Since the video for Beyoncé’s “7/11” debuted a couple months ago, there have been a slew of online re-imaginations ranging from parody to homage and from slick to quaintly crude. This proliferation should come as a surprise to no one seeing as how A) the song is pretty catchy B) the video’s own homespun esthetic practically begs anyone with an iPhone to fashion a version C) Beyoncé started it. I mean, come on; we’re talking about an artist whose every move is so meticulously scrutinized and obsessed over that even her detractors have become cultish. So, of course, what is essentially her update of the hokey-pokey would take hold of the public imagination like a fever.
If you’re like me, you enjoy a good song cover but know that good intentions and a desire to be seen can only get these YouTubers so far. If you decide to descend the “7/11” rabbit hole with your Simon Cowell hat on, try applying this simple, utterly arbitrary three-part rating system to your favorites.
“I know you care” - Accuracy: 50 pts.
This category can, itself, be broken down into three subcategories.
Wardrobe: 28 pts.
The aerobic conceit of the video encourages all manner of workout gear from tight tanks and pumps to the bizarre, Playboy-inspired get-up featured in the clip above. But, truth be told, the simple “Kale” sweatshirt, Nike kneepads, and little else with which Beyonce opens the original video is hard to beat for casual-chic.
Choreography: 2 pts
Yes, some 7/11'ers have endeavored to replicate every move of the three-plus minute video. But when the lyrics instruct “I’m spinnin’ my foot up/Put my foot down yeah my hands up,” does it really matter who nails this wacky afterthought of a routine step for step? (See “spirit” below.)
Location: 20 pts.
I have no idea in what expensive hotel overlooking what drab city Beyoncé filmed the original, but some have gone to great lengths to give their “7/11” video the same look and feel of “I have enough money to run around this place fucking things up,” — even if they don’t. They are to be commended.
“Man, it feel like rollin’ dice" - Spirit: 20 pts.
“7/11” is hardly Sasha at her fiercest. The tone is confident but more self-mocking and light. Regardless of attention to detail, a fair amount of points must be awarded for pluck.
“Flexin’ while my hands up” - Originality: 30 pts.
Like just about any Beyoncé hit in recent memory, “7/11” has spawned a tremendous amount of fascinating original choreography. And, while you might be tempted to give the above, oddly emo interpretation the full weight of this category’s points, keep in mind that originality could also involve a more esoteric make-it-your-own factor. Case in point, the two demographically specific interpolations below.
Kyla Imani - “7/11 - Kid’s Version”
The lyrics have been altered to protect the innocent – primarily, that means changing the word “alcohol” to “lemonade.” Cute.
Boyoncé - “7/11”
This one’s pretty self explanatory.