There’s something about the notion of fame that consumes younger generations, posing the question, “How does one go about becoming famous without even leaving the comfort of his/her home?” The answer is simple: take a video of yourself singing your heart out to a camera in your bedroom and post it to YouTube for the world to see. Worked for Bieber, didn’t it? It’s a surefire plan, regardless of whether or not you’re unbearably awful.
It is this concept that gave birth to the renowned YouTube personality Miranda Sings. Conjured up by a voice major at a small liberal arts school named Colleen Ballinger, Miranda Sings originally served as a satirical platform through which Ballinger could discretely poke fun at a specific group of horrible YouTube singers. Although the videos began as an inside joke to make fun of cocky, self-proclaimed “talented” singers, they soon went viral, and a typical Miranda video now receives upward of 1,000,000 hits.
Miranda is a quirky, tone-deaf and arrogant character, who makes a living filming poor-quality YouTube videos out of her parent’s basement in Tacoma, Washington. Characterized by her ghastly attire (a face smeared with bright red lipstick, a men’s collared button-up and a pair of pants pulled up to her neck) she is best known for her inability to hit a single note on key, her bizarre dance moves and her explanations of topics that she herself does not understand.
After being exposed to a handful of her videos online, I found pieces of Miranda’s material funny—others, not so much. Despite my mixed opinions regarding Miranda’s online content, I decided to attend the Miranda Sings LIVE show this past Friday at the Barrymore Theatre in hopes of swaying my lukewarm opinions on Miranda once and for all.
Walking into a sold-out, sardine-packed venue of screaming fans ranging from about eight to 60 years old—all of whom were decked out in Miranda’s signature collared button-up and red lipstick—I was slightly overwhelmed. These “Mirfandas” were extreme, to say the least. Things got even wilder as Miranda took the stage.
I began thinking that Miranda’s 90-minute set would be completely filled by incessantly terrible vocals. I was wrong. She included anecdotes about her bizarre childhood, communicated her strong feelings on “haters” and graced the audience with a “porn medley” of pop songs, which included “Baby Got Back,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “Hot in Herre” and “S&M.”
To break up the horrendous musical numbers, Miranda incorporated a series of segments that took the four daily concepts of porn, bullies, love and “haters” and transformed the subject matter into PG-13-rated comical banter that relied heavily on audience participation.
Despite generally interacting with her audiences via computer screen, Miranda knew how to work the live audience. She called participants to the stage to give “free voice lessons” based off the YouTube video that skyrocketed her to fame. Additionally, she brought up volunteers to visually convey that what constitutes “dressing like porn,” to help her perform acting scenes and to compete against her in a game called “Chubby Bunny,” during which volunteers shoved a bunch of marshmallows into their mouth to the point where they could no longer speak.
She not only brought fans to the stage, making them a part of the show, but she worked off everything the volunteers said and did, improvising and creating punchlines on the spot. She was quick and witty with her responses and knew exactly what the fans wanted to hear.
All of the laughs built up to a great bit that was worth the price of the $25 ticket alone: reading and commenting on real hate mail from bitter YouTubers that Miranda not only deems bullies but “haters.” Word for word, she read some of the best-worst comments left on her channel, then proceeded to fire back clever remarks, shouting her esteemed catchphrase, “Haters, back off!”
If youre curious about Miranda, I recommend seeing her live. It may not be the best music, fashion or stage production you’re ever going to encounter; in fact, your eyes and ears might burn a little after the show is over, but that is the beauty of it. Ballinger, the genius behind Miranda, is so convincing in the role, you would never believe that she can actually speak with proper grammar or that she’s classically trained and can actually sing (quite incredibly, might I add). She creates a show built around Miranda in every aspect. You will likely forget that there is a normal person behind the red lips and collared, button-up shirt.
The show has officially made a “Mirfanda” out of me.