A word in your ear - January 26, 2012

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YOU know we are entering an election year when the candidates start singing.

And in America it has become not just a party piece to show voters you have the ‘common touch’ it is now expected.

From Bill Clinton blowing his sax, to George W Bush’s street rap, well that must surely be what he was doing in front of a microphone when he said he wanted to ‘pop a cap in Osama’s. . . ’

Anyhow, after taking some stick from liberals over a tough three years, Barack Obama burst into song last week to woo supporters.

“I’m so in love with you,” the president crooned in melodic falsetto tones at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, in homage to soul legend Al Green, who was in the audience. “Those guys didn’t think I would do it,” a beaming Obama told the crowd.

“I told you I was going to do it.”

But of course he was going to “do it”. This, after all, is the man who not so very long ago was hanging out with the cast from Glee. What next? A run in a touring production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert?

I wonder what Newt Gingrich is ready to hit back with.

The Republican candidate should pick his songs wisely. There have been some turkeys down the years.

Former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi can’t stay away from the spotlight. The self-proclaimed Latin lover recently released an album of love songs aptly titled True Love.

Then we have Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president. He famously never hits the right note when he sings. The lack of Simon Cowell-esque critics to his vocal talents has only added to the US-media scrum to label him a dictator.

Closer to home, who can forget former Labour Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett proving she could do many things, but singing wasn’t one, with her now legendary (legendarily bad that is) take on The Animals’ classic House of the Rising Sun?

Then you have former Welsh Secretary John Redwood forgetting the words to the national anthem, and the less said about Peter Mandelson’s 1997 Things Can Only Get Better nodding dog dance with Prezza the better.

No wonder D:Ream keyboard maestro Prof Brian Cox decided against a full-time career in electro pop, and got us all staring at the sky instead – if only to avert our eyes from the horrors on stage.

The moral, I suppose, to all this, is if you’re going to show you’re “down with the kids”, or down with Al Green for that matter, choose your moments wisely.

No one wants to go all Boris Johnson and make a fool of themselves, not when there is serious stuff like politics to discuss.

In the words of that great sage of modern sugary ballardeering, Ronan Keating, sometimes You Say It Best When You Say (or sing) Nothing At All.