2003 was a year that will live in music history infamy. Beyoncé dropped her debut solo single, “Crazy in Love.” The concert festival Lollapalooza returned after a six-year absence. iTunes launched worldwide. A teenage girl killed one of the most prestigious awards shows with one performance. It’s time to revisit a little trip to Rome where a clumsy blonde girl from a typical small-town USA went on stage and performed at the world-famous award show. Think like the VMAs but even more significant and weird. It’s time to remember that iconic yet strange performance of “What Dreams Are Made of” by Lizzie McGuire.
Goodbye, Lizzie McGuire. Hello, fabulous
Editor’s note: If you are taking this seriously then please GTFO. See you next week brah.
It was the 2003 International Music Video Awards. All the Italian music stars were there. They were soaking up each other’s Italian awesomeness while drinking awesome Italian shooters. Italian pop icons and their version of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, Isabella Parigi and Paolo Valisari were set to perform. They were going to set their regional hit ballad “What Dreams Are Made Of.” It was a big deal. Such a big deal in fact that Isabella pulled a Britney Jean and split on the adorable tan and slightly muscular cannoli, Paolo after they broke up. It wasn’t full level Britney “I’m going to shave my head” Jean level, but still, she pulled a Britney.
“We’ve been voted “best pop duo of the year” again,” Paolo stated, “But I want to do more serious music. And when I told this to lsabella, she said flat-out ‘no.’ I was forced to tell her, ‘This is it. This will be our last CD together’.”
Paolo saw Lizzie on the streets one day and thought, “That looks like my lovely Isabella.” So he told the impressionable blonde girl from America “I can make you a star baby” and she didn’t find it sketchy or creepy. This is why we don’t have beautiful things. The two prepared for the International Music Video Awards event of the year that feels like in a few days. Lizzie was only in Italy for two weeks. Literally, it was probably within a week to rehearse and prepare this for the world, aka Italy, to see.
On the day of the performance, Lizzie’s best friend David Zephyr Gordon, aka Gordo, ran into the real-life Isabella at the airport. It’s that Lizzie learned about the true intentions of Paolo.
“That whole story about Paolo doing his own music and going solo. That’s lsabella,” Gordo said, ” She’s the one that sings live. Isabella wants to quit the act. Paolo is just a liar. This has all been some scheme to set you up and embarrass you onstage.”
It was then that Gordo and Isabella plotted and changed the game on Paolo. Paolo arranged for Lizzie’s mic to be live and to have her take the fall for Isabella. Gordo and Isabella hijacked the audio board and had Paolo actually sing live while Isabella sang live for Lizzie. As a result, Paolo was blindsided.
“Sing for me, Paolo” Isabella said to Paolo before he ran in embarrassment. Isabella had exposed Paolo for the biggest lip-sync scandal to hit Europe since the Milli Vanilli incident in 1989. After Isabella explained what just happened to the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home, her and Lizzie went on to perform a more pop and upbeat version of “What Dreams are Made of.” Isabella then let Lizzie make her solo musical debut continuing on with the performance that wasn’t ever rehearsed nor planned out.
It was during this performance that the first weave was snatched. It flew out of the country once Lizzie’s backup dancers pulled her tear away her skirt to reveal pants. Lizzie got a standing ovation from all her fellow classmates, family members in attendance, as well as the people in attendance.
“While it was the usually Paolo and Isabella performance we have been accustomed to,” Italian music critic Alonso Veracruz wrote in his review of the performance in a 2003 article for MTV Italy, “American new comer Lizzie McGuire did very well in her first performance after the initial nerves.”
“The Technicolor finish was the best part of the entire performance,” Aleece Butera of Entertainment Tonight Italy, ” I don’t know what I just watch but I hope that I never have to see that again.”
International Music Video Awards were quietly canceled as no one could ever top that performance, as well of the fact it was the lowest-rated award show in the history of European television. The performance has become a cult classic among the LGBTQ+ community as a song celebrating coming out and being true to yourself. Lizzie McGuire became a gay icon.
Since the performance, Paolo has been exiled from the spotlight and been living off the grid. No one has seen him since the camera caught him leaving on that night. Isabella had a successful solo career before going off and starting a family. She is currently starting in as a host on Disney Channel Italy. Lizzie McGuire will be starring in an upcoming show on Disney + named after her.
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