‘I’m not a 10-year-old girl anymore’: The voices, identities and careers of Got Talent’s mismatched girls | Intellect Skip to content
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Vicarious Vocalities, Simulated Songs
  • ISSN: 2057-0341
  • E-ISSN: 2057-035X

Abstract

This article explores the stereotype of the ‘tiny girl with the big voice’ and discusses three singers, Jackie Evancho, Hollie Steel and Connie Talbot, who competed in televised talent competitions and at aged 10 or under during the early 2010s. Today, as adults in their twenties, the three women continue to pursue singing careers, navigating the public scrutiny that inevitably follows female child stars as they grow up. The first half of this article explores how the talent competitions framed the apparent incongruence between the young girls’ voices and bodies and their dehumanizing objectification in the press as ‘singing angels’ or ‘freaks’. Adapting a term from Jennifer Fleeger, the article describes these singers as ‘mismatched girls’. The second half of the article examines recent transformative moments in the adult lives of Evancho, Steel and Talbot that demonstrate how the women have used musical performances and social media to reimagine the relationship between their voices, bodies and identities. Managing their own careers and star texts as adults today, they transcend the ‘mismatched girl’ stereotype, refuting the cultural myth that certain voices inherently belong with certain bodies.

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2023-08-10
2024-02-25
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): child stars; girlhood; prodigies; singing; talent competitions; vocal mismatch
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