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American Idol’s performance style “may change forever the way Broadway sings.”

American Idol’s performance style “may change forever the way Broadway sings.”
American Idol‘s brand of “intensely emotional and oddly impersonal” singing “may change forever the way Broadway sings,” Ben Brantley argues in The New York Times. On the show, he says, “The accent is on abstract feelings, usually embodied by people of stunning ordinariness, than on particular character. Quivering vibrato, curlicued melisma, notes held past the vanishing point: the favorite technical tricks of ‘Idol’ contestants are often like screams divorced from the pain or ecstasy that inspired them.” He finds that various aspects of Idol have trickled into Broadway performances, from a “self-congratulatory element” to the way the show “celebrates stamina, will power and gymnastic agility,” which leads contestants to “hoist, hold and balance notes like barbells in a weight-lifting exhibition. And the audience claps and hoots instinctively every time such muscle-flexing occurs.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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