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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Actors Who Tried Singing and Failed...and Vice Versa

This week's All-Request Wednesday topic is going to be a fun one! I can feel it!

As you all well know, you have the power to control what I talk about on Wednesdays, and there are a couple of ways in which you can send me suggestions for this and every other Wednesday. You can post your request in the comments section of this or any other blog entry that I have done. I'll promise that I'll do my best to read every single one.

I also have a Google+ account, and am considering re-opening a Twitter account so that I can get more requests in.

Or, you could post a request on the official Facebook page...or if you happen to have me friended on Facebook, you can leave a request there, as Frank B. of Alberta, Canada has done for today.

And, Frank, I thank you for sending me today's topic.

In my blog, I have talked about people who I have dubbed “double threats” or even “triple threats”. These are people in the entertainment industry who have started off their careers filming movies, or releasing albums, or dancing in a Broadway production, but are also just as talented in other areas. Gifted actors who are also gifted singers. Dancers who do just as good a job acting on stage as they do with their two-step. Singers who can deliver the goods on a motion picture without having to sing a note.

And there are very, very few people who can manage to become a double/triple threat.

One example of someone who I can consider successful in both is Jennifer Hudson. The American Idol contestant who didn't even place within the Top 3 during her season is certainly making up for lost time. We already knew that she could sing, and sing very well...but who would have thought that she could act as well? Hudson stole the show in the movie “Dreamgirls” and earned herself an Academy Award for her role!

Or, how about Bette Midler? She's done quite well for herself releasing singles such as “The Rose” and “Wind Beneath My Wings”, but she's also made a name for herself as an actress – starring in movies such as “The First Wives Club” and “Hocus Pocus”.

In the world of Disney movies and television show, while these names could be argued, I would say that Selena Gomez, Zac Efron, and Miley Cyrus have successfully balanced a music career with acting. All three have had huge successes over the years (in the case of Gomez, she has the current #1 song on the Hot Dance Charts), and if they play their cards right, they can continue to have that success.

And, Will Smith is another name that you could add in as a double threat, releasing hit movies and hit singles at steady pace. Heck, if you wanted to add in his dance moves in the various music videos he has shot, he very well could be a triple threat!

Even Justin Timberlake is someone to watch out for. He's had a successful music career, and is easily the most successful member of *Nsync, but he's also showing that he has some acting chops as well.

But those are just a few examples of people who have managed to succeed in two different formats of entertainment. The truth is that not everyone can be a “double threat”. Some people should just stick with what they know and go with that. And, I'm not saying this to be mean. I'm saying this because it's the truth. I know that I have a way with words, and that I could be a great lyricist or songwriter. But to actually sing those words? Yeah, they call me “tone deaf” for a reason.

The following people that we'll be focusing on were already skilled in one thing (be it dancing, singing, acting, etc), and decided to branch out into something new...only for their efforts to fail miserably.

That's what this blog is all about. Actors who tried to be singers who failed and went back to acting. Or singers who tried to act, but failed, and went back to singing.

Confused yet? Don't be. It will all make sense the minute we begin. Why don't we start with...


Mariah Carey has pipes, and she knows how to use them. That much is clear. How else could you explain the fact that she has had one #1 hit during every year of the 1990s (barring 1994)? She's had eighteen #1 hits so far during her career, and several more Top 10 hits. Basically, she had music down pat.

But when she decided to make the jump into acting...well, let's just say that it was a step in the wrong direction.

We got a little taste of her acting ability in her 1997 video for “Honey” and her 1999 video for “Heartbreaker”, but it wouldn't be until 2001 that she would show off her acting ability in the film, “Glitter”.

Maybe it was the fact that Mariah Carey suffered a breakdown that year. Maybe it was the fact that the film was released right around the September 11 terrorist attacks. Whatever the case, Mariah Carey's performance in “Glitter” bombed terribly. She even won the Golden Raspberry Award for her performance in the film.

Since then, Mariah Carey has sort of redeemed herself by starring in the critically acclaimed film “Precious”. But I still have a hard time seeing her as a singer/actress when she clearly shows more strength in her singing.


For what it is worth, Jennifer Love Hewitt's starred in quite a few popular television shows over the years from “Party of Five” to “Ghost Whisperer” to “The Client List”. Her feature film projects are significantly lesser known, but she was the star of “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, which was a huge hit.

But the same couldn't be said for her music, even though Jennifer Love Hewitt has a pleasant enough voice. As far as I know, she's only ever had two singles playing on the radio. 1998's “How Do I Deal” and 2004's “Barenaked”. Neither one really made much of an impact here in Canada. Though I hear that she's a much bigger star in Japan of all places, where she's had singles charting there since 1992.

And, speaking of actress whose singing careers exploded in Japan...


Again, Alyssa Milano is one who has been in seemingly everything over the years. And considering that she was the first celebrity starlet that I ever had a crush on, I'm going to try and be gentle here. Now, you all recall that Alyssa Milano was a part of the successful 1980s sitcom “Who's The Boss?” where she delighted audiences as Samantha Micelli, daughter of Tony Danza's character. But she also proved to be able to handle drama as well as comedy with her subsequent roles in “Melrose Place” and “Charmed” respectively.

But did you know that she also sang as well? I didn't until I saw this video.

I'm guessing that like most girls of the era, she was trying to be just like Tiffany. Unfortunately, Alyssa Milano was a zero-hit-wonder here in North America (and if all of her videos were like this one, I can sadly see why). In Japan though? All FIVE of her studio albums went platinum! Go figure.


You knew that she was coming, right? After all, she is widely considered by many to be one of the worst actresses in the entire world.

Her choreography skills and albums were brilliant. Madonna became a real chameleon of pop music, reinventing her image at exactly the right time, and earning herself several #1 singles, seven Grammy Awards, and countless MTV Video Music Awards.

And, you know what? I don't think all of Madonna's acting performances were as bad as people claim. I loved her part in “Desperately Seeking Susan”, her role in "Who's That Girl" wasn't that terrible, and her take on Breathless Mahoney in 1990's “Dick Tracy” was passable. But then I see her in movies like "Shanghai Surprise" and "Swept Away", and I think to I see why her movies are panned.


You know...this really doesn't require words. As Spock, Leonard Nimoy excelled. As a film director, Nimoy excelled even more.

As a be the judge.


Somewhere in between “Star Trek” but before “T.J. Hooker”, William Shatner embarked on a brief career in singing by doing “justice” to a classic Elton John single.

This is one of those cases in which his performance was so bad, it almost became good. And, as time passed, it wasn't the only time that William Shatner would dust off his vocal chords and “sing” to his heart's content.


Okay, so these days, Lisa Whelchel is probably most known by this generation as the Survivor castaway who came in third during “Survivor: Guatemala”. But for those of us like me who were around for the crazy decade known as the 1980s, we all remember Lisa Whelchel for her role as Blair Warner in the television series “The Facts of Life”.

Ah, but there was one instance in which Lisa Whelchel embarked on a career as a contemporary Christian artist. Case in point, this single that she released in the early 1980s. Do you remember it? Well, neither do I! But, if there's one thing that I can say that was was that Lisa had a fairly decent singing voice.

And, well...that's about it.


Some of you might be questioning his acting ability, as the majority of films that featured him didn't really show him acting as much as they did him kicking somebody's butt. But if you thought his acting was should get a kick out of his singing ability.


Okay, so Joey Lawrence may not be an Oscar winning actor, but his career has spanned three decades, and he has appeared in some long running television series such as “Gimme a Break!”, “Blossom”, “Brotherly Love”, and “Melissa & Joey”. And, I suppose you could also throw in his appearance on the ABC reality series “Dancing With The Stars”.

So, I suppose it was inevitable that Joey Lawrence would release a single in 1993 entitled “Nothin' My Love Can't Fix”. Unfortunately, that single didn't help Joey Lawrence become the next Marky Mark...but then again, it's not like Mark Wahlberg has been hurting for work since he showed everyone his “Good Vibrations”. And, neither has Joey Lawrence.


I feel bad for even including her on this list, given that today is her birthday, but it needs to be done.  A few years ago, Jessica Simpson was once a rising star in the world of pop music.  With singles like "I Wanna Love You Forever", "Irresistible", and "A Public Affair", Jessica certainly had made her mark.

I don't know whether it was the "Newlyweds" reality show that she starred in with then husband Nick Lachey that may have been the catalyst (and which spawned the infamous "Chicken of the Sea" conversation), or what, but somehow, her acting skills didn't translate onto the big screen...especially since she was poorly cast as Daisy Duke in the film remake of "The Dukes of Hazzard".  And, somehow, I don't know if Nancy Sinatra appreciated the take that Jessica had on her hit song from 1966.

But I suppose what Jessica did find a way to make a mark on the television industry as a judge on the NBC reality series "Fashion Star", so maybe in the end, she had the last laugh.


Okay, so I just talked about her a few days ago, and the train wreck that her life has seemingly become now. But in her prime, she was quite the little actress, and I believe that if she can clean herself up for good, she can find her way back. Hollywood may be a fickle industry, but in the right circumstances, it can be forgiving.

But, I think Lindsay should probably stick to acting, as her music career fizzled out after a couple of years. And, that is no rumour.


Do I really need to say any more than “Hooked on a Feeling?” Didn't think so.

And, to end off this note, a video by someone who many consider threat. But, as for me, I would never say anything so terrible. I'll let you decide.

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