions of music lovers with their voices alone. Susan Boyle (the First Runner-Up of Britain’s Got Talent), is a fine example of this point. Granted, Susan Boyle’s fan base is not as large as singers like Justin Bieber or Carly Jae Repsen. Even though Susan Boyle has been welcome by the majority of music lovers, her popularity (per capita) cannot rival that of other young and good-looking singers.

The fact that most of the famous (pop) singers seem to be endowed with the best complexions and the best physique only leads the pessimistic music lovers to a biased conclusion that looks play a significant, sometimes dominant role, in these singers’ fame and fortune. But is it true?

Whether appearance brings fame or fame generates the need to get into shape is a chicken-and-egg problem. One may say that it is quite unfair for us to condemn others’ fame partly because of their good looks and perceived lack of talent. After all, most, if not all, of the singers belong to the entertainment industry; they fulfil their role by entertaining the masses. Even if they have shortcomings in their singing abilities, they can still fulfil their role as entertainers if their fans love them. Admittedly, a hardcore music lover may view this as a skewed perspective; but it will be even more remiss of us to totally disregard the efforts good-looking singers put in to keep looking beautiful. Almost all singers are committed to a strict workout and diet regimen, to keep their voice from being weakened by their dance movements, as well as to keep fit during their tours. Prior to her world tour in 2011, singer Katy Perry embarked on such a rigorous workout routine that she once exclaimed, “I feel like I’m training for the Olympics!” Who is to say that such efforts originate from the singers’ vanity or their desire to please their fans?

Behind the façade of perfection that stars seem to exude in terms of looks, we should recognize that what has truly solidified their careers in music is more often than not their pure, raw talent to please the crowds with their performances.

Photo credits:

(Jessie J)-; (Justin Bieber)-; (Susan Boyle)-; (Katy Perry)-; (Carly Rae Jepsen)-; (Lana Del Rey)-; (Javier Colon)-


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This entry was posted on March 12, 2013 by in Culture, Music.
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