Piers Morgan and CNN Butcher Alfie Boe's Tender Rendition of 'Bring Him Home'
by, 08-04-2012 at 02:44 PM (2388 Views)
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about my intent to break my vow not to watch Piers Morgan Tonight. Morgan is doing his talk show which airs on CNN from London where he is covering everything Olympics. Personally, I consider the man to be arrogant and glib, for reasons I stated in that original post. My reason for breaking my vow is that I wanted to see Alfie Boe, an incredible singer from Great Britain.
Boe had actually taped his appearance on August 2, and he'd brought with him Al Vosper, his guitarist who plays in the band that tours with Boe. To be honest, fans suspected that Boe would sing Bring Him Home, the non-operatic song that the singer is best known for. I say non-operatic because for the first many years of his career, Boe sang primarily opera. Then in 2010, he got the lead role in the 25th Les Miserables Anniversary Concert. By the end of the three-hour performance, everyone knew his life had changed, and it has. He no longer carries the banner of "opera singer" and is now quite happily referred to as "a singer" who performs all kinds of music in his concerts, including lovely Neapolitan songs that his fans eat up amid other songs such as Desperado, Midnight Rider, Wheels of a Dream, Rank Strangers, Angie, and Shine a Light that is combined with a bit of Bob Marley's No Woman, No Cry. He sings it all.
Let me get back to Piers Morgan and CNN. The show opened with an interview with Ryan Lochte. That was okay, but then they brought in his father, and things just got silly. There was even a bit with a birthday cake that just seemed frivolous. That was followed by an interview with Veronica Campbell-Brown and another with singer, Katherine Jenkins. I have no problem with these except for the fact that such a packed show affected what happened next, though the Lochte interview is what I blame the most.
The show's final guest was indeed Alfie Boe. There was an interview in which the performer was able to get across his personality a bit in that he has a great sense of humor, albeit much of it went over Morgan's head. Morgan's questions were mostly old hat, queries that have been asked of Boe throughout his career. To his credit, you would never know that his car mechanic tale, for example, is one he's answered hundreds of times before.
However, the sin of the hour is what followed the interview. There were countless commercials between the interview and the last segment. There was also a very long CNN Heroes segment. When the show finally resumed, Morgan introduced Boe and the song he was singing, Bring Him Home.
Here is what you need to understand. Bring Him Home is the popular title of this extremely emotional song. In the songbook of Les Miserables, however, it is called The Prayer. Boe's character, Jean Valjean, sings this prayer to God, praying for the life of a young man his daughter loves. He wants God to take him, not the young man. This is his prayer, sung so beautifully that at the O2, Boe received such an ovation with thundering applause that he had to break character, smile to the audience, and blow them a kiss of gratitude. The moment was literally life changing for him.
So here we are. Boe and his guitarist begin the number. It's sweet and beautiful, and then I hear it -- a cut. Right in the middle of the song, Morgan edited it. He and his people spliced right into the lyrics, violating this wonderful prayer. The cut was bad. I heard it and it was awkward. The entire middle was gone. Then Boe's stunning voice concludes, not naturally, but a victim of poor editing. The last tender notes of his word was invaded by a switch to the next show, the impact of the song totally lost. The show is over, and people across America, even throughout the world, are left to shrug and wonder what happened while feeling confused and unfulfilled.
Worse, following Piers Morgan Tonight was Anderson Cooper's 360 which had the unpleasant reality of being on the topic of ungodly disciple. They literally went from this prayer to a full screen placard that said "Ungodly Discipline" while Cooper explained the topic of the show was about parents and educators hitting kids in the name of God. It was horrendous.
And there is one more peeve. When Boe began singing, he was shown, all too briefly, and then, poof, there were images of athletes. The problem is that it shows CNN and Morgan have absolutely no idea what Bring Him Home is about. It is not about the triumph or failure of sport; that's not even close. To display those images during this prayer shows an ignorance towards the meaning of the song. It was shameful.
I was livid, and it still bothers me how CNN could be so crude as to not present all of Boe's performance, butchering it in such a way that people unacquainted with him and the song leave with an impression that may not be all that positive. They say any publicity is good publicity, but I do not believe that to always be the case, not when this kind of performance is hacked by the network.
Piers Morgan owes Alfie Boe an apology. More than that, he owes the public an apology. If he has any scruples, which I doubt, he will air the song in its entirety next week. It is the only possible way of offering redemption.
Yes, shows get edited, but quality editors know how to do it right. This was the not the right way. The Lochte interview should have been lessened by two minutes. Take away the silly cake and some of the dad's nonsense, and all would have been well. Another solution would have been not to air the CNN Heroes segment when they knew they were limited on time. They could easily have placed it elsewhere.
I do not regret breaking my vow because Alfie Boe is worthy of my attention. He is a darn good singer and a nice man, humble about his success, devoted to his wife and children, and he cares about his fans a great deal. He won't say a negative thing about what happened because he is not that kind of person. He understands business. I do, too, but I also know there are choices, and Piers Morgan and CNN made some very bad choices last night.
Let's see if they have the integrity to own up to their mistake and correct this error. I doubt it will happen, but I am giving them one shot at making good to America, and to Boe himself.
If you want to hear Bring Him Home the way it was intended, a touching prayer sung from the heart, check out this July 21st performance in a place called Westonbirt. This is the beauty that Piers Morgan and CNN disrespected so callously.