A Greek female pop star has courted controversy by appearing on a popular TV show as Stevie Wonder – blacked up and pretending to be blind. The bizarre performance came on Your Face Sounds Familiar, a talent show which is similar to the British programme Stars In Their Eyes. Singer Mando performed a rendition of Part-Time Lover, and dressed up as the blind African-American star to do so.
Your Face Sounds Familiar is an international franchise which originated in Spain and is currently showing in Britain on ITV. The Greek version was broadcast on channel ANT1 earlier this year, with all the contestants being national celebrities. Each week, every celebrity was assigned a star to impersonate, with the audience and judges voting on a winner. One week Mando, a 47-year-old singer who has had five gold records, was assigned Wonder’s Part-Time Lover.
When she emerged from backstage, she had blacked up her face and hands and was wearing a false moustache. She was obviously pretending to be blind, as a production assistant rushed out and helped her down the stairs, then led her to her piano. Although the audience continued to cheer and applaud during Mando’s entrance, the judges looked taken aback by her surreal get-up. She proceeded to perform an accomplished take on the Motown singer’s 1985 hit.
Viewers apparently did not object to Mando’s offensive outfit, as she was voted the winner of that week’s contest.
But web users have since spoken out against the bizarre episode, taking to Twitter to voice their shock. Jamie Cutteridge said the performance was ‘the least acceptable thing ever, while George Anderson added: ‘I’m picking my jaw off the floor.’