I need to let go of a minor rant before I start reviewing this song formally. For those among us who have pattern-detecting brains, this song is a nightmare. Think about it – the semi’s second performance is an affirming song about being yourself titled IM. The semi’s sixth performance is an affirming song about being yourself title I Am What I Am. By all right, the semi should have a song in the 14th position that’s about being yourself titled I Am What I Am and That’s All I Am. Instead, we get a sad boi anthem titled River. THE PATTERN IS INCOMPLETE. MY BRAIN DOES NOT LIKE THIS.
Anyway, if IM is the sassy upbeat anthem you play when getting ready for a night out, I Am What I Am is the upbeat anthem that plays at the end of an animated movie series.
But for some reason, I Am What I Am annoys me much more than IM. I know Emma has faced criticism for doing this type of song when she’s a conventionally attractive performer, but not all disabilities are visible, and we don’t know what she’s struggling with. That’s not what bothers me.
What bothers me is that in her music video, Emma can’t seem to let people just be what they are.
Look at this guy, just spending time making Spock hands in front of his mirror. He could be a narcissist and just like staring at himself. He could be neurodivergent and is practicing faces in the mirror so that he doesn’t seem weird externally. But he’s generally just there doing his thing:
…until Emma Muscat comes along and “rescues” him. Look at that big smile! She’s so proud of taking this misfit young man out of his bedroom and into the wider world….
…only to make him DANCE to her song!
EMMA! True acceptance is letting people be how they are, even if that means they’d be much happier sitting in their dark bedroom instead of hanging around on set with you and a bunch of other diverse strangers! As someone who is neurodivergent, this is a nightmare scenario to me – being kidnapped by someone who takes me to a party where I don’t know anyone and am forced to dance with strangers. It’s less I Am What I Am and more I Am the Diverse Sidekick to Your Normal Life Where This Is Supposed To Seem Fun But It Isn’t.
Anyway, is this a pee break song? I don’t know. Emma will perform it beautifully and it will be rousing in an emotionally manipulative way, but if you really need to pee, go now, because you don’t want to miss San Marino.