Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Smackdown!: Paul Potts vs. Pol Pot
WHO?: Cell-phone salesman who, in 2007, became an everyman Britain's Got Talent winner and a ubiquitous YouTube sensation by singing arias in a vibrato-heavy tenor.
PROS: Brings opera to the masses.
CONS: Middlebrow entertainment posing as high art. Repertoire consists of the most overplayed of opera's "greatest hits" mixed with pop schlock. Is currently on tour in the U.S. with several other, even schlockier vocalists.
WHO?: Cambodian leader of the Khmer Rouge, a brutal Communist movement dating from the mid-'70s. Set high standards for truly insane, violent dictators that today's truly insane, violent dictators only dream of matching.
PROS: Is currently dead.
CONS: Believed to have killed 21% of his country's population, as many as 2.5 million people, by some estimates.
WINNER: All things considered, I've got to go with Paul Potts, even though the Times reports that in a recent NYC appearance he sang "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in Italian, with an operatic arrangement--which, last time I checked, violated the Geneva Conventions. Pol Pot's singing voice was reportedly quite "pitchy," but genocide is worse than the death of taste.