Dick Clark‘s kinda sad Rockin’ New Years Eve with Ryan Seacrest was an Interscope special on Saturday night. From Times Square: Lady Gaga was interviewed by Seacrest while wearing some kind of silky white Versace gown and a Ping Pong paddle mask. When she returned to sing her medley, she was in a whole different get up: all black with a hood and black party mask. The hood lifted up. It looked like Gaga, who can sing, actually sang, since she did not do much dancing. (It’s nearly impossible to sing and simultaneously perform the calisthenics known as dancing these days.) Good for her.
Justin Bieber was not so lucky. His rendition of “Let it Be” certainly seemed performed to a track, even though there was a band on stage. IParticularly unconvincing was Bieber supposedly playing a piano while he warbled. The cameras made sure not to show much of his fingers on the keys, and when they did, he was barely touching them. He also slouches at the piano in a way that would make pounding out that song very hard. Ask Paul McCartney, who wrote it, and leans in, spine straight, as he guides the other musicians.
If you notice from the video (see video player) there’s an actual keyboard player doing the real work in the upper left hand corner at 3:54. He’s in silhouette, wearing a hat and glasses. The man is really moving in time to the music as he plays “Let it Be.” Bieber is inert. The pop stars who do play piano in their live shows (Billy Joel, Elton John, Carole King, Alicia Keys, McCartney, even Jamie Foxx) are a little more emphatic about not just playing occasional chords.
I do not get the Bieber attraction. His voice is average, if not actually whiny. He does nothing original. He seems to be getting smaller. And he is clearly not a musician. Most of Bieber’s YouTube videos show him playing the same little instrumental ditty over and over–dedicated to his Grandma.
The saving grace was a surprise cameo by Carlos Santana, actually playing live guitar for all of one minute. I hope he was paid a lot of money for that.