John Travolta received astounding SMH’s (shaking my head) on social media after mangling Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars. He strutted to the microphone in the middle of the stage in a stunning black on black designer suit. The words that left his lips were even more stunning. Audience members heard the words coming out his mouth but did not understand them. Travolta elegantly uttered, “Please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazeem.”
Adele Dazeem?! Is there a special soul the entertainment business has not heard of? Maybe it is a performer that has asked to be addressed as their alter ego. Cameras zoom in, and actress Idina Menzel is revealed. Menzel is a triple threat in the entertainment industry; her talents are in singing, song writing and acting. She has darkened the doors of Broadway in Wicked, Rent, and If/Then. Menzel is the voice of Queen Elsa in the Oscar-winning Disney hit Frozen. The talented triple threat provided the Frozen soundtrack with the chart-topping song Let it Go.
It was this song that Menzel graciously took the stage to perform as Travolta mutilated her name. Receiving an invitation to the Oscars is one of the highest honors. A request sent for a performer to unleash their talent on the stage during the coveted award show is a phenomenal achievement. There are many accomplished performers that will never attain this level of success and have this opportunity to perform.
To accomplish this achievement under a briefly assumed name could conceivably resemble discomfort. Many audience members were able to distinguish that the pronunciation of the name was incorrect. The uneasiness was not transferred to the audience by the performer, and was well disguised if it even existed at all, but Travolta is now well aware of his mispronunciation of Menzel’s name. A minor stumble over pronouncing Menzel’s name would have been acceptable and possibly understandable but this was not a mere mispronunciation; it was an outright slaughtering of a name. The name that left Travolta’s mouth was “Adele Dazeem,” which does not even sound similar to the name of Idina Menzel.
Establishing a stage name in the entertainment business is beyond crucial when performing. An entertainer depends heavily on their stage name to market themselves. This is greatly illusive when an entertainer will keep their stage name over their married name. When an entertainer has two different names in circulation, their body of work is difficult to locate. Keeping the original stage name eases the confusion and keeps the fan base.
Regardless, Travolta’s butchery of Menzel’s name did not diminish the effect of her performance. She positively wowed the audience with her powerful pipes. Her captivating performance proved Let It Go is undeniably Oscar worthy. Despite the blemish on the performance, Let it Go captured the Oscar for Best Original Song. Travolta’s blunder may have stunned the audience, but it did not stop Menzel from delivering a stellar Oscar performance.
Editorial by Ebony Waller
Kansas City Star