As a part of Glee, Michele has released several singles, including Total Eclipse of the Heart. The videos are featured on the actual program, but each have a story and often a performance, such as a dance. This video is mainly narrative, as it tells the story of how Michele’s character is regretting betraying her boyfriend’s trust, and also dealing with her feelings for another man. The video begins in a close up shot, with her singing to the Glee club. The camera pans to view all the characters, but cuts off into a scene with her boyfriend, played by Jonathan Groff.
Then, we see her at Ballet rehearsal dancing with her boyfriend and other dancers, performing the song, but their facial expressions are a lot of what tells the story – Michele is seen looking upset and sorrowful, which gives the audience a chance to see her character looking more vulnerable than before, which would help them to be able to relate to her more. As her character can be quite annoying, audiences tend to be unsympathetic with her, but seeing her genuinely upset gives her a more human aspect.
This also could be a ploy by the record label, Sony. If an audience dislikes a character, sometimes by association they dislike the actor that plays them too. Sony would want to steer away from that view and make Michele’s character a more lovable, relatable character, so she would have more fans and therefore would make more money. Michele’s expressions also show her remorse for her earlier actions, as earlier in the episode she had betrayed her boyfriend. Groff’s stony, cold facial expressions show the audience that he is unwilling to forgive her.
Also, the other man she is interested in is featured and although he doesn’t seem angry, like her boyfriend, he does look upset. Overall, this helps to represent the song as more upsetting one, giving it the feel of a somewhat ‘lonely hearts’ anthem. The lyrics also help to represent this view, talking of lost love and mistakes in relationships, for instance “Once upon a time I was falling in love, now I’m only falling apart” and “I need you now tonight, and I need you more than ever”.
The theme of the song is heartbreak and this is represented in the lyrics, pace of music, storyline and facial expressions of the actors. The whole performance is also quite dramatic. Ballet dancers are often used in theatre productions, where things are purposely over-dramatised, which connotes that Michele’s character is ‘over-dramatising’ the events, by the appearance of the ballet dancers and the link to theatre acting. This also relates back to her days as a theatre actress, and may be a way of reminding old fans who feel she’s “sold out” on Glee, that she is still the same actress with the same values.
This again would help to boost sales of the song and make more money for the record label. The song is also fast paced and could be quite upbeat, despite having the upsetting theme. Even though Michele is portrayed to be upset, she is shown as having strength and carrying on strong despite her seemingly broken heart. In relation to the music, the fast paced music connotes she will not let her life slow down because of the events, even though she feels like it’s ruined her life.
This could be seen as inspirational to some people, who would admire Michele’s appeared strength and aspire to be like her, if they too were in that situation. This also would be another way for the audience to empathise with Michele’s character and perhaps respect her more for not acting childishly about the situation and instead appearing to be sensible, again a way in which Michele herself would gain more fans. Overall, I think the Marie Claire cover was a better way of promoting Michele.
A magazine reaches a wider audience than a niche TV show does, even though Glee gains millions of viewers, it also has sceptics who only see the actors for who they are onscreen, and it therefore gives more people the opportunity to discover Lea Michele and know who she is outside of Glee. It gives people a doorway into become a fan of Michele without having to watch the TV program, and gives the opportunity for people who don’t like Glee to be able to experience Michele as a soloist and as a person instead of a character on a TV show, therefore I think the magazine was the better promotion technique.