Autotuning & Lip-Syncing

Don't give me that I'm-too-cool-for-you look, Taylor. I wonder if you lip-synced up there on stage, and if so, not cool. (Photo from Billboard)
Don’t give me that I’m-too-cool-for-you look, Taylor. I wonder if you lip-synced up there on stage, and if so, not cool. (Photo from Billboard)

I have a bone to pick with Taylor Swift.

The megastar who captures millions in her young, beautiful, twentysomething, conquer-the-world grasp put on a great Detroit show last night. No joke. But I was disappointed to recognize that she might have been lip-syncing some of her songs and autotuning to boot.

I’ll be blunt: I paid $150 per ticket to take three children to see this superstar they love. We sat so far up in the uppermost level that I thought we might be literally the last people out of there at night’s end. That’s a nice chunk of change for nosebleed seats where even the giant TV screens were a squint to see.

The show was fantastic. She wears beautiful costumes that exhibit her flawless body, she dances, she sings, she’s dramatic, her makeup was perfect. She bops around a stage that lifts and swings and turns her around in impressive fashion.

In short, she gives good show.

Her background dancers also wore exquisite costumes and danced in sync, making for a true show – as if telling the stories behind her songs. (They all boil down to: love is hard, I got hurt, screw you for hurting me, I’ll come out on top, who needs guys anyway.)

The Taylor Swift 1989 concert took me back to my 1980s childhood, which I loved. A little weird, though, to graduate high school the same year that the megastar on stage was born.
The Taylor Swift 1989 concert took me back to my 1980s childhood, which I loved. A little weird, though, to graduate high school the same year that the megastar on stage was born.

She blabbed quite a lot about being born in 1989, which made me feel insanely old, since that’s the year I graduated from high school. However, since the theme of the concert was loving the ’80s, I did appreciate all the Gogo’s and Madonna she played beforehand.

It’s nice that she’s friends with Lena Dunham and Selena Gomez and kudos to Taylor for filming her besties and sharing their tidbits of advice on how important good friendships are on big screens while we waited for the show to start. All the many young girls among the 51,000-strong crowd were getting good messages.

So she’s using her power for good.

Yes, she’s a good songwriter, and yes she has a beautiful voice when you can actually hear it authentically in the moment. Yes, she can play several instruments, though I’m not certain she actually did last night; that might’ve been for show, too. Now, I’m wondering about the whole thing.

Little girls learn from big girls. What are they learning from Taylor Swift?
Little girls learn from big girls. What are they learning from Taylor Swift?

My daughter and I feel kind of betrayed. We could hear her recorded songs from home. We didn’t need to shlep out in torrential rain, pay 30 bucks to park, skip through cold puddles and wade through crowds to ascend to our very high seats, and pay $12 for cotton candy, just to see a tiny dot of the real celeb lip-sync her way through her work.

I don’t know for sure, but now I wonder. And it definitely took the show down a few notches for me.

In my profession – and in most professions – there is no equivalent to auto-tune and lip-sync. You have to actually do the work – or you lose the client.

I can’t fake my way through anything. I have to do my best work every single time. Otherwise, sooner or later I’d be found out. And it’s my reputation is on the line so why would I try to create an easy-way-out anyway?

Why doesn’t Ms. Swift see it the same way? She’s got a lot more on the line than I do.

Why is it acceptable behavior for superstars to find the shortcuts and cheap shots?

It’s in the line of activities like cheating in football games by deflating the pigskin or taking steroids to flub your way through a bike race. It’s just not OK. And when found out, careers are destroyed.

Sometimes.

Remember Milli Vanilli?

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