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About (Late) Last Night: YouTube sensation Rebecca Black performs 'Friday' on 'The Tonight Show' [Video]

March 23, 2011 |  7:24 am


Rebecca Black is the latest entry in the ever-expanding annals of instant Internet celebrities, and, even in the era of Antoine Dodson and the "double rainbow" guy, one of its more unexpected. In case you missed it, last week the low-fi video for Black's song "Friday" became a viral sensation, racking up millions of views in a matter of days, and inspiring dozens of parodies. Depending on your perspective, the song, full of inane lyrics like "Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday" (note: Thanks for the tip!), is either a brilliant if unintentional satire of insipid pop music or a grotesque example of the fame-worshipping culture in which we live.

On Tuesday night, Black (who reminds me of Winnie from "The Wonder Years") made an appearance on "The Tonight Show." It's tempting to dismiss the Orange County eighth-grader -- whose parents paid a reported $2,000 for her to "pretend to be a star," as a writer at Slate put it -- as a spoiled, narcissistic tween. And it's virtually impossible not to be appalled by the modest fortune her novelty hit has already generated.

But in her "Tonight Show" appearance, Black did as little as possible to fan the flames of resentment. Sitting a few feet from hunk-of-the-moment Bradley Cooper, she was sweet, surprisingly poised and not entirely unlikable. She even told Leno she's donating proceeds from her song to the relief efforts in Japan, so take that, haters! Her (most likely) lip-synced performance of "Friday" may have made Miley Cyrus look like Maria Callas by comparison, but hey, at least the kid seems to have a decent head on her shoulders. Hopefully the modesty will outlast her destined-to-be-short-lived fame.

-- Meredith Blake