Way before American Idol there was Florence Foster Jenkins

This is why I don't like American Idol. A bunch of people gather, many with delusions of talent, only to be either laughed at or not completely set straight on their inability to sing (and no helpful information on what to do to get better either). To add insult to injury, most of the contestants who make it aren't that great either (case in point? My voice teacher's daughter, who now has a record deal was turned away because she was "too good"). They just happen to have "star appeal" which either means they look like models, or they are members of the Hideous Cult of Oversouling. Every once in a while there is one who has true talent, but mostly it is just a swirl of egos and too many notes per word that get them through the experience - all steered by the not-so-knowledgeable judges. But I'll set my ax grinding aside to get to what I really came to say. Those poor souls with delusions of grand talent and fame have nothing on Florence Foster Jenkins, the grand mam of self-deception.

Florence Foster Jenkins was a very wealthy American with dreams of being a great soprano. Unfortunately, she had absolutely NO talent or natural ability; no concept of pitch, rhythm or any kind of musicality that makes a good musician. Fortunately for her, she had no idea she was bad and she had a lot of money. She performed, she recorded, she even rented out Carnegie Hall. She became famous not for her talent but for her lack there of. So what those poor schlubs on American Idol have in a small way, Jenkins had by the truck load: misguided self confidence. Have a listen to chubby, creaky, off-key songbird in her version of the famous "Queen of the Night Aria":

Just so you don't have that sound in your head for the rest of the day, here is what it's really supposed to sound like:

As fun as all of this is, I still maintain (and the same goes for the terrible contestants of American Idol) someone really should have stopped her.


Emilia said…
Florence always amazes me... :)
Jessica Clark said…
Amy, that made me laugh really hard. My husband, too. Thanks for sharing poor, deluded Florence with us. Oh, and I love that her rendition came from her self-titled recording "The Glory of the Human Voice."

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