Perhaps the defining cultural peek from Sunday night's Billboard Music Awards was Selena Gomez's performance of her new single, "Come and Get It" (video below). The two words that came to mind as I watched were "sad" and "embarrassing." It was sad because it was formulaic, lacking any kind of creativity, and it was lip-synced. It was embarrassing for two reasons.
First, this twenty-year-old performed in front of a room full of musicians - many of whom have genuine talent - and she performed in front of a television audience. It was embarrassing for her. But it was also embarrassing at a much deeper level. If this is this all we're attracted to musically. . . and we settle for it. . . then we've been complicit with a music-industry driven more by marketing and consumer interest, than it is driven by talent, truthfulness, and hard work. As I thought about the difference between Selena's performance and what I saw from Heart the night before (along with the other Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame inductees), well. . . then shame on us. It was embarrassing because I realized not only how low we progressively set the bar, but the kind of message we're sending to our kids. "Come and Get It" is a seductive invitation. Sure, there have been seductive musical invitations for years. But if a grade could be put on how the seductive invitation is worded and delivered, we've even gotten worse at being seductive!