You are the dancing queen
Young and sweet
When Cybelle takes the stage, preparing to perform in her match against Angela, she explains to the judges why she’s there—to leave a mark now as “People are only able to express beauty while they’re young.” Indeed, episode nine of Carole & Tuesday focuses on the beauty and pain of youth. By the end of the opening round on Mars Brightest, all “old” competitors have been eliminated—the remaining five (including each member of the title duo) appear to still be in their teens, even if one claims to be quite a bit older.
The competitors all give strong performances, shining with confidence, strength, and artistry. Angela’s performance brings down the house; her singing is on par with the others, which is to say it’s fairly strong, but if it’s not the fans that carry Angela to a standing ovation, it’s the song itself. Created by Tao, who attends the show (but in the shadows), the song feels like it could be played on radio today (1). The oldest judge, Catherine, tells Angela she witnessed the birth of a star; more accurately, she heard the creation of a pop hit.
On the other side of the coin, the trepidation of youth is on display as well, primarily through Tuesday. Already socially awkward and immature, she continues to be taken along for a ride by Cybelle, who moves two steps further in her pursuit of her crush—she proposes they form their own duo and then takes sexual advantage of Tuesday, biting her hard on the neck (2). Gently helped along by Carole, though, Tuesday finds her confidence and, in a situation most uncomfortable for her, tells Cybelle that they won’t be forming a duo. No surprise that the unstable Cybelle (a character I’m liking very much in that I feel she inhabits the qualities a real-life artistic talent her age might as well) angrily marches off. I fear we haven’t seen the end of her, for stalkers don’t take rejection well.
You’re a teaser, you turn ’em on
Leave ’em burning and then you’re gone
Looking out for another
Anyone will do
But with all these character develops, the larger stage continues to be set for a showdown between Angela and Carole & Tuesday. The former is clearly the favorite, though as American Idol and The Voice have shown, the early favorite rarely wins—Angela is as vulnerable as any frontrunner. She is dependent on Tao and increasingly sees him as the only way she can win. Talent-wise, she’s no better than any of the other competitors (3), and perhaps worse than some. I wonder if Angela will eventually find her voice, because she will lose (which I don’t see as foregone conclusion) if she’s unable to discover the strength within her, to embrace her real self—scars and all—and understand that her small story is more important than the larger tale she is attempting to weave (4).
(1) So much did the song sound like something I’d heard on the radio that I had to look up these lyrics on the Internet—nope, an original just like everything else. But the “I can move mountains, I can move mountains” lyrics certainly sound like something I’ve heard. Anyone know what song I’m thinking of?
(2) Cybelle doesn’t just plan to leave her mark on the Martian music scene—she quite literally leaves her mark on Tuesday, whom she considers a good-luck charm, muse, and “goddess.”
(3) I would say Cybelle lost as much to GGK as she did to Angela—the latter employed a better style, but was slightly better in all ways, and it would be unwise to send soundalikes to the semifinals. With GGK’s strength, unless Watanabe plays the next round for laughs again, the stage is set for an interesting match between her and Angela.
(4) I would say that Carole & Tuesday aren’t particularly better than any of the other musicians; in fact, GGK would be my pick among the top four at this stage. This leads to problem I’ve had with the show, which is that the duo don’t create music that blows me away like it’s supposed to for a whole generation of Martians. But I’ve started to reconcile that problem with the idea that their music need not be earth-shattering (though I’m sure the best is being saved for last)—it’s their authenticity and style that will shake the public. Jackie Robinson wasn’t the most physically gifted baseball player from the Negro League, after all—but he was the one that Major League Baseball, and America, needed.