IDINA MENZEL’S 2014 OSCAR PERFORMANCE – LET IT GO
After all of the smack talk about Carrie Underwood's performance in the Sound of Music, many in the Broadway community were so excited to see a true Broadway veteran take to the stage tonight and show the world how it's done. Well… what did we learn?
When it comes to a live performance, we are all human.
Just to recap for a sec. John Travolta was in charge of introducing the Broadway Star. And… here's how that went.
Ok, so when you have ONE job, to announce ONE name, you should probably make sure you know that name. I'm going to try and say he just got tongue tied, it's something that could have happened to any of us – but he doesn't even seem to realize there was a mistake! He could have easily corrected himself. (Update!! 3/3/14 – There are also reports that John Travolta is dyslexic and that names are really difficult for some dyslexic people. If this is the case, I wish he would make some sort of statement either making light of the subject or using it as an opportunity to talk about this learning disability.)
INSTEAD, he leaves Idina Menzel (who is straight off a plane from NYC where she's in tech for a new show) standing there in front of roughly 40 million people, ready to sing a song that has been loved/obsessed over (and overplayed) for her oscar debut being announced as ADELE DAZEEM!? OY!
One of my all time favorite sayings is “It's not how you fall, it's how you get up.” So this is a moment where she should have thought – “uhhh ok? That's not my name. That's not even close to my name! But, you know what, after I sing the heck out of this song tonight EVERYONE will know my name!” As I watched it again, I started thinking that I might have actually just started laughing and said – yeah, that's not my name. (Which would not have been a good choice.)
Who knows what was actually going through her head. The beginning of the song was fine, but by the end it was apparent that this high beltress was off her game. She seemed nervous and as she got to the last phrase she sang… “Let the storm rage Ahhhhh crackle Ahhhn! The cold never bothered me anyway.” Ack! Oh NO! It's a perfect example of what happens when you push your sound out of your mouth as opposed to keeping it in like I talked about in this post/video.
If you missed Idina's performance of Let It Go from Frozen on the Oscars tonight – here it is.
Now, to be super duper duper clear. I am not claiming to have ANYTHING over the clear magic of Miss Menzel's talent. Many of the belting techniques I teach have a lot to do with a style of singing that she has helped make so popular in the world of musical theatre. And, I know she is in tech for her new show If/Then, so I'm sure she's super exhausted.
However, I think it's important to talk about the fact that this can happen to ANYONE. Recognizing this makes it even more important to take your technique seriously. Many people feel that they can just sing without having to craft their instrument. They seem to think that there are some people to whom singing just comes naturally, and that it isn't something that needs to be worked on. Well, that is so not the case! It's important to warm up, to take care of your instrument, to get enough sleep, to eat right, to take care of yourself emotionally so you are not thrown off when someone butchers your name, to study vocal technique and develop a set of tools that work for you.
I've already read several articles (like this one) saying that Idina's performance was flawless… so maybe I'm going to upset loads of people by talking about that note. But, as I said earlier, I think it's important to remember that we are all human, and our voices can takes us by surprise no matter how big of a Broadway super star we are.
So, what do you think? Do you agree or am I way off? Did you love this performance? Is it reassuring or terrifying to know that even Broadway super stars are human?
OOOO – Another little update (3/4/14) Check out this version on Jimmy Fallon. So much better! Relaxed, having fun, (maybe a half step lower) and sounding awesome!