THE rise of the YouTube celebrity is a relatively new phenomenon. No one could have predicted the runaway success of the site when it was launched in February 2005, but less than a decade later and it has completely revolutionised the entertainment industry.
American comedienne and actress Coleen Ballinger created an internet character called Miranda Sings back in 2008. She has since posted more than 300 videos on the Miranda Sings YouTube channel. She has created a monster in the process with 200 million views and two million subscribers.
Ballinger brings Miranda to perform in Vicar St for two nights, perfectly exemplifying a very modern way of conducting show-business. The content is completely free and instantly accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a device. Ballinger can now bring her Miranda alter-ego to town to play for adoring 'Mirandafans' and sail off into the sunset. The old rules of engagement of building up your profile through traditional media outlets do not apply.
The audience is mainly teenage and female. When the house lights go down, the shrieks and screams are the loudest I've heard outside the likes of a One Direction concert. Many girls also ape Miranda's make up. She has a bizarre and bewildering and massive cult following that will baffle anyone over the age of 17.
Coleen Ballinger introduces the show as her normal self. When she transforms into Miranda with dorky sweat pants and badly applied lipstick, the screams reach a deafening crescendo.
The main plank of the Miranda Sings live show is her songs, which have captivated such a massive YouTube audience. The delivery is deliberately atonal and out of key. There is an endearing sweetness to her performance as Ballinger squawks her way through the set. She presents the show around the loose theme of 'self-help', or how to get a boyfriend and have high self-esteem.
However, this is self-help with a playful twist and the young audience are completely in on the joke. Ballinger received some criticism for her recent Edinburgh shows for not appealing to a wider audience, but this misses the point. Miranda Sings is a virtual clown for the YouTube generation. She is not meant to be all things to all people.
This bizarre and bonkers show is somehow strangely compelling, even though the tweenage screams are still torturing my poor ears.