Three months in London and I have not been able to escape the madness that is X Factor.Â Saturday nights: the streets are empty, phones are going to voicemail and Twitter feeds are overflowing.Â Two days later, cats are having hour-long blow-for-blow debates about the outcome of the weekend’s show.Â I never gave Simon Cowell much thought in America, but around here, he holds weight… pounds, tons.
So… last weekend marked the finale of the show, featuring performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguliera, who in addition to performing duets with the finalists also did their own numbers promoting their latest projects.Â Personally I thought both performances were decent.Â Rihanna looked amazing… Christina looked… bigger, but she sang her ass off, which is why we love her.Â Nonetheless, both of them did their thing and bought out the typical sex appeal that most female artists do because.. well.. they’re female… and artists, right?Â Well apparently, for some, their performances were just too hot for the prime time, family X Factor.Â More than 1,000 viewers complained about the performances to officials at the Office of Communications (Ofcom), saying that it was just too saucy for their taste.Â Maybe I didn’t notice because to me they weren’t doing anything that we don’t see on MTV, YouTube, BET, **name that video channel..***.Â Have I just become immune to it, or is it what we’ve been taught to expect anyway from female artists?Â Can a woman be a successful artist without tapping into her sexuality or femininity in some way ?
Last Sunday, I participated in the 1st live Bloggers Delight recording at Rhum Jungle where a group of bloggers from around London discuss everything from social issues to current events.Â Since the event was the day after Ri Ri and XTina’s performances, of course this was the topic du jour.Â Eventually the discussion became one about female artists using sex to sell records—where we draw the line, and how some female artists use it well where others completely fail like Keri Hilson (poor girl).
From the beginning of time, female artists have exuded some level of sexuality– from Billie Holiday to En Vogue.Â Let’s face it, it sells records.Â But then there were always exceptions to the rule who shook it up and blurred the lines of what female artists were “supposed” to be.Â (Salute to Grace Jones, Annie Lennox, Ga-Ga and to an extent Janelle Monae.)Â But for the most part, they are the minorities.Â So, if you’re a new artist– attractive with a decent voice and no real fan base, unless you are extremely talented and you have some unique quality that will stand out, get ready to show a little skin, shake that bum, and flash that smile. Work it!
It’s interesting though.Â Where it works for Rihanna (who needs it) and Beyonce (who could be on an early Whitney Houston kick, but chooses the look of Apollonia 6 instead) it doesn’t work for the likes of Keri Hilson and Keily Williams, who both seemed to have lost their way somewhere along the line.
What do you think? Do you think XTina and Rihanna pushed the boundaries? I personally thought they looked great!
What role do you think sex ultimately plays in even our own acceptance of an artist–as women?
When Sexiness goes Wrong
From Cheetah Girls to…..
KIELY WILLIAMS – “Spectacular”