Reporting Jason Iannone
Have you ever wanted to mingle with a celebrity but just couldn’t? Whether it be distance, alternate addresses, increased security, restraining orders, or threats of a brutal beatdown if you come one step closer, it seems famous people always have a way to hide from us normal folk.
Luckily, we have professional celebrity impersonators to fill that void. Some of them are legit impressive. Others look and act absolutely nothing like the stars they’re impersonating, but are otherwise perfectly normal people who suck at their jobs. Then there are others who fail at impersonations, but are laughably insane while doing so. Guess which group we’re focusing on today.
Lorna “Britney Spears” Bliss
Most people, when impersonating a celebrity, tend to focus on one iconic look. Madonna’s almost always in the cone bra or the Like A Virgin wedding dress. Elvis is in the fat jumpsuit. Jack Nicholson is sporting his murderously evil grin that he sports in every one of his movies ever, even the romantic ones. Sticking to one look is easy, recognizable, and a Hell of a lot cheaper than buying a whole new fake wardrobe every few years.
Unless, of course, that’s what you want. If it is, you might be Lorna Bliss, professional Britney Spears imposter. Not content with picking one of Britney’s looks, she chooses to do them all. And by that, we don’t mean she sometimes dresses like a schoolgirl, sometimes wears a red body suit, and sometimes parades around with a giant yellow python while wearing next-to-nothing. That would be normal.
No; what makes Miss Bliss a nominee for the One-Day-This-Person-Will-Murder-Someone-In-Their-Sleep-Because-They-Bought-The-Last-Ho-Ho-At-The-Store Award is her willingness to change EVERYTHING about her, to fit whatever Britney’s doing that day. She will do massive dental work. She will gain weight. She will lose weight. She will get facials. (?!? Surely not…nnnaaahh.) She will shave her head. Yup; when Britney went…can we say bonkers? No? How about “awry”? …awry a few years back and decided to channel her inner Yul Brynner, Miss Bliss did just the same. No word on whether she too got drunk with a childhood friend, married him on a lark, and then dumped his ass two days later.
All of this does not come cheap, by the way. Miss Bliss has spent anywhere from 35,000-170,000 British pounds keeping up with Spears. And yet, not one penny went towards hiring some fat chav to marry her for a few years, impregnate her twice, and then shuffle back into obscurity. Kids today, no dedication. Yes, we’re well aware that you’re nuts, but at least act like you’ve not yet flown off the deep end. The show must go on, after all.
So you may ask what all this dedication, all this hard work, and all the health risks from gaining and losing weight all the damned time, bring her? Why, crushing failure of course! Miss Bliss appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, and made whoever titled that show look like a big, fat, liar. She performed, naturally, a Britney song. She chose Toxic, and emulated Brit’s “nude and covered in rhinestones” look from the video. Miss Bliss didn’t go quite that far, sadly (happily?), wearing a nude body-stocking covered in rhinestones.
Despite her best efforts, mainly writhing all over the BGT stage and making out with the female judge, she was soundly rejected, at least until producer Simon Cowell overruled the judges and allowed Bliss into the semifinals. Hey, remember earlier last paragraph, when we said whoever titled this show is a liar? Guess what? Cowell titled the show. He created the Whatever’s Got Talent concept. And then he let this space case, who managed to sing even worse than Britney, through to the semis, rendering his handpicked judges absolutely useless. Clearly, when he calls an aspiring singer “dreadful,” it’s Cowell-speak for “not nearly naked enough.”
Philip “Madonna and Kylie Minogue” Grimmer
Cross-dressing celebrity impersonators are nothing new. Ones that truly believe they look, act, sing, and dance just like the person they are impersonating, and then sue because people didn’t like their act, kinda are.
Philip Grimmer is a 60-year-old British man who works as a female imposter. His biggest acts are Kylie Minogue and Madonna, two international mega-stars and sex symbols. Phillip is, well, not. Unlike most other people on the list, who at least somewhat look like the stars they’re impersonating, Grimmer’s Minogue is truly nothing more than an old man in leggings and a beret.
Why a beret? Because Minogue wore a beret once or twice. That doesn’t count; that’s like saying you look just like Bruce Springsteen because you both wear jeans. If do a Google image search for “Kylie Minogue beret,” three of the top 12 results are this guy, and the top Kylie pic is her as Cammy from the Street Fighter movie. Pretty sure the beret could’ve been scrapped.
And his Madonna? Well, remember when we mentioned most people impersonate Madonna by slapping on a cone bra or writhing around in a wedding dress? He chose a different route: a purple leotard, purple boots, and proper eyeglasses. He tried to emulate the Material Girl’s costume from her Confessions On A Dance Floor tour, and instead came off looking like Wendi Richter, 1980’s pro wrestler, mixed with every middle-aged librarian you’ve ever met.
This did not stop Grimmer from appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, dressed as Minogue. He did not sing, or even attempt to lip-sync. His “act” consisted of nothing but awkwardly prancing around the stage for 45 seconds, like a little kid who’s just learning to ice-skate. Shockingly, he did not make it through.
Three years later, he tried again, this time as Madonna. His budget was bigger this time around, with hunky back-up dancers, spotlights, and a grand entrance from a giant crystal ball. He still did not sing or attempt to lip-sync. He tried to act seductive, performing a strip-tease and throwing his jacket at Simon Cowell, but his “sexy” dancing still looked like an old man wandering around the house, looking for his car keys. And that’s before you realize that, in both auditions, he performs to the same damn song.
Whether performing as Minogue or Madonna, Grimmer used “Hung Up,” a 2005 hit single by Madonna. This is absolutely mind-boggling. Kylie Minogue, while basically a one-hit-wonder in the United States, is HUGE in England, where this guy resides. He had access to many a Kylie track, and he chose Madonna anyway. That’s like a DaVinci imposter painting the Mona Lisa in Van Gogh’s style. Comedy 1, Credibility 0.
So again, he got rejected, and Simon was vicious in his criticism, saying the performance was “monstrous and hideous,” and that “Madonna at 95 would look and dance better than (him).” Now, Simon is vicious to just about everybody, unless they’re ridiculously talented or ridiculously naked. Most people do not sue over his comments. Grimmer did, claiming he was “unfairly” booted from the show, and that the show made him seem like a gay cross-dresser, instead of the 100% hetero dude (who makes money mimicking female pop stars who just happen to be icons in the gay community) that he clearly is. How dare they.
He wants 250,000 British pounds for his pain and suffering, claiming that his humiliation has ruined his life, and made it almost impossible to find work. Keep your chin up, buddy. Just keep searching and putting out those feelers. Sooner or later, you’ll be bound to find that elusive high-paying client who lives for awkward old men stumbling around to forgotten Madonna tracks, while wearing all the wrong outfits.
Zoe “Pink” Alexander
As has been the case so far, celebrity impersonators tend to impersonate ludicrously famous people, who are so well-known that hostile jungle tribes, who know nothing of modern civilization, could point them out of a lineup. So, when somebody emulates stars who are a just a wee bit lower on the totem pole, such as Pink, they instantly stand out. Especially when they allegedly shove people in the name of their dreams.
Meet Zoe Alexander, or rather “Pink by Zoe Alexander” because creative stage names are for weenies. She’s a professional Pink tribute artist and, with the right amount of makeup, and her hair cut and teased absolutely perfectly, does more or less look like Pink. Kind of. Realistically, she looks more like Pink after a week of sleep-deprivation. Football players have less black under their eyes.
Because of this, and despite not being very good at the whole singing or being-hot thing that Pink’s more than figured out, decided to take her talents to the UK X-Factor. Yes, cheesy talent shows are apparently where all the bad celebrity impostors go nowadays, to prove they’ve lost all their self-awareness and sanity. And, on a related note, we’d like to formally apologize to our British readers, who apparently have the greatest coo-coo-for-Cocoa-Puffs-celebrity-imposter-to-normal-citizen ratio in the world. You might wanna have the Queen look into this. Could be an epidemic.
In this case, despite being Pink for a living, Miss Alexander told the judges she wanted to carve out her own identity, after years of performing nothing but Pink songs. And she did this by performing…a Pink song. Huh. Isn’t that like a teenager screaming for independence, right before borrowing his mother’s car for a night out? Thought so.
So she performed her song, and every single judge told her she was not very good at what she did. This is understandable, because she most certainly was not. You see, unlike most people who impersonate a singer, it turns out she cannot actually sing. Amazingly, a warbling voice and a lack of any attempt to sing challenging lines like NA NA NA NA NA NA NA did not impress the judges.
This rejection apparently caused Zoe to snap, swear incessantly at the judges, break her microphone after slamming it to the ground, and storm off. When a female producer told the cameraman to stop filming her, Wales Online reports Zoe responded by pushing her hard enough the producer required an ice pack afterwards. The local police are, as you might have guessed, less than impressed.
But perhaps you’re a kind soul (in which case, what’re you doing here? Go plant a tree, you hippie). Maybe you think X-Factor was just an off day for her. Maybe, when doing this Pink thing day-to-day, she’s not half-bad. Sorry, anonymous kind soul, but you’re dead wrong. Observe:
See? Just as bad, if not worse. She’s as off-key as ever, and when she gets to the chorus of “U and Your Hand,” she just shuts up and lets the backing track take over. Why? Because it’s a difficult chorus, and it actually takes singing talent to pull it off. So clearly, this whole Pink thing was a mistake. And judging by her website, Miss Alexander might finally have realized that. She has now expanded her act to include Katy Perry and Lady Gaga impersonations. Not necessarily good impersonations–they both look and sound like an overtired Pink pretending to be other pop stars, and her attempt to emulate the Katy Perry wide-eyed doe look is possibly the scariest thing in recorded history–but at least it’s progress.
What’s even better than a single celebrity impostor who’s completely out of their gourd? How about an entire company full of them? And, like any good batcrap crazy company, they cater to customers who are somehow even crazier.
The basic intention is noble enough. As a pet owner, one of the most difficult situations to deal with is going away and leaving your beloved animal behind. Who’s going to feed it? Who’s going to walk it, love it, bathe it, burp it, and administer the routine late-night paw massage? Many of us don’t want to just lock our pets up in some dirty, impersonal kennel, but we don’t always have reliable friends or family who can help out. What to do?
Well, if you live in the Los Angeles area, you can call the Starwalkers, who will gladly take care of your animal while you’re away. While dressed as celebrities. Yes, this company will trot out Cher, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, or Ozzy Osbourne (among others), and have them walk your pet, feed them, bathe them, and utterly humiliate them.
They appear successful, so there is seriously a demand for this. There are actually people out there whose thought process goes as follows: “I’m going away for a week and need somebody to walk Precious and give him vittles thrice a day. But I shant settle for anyone less than Lady Gaga HERSELF doing the job!” Then they learn that Gaga is too busy touring the world and making millions to clean up Precious’s poo-poo. So, accepting the need for compromise, they shell out Lord-Knows-How-Much to hire a lookalike to handle the Pooper Scooper. Phew, crisis averted!
A quick look around their website reveals the many kinds of animals they specialize in: dogs (featuring a pup covering his face in shame over this whole ordeal), cats, fish, turtles, snakes, bir…hold the phone, snakes? SNAKES? Why would you need anybody, much less a third-rate Dolly Parton lookalike, to care for your snake? It’s a snake, the most low-maintenance pet this side of a garden slug! You know what you do with a snake? You go to the local pet store, buy a couple mice, drop them into the snake’s cage, and then leave! Chances are, those mice will still be digesting when you come back, and the snake itself will be no worse for wear. Why? Because it’s a SNAKE.
Oh, and don’t you non-pet owners feel left out. The Starwalkers have got you covered too, offering “house-sitting services like collecting mail, taking out the trash, alternating your lights and blinds and watering your potted plants.” Thank God. Now you too can have your neighbor gush about how incredibly cool and powerful you are, because you got Michael Jackson on trash duty. They’ll be so impressed by the power you yield, they might not even realize that you are also the world’s most pointless necromancer, raising the dead simply so they can perform menial tasks around the house.
What’s sadder than fake celebrity wannabes? How about real celebrity also-rans? Jason told five of them to Get a Job, Celebrity Burnouts. –>