Laura Fontana is an eight-year-old from Brazil who loves to dance around to the music of Lady GaGa, at least judging by the video clip of her performing “Bad Romance” and “Paparazzi” on the Brazilian talent show Qual é o Seu Talento?. The outrage over her performance has already come from the usual quarters, and truth be told, the whole tableau definitely has its creepy aspects, from her mom’s cheerfully singing along with the slightly menacing lyrics of “Bad Romance” to the half-hearted gyrations she’s engaging in for the benefit of the Bruce Vilanch/Santa hybrid who I guess is the “Simon” of this show’s judging panel. But is it really anything new?
As a recovering eight-year-old girl (those wounds run deep), what I’m seeing here is pretty much Madonna Wannabes Version 3.0*, complete with the “sexy” dancing and the not-even-coherent-enough-to-be-vague understanding of what the lyrics being warbled might actually mean. (As for the outfit-related outrage, were none of the people currently getting all het up about Laura honoring GaGa’s “no pants” edict not in dancing school at that age? Leotards and tights were the norm for performing!) She’s a young girl emulating a pop star, which, hello, is something that many girls do at that age. If you’re going to get upset over an example of that, you may want to set your sights for despairing about society a wee bit higher.
If anything, I’m more dismayed by the judges’ coddling of her performance than anything — according to a Gawker commenter who’s fluent in Portugese, one of the judges told her that she could be recording an album right now, which, c’mon, is so not true. (The word “pitchy” comes to mind, although this could perhaps be in part because I spent four hours thinking about American Idol last night.) I don’t know what this irritation says about my priorities — maybe that I’m tired of grade inflation, particularly grade inflation that’s designed in large part to make a YouTube clip go viral outside of the Portugese-speaking world?
* Version 2.0 arrived on the scene around the time that “Wannabe” was released.