I used to absolutely adore Lea Michele, but something has happened since she shot to stardom — she’s become really, really annoying.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think she’s got one of the best musical theater voices in the world, but when I read in this morning’s The New York Times that the Glee star will write a book to be released next spring for the Harmony Books imprint of Random House’s Crown Publishing Group, I literally rolled my eyes. Rolled. My. Eyes.
The “part memoir, part how-to and part style-guide” will be titled Brunette Ambition (cue another eye roll) and will follow Michele’s journey “from normal Bronx-born schoolgirl to Broadway child star to lead actress in one of the most popular shows on television.” Oh Lea. Oh, oh Lea. Do you have no self awareness at all?
When Glee first began airing, I was totally rooting for her. I had loved her performance in Spring Awakening, and on Fox’s musical comedy she was funny, sweet, self-deprecating and had tons of opportunities to show off her killer pipes. But in interviews it quickly became clear that she was starting to drink her own kool-aid. As she became a fixture on red carpets, her look changed (those bangs!), and she developed a holier-than-thou air that became seriously off-putting. (You must watch Modern Family star Sarah Hyland’s impression of Michele’s red carpet pose here.)
Her performance on the show has continued to be (mostly) winning, but I’ve found her offscreen presence increasingly tiresome. With an Emmy nomination and countless magazine covers under her belt, she is a star, no doubt, but the problem is that she presents herself as a star, without humor or irony, and it’s incredibly unattractive. And this latest news confirms my suspicions that she is full of herself — let’s just say, writing a memoir/how-to/style guide at the ripe old age of 26 does not demonstrate tons of humility.
At least she has that voice, right? Michele is also currently working on her debut album, and though her voice is one thing I could never fault, I have serious reservations about how her pop music career is going to turn out. During her time on Glee we’ve probably heard her sing more than 50 solos, including some of the most iconic pop music and musical theater songs in the canon. Most true fans have probably downloaded many of these tunes, and already have their own makeshift Lea Michele albums in the form of Glee playlists. The music on this album will have to be pretty killer to compete with some of the songs she’s covered on the show. Will there be another “Don’t Rain on My Parade” or “Don’t Stop Believing” or songs that rival hits by Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears or Pink? Is her voice too musical theater-y for her original songs to get radio airplay? If you like hearing Michele sing, chances are you’ve had your opportunity, and with the show picked up for two more seasons, you’ll have plenty more opportunity to do so. I don’t have high hopes for the albums commercial success.
Lea. Oh Lea. I want to root for you. I want to want you to succeed. Just help me a little bit, okay? Make some good choices. Play to your strengths. Maybe a small Off-Broadway musical during your hiatus? The memoir can wait…until you’re at least 30.
What do you think? Are you still on board the Lea Michele train? Will you buy her book? Her album? Let me know.
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