A Star Is Torn
| "A Star Is Torn"
| Episode Information
"A Star is Torn" is the eighteenth episode of season 16 of The Simpsons and the three-hundred and fifty-third episode overall. It originally aired on May 8, 2005. The episode was written by Carolyn Omine and directed by Nancy Kruse. It guest stars Fantasia Barrino as Clarissa Wellington.
- "After singing a song to her ill family, Lisa enters Krusty's Li'l Starmaker in the hopes of winning, with Homer as her songwriter. However, Homer's cutthroat attitude towards the competition puts a strain on their relationship."
The Simpson family go shopping at the Kwik-E-Mart, only to find it being robbed by Snake. They decide to go to the farm stand next door, run by Cletus and Brandine where they buy organic vegetables. Whilst eating dinner, the entire family, except Lisa, get ill from not being used to eating vegetables and being used to eating processed food. Lisa then looks after the rest of the family, bringing them tea and crackers. She then sings "Hush, Little Baby" to them to help them get to sleep. The next morning, Lisa finds the family all better and eating Shakespeare's Fried Chicken. They then see an advert on TV for Krusty's Li'l Starmaker, a singing competition, with the winner getting animated into an episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show. Bart tells Lisa that she should enter because she has a great singing voice.
That night, the family then camps outside the Springfield Mall, where the auditions will be held. Lisa has a dream where she appears on The Itchy & Scratchy Show and gives people advice on how to look after their pets. She then wakes up and the family enters the Mall, ready for the auditions. Ralph auditions first and gets a sarcastic applause from the audience. After Ralph, Clarissa Wellington auditions, singing "Hush, Little Baby", the song that Lisa was going to sing. Clarissa impresses the audience and they all applaud and cheer her on. Homer then rushes off to write Lisa a new song and brings it to her just as her audition is about to start. Lisa sings "I'm Talkin' Springfield" and receives a huge applause from the audience, with the needle breaking off the Applause-O-Meter. Lisa is then put through into the next stage of the show.
Lisa and Homer practice to get Lisa ready for the next stage. During the show, they watch Cameron, who had a lot of young fans, sing a version of "Greensleeves", which gets him a great cheer and applause from the audience. Lisa then sings her next song, "My Kitty Died", which moves the audience to tears. Katie Anderson is then the first contestant to be eliminated from the show. The show continues, leaving only three contestants remaining; Lisa, Cameron and Clarissa. Clarissa is then the next contestant to be eliminating, leaving Lisa to face off against Cameron in the final.
Backstage, Lisa gets concerned with Homer's aggressiveness and cutthroat attitude when it comes to helping Lisa to win. She fires him as her songwriter, which causes problems between the two of them. Homer then joins Cameron as his songwriter and manager, changing his stage name of "Johnny Rainbow". Homer then trains Cameron, which upsets Lisa. When preparing on stage, Homer tells Lisa that she should look into the spotlight when she finishes as it makes her eyes twinkle, which makes Lisa happy as he's still helping her.
The final performances then go underway, with Lisa having written her own song, "Always My Dad". This moves the audience again and they cheer her on. Homer also cries at the song. When Lisa walks off the stage, she tells Homer that the best part of the whole show was that she spent time with her dad. Homer then told Lisa that Cameron was going to learn to not trust people in the music business. Cameron goes on stage and sings "Privileged Boy", which angers the audience and loses him his fans. Cameron runs off crying, leaving Lisa as the winner. Homer then tells Lisa that he'll always be there for him and not even death will stop him.
During the credits, Homer and Lisa practice jazz hands together, with Maggie attempting to take part too, falling over constantly.
Al Jean went to Carolyn Omine with the idea for the episode. He wanted to do an episode based on American Idol and wanted Homer to be good at something and wanted to go down a route similar to how Helen Kushnick was with Jay Leno, where she went overboard as Leno's manager. The episode also came around as Yeardley Smith has a good singing voice. So, they wanted Lisa to sing in more episodes. Yeardley Smith's Lisa voice makes it hard to sing, so Lisa can only sing in about four notes. Songs were pitched too high for her singing voice, which is a lower pitch. As a result of this, she flip-flops between Lisa's singing voice and her own singing voice as Lisa's singing is so limited.
Clarissa was named after one of the daughters of writer and producer J. Stewart Burns. The Paul Simon joke was written as a joke about Paul Simon being small. Michael Price pitched the jazz hands segments in the show.
- Omine, Carolyn (2013). Commentary for "A Star Is Torn", in The Simpsons: The Complete Sixteenth Season.
- Jean, Al (2013). Commentary for "A Star Is Torn", in The Simpsons: The Complete Sixteenth Season.
- Smith, Yeardley (2013). Commentary for "A Star Is Torn", in The Simpsons: The Complete Sixteenth Season.
- IMDb - "A Star Is Torn"
- TV.com - "A Star Is Torn"