Monday 14 February 2011

Review : Aretha Franklin 2011 Grammy tribute- Christina Aguilera the superstar vocalist is REBORN

Aretha Franklin tribute singers: Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson,
Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride and Yolanda Adams

The most exciting performance, and the one I was looking most forward to, of the 2011 Grammy Awards was the Aretha Franklin tribute. Divas in training, well in comparison to Ms Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride and Florence Welch all come together on one stage to honour the Queen of Soul by performing some her classic hits.
2011 Grammys Aretha Franklin tribute
The Tribute began with a group performance of Aretha's Natural woman that was both lacklustre and flat but it was all change when it came time for the singers to give their solo renditions.

Christina Aguilera sang Ain't no way and gave one of the most AUTHENTIC vocal performances of her whole career. It drove not only the audience wild but had the accompanying singers shaking their heads and clapping their hands in appreciation.

aguilera grammy 2011Next came Martina McBride- who you had to feel sorry for having to follow Christina- and she sung the Areatha classic Till you come back to me. Martina gave a solid, and confident performance that stuck to the original melody of the song. Her voice showed her musical roots as it carried her country twang with it into the performance, and this was in no way a bad thing. Martina's performance was a nice contrast to the bombastic rendition Christina gave before her.

Florence Welch was next and she was the singer I was most looking forward to as I couldn't imagine how her voice would fit an Aretha classic like Think. Surprisingly she managed to hold her own with a performance that didn't shy away from the big notes, or the original arrangement. Florence was definitely the weakest out of the line up, but considering she was a last minute addition and who she was singing alongside, there's really no shame or real criticism in that.

Jennifer Hudson is an Aretha in the making and it was unsurprising they gave her Aretha Franklin's most iconic song, Respect. Hudson's vocal run at the end rode those upper-belted notes with so much ease that it makes me wonder how high that voice can go without degrading in quality. Effortless singing.

Yolanda Adams Started with some beautiful low, notes before taking Spirit in the Dark straight to the Church. Her performance as a whole, though perhaps the most understated, was the most impressive for me out of the ladies. It reminded me how that type of singing and voice is sadly too often  missing from secular, mainstream music. 

The tribute ended with a group rendition of Sisters are doing it from themselves. Ironically it had the "sisters" doing just that by the end of the song as they -minus Hudson who watched Yolanda in what seemed like awe- vied for the spotlight with the obligatory melismatic maelstrom that comes at the close of any self respecting Diva's performance. Good but not great tribute!

Next day UPDATE: I just watched this performance for the zillionth time and just noticed how humble and happy Christina Aguilera acted throughout the performance.

Also Loved how she looked at the others while they sang with an air of respect and appreciation for what they were doing. There was a humility present I've never seen in her before.

Was a total change to the bitchy, ice queen persona shes been rocking for a while. The over singing tarnished the performance a little more every time I watched it, but it was back on form after the National Anthem debacle.

As for Florence Welch, her performance gets better with every view and I'm noticing little bits of magic like her little run as she sang "IQ" at 6.53. The held note was particularly impressive!


  1. Next day UPDATE: I just watched this performance for the zillionth time and just noticed how humble and happy Christina Aguilera acted throughout the performance.

    Also Loved how she looked at the others while they sang with an air of respect and appreciation for what they were doing. There was a humility present I've never seen in her before.

    Was a total change to the bitchy, ice queen persona shes been rocking for a while.

    As for Florence Welch, her performance gets better with every view and I'm noticing little bits of magic like her little run as she sang "IQ" at 6.53.

  2. Christina can sing but as she is prone to do so often she oversings and adds extra syllables where none are needed. Caterwauling was a good description I had read elsewhere. She is trying to show off. Martina can really sing and doesn't need to go through the vocal histrionics to prove it.

  3. Hitting the notes are only half of it. Having Soul Real soul is a whole nother animal

  4. I disagree with most everything you wrote. I thought the first minute was beautiful. Christina Aguilera, with her great voice, makes me so happy when she stops singing, she oversings every time. And I don't care if she seems like she was having fun. Seriously - enough! FLorence is just nothing special as a singer. Jennifer Hudson, Ms. McBride sounded great, as did Yolanda. The band was mostly mechanical, playing with no dynamics, as you would expect at the Grammy's. Overall, the whole thing lacked intimacy, nuance, and somehow lacked soul.

  5. It was a terrible opening number and an insult to Aretha Franklin. I must have changed the channel at least five times...thought it would never end!

  6. Um, what in the sam hell are you talking about? 
    Christina was terrible, such a powerful voice wasted by unnecessary runs and oh's and ah's. You couldn't understand what she was saying cause she littered the performance with them. Martina was definitely not cut out for soul, country is her vocal realm. She did well, but they could have chosen someone better suited. As for Florence, she was amazing. She was the youngest and the underdog and she held her own against established older artist, her belt at the very own was amazing, what you wrote about her was rubbish. Yolanda and Jennifer were entirely suited for this performance as they both did amazing and it looked and sounded natural for both. This review is terrible

  7. I personally felt that Christina slightly held back during the tribute and the deliverance was very well compared to the rest of her career. I mean really compare it to it's a mans world. 

  8. I actually think Florence gave the most impressive performance. Not the best vocal which was without doubt a title J.Hud deserved ... Don't even get me started on Xtina. Her belts sounded awful and pushed. And I personally din't even understand what Martina Mcbride was even doing there. And Yolanda was good but Flo and Jenny stole the show for me.

  9. honestly the most soulful performance was xtina's and yolanda's. i admit though that you can hardly understandand the lyrics on xtina but she sang it with all her heart, she's the type who is happy to sing  for people and gets lost in the song. you can even see yolanda acknowledging her performance. martina is not made for soul. flo hitting and sustaining the high note is commendable but in general just so so. jen had the guns for the soul, just that her performance is lacking "soul". she's the one who just want to showcase her vocal prowess but thats it. she may have seen to be the good girl holding herself back from the diva showdown at the end but she only looked pretentious to me. that indifference just shows she's looking down at the other singers, but for the last second she cant help herself but join the maelstrom anyway. what a fake.

  10. i love christina's part but not the ending of her part with all the whalling "for me to love you"

    i think florence did a good job they all did

  11. wow that was great but I hate when christina tries to sing over the others, but she doesn't need to use her vibrato so much other than she killed it. Jennifer hudson did good, florence was good, but her voice is more pop, Yolanda did good but that low note sounded funny, martina didn't do bad she just isn't a soul singer, more of a country easy going, but they all did great.

  12. what? i thought xtina's belting was a mess
    anyway my favorite was yolanda and Jhud
    i was also surprised by florence

  13. I thought they all did well and that performance of Florence, now That is the level I was hoping/expecting for in "T in the Park". ;D
    Adams, Hudson and Aquilera all sound the same to me once they really start belting though. All very impressive but I much prefer mcBride and Welch with their more distinct voices and stylings. Having said that, though I wouldn't seek out Hudson, every time I hear her at such events I AM very impressed with her skill and feel.

    But...I never get this paying tribute to a great singer by having other singers sing her songs, I would say that's more a tribute to the songwriters really.
    I mean, they clearly have the footage of Aretha herself singing. Why not a nice compilation of her singing these songs at her prime?
    They could round that up with this.

    Seeing as that speaks to what it meant to a listener, that is what I would call paying tribute to the music of Aretha...

  14. I wish Christina would sing heavy metal, she would be extraordinary. And that kind of music would bring out good things in her voice, I think.

  15. I liked the ideia. kkk

  16. Personally Christina did steal the show with her crocodile-like over singing. JS.....

    Personally this is my favs in order:
    1.J-Hud: With that extremely elastic A#5 belt with that gorgeous and heavy run. I really like her explosive vocal phrasing and it reminds me of myself although I'm not quite as good.
    2.Ms. Welch: With that marvelous and attitude felt vibrato...I think the pressure was most on her but she delivered the goods in those High belts.
    3. Mrs. Adams: She was just dynamic, emotive, dynamic, emotive, dynamic, emotive and dynamic and emotive.
    4. Christina: She crocodiled her way through the song and her vocal runs kept me entertained. I wish she would have held back a bit.....
    5. Ms. McBride: Personally she did well but she seemed kinda like the bridge vocals that brought everyone together to make their vocals mesh.....

    All took on the mezzo vocal character for their respective songs but IMHO I find J-hud to be a very weighty soprano, and I say many times....She's her own classification.... Crocodilus soprano....

    Crocodilus soprano: Warm, dry coarse and dark chest voice that is capable of extremely fast malismas. Emotive as well, well known for their grunts and growls that are innate on their vocal tracks, like baby crocodiles..... Their head voice spans well into the 6th octave and has a warm, ringing quality that that is "moist sounding"....Typical vocal tessitura of a crocodilus soprano is from D4-D6 but some can reach low notes well touching the second octave....

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