Even though John Legend has been promoting La La Land all season, stories have usually wound up being about Chrissy Teigen. I am far from innocent in this regard – she just makes it so easy. Chrissy Teigen is almost compulsively interesting.
But today it was really supposed to be about John, and his performance, and the fact that as an executive producer, he has as much ownership over La La Land as Ryan or Emma or director Chazelle. And he sold the hell out of the songs in the mash up performance, of course, but one thing became clear—when you have John Legend, who is a verifiable hit machine, performing his heart out on these songs, those are optimal conditions, and so you have to kind of face the truth:
Those are not great songs.
That is, they’re not Academy-Award-winning Best Songs that make you feel things like you want to feel and sing over and over again. Can you sing one line from Audition? No, of course not. City of Stars? Sure, you can do the ‘do-do-do-DO-do-do-do City of Stoaoaoaoars’, but what’s after that? What makes you play it over and over again? Nothing. You don’t. The movie was a musical, sure, but the songs aren’t ‘musical-y’, full of huge big emotions that Oscar movies are supposed to have.
And half the reason people know John Legend is because they cannot believe how much they hate the fact that they LOVE All of Me. Ordinary People. I’m even down for some Platinum and Gold. If he can’t make it happen, nobody can.
Perhaps, though, perhaps his next hit song will be about how his wife steals all his thunder. Because I was bound and determined to make this article about him, to give him his moment, such as it was. But SOMEHOW this woman manages to become the story, every time—without ever seeming like it’s on purpose. To wit:
That is Chrissy Teigen.
On John Legend’s shoulder.
While Casey Affleck accepted his Best Actor award to an audience of... mixed enthusiasm.
She was sleeping at the OSCARS. It was caught on camera.
You guys. I’m not made of stone.
Maybe next year is John’s year. Maybe he’ll do all the cute funny things. Maybe she’ll give him that for his birthday.