When was the last time we had a good charity single? I would say it was in 2008 when LA Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds brought together some of the most prominent female singers of the time to sing on a record called ‘Just Stand Up’. The song is just what you might expect from a charity single – uplifting, positive and full of motivational lyrics such as “don’t you know you can go be your own miracle”. Also, with a list of singers including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Rihanna, it’s quite the star-studded affair. I think what works so well about this song is that we have a real mix of vocalists from pop to R&B to country, yet somehow no artist ever sounds out of place.
The Gods also blessed us with a live performance of the song and it’s this that I want to look at today: the good, the bad and the shady. Here are a few of my observations…
First off: Beyoncé looks so chilled here. She sings her first few lines then pretty much sits back and lets the other girls do the work. I can’t imagine the Beyoncé of 2019 would participate in something like this were it to happen now, simply because her status within the industry has changed so much. There’s a certain untouchability that Beyoncé exudes nowadays so I just couldn’t see her on stage hugging up to an artist like Miley Cyrus, even if it was for charity.
Let’s go to one of the other divas in the above picture: Mariah Carey. Mariah kills me during this performance because in true MC fashion she LITERALLY REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ANYONE ELSE IS ON STAGE WITH HER! Just look as Carrie Underwood sings her verse how Ciara is on one side looking at her and getting in to it, whilst Mariah just stands still looking straight to camera.
Dead. Please never change, Mariah. I’m also pretty certain she doesn’t know the words to the chorus because if you look closely during the first time they sing it, she looks a little lost. But of course, that just makes me love her even more.
Speaking of Ciara, I had always thought it was off that she was the only girl not given a solo line to sing in the performance, but on closer inspection I realised that she does in fact sing a solo line. It happens during Mary J’s segment but you would only know if you are familiar with her voice. It’s kind of a shame they didn’t cut to C as she sang her line or at least go to a wide shot so she could get the credit she deserves for her albeit comparatively small but nonetheless important moment.
In regards to Mary J. Blige, I think she really shines here. Perhaps sensing Beyoncé taking a backseat on this one, she decides to step up and lead the pack when her moment comes. Granted, she has more to sing than most of the others, but her emphatic delivery is what the song needed at this point and it really elevates the performance.
Clearly Natasha Beddingfield didn’t get the memo about wearing dark-coloured trousers to go with the black t-shirts. Or perhaps she did and chose to ignore it, just like she chose to ignore the melody of the song and instead do her own thing (see: 1.40 mark in the video below). I’m not mad though, she sounds incredible and I respect her for wanting to make the most of the opportunity; an opportunity that was undoubtably a big one for her at the time.
Now is it me, or is Head Girl Beyoncé giving Natasha a disapproving look in that picture? Uh oh, somebody’s getting fired.
Can we take a moment to acknowledge how unimpressed Rihanna is that she has to share her moment with Miley Cyrus…?! She looks like a queen on RuPaul’s Drag Race who has to do a group challenge with the girl who was in the bottom two last week.
In all seriousness though I think the performance is great and obviously wonderful that these artists came together for such a worthwhile cause. All of the women are on top form and I just want to also mention Fergie whose unique vocal and performance style really works well for her section towards the end.
If you’ve never seen this video before, get in to it below. If you have, see if you can spot any of the shady or funny moments mentioned and let me know if there’s any I missed!