lessons to be learnt from idina menzel’s oscar performance

March 3, 20142

The popular consensus of Idina’s performance is that wasn’t not her best and that she oversang. I posted my thought’s on a friend’s FB post and thought I would share...

The popular consensus of Idina’s performance is that wasn’t not her best and that she oversang. I posted my thought’s on a friend’s FB post and thought I would share what I wrote and more! 

First of all, what exactly happened — well, this is my thoughts: 

 1. Idina has asthma and so she has to always takes shorter breaths to compensate for it which messed the orchestra up because they’re use to singers singing much longer phrases.

2. She spent too much time on social media before the performance (the musical theatre/classical community put a lot of pressure on her – same thing happened to Renee Fleming at the superbowl) so she got nervous and I don’t think John helped her much either.

3. I don’t think the sound guy knew how to mix for a classically trained singer, our vibrato makes us go into the “red” a lot and so basically the mic has to be turned down as low as possible and not mix so the voice can retain it’s beauty. They kept moving the volume up and down — argh sound people learn how to mix classically trained singers. Seriously — I’m sick and tired of it. I can’t tell you how many performance I seen and been in that have been ruin by a sound techs. who had no idea what s/he was doing.

4. Like most musical theatre/classical singers, she doesn’t like the count and is used to working with musicians who feel the beat and don’t use a beat tract. The orchestra did an ok job of covering her but a good orchestra would have felt it with her and moved the rhythm with her. Yes, for you beat track lovers — yes there’s a purpose for it but rubato is a beautiful thing for expression. The orchestra shouldn’t covered her, they should felt and moved with her. She kept waiting for them to follow her but they didn’t so she tried to follow them. There was quite a battle on stage.

5. She likes to change stuff live, like all jazz/classical/musical theatre singers, I don’t think the orchestra was prepared for that.


So what would I do differently:

If I was directing this number — i would have the orchestra up on the stage with her (which is normally what she does) and so she could feel the rhythm from the percussion section. Then the orchestra (i.e conductor, was he connecting with her at all or trying to lead her?? I don’t know if you’ve watch Michael Buble’s performance on SNL last year — same thing happen. Michael just laughed though) Confidence is so important for singers. We need to believe in ourselves – not just trust the people around us. It isn’t about ego but understanding our strengths and weakness. 

And lol taken her phone away — she posted so many pictures before the show on instagram. Stay off your phone before a performance and meditate. 

And I would have let her use the entire stage — by having her stuck on spot, she felt stuck. She’s musical theatre, they use the entire stage and audience too. This is something I talk a lot with my students, own your stage — don’t feel that you’re locked in a bubble. Watch Jimmy Fallon when he does his monologues. Yes, he does have a “spot” (marked by a four leaf clover) but he owns the stage and the cameras. (here’s one to see what I mean – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvD8HixGCzQ&list=UU8-Th83bH_thdKZDJCrn88g&feature=share&index=2). I haven’t really worked much with cameras but been doing a lot of research on it for my upcoming music video. Connect with the camera guy behind the camera and then there will be connection. I think she felt lost, should she connect with audience or the cameras? She wasn’t sure what to do. So instead, she didn’t connect with either. Shame, none of those Oscars people could help with these things. I sometimes wonder with these things. Bono from U2 was one of the first people to stand up to give her a standing ovation, a veteran of the musical industry – totally understood what happened. I have so much respect for Bono now. Kudos to Bono!! 

I would have gotten a classical orchestra — not a studio orchestra which is what this clearly is  — I’m sure the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra would have done it and seriously get a pianist she’s use to working with. They’re spending money anyways so spend a few more if necessary for a good result. As well, there was no connection between her and the pianist. They should have at least have had the pianist on the stage with her. Pianos are classically trained singers best friends. That’s why there’s a curve in the grand, for the singer to lean into. Connection with your pianist is another blog rant! This is why I always accompany my students for performances. 

I think because she’s not use to TV, she felt green in the situation and allowed the oscar people take control. Instead, she should have owned her performance! Good lesson for us all as artists in situations like this — go with your gut not what the powers to be say. She knew it wasn’t her best performance either, if you look at her face at the end.

lol Anyhow there’s my rant! It was bothering me all night that her performance wasn’t the best. I really love her.


Here’s an awesome performance from her to make up with last night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MslDnwerQRA


And damn it John — seriously learn how to say her name it was just rude!




  • Jennifer

    June 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I think Idina’s fans are crazy.

    I think they think she is actually in fact Elphaba/Elsa in reality, and that if they praise her enough, and come to her defense every time she screws up, she will

    a) somehow hear of it
    b) come and be their best friend
    c) do magic on their sad, pathetic lives

    It’s almost as heartbreaking as this awful performance was.

  • natavivi

    February 9, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    It’s a shame because she really is a talented artist but I don’t think she practices to maintain her technique. Talent only takes you so far …. it’s technique what makes a star!

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