Have you ever heard music on the radio and wondered what the heck was that? Well that is a clear-cut case of When Good Things Happen To Bad Singers (WGTHTBS). It seems that they are coming out of the music industry wood work these days. It is an epidemic that is becoming worse than the recent strain of the Bird Flu. At least with the Bird Flu you could get a shot in your butt and become immune, but with WGTHTBS- not so much.
Hey, as a Blonde Greek girl who loves sneaker shopping 24/7 I don’t begrudge these people because it is all about the Benjamins! And if you can get someone to pay you a lot of money for not being good at something, and you’re not in politics, then more power to you! Art is art, right?
The first case of WGTHTBS that ever entered my Greek noggin was when I heard the Ricky Martin cover song She Bang by William Hung from American Idol in 2004. Although William Hung had no formal training and lacked talent, but because of his American Idol exposure he was offered a $25,000 advance on a record deal from Koch Entertainment in 2004, and eventually released three albums on that label in 2004 and 2005. The albums mainly consisted of covers of pop and rock songs, including “She Bangs.” <Insert sarcasm here> You mean they were all cover songs and there were no original songs, I am shocked!! <end sarcasm>
That’s not all folks, there is a whole bunch of other really great things that have happened to this bad singer. Here is a list of them from my pals at wikipedia Hung has appeared in commercials for the search engine Ask.com, the Game Show Network (spoofing Freddy Mercury and singing an off-key “We Are the Champions”), as well as the mobile phone service provider Cingular Wireless. He also appeared to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in May 2004 at the Rogers Centre for the Toronto Blue Jays.
His first movie, a low-budget Hong Kong period comedy called Where is Mama’s Boy (2004), was released in January 2005. Hung played a good-natured village kid who sells Chinese pancakes to pay his mother’s medical bills. His character gets discovered as a singer, and helps a woman protect her business from her jealous, conniving elder sister. In the film, Hung played opposite veteran Hong Kong actress Nancy Sit and parodied his own American Idol performance with the song “Siu Beng” (Cantonese) (“Chinese Pancake”), an allusion to his American Idol audition song, “She Bangs.” Despite solid financial backing and the involvement of Nancy Sit, the film was a box office flop.
Hung was the subject of a documentary called William Hung: Hangin’ with Hung, a ninety minute film recounting his sudden rise to fame. Hung appeared as himself in a February 2006 episode of the television series Arrested Development titled “Fakin’ It”, acting as the front-man of a band, “William Hung and his Hung Jury“, the house band for a fictional courtroom-themed show Mock Trial with J. Reinhold. Hung has appeared in an episode of the MTV Show, Celebrity Deathmatch, where he battles Ricky Martin (who performed the original “She Bangs”.) He has also appeared in Airline in which he missed his flight, then sang his infamous song once again for the cameras.
Hung has also been portrayed as a Chinese fairy in the Fairly OddParents movie, Fairy Idol. The fairy also sang horribly, but sang the Fairly OddParents theme song instead. Hung also made a cameo appearance on an episode of George Lopez, auditioning as a wedding singer.”
Then there is the more recent WGTHTBS case study of Rebecca Black’s Friday. With my Greek eyes I instantly saw a WGTHTBS in the making, I just had no idea how far she would go. As of May 23, 2011 Rebecca Black has received more than 147 million views of Friday on YouTube. That’s impressive even for a WGTHTBS.
However the concept of WGTHTBS cashing in and making huge profits is nothing new. Have you ever heard of an opera singer named Florence Foster Jenkins? Me neither, that’s my point! This is a name that came from my manager Mr. Bricks’ noggin during one of my Skype calls to him asking what’s up with all of the WGTHTBS cropping up? That’s when Mr. Bricks told me the story about Florence Foster Jenkins who became extremely famous because how bad she was and how oblivious she was to that fact. From any of her records it is apparent that Jenkins was, “a little pitchy Dawg”, had no sense of rhythm and was barely capable of sustaining a note. Her accompanist can be heard on her records making adjustments to compensate for her tempo variations and rhythmic mistakes. Her dubious diction, especially in foreign language songs, was also noteworthy. Nonetheless, she became tremendously popular in her unconventional way. Her audiences apparently loved her for the amusement she provided rather than her musical ability. Critics often described her work in a backhanded way that may have served to pique public curiosity.
Despite her patent lack of ability, Jenkins was firmly convinced of her greatness, but then again aren’t all WGTHTBS? She compared herself favorably to other renowned sopranos, and dismissed the laughter which often came from the audience during her performances as coming from her rivals consumed by “professional jealousy.” She was aware of her critics, however, saying “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” Jenkins died in 1944.
Let me reiterate that the success that any WGTHTBS has or gets I am very happy for them. As much of a struggle as it has been for me as a singer maybe there is a new category called When Bad Things Happen to Good Singers. I personally would much rather be in the company of WBTHTGS than in the company of WGTHTBS – just sayin’
NOTE: This is humor. No bad singers were harmed during the writing of this blog.