You feel a certain apprehension going into a Miranda Sings live show. As a genuine YouTube sensation, one worries that Colleen Ballinger’s abrasive character simply won’t work outside of the three minute bursts of hysteria she regularly unleashes upon her online audience. This, paired with the fear that the venture exists simply to capitalise on Miranda’s rabid millennial audience, gives the impression that spending an hour with Miranda must be a disaster in waiting. Within the opening moments of the show, these fears are totally assuaged, as the translation from screen to stage offers a newfound appreciation for Ballinger’s immense comedic talent.
After watching Ballinger transform into Miranda mid-song, it’s remarkable how you forget they’re the same person.
For those who have yet to identity as a ‘Mirfanda’, Miranda has always been a celebrity – it’s just that now people know about it. Beginning life as a viral pastiche of teenage girls singing into their webcams and posting the videos online, the evolution of Miranda as a comic creation is fascinating: Ballinger took all of the criticism from people who thought Miranda was real and further applied it to the character. The result is a wonderfully heinous young woman who dresses like a dowdy child, lacks any talent or self-awareness and transcended any delusions of grandeur years ago. The real success of Miranda is that despite all of these absurd traits, she feels like a real person. A lot of this will be down to the frequency with which Ballinger inhabits her, but it’s more than that. It’s the depth and detail of the character. She has facial tics, a unique way of phrasing her thoughts, a questionable grasp of the English language, terrible IT skills and a, shall we say, “complex” relationship with her uncle. In a show which features a lot of improvisation, everything Ballinger says feels true to the character.
In terms of the show itself, it manages to attend to its remarkably diverse audience without pandering to it. When she calls one of the many children in the audience on to the stage for a “voice lesson”, there is a fear Ballinger will betray her character in order to make the child feel more comfortable. Instead, she trusts the child knows the character well enough that she won’t take Miranda’s criticism of her performance seriously, keeping the humour intact. After watching Ballinger transform into Miranda mid-song, it’s remarkable how you forget they’re the same person. This made it disappointing that at one point she corpsed and broke character. It was a funny moment and was covered up well, but it did damage the otherwise wholly convincing illusion.
Lest we forget the main reason the crowd has converged at the EICC: Miranda’s dulcet tones. Framing the hour as a self-help seminar, Miranda disperses her greatest hits in amongst her profound musings “PORN, love, BULLIES and self isteam”. The beauty of Miranda’s musical performances is not just that she’s a bad singer, but that she also lacks any kind of musicality – and it’s priceless.
Seeing Miranda Sings in person will win over even the most dubious of Mirfandas. She’ll also probably gain some new ones. Not that she cares. In the immortal words of Miranda “Haters Back Off”!