Yesterday, Whitney Houston performed in Central Park for a concert that was televised on this morning’s Good Morning America. Now, anyone who’s heard her (surprisingly decent) comeback album I Look To You knows that her voice is not at all what it used to be; indeed, Look kind of plays to that, with Whitney toning down her belter persona of yore and inhabiting the less-octave-leaping vocal styles of collaborators like Alicia Keys and R. Kelly. But there are allegations that ABC actually “sweetened” her voice for broadcast, presumably in hopes that her lacking chops wouldn’t torpedo Look’s currently brisk sales. Let’s go to the videotape!
“Million Dollar Bill”
“My Love Is Your Love”
Hmm. I kind of can’t tell if the tape was run through the digitizer or not, although “Million Dollar Bill” at the outset does sound like there’s another singer bleeding through Whitney’s voice a bit. Meanwhile, this clip of “I’m Every Woman” was taken by someone in the crowd, so presumably the voice isn’t altered. (”She could have used Chaka Khan’s help here,” the person who posted the YouTube clip helpfully noted.) It’s a bit hard to hear because everyone in the crowd is singing along, though.
Hmm. Maybe her voice was helped along, although that backup singer was more noticeable than anything else. And the more pressing question: In the Autotune age, does this controversy even matter in the grand scheme of things?
Did ABC Digitally ‘Sweeten’ Whitney Houston’s Disastrous GMA Performance? [Gawker]
Related: I discuss the Whitney record on NPR
You might also like