Soap Opera Digest: Jessica vs. Britney

Is it Jessica or is it Britney?There was a rather funny-but-trivial item on the Ananova.com site. Apparently, while shopping in Chicago, Britney Spears was told by a presumed admirer who didn’t know who she was (presumably he was admiring her, not admiring the brand “Britney Spears”) that she resembled a famous star. No, not the famous star “Britney Spears.” Rather, the famous star “Jessica Simpson.” The bona fide Britney was reportedly not happy with the observation. Which is all the more puzzling, in that Ms. Simpson graces the cover of the April issue of Allure magazine, on which she is described as “Temptress in a D-Cup.” Given the costumes that Britney is wearing on her current tour, she probably wishes that she could be described that way. (This leads to a slight diversion in the post-Janet wardrobe malfunction: Have you noticed the photo of Madonna that is used in the ad for her “Invention” tour? There she is, down on all fours, fitted with a wig that seems to have been borrowed from Amadeus, with her bodice down and her décolletage in full view: Perhaps gravity has trumped perkiness and she wants to show that she’s still got it. . .lest people turn away and buy tickets to whatever Jessica is showing.)


One of the aspects of all this is the veritable interchangeability that seems to exist nowadays with regard to the multitude of female vocalists. There is a certain lack of distinguish ability, not only physically, but audibly, as well. One can slot in for another, Lego-like. There may be some circumferential differences, but it is pretty much a wash. There may be some vocal range distinguishing features, but they are pretty much electronically compensated for where lacking.

The bottom line is that there is a bottom line, as in cute derrieres: This is, make no mistake, Show Business. If they’ve got It, they flaunt It. If they don’t have It, you probably don’t know who they are, even if in terms of their vocal performance they are astonishing.

This is not meant to be (a) a sexist rant, as the same can be said for the male side of things, but probably more accurately by a female, nor (b) a plea for there to be not-as-attractive people gracing the covers of magazines and prancing on stages. Rather, merely a question as to whether the physical aspects of performers aren’t becoming increasingly important and relevant in terms of public acceptance. Same as it ever was? I don’t think so. For every back-in-the-day semi-hot Grace Slick there was a Janis Joplin, for Diana there was Aretha (and notice how in that pairing, one is still relevant and the other is a parody). But with always-on coverage of one sort or another, it’s all about the Look, not the Sound.

22 thoughts on “Soap Opera Digest: Jessica vs. Britney”

  1. Wait a second. Are you trying to tell me that Britney and Jessica are two different people? They are not the same person? No way!

  2. agreed. totally. too many fembots in showbidness. eye candy and all that goes along with it are part of the entertainment beast and always will be. but the “fruits” of real talent never succumb to the gravity of a fickle, easily distracted public. Teenagers are still buying Nirvana. Still buying Morrissey. Still buying The Ramones. Still buying the Beatles. Still buying the time-tested female artists you mentioned, too. And so it goes.

  3. Matt: While it may be true that teens are buying the bands you mention, I just checked the Billboard Top 100 albums and find Jessica at #9, Brit @ 24, Hillary Duff @ 35, and none of the others making it. (Actually, The Beatles serves as something of a case wherein their “critical” and “popular” success morphed into one: All of those screaming girls who fought over which one was truly the “cute Beatle” never heard the music; those of us who never got to see them but only hear them could consequently quibble over which album is best: If they had been less “popular,” would we have had the opportunity?)

  4. Sarah – are you sure?

    Mac – actually Billboard breaks out the non-new release stuff into its [url=http://www.billboard.com/bb/charts/popcat.jsp]”Top Pop Catalog Albums” chart[/url]. They do this, I assume, to save the record companies the embarrassment of having Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band’s Greatest Hits actually ranking higher on the [url=http://www.billboard.com/bb/charts/bb200.jsp]”Billboard 200″ chart[/url] than that crappy new Vines album they’re pushing so hard.

  5. Jake: Thanks for the clarification. And perhaps as a public service it should be noted that “Now 15,” which opened at #2 on the “Billboard 200,” contains work by both B & J. Sizzle!

  6. MPL, Billboard does not publish sales numbers. The only publication that does is [url=http://www.hitsdailydouble.com]Hits Daily Double[/url], and even that only publishes sales for that week — not the cumulative total sales. Soundscan does not allow its numbers to be published like that; I think Hits derives its sales numbers from surveying select markets (its ranking is always very close to Billboard’s though). I would give anything to get access to the Soundscan database.

  7. The only difference btw Jessica and Britney is that Jessica’s breasts r real…I mean they r real right?

  8. I actually only found out last year that Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore were different people, when the latter decided to colour her hair

  9. i guess the glo no board is now the place to talk trash on an artist because you arent afraid of the consequences, or you were/are confused.

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