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Actresses in music

Adriana Pratt | Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow

Famous for her taut body (even after two kids), starring roles in movies like “Shakespeare in Love” and her status as the wife of Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, it’s obvious that Gwyneth Paltrow has got it going on. Apparently all that success wasn’t enough, because Paltrow decided to take it a step further and premiere as a singer this year.

The leap began with a role as a country singer in the recently released “Country Strong” and continued with an appearance on “Glee.” Paltrow’s version of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” on “Glee” was such a success that she was asked to perform the song live with Green on the Grammys. She’ll make the awards show circuit complete with a performance of “Coming Home” from “Country Strong” at the Oscars. If the Grammys are an indicator, expect to see Paltrow confident, boisterous and ready for action at the Feb. 27 award show.

Lindsay Lohan

Though she’s better known these days for rehab and shoplifting, there was a time when Lindsay Lohan had more to her name than felonies. She started out as an adorable, freckly redhead in “The Parent Trap” and became a high school staple as the socially-awkward-girl-turned-diva in “Mean Girls.”

Nothing topped the charts, though, like Lohan’s 2004 debut album “Speak.” Just kidding. Really though, her song “Rumors” was pretty catchy and the album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.

Most music critics wouldn’t consider Lohan’s contributions to the industry legitimate, but for the girls who “just wanna dance and have a good time,” as Lohan sings, she admittedly had some repeat-worthy tracks. Her days of singing might be over for now, but if nothing else her life experiences will provide some great lyrics material.

Hilary Duff

She stole our hearts as a girl whose deepest thoughts — usually about boys and her frenemy Kate — were narrated by her cartoon alter ego on the Disney Channel show “Lizzie McGuire.” When she proved she could sing, Hilary Duff solidified her status as an idol for preteens everywhere.

Her lovable turn as Lizzie led to her singing debut with the release “I Can’t Wait” on the show’s soundtrack. From there, Duff went on to release tracks on “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” soundtrack including “Why Not” and “What Dreams Are Made Of.” She also starred in the movie “Raise Your Voice” where she played a teenage performing arts student.

This pop idol’s hits became the theme songs for MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and “My Super Sweet Sixteen” and she even released a “Best of” album, which the author of this article may or may not own. Lately she’s been preoccupied with being a newlywed and promoting her soon-to-be-released book “Elixir,” but has plans to hit the film set in March for the upcoming movie “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.”

Zooey Deschanel

There’s a reason Buddy the Elf couldn’t get enough of Zooey Deschanel. From the second her silky voice streamed out of the shower in Gimbels’ locker room, audiences everywhere were hooked. As the sarcastic Jovie, Deschanel proved that not only was she a power player in front of the cameras — she could also hold a tune.

Before she hit the big screen in the movie “Elf,” Deschanel already had loads of practice under her belt. She has experience playing the keyboard, percussion, banjo and ukulele, and in 2001 she performed in the jazz cabaret act If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies.

In 2008, she released her first album “Volume One” with M. Ward under the band name She & Him. Her most recent album with Ward, “Volume Two,” received rave reviews from Scene last year.

In “(500) Days of Summer,” Deschanel impressed audiences with her drunken karaoke cover of “Sugar Town” and reiterated the fact that she’s a multi-talented master. Her marriage in 2009 to Death Cab for Cutie’s lead singer Ben Gibbard ensured that regardless of what she does on camera, she will remain an indie idol for years to come.

Miley Cyrus

She might have been called the next Britney Spears, but not for the right reasons. Though Miley Cyrus can belt out a pop song or two, today’s comparisons to the former queen of pop have more to do with lifestyle choices than musical ambitions. Cyrus began as the perky pop star teen on “Hannah Montana” but once she buried Disney in the dust, her talents took a turn for the scandalous.

Though she continues acting and has been in major films like “The Last Song,” Cyrus’s turn as a singer has brought her more attention than most parents are comfortable with. Provocative music videos like “Can’t Be Tamed” and “Who Owns My Heart” have forced mommies to grab the remote and put it on the high shelf as Cyrus rolls around in cages and pretends to kiss girls.

Whether or not Cyrus keeps up her musical career still remains to be seen. In the meantime though, she’s sure to keep the tabloids busy with tricks like smoking salvia and pole-dancing at awards shows.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Adriana Pratt at apratt@nd.edu