Last night, Elton John, magisterial in a sparkling suit jacket, sat behind a piano to watch a young actor steal his likeness. His eyes partially hidden behind the rose-colored lenses of his oversized glasses, it was impossible to tell if John felt fear, awe, or the indescribable dread of being so near the existentially uncanny as he looked on to see Taron Egerton, notable for pretending to be John in the forthcoming Rocketman, sing his own “Tiny Dancer” in an approximation of his own voice.
Egerton does a very good job snatching John’s song for himself, closely echoing the original singer’s cadence during the verses. John looks on approvingly. Everything seems normal—even joyful. When we arrive at the chorus, though, shades of Annihilation’s climactic, body-doubling terror start to appear. The pair sing together, voices intermingling into an ungodly amalgamation of original and copy. What does John think during these moments? Does he see his own youth, polished to a mirror sheen in Egerton? Does he long for the past, even as it exists outside of his own body in front of him?
Egerton and John’s performance took place during the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party and, according to John’s official YouTube account, was impromptu: “The audience was taken by surprise when Taron suggested an off-the-cuff performance of ‘Tiny Dancer,’” it reads. “ ... Sir Elton John [volunteered] from the audience to accompany him on the piano.”
The copy makes no mention of whether John, having looked into a living mirror and survived to tell the tale, recuperated from the ordeal. Rumors suggest he was curiously withdrawn and tired afterward while Egerton seemed infused with a strange new power.
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