Feb 112013

It’s become commonplace now at giant events like Super Bowl halftime shows and awards shows to see an artist perform to an audience of a couple hundred beautiful, enthusiastic, coordinated fans-for-hire doing what I call cheer-syncing (or crowd-syncing), a term I propose adding to our RTH Glossary. Sometimes the camera pulls back to show the crowd rushing the stage as they are set free from their holding pen. In the case of The Rolling Stones’ 2006 halftime show the cheer-syncing professionals were actually enclosed in a pen within the band’s stage. Talk about a captive audience.

Everyone is beautiful. Everyone’s got their hand raised to the heavens, like they’re in a Pentecostal church. There can’t be that many Pentecostal churchgoers at televised rock performances, can there?

How far back does this practice of hiring an audience to crowd the foot of the stage and essentially pee their pants in unison does this practice go? Was this idea spawned after choreographed rock performances in Jesus Christ Superstar and Tommy? No one really cheers like that do they? How often does an audience actually rally around a performer the way they do on these televised spectacles?

Were those hysterical girls filmed at Beatles’ concerts actually models hired to cheer-sync? The young people seated around the stage during Elvis Presley‘s amazing ’68 Comeback Special performance seem a little too natural, in some cases even tranquilized. Imagine the crowd-syncing that would have been organized had this taken place 20 years in the future?

I don’t recall noting this practice in 1979, but then again I was doing everything in my power to avoid ever watching Journey on The Midnight Special.

Is there a casting call for the cheer-syncing pen? A lottery? How I would love this post to happen across the screen of a beautiful, hand-raising cheer-sync professional for some behind-the-scenes insights!


  3 Responses to “Cheer-Syncing (aka Crowd-Syncing)”

  1. I thought I heard something phony last night at the Grammys. After 4 minutes of Taylor doing some kind of Nutcracker/marching band/stripper show, the crowd explodes in cheers. It didn’t look anything like the audience was cheering to the level of the applause. I think the show pumped in extra cheers on the broadcast. That’s what it seemed like. Boooooo!

  2. Yeah, I’ve been noticing a lot of pumped-in cheering at these performances of late. Totally lame.

  3. I just posted something on the only 4 minutes of the GRAMMYS I caught last night: fun.. Listen for the pumped in crowd noises when the “rain” starts falling. You’d think Jesus showed up on stage riding on the shoulders of Elvis.

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