Dix Hills seventh-grader Jenna Rose Swerdlow watched her bedroom computer screen in amazement as her YouTube music video "My Jeans" catapulted toward 1 million views over the weekend. The song she filmed in her pink-and-green bedroom and at the Tanger Outlet Center in Deer Park has mimicked the notoriety of Southern California teenager Rebecca Black, whose video "Friday" went viral after bloggers and TV personalities called it "the worst."
Jenna's song is about a pair of her jeans, studded with jewels and appliqués, that she discovers pop stars are also wearing. Lyrics include: "Hannah Montana is wearing my jeans. Ashley Tisdale is wearing my jeans."
"Everyone's singing it," Jenna, 12, says of her West Hollow Middle School classmates. "All the eighth-graders know me. Today in the hall this kid came up to me and said, 'Jenna Rose!' and I'm like, 'Who are you?' "
Why have 1.2 million people suddenly watched a video that has been on various websites since August? That's what Jenna's mom wondered when she noticed "My Jeans" had jumped from 5,500 to 60,000 views in one day last week. "I said to my husband, 'This is not normal.' "
Debbie Swerdlow did some Web surfing and found the source: Blogs and websites have been promoting "My Jeans" as the same kind of music video as Rebecca Black's "Friday." The two auto-tuned videos have similarities -- both girls start out in bed waking up for school, both hop into cars with friends, both have an interlude done by African-American rappers.
Publicity is a double-edged sword. Jenna's dad, Robert, started screening comments on her YouTube page because some were inappropriate and mean. But Jenna's parents are hoping this will end with Jenna being signed professionally. After all, Black's video has had 13 million views, the song is now No. 35 on iTunes (as of 11 Monday night), and the teen appeared last week on "Good Morning America."
Jenna has been singing since she was 2 and has appeared in plays at Long Island theaters, including the BayWay Arts Center and the Smithtown Performing Arts Center. She had been planning to launch another music video, and now the Swerdlows are speeding up the release to this weekend.
The topic is perfect timing -- the new song, called "O.M.G.," responds to cybercritics and cyberbullying, Debbie Swerdlow says. "She wanted to do a song about haters."
The refrain: "They know that they love me, they know that they hate me, no matter what, I am a star."