Okay, so far as I know, there's no such award (and I'm certainly not instituting one). And I don't really give all that much thought to teenage celebrities, and I have to admit that I didn't really see the draw when my daughter and her friends kept babbling about how "hot" Mitchel Musso was. I was thinking something more along the lines of "he seems like a nice kid". But I do believe in giving credit where it's due, and I think Mitchel Musso deserves some credit--especially in contrast to Ashley Greene, who we encountered earlier the same evening.
Yesterday, I took my daughter and two of her friends to see New Moon at the Hollywood Palms theater, where the stunningly beautiful Ashley Greene (aka Alice Cullen) was signing autographs.
For a price, that is. A fairly hefty price, actually. $20 per person to take a picture with her, even if it was the same photograph. $20 for an autograph even if you'd just bought a $20 photo. So I paid $80 for my daughter and her two friends to get a picture together with Ashley Greene and then have Ashley sign my daughter's t-shirt. All together, I think that the three of them spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 minutes with Ms. Greene for my $80.
To her credit, she did take the time to add my daughter's name and a few hearts and kisses to the back of her shirt. Maybe I expect too much. But as many of you know I've spent some time around celebrities interacting with fans, whether by design or because they got caught trying to eat dinner or grab a cup of coffee. Some of those celebrities set the bar pretty high. All of which is to say that I'm not easily impressed, and I'd had my fill of shelling out cash for a twenty second smile when Mitchel Musso unexpectedly appeared on the scene and my daughter's brain melted. And her friends' brains melted. And I'm pretty sure that I actually felt my wallet cringe.
Musso was only signing CDs. It was free if you already had his CD; if not, you had to buy the CD to get his autograph. But the powers that were made it clear that the artist made the rules, and the rules of this game were much more lax. For instance, I only had to buy one CD to get all three girls into the line to meet him, and he was fine with posing for a picture with all of them, CDs or not. But that was only the beginning.
Since my girls had just seen New Moon, they were still wearing matching "Team Mike Newton" t-shirts. He commented on their shirts and asked whether they'd just seen New Moon. When they said yes, he asked whether it was as good as the first one. When my camera acted glitchy and I was afraid the picture wasn't going to turn out, he smilingly held the pose and waited while I pulled out my phone and took another couple of shots for back-up. Sweetest of all, he noticed that there were three of them and only two CDs (long story) and while he chatted with them, he pulled the insert out of one of the CDs and signed that too, saying casually, "Here, I'll just sign this too, just in case. Then you'll have three."
One of them asked for a hug and he hugged all three, one at a time, in no apparent hurry. And the oldest (15) slipped in a "you're hot" before quickly walking away, he ducked his head, smiled up at her and said, "thank you".
The girls walked away flapping and twittering like they were going to take flight, and repeated their conversation with him and their commentary on how hot he was and how nice he was and how HIS CHEEK WAS RIGHT AGAINST MY FOREHEAD all the way home, where they used On Demand to rewatch what seemed like every episode of Hannah Montana. Treating your fans well is good business, too.
It was nice to see; having hoards of people waiting in line to see you, touch you, stand close to you, get your autograph can go to your head. I imagine that could happen much more easily if you were a teenage boy, and the screaming hoards were teenage girls. But thus far, Mitchel Musso comes across as a good kid who understands that his fans are individual people, and that how he responds to them matters. I hope it lasts.