More Fluff and Fewer Flaws for the Revamped Ashlee Simpson

Monday, July 3, 2006

"The biggest lesson I've learned this year is it's okay to not be perfect," Ashlee Simpson told a crush of young girls who came to see her at the Warner Theatre on Friday night.

Wait a minute -- is that an old speech left over from the great lip-syncing debacle of 2004? It's likely, since Ash's 2006 has been more about striving for bland cookie-cutter perfection than accepting perceived flaws -- as evidenced by her alleged nose job.

Although Jessica Simpson's little sis has gotten flak for what appears to be a new, bumpless schnoz, the look better suits her airy personality and fluffy music. Warbling or shrieking out "Shadow" and "Boyfriend," as Ashlee did on the D.C. stop of her summer tour, showed her to be a gal with no need for gravitas. On the rare occasion she needs to exude maturity onstage, well, that's what black eyeliner is for.

Tromping around a stage set filled with candelabras and wrought iron, backed by her too-good-for-teen-pop band, Ashlee presented the sugared faux punk of "La La," the Gwen Stefani imitation that is "L.O.V.E." and a whole mess of (now less-convincing) songs about self-acceptance, including "Love Me for Me" and the title track of her soon-to-be-rereleased sophomore album, "I Am Me."

As Ashlee chirped out the hits as only she can, a ton of girls costumed in her uniform of Dickies and Chuck Taylors, who have yet to grow into their noses, sang along with her, word for word.

-- Sarah Godfrey

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