After The Voice, a New Respect for Christina Aguilera. Really.
No, we've definitely not been nice about Christina Aguilera. And at the time, we honestly couldn't help it -- all that wailing and howling and tacky sleazemongering was just too much for us not to mock. But, dear readers, something strange is afoot, for in recent weeks we have found ourselves not just liking, but also -- gasp! -- respecting Christina Aguilera. And it feels a little bit like hell just froze over.
The key factor in our change of heart is, of course, The Voice -- NBC's stupidly compelling vocal talent competition. We've watched, fascinated, as Christina has passionately fought for the contestants she believed in, mentored them like a really well-manicured mom, and then shown a musical knowledge wider than we would've ever given her credit for. Giving Beverly McClellan the Who's "Baba O'Riley" to sing, for example, was a stroke of genius (which is probably why McClellan was the first contestant to be "saved" by viewers in last week's vote):
Watching Christina on The Voice every week is a little bit like talking to the dirty drunk hobo who hangs out on your street corner every day and suddenly finding out he has a Ph.D in English Literature. It's not what you were expecting, but you're impressed to the point of speechlessness.
This week's episode tipped us over the edge. In previous weeks, it's felt a bit like wardrobe has been trying to cover up her curvier figure, but Christina strutted onstage last Tuesday, in the tightest pair of black short shorts we have ever seen. It was as if she was saying "Yes, world -- my ass is a lot bigger than it used to be, but hot damn, I ain't covering this thing up." You could almost hear curvy girls around the country high-fiving at the relief of seeing a woman who is over a size four and unafraid to embrace her rounder bod on national television.
Then, in a move that was stunning to almost everyone, when asked to choose which of her team she wanted to keep, out of a cute 'n' sassy 16-year-old "firecracker," a 19-year-old hottie with amazing vocal range, and a 31-year-old plus-size American Idol cast-off, she went with the last of the three simply because she was the one with the best vocal ability. Yes, the show is called The Voice, but when was the last time you saw prime-time American TV that didn't automatically favor the youngest and the thinnest? She's actually doing what she's supposed to be doing!
On top of all of this (plus an incident in which she joked about her National Anthem Super Bowl mishap to a contestant), Aguilera keeps doing unerringly positive interviews that are honest, funny, and self-deprecating. On her drag queen following, she recently laughed, "I've given them a lot to work with over the years ..."
Maybe it's because it's the end of one of the most turbulent, embarrassing periods of her life, but Christina Aguilera is finally showing signs of humor and wisdom. And -- we never thought we'd say this -- we freakin' love her for it.