Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Goths with talent

On America's Got Talent, a young man named Andrew de Leon, clad in white Manson-esque contacts and heavy black make-up, received a standing ovation for his operatic performance. You can check out a video of Andrew's performance here.

But did you know that musician and performance artist Soriah, whose collaborations with Ashkelon Sain of Trance To The Sun have proved a big hit in the dark alternative scene, has also appeared on the show?

Soriah's vocal style - namely Tuvan Throat Singing - and stage costume were not precisely a big hit with the mainstream audience and judges (although I was interested to learn that when not performing, Soriah works as a taxi driver). I found a video - voila:

Just as a frame of reference, here's a Soriah & Ashkelon Sain music video.

Goths generally haven't fared particularly well on such 'talent' shows, with the possible exception of Adam Lambert, who came runner-up in the eighth season of American Idol but has since launched a successful career. Adam's music style is not Goth (or even particularly dark) but his penchant for black make-up and nail varnish has won him the label on more than one occasion and he does boast a small fanbase within the Goth scene, including Gothic Charm School's Jillian Venters.

Many such shows are the brainchildren of the UK's Mr Nasty, Simon Cowell, who apparently is not the biggest fan of the Goth aesthetic, telling a sixteen-year-old American Idol contestant, Allison Iraheta, that she 'looked like something out of the Addams Family'. And a ubiquitous 'Halloween' remark, of course. :-/

Dan Sperry, a Goth magician and performer who has previously been featured in Gothic Beauty Magazine, made it to the semi-finals of America's Got Talent. And freaked out the judges.

On the UK's X Factor, a woman named Jade Richards was allegedly told by show officials that her look - black clothing and multiple tattoos - was too dark and she would need to have a 'major makeover' to win the show.
UK tabloids  jumped all over this, and I can really only quote, "Friends of Jade claimed that she proved unpopular with her mentor [Kelly Rowland] and judging assistant Jennifer Hudson because she is a witch. Her love of The Occult has been well-documented over the past few weeks, with Jade apparently telling friends: 'I’m so goth I f**k bats. I want to win X Factor and do it for the goths.' But now it seems that her satanist background has cost her a place in the series' live shows, after Kelly was allegedly unhappy with Jade's 'goth' style and her claim to be a witch. A friend told the Daily Star: 'She’s tried really hard to tone down her image. Jade knows Kelly doesn’t understand her passion for Satanism and considers her a bit of a freak.'"

Jade had been a favourite to win the show and is reportedly returning in the next series.

Falling foul of the judges at her very first X Factor audition was holistic vocal coach Ariel Burdett, touted on YouTube as the 'worst audition ever'. Personally, I feel that Ariel's biggest mistake was to try to show off too many vocal styles in a single verse... if she had chosen a single style and showcased it she might have gone further? I'm no expert, though.

Oh, and.... this.


AsylumAlice said...

I literally started crying watching Jade's video. And I never cry at ANYTHING!

Skarlett said...

Thank you for sharing Andrew's story. I don't watch America's Got Talent, but I did watch the clip you linked to, and wanted to see more. I then did a search to watch what the judges said, and it just made me want to cry! Happy tears! What an adorable guy, what an amazing voice!

Nightwind said...

I enjoyed Ariel most of all. Although I actually appreciated her defiant attitude, I can understand why the panel was put off by it. If she were serious about getting noticed and advancing her goals, she should have left it at the door.

As for her singing ability, I think she has an incredible range of styles, but she should have stuck with one and done a full song with instrumentation. Then, she'd have likely blown their socks off, hair or not.

Fr3ddy said...

I was surprised with the performance Andrew De Leon did on Americas Got Talent. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him, and it certainly wasn’t some opera. I think he could be the new Susan Boyle with a voice like that and I hope he does great in Vegas. I always hate when my show feels like it goes to commercials ever few minutes. Now that I have the Auto Hop feature I can choose to skip commercials or watch them. The Hopper’s Auto Hop feature still lets you watch commercials. Dish's just making the hassle of manually fast forwarding commercials easier, which's what most of us already do. I know when my coworker at Dish showed me this feature I was excited to try it. It’s been wonderful not having to worry about skipping the commercials and it gives my remote a break.

Anonymous said...

Jade & Andrew are both two incredible talents;both of their voices gave me a case of the "tingles".

As for Simon Cowell, I don't think he has a bias against anyone with an "altermative" look. He just knows how the mainstream will perceive them, and if they want to win a competiton that relies on the mainstream voting public, perhaps they should tone their appearance. After all, look who won that season of Amerrican Idol that gave us both Adam *and* Allison (does anyone even remember his name, LOL?).

I don't know anything about Kelly Rowland, or what her opinions may be, but perhaps Jade *should* have kept a few things to herself until *after* she had solid footing in the competition.

Unfortunately, for the mainstream masses, image & appearance are just as important (if not *more*) than actual talent. In the 80s, we had Teena Marie, a white R&B singer who the record companies kept "hidden" until her *after* her debut album was a hit. In the 90s we had Milli Vanilli, who were two attractive models lip-synching to the vocals of some overweight, middle-aged singers who the execs figured couldn't sell albums. Of course, when this was exposed, there was a class-action suit where everyone could get refunds on the albums due to fraud. The last time I checked, you can't see the vocalist while listening to a CD, but the public was outraged. Now, we have Justin Beiber... The point is, we can't really blame the judges for asking talented people to tone it down until success has come. Personally, I think alt types can actually take two giant steps forward by taking a small step back; allow the mainstream to accept you, see how "normal" you are, and then surprise them.

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kakuidori said...

thank you for sharing :-D didnt know any of these!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Amy, my name is Alice. I'm wondering if you could write a post for over-weight goths. I know that this doesn't have anything to do with this artical, but some of my darker friends and I want to find a way to "hid our bluge."

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to add that after seeing Ariel's audition, I was absolutely digusted. For one, she's mediocre (at best!), and her lack of talent did not merit that attitude. Second, although I don't know if she claims to be part of any alt subculture, but many in the mainstream will perceive her as such, and think all of us have such an obnoxious lack of respect. At least Jade & Andrew seem to have genuine personalities, and they are are both quite a bit younger than Ariel (honestly, at 26 one should have the good sense to behave as an adult).

Morcega said...

Hello Amy =) here you have another ones that might interest you:

Roach said...

I never watch any "talent shows", and now I'm glad I don't. I'm interested in throat singing myself and this ignorant and xenophobic reaction to Soriah was simply disgusting for me. He didn't do particularly well but the judges and public were simply rude. Even the editor was.

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