One of the benefits of the many singing contest for amateurs that are on TV these days is that they make me appreciate professional performers. Seeing people who are not used to the spotlight makes me realise just how polished experienced performers are. It’s what you don’t see that makes them stand out – you don’t see their nerves, you don’t fear they are going to forget their words, you aren’t worried for their feelings, or thinking about their family issues. Professional performers are all about performing, and if they do their job well, its the performance you focus on, not them as individuals. Even so, the essence of the person seems to shine through, carried on the performance.
When I see contestants on singing competitions I am aware of a lot of extra feelings, apart from the feeling conveyed by the song. I want them to do well, I want them to remember the words, I want their movements to look natural, and I am conscious of wanting all those things. Most of all, I want them to let go of fear and shyness and holding back and just soar. To let the voice flow, to let the personality shine. The performance seems more natural without the impediments of self doubt and holding back. Thats what we are all watching and waiting for, the moment when the contestant transcends the competition and becomes a true performer.
It makes me wonder about how I hold back, and how we all do. Being doubtful, or shy or self deprecating feels like the safe option, but it blocks the flow of creativity and hampers full expression. It feels very exposing to let go of those habits of holding back, but doing so makes way for something more precious to emerge. It stops being about us, and becomes about what we are doing.
The solo performer standing in the spotlight teaches us the gift of generosity of self.