Posted by: ritagone | February 15, 2012

Adele and Nicki

Adele: 6.

Nicki Menaj: 0.

At the Grammy Awards a few nights ago, that was the final score for Grammy Award wins for those two artists, and boy, was I for one hilariously glad!  Why?  Because it said to me that plain old talent can still win out and beat a gaudy, crappy, blasphemous show and “artist” (and yes, I use the term lightly) which displayed minimal talent.  (My theory is that the louder and gaudier the show and the more it pushes the envelope of good taste, oftentimes it is masking a lack of talent by the performer who is hiding behind the fireworks and all the hooplah.)

I love Adele’s voice and I love her music, as do, obviously, countless millions around the world.  Many were worried when she needed surgery on a polyp on her vocal chord, and I’m sure the doctors who restored that wonderful voice are heaving sighs of relief that whatever they did medically worked.

Because her voice and her talent seem to be back with a vengeance.

And in the light of Whitney Houston’s death a few days before the Grammys, one hopes that Ms. Adkins will be able to keep focused, stay strong, and not be distracted by all that celebrity and fame can do to lure someone away.

Now already I can see the hands and arms waving in disagreement: don’t many solid and talented performers put on magnificent shows with lots of razzle and dazzle?  Yes, they do.  I guess.  They’re not my cup of tea, to be honest with you.  I’ve been to Vegas and seen the “O” shows, which are spectacular, but they’re not showcasing individual talents.  I’ve also – through the years – been to concerts highlighting the best of the world’s musicians: Billy Joel, Elton John, and many others.  Give me a piano and a snare drum, a saxophone and a focus spotlight and a soft microphone and I’m happy with the likes of a singer who can entertain you just by standing there and…well, I don’t know…singing.  Crooning, they used to call it back “in the day” when Sinatra did it.  I don’t recall Ole’ Blue Eyes needing to grab his crotch and strut around the stage with dozens of dancers and music blaring while trapdoors enveloped him at the finale.

So that’s one of my points today: there is a cultural (and perhaps age) difference in what many of us perceive of as talent and how that talent gets displayed for all to see.

And then, the second point I want to make is this: the culture has changed so much that the audience can’t sit still anymore and just listen.  We’re so antsy that we need the psychedelic stimulation of lights and crowds on stage, with the music blaring, louder and louder.  Lots of “stuff” happening, plenty to look at, hear, because that’s our world now.

And the third point follows hard on the heels of the first two:  like a drug addict who needs more and more of a hit to be satisfied (so I’m told), we now need something raunchy, something blasphemous, a little (or a lot) macabre, so bizarre that we know everyone will be talking and tweeting and a-buzz about it before the night (or the minute) is over.

Viewed this way, I suppose I feel sorry for the Nicki Menaj’s of the entertainment world.  How can they keep us entertained, after all?  Rather than worrying about their voices or their talent, surely they must be waking up in cold sweats concerned that the next over-the-top gruesome or sybaritic display just won’t be holding our attention, that we’ll be moving on to the next crass performer who can slash and trash better.

While Adele, calm and reassured that her voice has been restored and that her songs have been treasured and well loved, sits at the piano with her colleagues and writes another one and another one and another from the heart.  And then records them and sends them out to us for our listening pleasure.

So I’m praying for Adele, whom I don’t know at all except for the little tidbits she shares with everyone via song and verbal statement.  I’m praying that she will not fall victim to drugs and alcohol.  A simple prayer.  May those who surround her – and I’m sure there are many, both good and bad —  protect her and watch over her.  May there be someone who reaches into her life who can talk to her about Jesus Christ.  I don’t know how that might happen, but wouldn’t it be lovely?

And I’m also praying for Nicki Menaj, whose name I have loved for several years, since I first heard it.  Say it out loud several times; it has a beautiful sound to it.  Nicki Menaj.  Nicki Menaj.  The funny thing is that I didn’t know what she looked like until someone pointed out to me that she was one of the singers on stage with Madonna half-time at the recent Super Bowl game. I’m praying for her too, because there seems to be something so lost and desperate about her and her stage presentation at the Grammys that I hope good hands and hearts can reach out to her and pull her back from whatever abyss she might be heading toward.

So my fourth and last point is this: when someone breaks your heart or even when someone angers or disappoints you – a celebrity or a performer you are watching – pray for them.

So my two “people” for right now are Adele and Nicki Menaj.

Who are yours?


  1. Didn’t see Niki but saw and was blown away by Adele. Thanks for articulating what my gut was feeling. I had a friend at the New York Hilton that wouldn’t go to any movie that took out a full page ad promoting the release. His thinking was the larger the ad the worse the movie…Inverse relationships apply across the music industry as well.

  2. Thank you Rita…your words alway hit a spot in my heart that needs a jolt. I added a few more to my prayer list after reading this post.

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