|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.
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.
Next 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.
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!