2008-02-24

Carrie Underwood on SNL

I admit it. I like American Idol. It's a fun show. I don't catch every episode, but when I do see it, I get caught up. I like the idea behind it, and I like seeing the talent grow.

The one season I did watch beginning to end was the one where Carrie Underwood competed against Bo Bice in the finals. I was cheering for Bice.

When I watched Underwood's performance tonight on Saturday Night Live, I was hoping she'd grown as a singer and artist, but that hasn't quite happened.

Underwood has an incredible voice, and she has great control over that voice. The tone is beautiful and she hits her notes almost mechanically. It's as though she herself is an instrument.

And that's the problem.

When I see her perform, it's as though her performance is inhuman. It's technically great but completely lacking in passion. There is no soul behind her eyes.

On SNL, like on Idol, she doesn't connect with the music. It like she's not singing words -- she's singing the individual syllables that make those words, but they have no meaning to her. It's shallow. I could just as well be watching a performance by William Gibson's Idoru.

During the top 8 competitions at Idol, Underwood sang MacArthur Park, a heavily symbolic song. When asked about the song after singing on stage, she said she had no idea what it was about and didn't even try to understand the cake in the rain.

Performing a song well isn't just about reciting the lyrics on the right notes. It's about communicating a feeling or an idea. It requires energy and passion. The artist needs to understand what they're saying.

Otherwise it's a shallow activity that doesn't actually require a person.

Judging by Underwood's record sales, I am in the minority on this opinion. She has a beautiful voice and great technical skill.

I'm just waiting for her to actually put Carrie Underwood in the music. If she can bring soul and depth to her music, there will be no stopping her.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Passionless sums is up perfectly.

Drowsey Monkey said...

That's an interesting take on her. You're probably right ... she probably hasn't 'found' her voice yet, so to say.

I love her voice tho...her singing voice. So, yes once she discovers herself a bit more she'll be unstoppable.

I remember bo...I was split, I was hoping for either of them.

Haley said...

I didn't watch that season of Idol, and I've managed to avoid most things Carrie Underwood, so I can't really comment on her. But I totally agree about "inhuman" performances in general.

I love a performance where the singer can put themselves into the emotion of the song and actually portray that emotion correctly.

LDK in STL said...

So when will you be releasing your next CD? :)