Home > Music, TV > Things I don’t understand about teen pop idols

Things I don’t understand about teen pop idols

This morning, I was able to catch last night’s SNL on the DVR. Host was Tina Fey with musical guest Justin Bieber. Besides a stellar effort by Fey in all phases of the performance – another dead-on Sarah Palin impression and a very memorable brownie commercial – this show was notable for all the Justin Bieber-ness that it put forth. Seriously, a kid hasn’t gotten this much SNL airtime since a pre-druggie Drew Barrymore hosted in the 80s.

In the interest of full disclosure, my son, 8, is a huge fan of Mr. Bieber. He likes that one song of his, and that other one. And then there’s that third one. I should probably add more detail here, but frankly, I can’t.

I, on the other hand, am not a big fan. I think it’s because I’m more than 12 and not a girl. To me, Bieber sounds a lot like a less-talented Taylor Hanson. And trust me, that’s not a compliment.

But, when forced to endure music and/or videos by these tween-focused marketing machines, I find myself picking out other things to focus on. The primary one, “What’s the deal with the back-up musicians?” with the follow-up “How can they act like they’re backing up Lenny Kravitz when they’re being fronted by a pre-teen?”

Case in point… a couple of years ago, we were watching Disney Channel when they showed part of a Hannah Montana concert. Was I focused on Billy Ray Cyrus’ progeny? Legally and ethically, that’s a big no. What I did focus on was her band, particularly her black female drummer who was rockin’ the f*** out to whatever song Hannah was warbling.

There’s so much about this scene that doesn’t compute. How did this drummer end up backing Hannah Montana? More importantly, once you get the gig, how do you get yourself in the state of euphoria playing a song that you probably find reprehensible? I mean, one day you’re a studio musician scraping by, and the next you’re on tour with a teen idol, living the good life. But, really… isn’t your soul just crying out in confusion?

[Sidenote: If you’re a black female drummer, how did you not hit the big time on your own? Name another black female drummer. I’ll wait.  Can’t, can you?]

Back to Justin Bieber. Last night on SNL, not only did Bieber have a band-full of seemingly happy adults backing him, it looked like a whiter Earth, Wind and Fire concert. For the pop delights that Bieber throws down, here’s what he needed to pull it off:

  • Four back-up vocalists. FOUR!
  • Four dancers. OK, he’s not Usher, but I guess that’s allowable.
  • Two guitarists.  Really?  Rhythm and lead guitar for “Baby, Baby, Baby?”
  • A drummer.  Because the drum machine wasn’t enough.
  • A DJ, a keyboardist and some other guy in the corner.  Really, it was like some of Diddy’s entourage just needed a temp job.

I should have more of a point, but I don’t.  And I just realized that I’m missing HBO’s The Pacific.  Should be a good episode tonight.  I’m pretty sure Justin Bieber isn’t involved.

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Categories: Music, TV
  1. Haydee
    April 15, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Bella is a huge fan too…there’s that one song about love, and another one about a girl, and so on and so forth…however, I’ve often wondered the same thing about the very talented musicians that comprise their bands.. I guess its the deal they made for their soul…

  2. Carmen
    April 15, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Was Sheila E a black drummer? Or just Hispanic? Either way, she beat the hell out of them drums…

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