Watching Cher sing “Fernando” in the new “Mamma Mia” movie is like conjuring up a past spirit resurrected in the present. The movie is a hot summer hit and Cher is even hotter.
She isn’t a myth or ghostly memory. Cher, 72, is an artist who defies time and possesses talent and beauty that is timeless. You can see it on the big screen in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”
But there’s so much more to Cher than wigs, plastic surgery, make-up and fashion. Her essence lies in a magnetic personality, vocal dexterity and an enduring spirit.
“What Cher has is really a gift from God,” said Villager Georgianne Hill, who has made a career of studying Cher. Hill bears a remarkable physical resemblance to Cher and often does tribute shows. But portraying the famed singer on stage goes beyond looks.
“Cher has a spirit and personality that just connects with people,” Hill said. “I saw her in concert last year, and once Cher walked on stage, you felt like she was part of you. I’ve always felt that way about her; and not just because I look like her. She just reaches an audience.”
The release of the new “Mamma Mia…” movie has been an explosive boost for Cher in 2018. She sings “Fernando” in the film and will soon release an album of ABBA cover songs. It’s Cher’s first album in nearly five years.
Also, later this year, Cher will receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for her contributions to the arts.
But “Mamma Mia…” is the driving force behind her surging contemporary popularity.
“Cher never went away, she has always been hugely popular as a singer and concert performer,” Hill said. “This isn’t a comeback as a singer, but, in a way, it’s a comeback as an actress.”
Cher’s last big film was “Burlesque,” nearly seven years ago. And with “Mamma Mia…” she’s back at the top of her acting game.
“A platinum-wigged Cher shows up in Act Three and walks off with the whole film by singing a mere one-and-a-half songs,” wrote critic David Ferguson for NBC’s “Think” web site, adding: “Part of it is the lady’s star presence and charisma; it’s simply impossible to look at anyone else when she’s onscreen. The other characters all become extras as soon as Cher flies in and touches a perilously high heel to the firmament.
“The other part of it is her unmistakable singing voice, as instantly as recognizable as Aretha Franklin or Stevie Nicks. Cher sings in a throaty warble with a turbo-speed vibrato that rivals Freddie Mercury’s and would likely drive most voice teachers wild.”
Here is a preview video of “Fernando”:
Then there’s Cher’s “Momma Mia” look, with the platinum wig and cream-colored pantsuits.
“She has the look of an elegant woman,” Hill said. “Age doesn’t matter for Cher. She looks great.”
Still, even Cher admits, “Getting old is a bitch and not for sissies,” as she said in a release promoting her upcoming album. Here is the track list for Cher’s upcoming album to be released later this year: “Waterloo,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” “Dancing Queen,” “Chiquita,” “The Name of the Game,” “Mamma Mia,” “One of Us,” “The Winner Takes It All” and “SOS.” Cher has not announced the name of a surprise 10th song.
She definitely was ready for the role of Ruby in the new film.
“I’ve lived her,” Cher told E! News. “I needed to be true to the character.”
The movie, she has said, “Makes you laugh, cry, and dance.”
The same could be said of the teenage girl who started so long ago as the hippie sidekick to the late Sonny Bono. So much has changed since they sang “I Got You Babe” more than a half-century ago.
Cher, like time, marches on.
“I don’t think Cher will ever be old,” Hill said. “I call her a well-aged woman.”
Tony Violanti covers entertainment for Villages-News.com