Mariah Carey is stalking me

Yes, the billionaire has-been had nothing better to do than follow me around all weekend. She was one of the guests this week of the Star Academy, a sort of American Idol-Big Brother hybrid where young French people are locked up together in a château for intensive pop star training and eliminated one by one by the audience and each other until someone wins. The Star Académiciens are visited from time to time by various pop stars who sing with them or offer them pearls of wisdom like "Always follow your dreams."

This week the académiciens and the public at large were lucky enough to have Mariah Carey And Her Enormous Breasts thrust upon them. And I was lucky enough to be spending the weekend with 25-year-old men who are really big fans of Star Academy.

Mariah pulled up in her limousine and tottered into the château in her sweatpants and high heels. She said some completely useless stuff to them through the help of an interpreter, all the while with an air of "Yes, I'm Mariah Carey. Isn't it such an honor to be in the same room as me?" about her and all the while falling out of her shirt. The students, on the other hand, had more of an air of "I'm really glad the interpreter finally told us who this was, because Mariah has managed to put on a good 50 pounds, most of which has gone to her face and made her completely unrecognizable."

After her brief introduction, Mariah held interviews with three lucky students, the first of whom was Georges-Alain.

Ah, Georges-Alain. How does one describe Georges-Alain? He has somehow managed to become the cheri of the voting public, despite being indisputably ugly, having no talent for singing or dancing, and having about as much charisma and stage presence as Al Gore. I think it is perhaps for all of these things that they keep him there - because he's so very untalented that it's entertaining. I myself love Georges-Alain for his lack of talent - it always makes me laugh.

On top of all these charms, Georges-Alain is painfully shy and speaks about zero English. So it was completely impossible for any conversation to go on between him and the vapid superstar. She dismissed him and had much better luck with Aurélie and Nolwenn, who get by much better in English. Then Mariah tottered back to her limo, all the while saying stupid things and making me wish I didn't speak or understand English.

This was all during the week, in the daily grind of being a superstar-in-training. On Saturday, however, it was The Big Day. Saturday is when everyone performs and they announce who's been voted off. It's when the starlets get to sing with their idols. And with Mariah.

Mariah returned on Saturday and got to engage in very confusing banter with the Franco-Greek host of the show. I think it was more confusing for me as an Anglophone because Nikos was trying to carry on the conversation and translate for the audience and improve on the inane things that came out of Mariah's enormous face. He would say something to her in French, she would look blank, he would translate into English, she would respond, and he would say in French whatever he wished she'd said in English. As a result, it took a million years and nothing really got said. Then sometimes she couldn't understand what he was saying in English either, so she tried to get Aurélie to translate for her. It was all live and it was a chaotic mess of languages where normally she should have had a bug in her ear with a running translation.

Then Mariah started singing and looking over the students with an air of "I believe the children are our future. Maybe someday one of them will be as big a star as I am. But just in France." I don't listen to a lot of Mariah Carey, but her voice sounded odd, like there were two distinct personalities fighting for possession of her brain. One, the one who sang the high and loud parts, was the Mariah Carey I knew. The other, the one who sang lower and softer, had the strange vocal sounds of a deaf person, in the way that they tend to enunciate less clearly and seem to speak from a different place in their mouth and throat than the hearing community does. It was extremely odd and made me wonder exactly what had happened when Mariah had her breakdown.

When she was done singing, Mariah didn't seem to know exactly what to do, so she did what any normal person would do in that situation: she kidnapped Georges-Alain. She grabbed him by the hand and walked off stage with him. Nikos, of course, had no idea what was going on, so he translated whatever she had muttered, "She says she wants him to help her compose some new songs." Riiiiight. Does Mariah Carey compose her own songs? Somehow I doubt it.

I believe we went to a commercial at that point, in the style of any live television program which has just erupted into chaos. When we came back, Georges-Alain was back on stage with the other académiciens and Nikos was grilling him about Mariah. Georges-Alain, of course, had no more idea than Nikos did about what happened. Some scary trampy American former star with mental issues had dragged him off the stage and chattered at him in a foreign language.

With Mariah gone (perhaps being questioned by the police), the show was able to continue as normal. Or as normal as it can be, given the circumstances. Of the three candidates for eviction, evil bombshell Nolwenn was saved by the public and the académiciens, given the remaining two, chose to keep weird Jérémy - elegantly clad in a plastic headband and some kind of potato sack or butcher's apron wrapped around his waist to look like a skirt - over Anne-Laure, the ever-perky hard-working lesbian.

I hope you realize that there is no hint of sarcasm when I say that I am so disappointed I don't have a TV in my apartment.

srah - Sunday, 17 November 2002 - 8:46 AM
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