Opinion: The no-talent epidemic

Illustration Illustration

Illustration Illustration

By Cassie Cleary

Thinking back, Britney Spears’ breakthrough as a pop-music princess, despite her lack of vocal ability, probably started the disease that now has reached epidemic proportions among our nation’s rich and famous. I like to call this the no-talent disease. This epidemic is very easy to catch. A good half of Hollywood’s up-and-coming new stars are undeniably showing the telltale symptom of absolutely having no good reason for being famous.

Paris Hilton is a textbook example of the no-talent disease. Her only claim to fame is she’s heiress to the Hilton Hotel empire. Oh, and she also loves to party. She’s really good at getting drunk and making out with whatever famous male non-talent is around. This, if nothing else, deserves a spot on the red carpet and a pass to every celebrity awards show.

Even those who have talent and already are famous are not immune to the no-talent disease. Talented actors and actresses seem to think their acting skills will successfully carry over to the music industry. Actresses such as J. Lo, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Lindsay Lohan strive to become hyphenated singer-actresses. Some, like Tyra Banks, aim at multi-hyphenated status as model-singer-actresses. Likewise, singers and musicians believe they have what it takes to become actors. Rappers are big on this – Ice Cube, DMX and Ja Rule, to name a few. I could include Snoop Dogg in this list of rapper-actors … but I consider his convincing portrayal of Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch as anything but talentless.

An area that especially has been hit hard with the epidemic is pop music. But, then again, that is to be expected. The definition of pop singers basically is people who can lip-sync and follow synchronized dance moves. In the Britney tradition, Hilary Duff’s first album (beautifully and metaphorically titled Metamorphosis) is all about her evolving into a more mature, grown-up artist. She isn’t Lizzie McGuire anymore, people. She’s evolving into something better. She’s metamorphosizing from a girl who got famous for starring in a Disney Channel show to a girl who is famous for singing really terrible songs really terribly.

Unfortunately, it seems the disease is highly contagious. Hilary Duff has spread it to her older sister, the equally musically talentless Haylie Duff. They now have a music video together titled, “Our Lips Are Sealed.” What a happy world we would live in if only their lips really were sealed.

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Jessica Simpson, on the other hand, is a talented vocalist. However, this doesn’t mean her younger sister, Ashlee, is (although I grant Ashlee does write her own music), and it doesn’t mean Ashlee’s now ex-boyfriend, Ryan Cabrera, is, either.

There’s a reason I’m not famous. It’s the same reason lots of celebrities shouldn’t be. I basically have zero talent. I can’t play any sports or musical instruments, I can’t act, I have no rhythm and I’m quite possibly tone-deaf. But if I was one of the remaining Hollywood actors and musicians with true talent, I would feel insulted. Paris Hilton hasn’t earned the right to sit next to the likes of Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys at the MTV Video Music Awards. Maybe I’m just bitter. Maybe when I’m walking through the mall and I hear “Our Lips Are Sealed,” I don’t cringe because of the obviously crappy lyrics, but because I’m bitter that I have just as little talent and am not getting paid for it. Please, someone, give me the disease.

But after deep contemplation, I have decided there only is one famous and talentless person deserving of my time. One person who embraces his lack of talent and runs with it. One person who has inspired a generation with his beautiful music and has become the idol of my own heart. That person, my friends, is the amazing William Hung.

Cassie Cleary is a sophomore in LAS. Her column runs Wednesdays. She can be reached at [email protected].