Friday, February 3, 2012

Betty Buckley rips American Idol & Randy Jackson; Nigel issues apology

On this week's American Idol, a contestant was called "too Broadway" and was not given a chance to get to the next round of the competition. For years, on American Idol a contestant being "too Broadway" is viewed as someone that has what the judges consider a good voice, talent, but not to be a 'Pop music' Idol or superstar. Randy Jackson was last night's culprit and after all the judges voted, the contestant was sent home.

Broadway icon Betty Buckley, a Tony Award winner and Grammy Award nominee, had a lot to say about the topic on her Twitter account, and she has some very valid points.

"OK, I just have to say this: I am sick & tired of Randy Jackson bashing what they think is Bway singing! It's soo ludicrous! I have yet to see or hear anyone sound remotely like they are a theatre singer on Idol!!

And, further, theatrical singing encompasses every kind of sound, voice & style. He doesn't know what he's talkin' about!! And by these constant disses he is tellin' Amer. kids that Bway is some kind of inferior art form. Next to jazz, Broadway is the only indigenous Amer. art form & with respect, "Dog", your opinion is whack & uninformed! I mean, I respect Randy Jackson & everyone certainly has their own likes & dislikes, but THIS constant diss of "Bway" sounding, to his ear, singers is just so ignorant & stupid that I literally cannot comprehend the producers allowing such mendacity in his remarks! Beyond idiotic !!!

And when Steven Tyler remarked, "They learn that", I thought I was gonna scream!!

All human voices have vibrato in one form or another! This constant STUPID reference is beneath contempt & I gotta say, too, that all big "rock/pop" shows these days are frickin' THEATRE! SOOO, Nigel Lithgow & company, in a world that includes an increase in the popularity of musical in general in theatre, film & television America Idol needs to WAKE UP to the truth, voices are voices, singing is singing in all forms, styles & genres. These categories have nothing to do with anything.

The Record business in general is in big trouble & why for frickin' sake would you the creators of "Idol" risk losing & demeaning any well intended audience. You respond to a singer because you hear their soul or you do not! ENOUGH!! I'VE HAD IT!!

O, while I'm at it. The use of melisma comes outa African American church & made most popular by Mariah Carey & comp. but mindless use of melisma does NOT a great singer make if it is random & without a true emotional intiation! I've really had it, people! Someone tell Lithgow!

Thanks for the "Amens", Tweeties & Dopeys. Spread the word, please. Do not let these poor kids be so propaganized by a pop bass player with some pop recording success be the arbiter of what constitutes a supposed "good" singer! ENOUGH!! Aaaand...."world peace". ; ) Oh, & one more thing: Broadway is a place, not a style. At one time, in early days of classic Bway, Rodgers, Hamerstein, Hart, Lerner & Loew Gershwin, Tin Pan Alley & company one could say there was a style, a consistency in construct. But not any more.

All kinds of composers and singers and styles on Broadway. And that's been true since the 60's. I would venture to say that the "Dog" & powers that be don't get much. Write them, people, & tell them how absolute off frickin' base this is! x."

I have to give props to Betty here. For years, it's made me cringe when the AI judges speak about a voice as a "too Broadway" - as if it's a bad thing to have a good, trained, developed voice. I hope in the future they would at least acknowledge the talent even if the judges think the voice isn't suitable for a pop music recording career. They've never really made that clear, and it's always sounded like a put-down.

To his credit, Nigel Lythgoe tweeted back to Betty saying " I totally understand your point. The problem goes beyond Randy (Jackson). ' Broadway' has been adopted as a style of singing and dancing. I guess in the UK we we would call it a "show" voice. I agree - GaGa, Freddie Mercury - great show voices. You, Chenoweth, Katherine McPhee. Thank you I will certainly speak with Randy. I had the pleasure of seeing your outstanding performances in "Cats" and "Pippin."


  1. When was the last time a Broadway singer released a single that made the pop charts?

    1. Missing the point. That argument has nothing to do with vocal quality or ability, it's just that a "Broadway singer's" career is based almost entirely on live performance, not producing singles/albums. To imply that this means they actually couldn't be successful in the music industry if they so chose because their voices are somehow inferior is ridiculous. To imply that all Broadway singers have the same identifiable vocal quality if also ridiculous. Take any Rogers and Hammerstein album and compare those voices to the cast of RENT, or Chicago, then tell me which one is definitively "Broadway."
      And finally, it may not have been in the States, but:

  2. billy joel, boy george, cyndi lauper, elton john, marc anthony etc..all write for broadway.... arent they pop singers. Betty rocks and is right.
    oh and ...bdk... heather headley won a grammy last year

  3. David Bowie re;eased lets dance after his stint on Broadway

  4. Lea Michele - who starred on Broadway and has a very trained, theater voice - has had several songs on the Billboard pop charts from her performances on GLEE.

    And, of course, Barbra Streisand - September 10, 2011 - "What Matters Most" peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200

  5. I think they say say, "Too Broadway" because they can't say, "Too Chenowith". I've noticed all the young B'way hopefuls tend to mimic the sound of their favorite actresses. Miss C. is one of the biggies. And, while she is amazing, it's because that's HER VOICE; what makes her unique. Every girl that gets up there and tries to copy her sound is just painful to listen to. It's not the same Broadway sound of Betty Buckley or Bernadette Peters just as their sound isn't like Ethel Merman or Julie Andrews before them. It all evolves. What's funny is that 'Idol' cast-offs very often end up on Broadway...

  6. I agree with Betty, first of all it is a vocal compettion, if you can sing you can sing! The style you sing should not be held against you for a chance to be on the show. On behalf of all "Broadway singers" most of the contestants I have heard in all the seasons I have watched can't hold a note. They would never make it on Broadway.

    Susane Tagayev
    Singer/ director /producer

  7. "Cats" and "Pippin", Nigel? Hell-o? Were you not ALIVE when Betty did "Sunset Boulevard" to a perfection not known since the creation of the Earth??

  8. Did these Idol judges never hear of Barbra Streisand? What do they live under a rock? She's been huge for years!

  9. I say Amen too Sister! I agree wholeheartedly. It's all about the soul connection. One year it was "Karaoke" and now "Broadway". Just dumb comments to make a show "interesting" I suppose?

    Dot Todman
    Celebrity Vocal Empowerment Coach

    p.s. And I love that you say "frikin' so much. Are you on the East coast? I miss the east coast.

  10. Brian in Los AngelesFebruary 8, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Jennifer Holiday! She had a #1 R&B hit with "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going," which also hit the Top 40 - AND won her the Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance Female.


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