From Dua Lipa to Elton John, from Pedro Pascal to Bella Ramsey: the success of intergenerational duos in music and television | People
In September 2006, Dolly Parton appeared for the first time as a guest artist on Hannah Montana, the children’s series that catapulted his goddaughter Miley Cyrus to world stardom as a teenager. Parton was a living legend in the music world. country, but a great unknown for the majority of the audience of Disney fiction. “I met you for Hannah Montana. And I’m very happy!” reads a comment posted on one of the photos shared by Dolly Parton on her Instagram profile. More than fifteen years have passed and the duo formed by Cyrus and Parton continues to benefit both parties. The artists teamed up last year to offer a New Year’s Eve concert, broadcast from Miami on NBC. when they performed together Jolene, Dolly Parton’s song that celebrates its half century this year and that Miley Cyrus has covered countless times, the peak moment of the performance arrived. In the days that followed, reproduction in streaming of the topic grew by 29.6% in the United States, according to Billboard, while the fans demanded a joint album of both divas.
An idea with almost guaranteed success, if we compare it with other musical examples with intergenerational duets as protagonists. One of the most recent and lucrative in terms of benefits is the one formed by Dua Lipa and Elton John. the singer of Future Nostalgia and the British musician collaborated on Cold Heart, a remix that merged several Elton John songs into a song remixed by the electronic music group Pnau. The song, featured on John’s 32nd album, The Lockdown Sessions, was a success since its release in the summer of 2021 and has become one of the most listened to in the discography of both singers. “I adore Dua Lipa. She is incredibly talented, absolutely brilliant, and very professional. It is a pleasure to be surrounded by someone so young, who has already achieved so many things and who is humble, “said Elton John about his duet partner in a joint interview they gave to Variety at the end of 2022.
The 48-year gap between Dua and Elton pales in comparison to the six decades that separate Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. The actress and singer first worked with Bennett in 2014 with the album cheek to cheek, awarded at the Grammy in the category of best traditional pop vocal album. They began a world tour and since then their collaborations have been recurring. Both share Italian roots and have made it clear that their relationship is already more friendly than professional. Bennett, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and at the age of 96, retired in style with a second album with Lady Gaga, Love for saleon the market since October 2021. With this project, the singer also made history by being the longest-lived artist to release an album with new material.
A formula with potential
The advantages of this type of collaboration are evident and help to break down all kinds of prejudices. On the one hand, established artists but alien to the younger generations have the possibility of being rediscovered by a new audience. The other half of the duo can demonstrate their talent and even positively surprise those who thought that the music of today does not suit them. Everyone wins. That is why the formula does not focus on the music industry. Film and television have not missed the opportunity to unite couples of actors born decades apart. And everything happens in plots where the age difference is not determined by the family ties of the characters. In most cases, as in music, they are the youngest.
In the highly anticipated HBO Max series The last of us, Pedro Pascal, 47, leads the cast along with Bella Ramsey, 19. Another recent success where the protagonists represent generations distant in time can be found in hawkeye. To adapt the Marvel comic of the same name to the small screen, the Disney+ series featured Jeremy Renner (born in 1971) and Hailee Steinfeld (1996).
But perhaps the most representative example is found in Only murders in the building. Fiction was one of the great successes of 2022 and one of the reasons for its good reception has to do with the great rapport between its three main characters. The thirty-something Selena Gomez, seasoned in the Disney quarry and international pop star, is the perfect counterpoint to the couple formed by Steve Martin (77 years old) and Martin Short (72 years old). In the series they give life to three neighbors of a luxurious building who share only one thing: their passion for podcast of crimes. Allusions to age and the differences between generations —present in issues such as the digital divide— function as one of the recurring jokes in the script. Working with two comedic heavyweights has been a gift for Gomez, who demonstrates her complicity with his fellow professionals in every promotional act for the series. “I’m very fortunate. It’s wonderful, I feel part of the group, I don’t feel like an outcast because I’m younger”, the artist told in statements to Us Magazine a few months ago. And the best is yet to come: in the next season of the series, already confirmed, she will share scenes with another great actress for decades, Meryl Streep, 73.
In Spain, this intergenerational union is not yet so exploited. But there are some promising examples. One of them is the snow girl, the new Netflix series based on the novel by Javier Castillo. In this case, Milena Smit (26 years old) plays a young trainee journalist who, together with José Coronado (65 years old), tries to solve a disappearance. Musical collaborations of this style are also anecdotal, with the Bizarrap phenomenon as a great exception. The young Argentine producer, 24, and Shakira, 46, made history by making their successful Session 53 became the most listened to song in Spanish in 24 hours in the history of Spotify. Before Shakira, the Argentine had already collaborated with music stars such as Residente or Nicky Jam, much older than the twenty-something.