Monday, 19 November 2012

[Rant] Christina Aguilera Performs Lotus Medley @2012 AMAs



The post and performance from the 2012 American Music Awards I'm sure most of you were looking forward to: Christina Aguilera! God help us.

There is one thing I need to quickly say about her-it's a realisation I came to yesterday unexpectedly- and it's that she is the most consistently bad vocalist I think I have ever had the pleasure of being a fan of. If it wasn't for her recording voice, I'm pretty sure I would have jettisoned her from my affections  a long time ago. Anyway, back to the performance.
Christina Aguilera's performance at the 2012 American Music Awards started with Lotus, which I'm pretty sure not one word was sung live. The human bodies working like the leaves of the Lotus flower imitated nicely the front cover of the album, but it is odd how this soft and gentle vocal was the part of the medley Christina decided to lipsync to. Next up was Army of me, which was hoarse, out of tune at times, and painful to listen to. I honestly thought that the vocals on the album had been left so raw because it meant she'd be able to sing them live. This performance makes me think otherwise. Finally the medley finished with Let There Be Love. Little singing was done here by Christina, but that backing singer sure earned her money tonight!

Overall this was lazy, uninspired and reminded me of that sad performance given by Britney Spears at the height of her meltdown during the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards [here]. Ultimately it confirms my thoughts that Christina Aguilera is a diva who got her vocal props way too early, and does not deserve to be up there with the greats like Whitney, Mariah, or oft compared, Etta James, yet. Just compare her to Mariah Carey, who has suffered one of the most famous vocal declines in popular music. She was still giving performances like this at around Christian's age [here].

Whereas Pink continues to inspire with her live set at the AMAs [here], and rightly so, reading the comments [see below] on Christina's performance makes me think she has damaged a generation's perception of what "amazing" singing is. I know it's incredibly subjective, but come on, Taylor Swift -who is often ridiculed for her voice-sang better than her on the night. It's actually a little depressing how deluded some people are.

I honestly don't know what Christina can do to stop this decline, but whatever it is, I pray she does it soon.





69 comments:

  1. Just cover up yourself woman...

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  2. I don't how I am supposed to feel about this. I didn't expected a good vocal performance after how terrible she had sounded in "Make the World Move"... but God, I wasn't ready for THIS.

    The only part I liked was the first verse of Army of Me (Lotus was lipsynced indeed, I don't why exactly). After that, her voice turned into a train wreck. She oversing completly, her voice sounded more strained than ever, and she chocked everytime she tried a belt. Moreover, the whole dancing routines and all those outfits and styles didn' help either. Everything seem like a mess, a terrible mess.

    I cannot begin to understand how anyone can consider this performance as acceptable. It's an abobination, one of the worst in her whole career. God save her from herself!

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  3. I just wonder what she is going to sound like in 10 years time, if she still has the faculty to sing at that point! And yes those backing singers were just as bad...

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  4. It was horrible performance but she has never sung uptempo songs well live. It's like she is really getting lost when the music is louder than her voice. She is performing 'Just a fool' tonight on the voice I think it will be the real test for her...

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  5. I didn't feel Christina really did much singing and what singing she did execute sounded labored. She almost lost that belted note in the middle of the medley and it nearly dropped out. I am definitely concerned about the state of her voice. Thank goodness for the background singers who supported the medley and carried the tunes forward. I was hoping her 30 second duet with Pitbull could have been lengthened about 10 times its actual duration to pull the performance up but it was not to be. I am beginning to worry if she does have vocal damage that she is actually rehabilitating more than just bad habits which might explain part of her pitchy performances and strained and shaky upper chest notes.

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  6. Wow, just wow. That was just a bunch of screaming and grunts and like you said, it's funny how she chooses to lip the softer song. Terrible performance, I don't know what those commenters heard...

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  7. Song 1: Am I being thick? WHY mime Lotus? Half of it was speaking, and the rest was an easy sing. Makes no sense. Why mime an easy song and sing a hard one?!

    Song 2: Soooo many gimmicks onstage. And her backing vocalists are singing a lot of the melody. 2:53 is the exact moment that Seth Riggs begins to weep.

    Song 3: Not much singing again from Xtina. Even Cher thinks to herself 'That staging's a bit OTT'.

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  8. I think when Christina had to cancel part of stripped tour back in 03' due to vocal cord injuries was the first time she really did some permanent damage, Which is probably what darkened her voice to a degree. As you said someone with a speaking voice like Christina should not sound that way. I dont think we are gonna see much better performaces from Christina anymore.

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  9. I dont think this was a good way to make an comeback attempt or introduce a new album. her vocal where carried by her backing singers, I think she could have uses a third one to for better support. I dont think those songs will be hits, and the stage was chaotic and sloppy. That only added to downfall of this peformance. I think Christina needs to go back to basics , with a pin and a pad and come up with something new creative and right for her voice.

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  10. It's her body, she may chose to present it however she wishes despite how others may view her for doing so.

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  11. I've given up on Christina.

    She was getting upstaged by her background singers (who were average to say the least) and just sounded a mess.

    She had all the potential to be seen as a Whitney and Mariah vocalist like she dearly wants but instead she is seen as a complete joke :/

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  12. LOLZ


    XTina: ME TARZAN *grunt*


    LOLZ and I disagree, Whitney had the most famous decline. Mimi's a close second.

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  13. LOL Xtina has self confidence, and that's the one thing I still love about her.

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  14. This is about sums up how I felt after this performance ...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDUwO5uNbmc

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  15. She is currently sick though - how can you rant about that? lol at this post..

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  16. Well if she is too sick to perform, wisest thing would be to not perform rather than perform poorly.

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  17. LOL I am not sure that's really appropriate to the performance( poor as it was, I don't think we have a case of "not taking responsibility for herself here? Unless Miranda is just parroting Christina and it was her who first came up with that "being sick" excuse?)
    But Tyra sure rocks in that video!

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  18. I am starting to side with the others who remarked on this and think that really Christina is just naturally a rock singer, and trying to be a belting Diva is doing her voice in. Even her personality seems to be more befitting a rock chick.

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  19. "Fighter" was definitely rocky. Some of her vocals were so deliberately strained and raspy in her shows they were like metal vocals.

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  20. Ehhhh. Back in the day, with 'reflection' and all that, she was definitely a belting diva. Or at least, definitely not a rock singer.

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  21. We beat other singers up when they perform sick too. Why exclude Xtina?

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  22. It was more so the "We were rooting for you! we were all rooting for you! Learn from this!" part. But I couldn't find just a snippet of that part on youtube :P

    I just love Tyra in that video, a good bit of people could follow the "I'm not a victim, I grow from it and learn" mentality. And a few artists, but I won't mention anyone in particular ;)

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  23. Yes I also think it is involuntary but I think it might be a result from straining her voice into singing in a particular style it is not suited for. But we hear other former belters struggle ( well from Whitney on and including Whitney herself) after a couple of years but none of them sound as coarse as Christina.
    I just think maybe if she uses the natural coarseness she has now but doesn't try to strain that into belting a la Whitney/Carey/Dion...she'd be better off. And such coarseness and loudness would fit rock/metal quite well.

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  24. Yes, that is my point she was singing like a belter but perhaps that isn't her natural talent.

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  25. Aha! I see your point regarding the video! :)


    And I agree with the second point wholeheartedly.

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  26. Where there any vocally acceptable performances at the AMA's? Besides Nicki Minaj and Pink I just felt overall disappointed.

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  27. I CRINGED AND CRIED INSIDE!! IT WAS A HORRIBLE PERFORMANCE. SHE NEEDS TO STOP MAKING THIS ARTIFICIAL FAKE "BLACK SISTER SOUL" SOUND WITH HER THROAT AND JUST SING WITH HER NORMAL VOICE. HER SPEAKING VOICE SHOULD SOUND THE SAME AS HER SINGING VOICE THIS WHY HER VOICE IS GETTING DAMAGED: ARTIFICIAL VOICE

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  28. Ooooh I see. Maybe. Probably.

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  29. Lolz 'black sister soul'.
    Yeah, i don't feel she should use this "big" sound anymore. It's wearing her voice thin.

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  30. She sings like a crocodile...enough said....hiss this...growl that...snarl this...howl that...

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  31. Use your inside voice dude! Or you'll end up sounding just like Christina. ;D

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  32. Sorry, but the way she sings now is not natural for any singer. She pushes her voice in such a way, that even in Rock I think is waaay too much! Rock is not always about growling and shouting. At least, I don't like that kind of rock. I prefer a more controlled rock, like Bon Jovi or Amy Lee, who at least try to sing and not just shout/growl the notes.

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  33. Not what I said at all Nahu. I in fact said she sounds strained.
    What kind of voice YOU prefer in Rock has little to do with the point I was making. Might I suggest you read my comment again. Perhaps you accidentally misread it?

    But also perhaps I should have said Metal from the start as Rock these days has imo grown pretty soft. A development clearly to your liking whereas I find it rather insipid.

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  34. I'm afraid Christina is about to fall into that "perfect" world, where no one gets the balls to say the truth about her voice, body, career. Mariah is already there. Sad!

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  35. I'm too disheartened to even watch the Christina performance.


    BUT I want to say something about the Mariah performance you posted as comparison. The mariah performance is actually dubbed. Here's a snippet of the undubbed version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZnSYi6RDJQ


    What do you think of THAT, DD?

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  36. I saw that a while back. I didn't believe it back then and was waiting for the full "undubbed" version to surface. I'm still not sure about that, especially considering both sources of that version are from the same account. Even if it is true, it still doesn't compare to the what was going on with Christina.

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  37. I could totally buy her as a rock singer.

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  38. I see you, Karen! http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m67dr53Y721r4lk0q.gif

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  39. Hahahahaha "we were all rooting for you!!"

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  40. Yeah, I'd say Whitney's decline is far more famous.

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  41. I'm glad someone finally agree with me. I wrote about Christina's rock predispositions couple weeks ago but nobody seemed to share my point of view.

    It appear to me her whole career is made of mistakes and struggle to find her way. I don't blame her for debut album as she was very young and she has just broken up her relationship with Mickey Mouse;) But when we expected her talent and artistic persona would take proper shapes, she released "Stripped" - somehow horrible album. That's not an album, thats bloody mess totally incoherent stylistically. You've got 20 tracks and it looks like fecking menu in chinese take away. You find everything in it: pop-rock, funky, R&B, soul, power ballads, sentimental ballads a la Celine.

    Later on she decided to come back to basics. And once again - 23 tracks on two disc set. I just don't want to know how much material was dumped to the outtake bin (another 20 tracks?). Couldn't she make a choice of 12-13 really good songs which would've been representative samples of her then current musical style. At least this time we were able to find something we took for granted as the Christina's artistic direction - revitalization of swing, ragtime or dixieland jazz.

    Even "Bionic" which was predominantly synth/electro-pop (dance) wasn't free of completely different, almost alien inclusions (4 ballads).
    Now I'm confused since I don't know who Christina really is? She is not as versatile singer as she tries to prove. Personally I like her the most in songs written by Linda Perry which happens to be her more rock oriented repertoire. Coarseness of her vocal can be hardly considered a flaw in this case. It might be considered as a part of the rock aesthetics.
    However we should keep in mind there's nothing like one Christina Aguilera. Just listen to "I'm OK" from "Stripped". Wonderful and very underestimated song. I'm buying this particular part of hers.

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  42. Aha, it was you T.
    I couldn't remember while I was writing that who it was again first making that suggestion. Sorry! :)

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  43. That was me indeed. I've watched movie on Fran Lebowitz lately. I must admit it is great feeling to be always right ;)))

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  44. What the...? Her songs with Linda are ANYTHING BUT ROCK oriented. Hurt, Lift Me Up, Beautiful, Cruz. I'm OK, Mercy on Me, Save Me from Myself, The Right Man... Does any of these songs like "rock" to you? The only two songs they did with rock influences are Candyman and Make Over, but overall they did ballads and soul.

    Also, saying that Stripped is a horrible record just because it has a little bit of everything I think is wrong. She took almost three years to create Stripped, and in three years lots of things happened to her. That's why Stripped has so many layers, because is an identity letter from a 21-year old girl, who lived a lot and experienced a lot; she suffered; she loved; she grew up, she learnt from her mistakes; she also wanted to help and inspire others... Each song reflects a different moment in her life, and the sound of each song reflects her complex identity and how she wanted to reflect the lyrics she wrote. Pain=Soul, Love=Pop, Stenght=Rock, Empowerment=R&B. I can go on and on giving you endless reasons why Stripped is THAT good.

    Stripped is not only her best album, but also one of the ten best pop albums of that decade!!

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  45. Welcome to my world T. ;D

    http://i352.photobucket.com/albums/r349/reddragon2_photos/thatssotrue_1553_1330065734.gif

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  46. "You are my sunshine/My only sunshine/You make me happy/When sky is grey..."
    That's purely platonic feeling, Opie...

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  47. T.(couple shots later, just to keep up with incredible discussion pace) to Nahu hours ago


    Dunno if it deserved "what the 'dots'?";)))

    I'm really happy you have noticed "Stripped" was quite heterogeneous album. Little bit of this, and little bit of that. It's great as we can agree on that fact.

    But when you say "'Stripped' has so many layers", I'd say it was inconsistent and incoherent. It seemed to be a random collection of songs to me.
    When you say "an identity letter from a 21-year old girl", I'd say it was identity crisis diary. She had no idea which way to go.
    The mature artists usually have something in their minds while recording their albums. They are called mature since they had found their own style, their own way to express themselves. Sometimes it is not simply a genre, sometimes it is crossover. However it has always unique style, which bears the artist's signature. I'm talking about idiosyncrasies. In case of "Stripped" I'm not able to find what she is about. There are so many genres and styles involved I'm not able to decide which one represents Christina as an artist.
    That is only my opinion. And you surely know opinion is just like an arse. Everyone has its own. There's no reason to bother.
    However I'm absolutely convinced I'm right. That is just matter of time you will agree (inevitably).

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  48. She probably didn't know where to go, as most people in their early 20s. But every single song in 'Stripped' (except Beautiful) represents a little piece of her life, experiences and learnings. I can explain you the meaning behind each song if you want, because I made a good research. But at the end of day, it is a matter of opinion and taste.

    You think that an album should be more consistent, while I think that it can also be diverse and mixed. I think we, as human beings, are really complex creatures and we don't feel the same all the time, and thus a 14-tracks album talking about all the same with almost the same musical style (pretty much like Adele's albums) is almost a crime for me. Especially if one takes a long time to create an album (two years or more). You don't feel the same way every single day of those two years. It's good to reflect that through music and lyrics, and create a diversified piece of art as a result.

    Anyway, you are entitled to have your own opinion, and to defend it tooth and nail.

    The only thing I found outrageous is you saying that 'Stripped' was horrible. You should have said 'I didn't like 'Stripped' because I think it was incoherent...etc"... but using that strong word as an statement, I think is not the way to go.

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  49. Complex as we may be Nahu, we usually are only one person per person. When we are not...well there's words for that but it's not "divers". ;)


    And it's funny how for all your defending of human complexity you utterly fail to understand that Adele's album maybe be about the one subject but deals with the, yes...complex feelings one can have about the one subject.

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  50. I feel like a heinous, terrible person... but I've been laughing at this for ten minutes hahaha

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdrh13OSQL1ryx3nto1_400.gif

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  51. Mariah is in vocal decline yeah... But I feel like she's improving compared to Memoirs era...

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  52. LOL I laugh too. Don't feel too horrible. ;D

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  53. Well I definitely can't imagine Christina doing as interesting a reworking of a song as Mariah did with Stevie Wonder's. But there are three reasons I think the Mariah "undubbed" version is legit.


    1. The slightly off-sounding ad-lib and crack at 2:45 seems much more in line with Mariah's facial expression than does the perfect melisma in the dubbed version (1:08).

    2. The slight pitchiness of 4 notes of "can" at 2:38 sounds very realistic.
    3. The "you" at 3:01 done in chest voice as opposed to head voice in the dubbed version shows that some disgruntled ex fan is not just autotuning the performance differently (i.e. it's a change in vocal styling rather than just pitch).


    I guess it's a moot point really. I love the performance, and have the "dubbed" version on my ipod. I love Stevie but I think Mariah's is a real improvement on the original version.


    Anyway, I should add that I absolutely love your blog! I am obsessed with Divas but none of my friends in real life understand...


    I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this Christina performance as well; I think it's really different to pretty much every other performance I've heard from her:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1VvUcvoLnk


    -Nick

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  54. That performance was excellent. Just goes to show the ability IS there.

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  55. She would have made one hell of a jazz singer. Oh well.

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  56. If Xtina would just stick to what she's good for (ballads such as You Lost Me or Hurt) she wouldn't be so awful. Alas, she's completely swept away in mainstream BS.

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  57. She has to show versatility, or else her label will undoubtedly drop her like a piece of shit. Hence the mainstream bs.

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  58. Hell, she had a fantastic Christmas concert in 2010 (when listening to the undubbed version, of course), and her vocals this year have been pretty alright, despite obvious difficulties belting above C5.

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  59. Ugh. I'm SICK of Xtina's deluded fans. They would say she was the voice of our generation if she just screamed the word 'shit' in every performance. It's worrying that younger generations may try emulating her vocal style, damaging their voices (like she seems to have done) in the process.

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  60. Even after 2 decades of singing her heart out, Mariah sounds a million times better than Xtina ever did.

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  61. Nicki Minaj, vocally acceptable? You're joking, right?

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  62. Excuse me, we're not all deluded, thank you.

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  63. This was definitely not a great VOCAL performance (was ok for Army of Me) but as a performance overall it was good - she was putting on a show and showing the audience and viewers that this is what Lotus was all about (the whole flower blossoming thing). People seem to forget that Christina is a good entertainer and is more than just someone with a voice who wants to just stand there with a mic and sing ballads.

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