Lindsay Lohan did it; no one liked it. Heroes' Hayden Panettiere tried, and no one cared. Now, Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester is going where other actresses should have feared to tread, but sadly didn't: A single from her upcoming album got leaked to Perez Hilton, and surprise, surprise, it reeks. History has proven that it's nearly impossible for young, up-and-coming actresses to add "singer" to their résumés, so we can't figure out why these kids keep aiming for cross-genre superstardom when they've barely got a foothold in their first career. Is getting to hang out with the dude who works the Pro Tools software really worth diluting your budding, buzz-worthy brand?
Singers turned actresses have a decent (or at least trophy-littered) track record: Barbra and Madonna — well, in Desperately Seeking Susan at least — earned accolades, and, more recently, Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar almost entirely because of her powerful voice. Beyoncé finally even got herself nominated for a Golden Globe by playing Etta James (though we're sure the wig and that brave mild weight-gain helped). Therein may lie the key: Great singers are often great, in part, because with every note they're playing a role, even if that role is just “girl who feels quite strongly that you should have put a ring on it.” With the right movie part, one that's close enough to their pop-star persona, the rest can fall into place. But flip the hyphenate the other way and it's hard to find as many happy endings — maybe because an ability to cry on cue when your TV boyfriend gets hooked on opiates and Thai hookers doesn’t translate to singing prowess, no matter what your high-school drama teacher told you.
Ergo, the output of most actress turned singer hyphenates winds up being kind of embarrassing, often in a way that’s harder to overcome than a sex tape or a boyfriend with an awkward fondness for fraud. Emmy Rossum hasn't done much since dropping her Enya-lite album, possibly because it was hard to take her seriously after seeing the music video where she ran through traffic in a prom dress. High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale keep peddling bubblegum pop that's complicating their attempts to convince people they're also actresses who've outgrown Disney cheese. LiLo pumped out two albums, but can you name any of her songs besides the anti-paparazzi rant "Rumors"? They fizzled, and the thinner she spread herself, the more she spun out of control and sabotaged both careers. Hilary Duff and Mandy Moore flip-flop so often back and forth that now their relationships get more press than their careers. And yes, J. Lo sold a ton of albums once she became Jenny From the Block … but you’ll notice she hasn’t co-starred with Clooney since.
It's a lot of effort for very little reward, especially if it hurts people's attempts to take you seriously. In Meester's case, cutting what will likely be a tedious, overproduced album will make her look more like a generic starlet, rather than arguably the biggest talent on her entire television network. We understand not wanting to be pigeonholed as a CW actress, but with her lauded comedic skills and flair for drama — both straight up and "melo" — she ought to be hustling for meaty roles that will give her carte blanche down the road. Ditto Panettiere. Adding their electronic, nondescript wailings to the already-large pile of CDs full of electronic, nondescript actorly wailings is as pointless as Tiger Woods joining The Hills: He might pull it off without laughing, but why languish in mediocrity when you can be awesome at something else? So seek a ticket to the Grammys another way, ladies — and if you really want to sing, there's always the shower.
Most Viewed Stories
Josh Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s Brother-in-Law, Was Reportedly Spotted at the Women’s March
A Scene from the D.C. Women’s March
Bernie Sanders Wore the Only Appropriate Outfit to Trump’s Inauguration
Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Marchers Came Face-to-Face at the Women’s March
Why the Election of 9 Black Female Judges in Alabama Matters
Taylor Swift Won’t Save Us From Donald Trump
The Greatest Signs From the Women’s March
16 of the Cutest Kids at the Women’s March
Madonna to Women’s March Detractors: ‘F*ck You’
Over 1 Million New York Women Will Have Access to Free Contraception and Abortions
From Our Partners
The Fashion Spot
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.