Friday, January 27, 2006

That's Entertainment?

The precinct feels the Foxx special, but Harry was all, "Whatever"

Jamie Foxx - "Love Changes" f/ Mary J. Blige (mp3)
(purchase Unpredictable here)

I should have gotten ginkgo for my money.

I managed to forget about Jamie Foxx' NBC TV special in less than 12 hours. You may have read about it already here and here. That said, I shouldn't have forgotten to write about it, especially when I watched it specifically to comment on it. Really, ginkgo.

Anyway, the special was pretty uninspiring. It was entertaining in a very predictable way with Foxx pulling out all the schticks -- the swagger, the emoting, the on-bent-knee pleading -- all of which he has done on every daytime tv/award's show already (ok, he didn't troll out the Ray call and response, though he did exhume Gravedigger -- oh no he di'nt!). However, with a little help from a peacock, the special took advantage of a baller's budget and also featured... dramatized reenactments of grandma anecdotes.

Quite frankly, having no paper is no excuse for poor presentation. And having tall stacks is an even worse excuse for piss-poor presentation. The show was that tacky, which was unfortunate considering all the potential (C'mon! Jamie making a baby? That was funny).

In seriousness, say what you will about the conspiracy theory, I was intrigued to see that the performers were, from what I could tell, all people of color (I saw you, Asian trumpeter! Duke Kamehameha looked Silver Age J-A -- and, yes, I am aware that the image is of a non-J-A person. If you didn't get the joke, look at the mullet and add what I like to call a "Kenji 'stache"). I say "intrigued" as opposed to "impressed" because the overwhelming sea of whiteness in the theatre more than made up for the lack of cream onstage. Also, seeing a stage full of performing minorities on television isn't that foreign. But on NBC? Not too shabby.

I suppose I wasn't too upset, because of the tone of a couple performances: "Love Changes" with Mary J. Blige and the closing acapella courtesy Angie Stone (hadn't heard from her in a minute; was beautiful to hear her again). By the books to an extent, even a little sloppy at times (esp. during the call and response section w/ Mary), but sincere efforts. On a related note, regarding the criticism of Foxx for 'acting' like an R&B singer, well, I should point out that performance and entertaining are arguably both forms of 'acting.' I am unsure what the difference between 'being' an R&B singer and 'acting' like an R&B singer is anyway. And if there is a distinction and it is such a crime, please explain that Idolatry show.

Anyway, as a nod to one of the evening's highlights, here's some Mary and Jamie and Baby. I'm not sure where this recording is from, but I am growing to appreciate live cuts more these days, b/c damn near all vocals in R&B, hip hop and pop get cleaned up and pitched up/down to hide mistakes. So, here's some of the 'realness.' Peep Mary's vamp towards the end of her convo w/ Foxx, it pretty much sums up how she burns. Just ragged and raw, it's that thug courvoisier, understandable smooth. And, most immportant, it's that love movement, ya dig? Apparently Babyface is somewhere back in the cut doing his thing, too, so what's to hate?


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