RuPaul as a 'Commentator'
I think part of the reason that RuPaul's hit song, Supermodel of the World, was such a big hit was because the listeners of the song were inspired to see themselves "work" the runway. If having a singer like RuPaul can make her music fans imagine themselves as models at the sound of her lyrics ("wet your lips and make love to the camera"), you can imagine that her lyrics can also be encouraging to an actual model working during a fashion show.
In essence, RuPaul's lyrics act as instruction or direction to models (real or imaginary), and in a fashion show, that commentary can be performed by a commentator (a master of ceremonies, of sorts).
RuPaul, in her own way, was doing in her song what the commentator (and to a certain extent, the audience) does at ball competitions: motivate and inspire the models. Because, in every sense of the word, it can be said that the dancers and performers at ball competitions are "models" working on a "runway."
will.i.am as a 'Commentator'
In another video I found on YouTube, I found a portion of the CBS broadcast of the 2007 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. In the video (at 2:30), the singer will.i.am begins to sing in the style of a commentator (like RuPaul, if we can call her that for the purpose of this blog post, for we know that she is much more than just that).
(I also liked the novice "hands" performance that the Victoria's Secret angel Izabel Goulart turns out (at 3:09).)
There is a way to distinguish what will.i.am did to make the models walk with more energy and enthusiasm than when Seal took his turn to sing on the runway. Whereas will.i.am's lyrics were set to the a thumping beat (that can be matched by the strut of the model's gait, Seal's song was more of a ballad whose storyline was competing with the pace of the action and movement on the runway. This isn't to say that Seal added nothing to the fashion show, but his energy level was different.
Kool-Aid Mizrahi: the best 'Commentator'
Well, if you can imagine someone along the lines of RuPaul and will.i.am, an MC who would animate, cheer, and incite performers as well as an audience, then you would begin to imagine what a really talented commentator could do to rise and swell the passions of dancers, models, and performers on the runway in the Ball community.
And one of the best commentators there is in the Ball community is Kool-Aid Mizrahi. There are many examples of his work, including in the documentary How Do I Look. But here is one video I found on YouTube, which an example of his skills and talents. Kool-Aid Mizrahi adds both energy and inspiration to a ball.
In this video, Kool-Aid Mizrahi inspired a dancer to take to the dance floor and perform to the meter of Kool-Aid's commentary.
The job of the commentator is to challenge dancers and performers. His commentary adds another level of creativity to the performance that is taking place on the runway, and this combination of verbal and visual can be very influential to the spectators. If the commentator changes the meter of his rhythm or speeds up his beat, he is asking the dancer to show the audience the dancer’s skill in performing to new beats or rhythms. What the commentator adds is like a whole other performance: The commentator brings to the runway his own improvisational commentary, and the dancer must keep up with that improvisation, separate to any music that may be playing in the background. The commentary is another aspect of the pure creativity that is at the heart of Ball competitions.
And just last week, Kool-Aid Mizrahi was in the news about a ball competition in Oakland, California ("Gay and Transgender Divas Battle for Stardom in Bay Area's Ballroom Scene").
I would have loved to have seen what Kool-Aid Mizrahi would have done had he had been the commentator at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show....
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