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Thursday, August 17, 2006
A breakdown of why this clip is so amazingly awesome:

1) Kelly's reaction to the guitarist suggesting she show her boobs: horrified but amused, conveying the message "I am not going to do that not because I am a prude but because flashing your tits on stage is like lame X 100. But har har."

2) Then later she flashes her sweater vest. Sweater vest! What famous person wears a sweater vest out in public? And then makes a boob joke involving it?

3) Then later she takes off the sweater vest, but only in order to acheive a "performance look." She would clearly rather be wearing it, but OK, she thinks, I'm on stage now, better look put together.

4) After taking off her sweater vest, she then ducks behind her male companion, the Dude From Yellowcard, and pretends to play with his nipples. This is emo but with a sense of humor. (Remember, emo + girls = tolerable!)

5) The suggestion (only half-serious I think) that she is there to "put some edge" on her image. No rational person would consider going to see a band called "Metal Skool" if they wanted to seem edgier, though if anything this is a point in Metal Skool's favor. They would go into rehab, or punch the shit out of Carson Daily, or something. Plus, Kelly Clarkson is like 75% of the way toward being the coolest white person alive, she doesn't really need help at this point. Correspondingly, she nods sarcastically. And then licks her fingers and pretends to play with her nipples. Very thematic!

6) It is simply unwise to have Kelly Clarkson singing immediately after anyone else. Normally she just sounds great; in direct comparison to other people, it's like, oh, that's what good singing sounds like. Poor Dude From Yellowcard.

7) She clearly doesn't entirely remember the song but sings harmony.

8) The headbang! That's a pretty good headbang.

9) In light of the previous rock people discussion, I think it's fair to take this not as an indication, as it usually would be, of either metal's relevence to pop, or of Kelly Clarkson being awesome, although it is both of those. Primarily it indicates how rock is now just another tool in pop's bag, illustrated best by the Metal Skool people never breaking face but Kelly laughing her head off. It's all a laugh because it is all a laugh--none of this shit's real anymore. Rock people are already halfway to this conclusion, but part of their particular viewpoint is pretending like they're not, like it's serious and it matters, while also wanting to party. Kelly just thinks it's hilarious, and from an outside perspective, hers is the one to make the most sense. An American Idol winner comes to an ostensible metal concert and doesn't feel out-of-place--indeed, feels so comfortable that she actually gets up on stage and starts singing? This does not seem to be particularly indicative of the genre's vitality, or of the ostensible trueness that its more serious-minded boosters posit. It's in the spirit of Metal Skool itself: not parodic, but certainly tongue-in-cheek.