Let’s say you’re sent to cover the Country Thunder festival for your local Wisconsin newspaper and Jessica Simpson is slated to perform. Would you expect your portrayal of the audience’s reaction to her performance to launch dozens of stories and blog posts around the globe?
Understandably, the idea of Jessica Simpson crossing over to country after a so-so career in pop might be a little irritating to some country fans, but did they really boo Simpson over the weekend, as so many media outlets have claimed? No one’s really sure, but Megan Schmidt from the Kenosha News certainly gave the world that impression.
The crowd welcomed Simpson with a mixture of boos and cheers Saturday night. She strutted onto the stage in Daisy Duke shorts, a white button-down shirt and cowboy boots as she sang a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made for Walking.”…
It didn’t sit well with audience members that Simpson played after a more established country singer, Kellie Pickler.
Many audience members found her attempt to crossover into country irritating and that her vocals lacked a southern sound.
“I just don’t hear the country in her; I don’t hear the twang. She’s not good enough to be here,” said Adam Matos, 21, from Arlington Heights, Ill.
One man summed her performance up in a single word.
“It’s crap,” said Ryan Sia, 28, from East Troy. “She doesn’t belong here.”
That one article hit the wires running, and now the story is nearly everywhere, from the LA Times to MTV to E!. However, was she really booed? Was the crowd’s reaction largely negative, or was that Schmidt’s biased take? Even her piece acknowledged that a few concertgoers were fine with Simpson’s appearance.
But there were a few die-hard Simpson supporters in the crowd.
“I actually like her country songs better. She has a great voice, plus, she’s adorable,” said Mary Grace, 24, from Mundelein, Ill.
That part didn’t seem to make most of the other reports, for some reason.
Sites like CMT that have passed on the “booing” story have comment sections seem to have either Simpson’s street team or actual fans defending her, with most saying the audience was mostly cheering. If you can trust shaky YouTube clips, most of the crowd seems more preoccupied by boredom than anything else.
Now, whether Simpson succeeds or fails with her foray into country is largely irrelevant, but is this the nature of music news now? No one seems to have information about the show beyond Schmidt’s report, and the three anti-Simpson to one pro-Simpson quote ratio in her piece might not be the most accurate sampling of the audience as a whole. I enjoy the quick hit piece on someone who doesn’t seem “authentic” as anyone, but that one person at a paper in Kenosha can set off an avalanche of negative criticism seems more than a little unfair, to say the least.
Country Fans Turn Into Critics [Kenosha News Online]