Pet Please #135: Backup Dancers and Singers

justin_timberlake_is_beyonces_backup_dancerA few days ago I watched an interview on Jimmy Fallon with Mandy Moore. Moore was talking about her singing career and how she wasn’t a very good dancer, so her producers hired a bunch of backup dancers to dance for her.

Quick aside: It seems odd to me that professional singers are also required to dance. Sure, the two often go hand in hand, but they’re also two very different skill sets. I’m glad I’m not expected to make board games and dance.

I’m fascinated by the concept of backup dancers and singers. Let’s start with backup dancers. They’re really good at dancing–I don’t know if there’s any lead artist who is as good as their backup dancers.

Logically, having a singer not dancing all that well while surrounded by awesome dancers should make the the singer look really bad. It’s like if I wore my best suit and stood next Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake. I would look exceedingly average (justifiably so).

But that’s not what happens with backup dancers! They actually make the lead singer look better. Perhaps we’re distracted? I don’t know how this works. But I appreciate backup dancers for creating such an entertaining optical illusion.

Then there’s backup singers. They sing on even when the lead singer decides to dance instead of sing for a while (see: Beyonce). And they make anyone’s voice sound good. I’m a terrible singer–so bad that Biddy gets visibly upset when I sing–yet I bet backup singers would make me sound good.

So I just wanted to express my appreciation for the backup singers and dancers of the world. Thank you for making the celebrities of the world look and sound as good as we want them to be.


2 Responses to “Pet Please #135: Backup Dancers and Singers”

  1. Katie James says:

    You should watch the documentary “20 Feet from Stardom” if you ever want to know more about the world of backup singers. It’s a really interesting look at the lives of these women who were backup singers for decades, but couldn’t manage to break out into successful solo careers of their own for various reasons (didn’t have the right “look”, couldn’t get the right opportunities to come their way, not marketed strongly enough to sell their albums, or had their work pretty much stolen from them in one circumstance). It’s a really interesting behind-the-scenes look at the music industry and shows how even the most talented individuals still can’t make it into the spotlight sometimes.

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