With the rash of lip-synced performances that usually permeate these specials, Idina's choice to sing live is admirable. However, NYE in NYC in 20 degree weather is an appropriate time to seriously consider lip-syncing for your life! Plus, she should have had the good fashion sense to wear a thicker coat and scarf to give herself a fighting chance to sing better.
Yes, I do believe Idina Menzel has talent, though NO I do not believe she has a confident, stable technique. And when the chips are down, it's technique that helps you live to sing another day. The internet has always been riddled with recordings of Idina singing amazing with an equal amount of recordings of her biffing. (A particular recording of her live performance of "Defying Gravity" comes to mind that was bootlegged in London which is no longer available on YouTube...)
Let's set a few things straight though and let it all go....
Idina said the following after her performance on NYE as published by E! Online (bold print signifies E! Online's publication, and the first person narrative that follows is my statement):
"There are about 3 million notes in a two-and-a-half-hour musical;" I'd agree, amongst ALL the performers on stage and in the pit, there's probably 3 million notes. For one singer in a modern musical?? .... No .... Take just a moment and count to 3 million out loud.. go ahead... I'll wait. I'll be here when you're done.
You've returned! No you see the joy of hyperbolic speech. Keep reading:
"...being a perfectionist, it took me a long time to realize that if I'm hitting 75 percent of them, I'm succeeding," she said.
Right, so we just established that her responsibility isn't in the millions. Let's say that her responsibility is 1,000 notes. 75% of 1,000 is 750 notes. If she's such a perfectionist, then why is 750 out of 1,000 "succeeding"??? Have we misunderstood the definition of perfection for generations?? Before you hit the comment button note that I do understand that not every note sung in a live show will be spun gold and perfection. In fact, I have made mistakes myself on stage, but I have also been on stage and in the audience for many singers who only miss a couple notes out of 1,000 and do it every night of the week whether it's rehearsal or a performance.
"Performing isn't only about the acrobatics and the high notes: It's staying in the moment, connecting with the audience in an authentic way, and making yourself real to them through the music." She continued, "I am more than the notes I hit, and that's how I try to approach my life."
If there is one thing you take away from her comments, it's this statement. As singers, we are creatures that are much deeper than just our voice and the notes we sing (and the acrobatics with which we do them!). A wise woman at my undergrad always encouraged us to investigate our other interests and develop ourselves outside of the school of music. That said, when you have to get up and deliver you better do it and outshine all the others or you won't get the role, job, or solo.
In Menzel's defense, the great outdoors of Times Square isn't exactly the best venue to belt out a classic. And with frigid temperatures, we can only imagine how it felt to walk onstage.
See my previous statement about dressing appropriately for the occasion. It's cold out? Wear a scarf and a stylish winter coat. Someone with a hit like this and the backing of Disney should be able to afford the right clothes to wear for a winter performance.
"You can't get it all right all the time, but you can try your best," she concluded. "If you've done that, all that's left is to accept your shortcomings and have the courage to try to overcome them."
You better work to get it right all the time, and you better practice in such a way that you don't go out and sing wrong notes or encourage yourself to biff. She's right, you do have to accept your instrument for what it is and seek to minimize it's shortcomings, but if you practice right and have a dependable technique with which to sing, you can wow them every day and night!
Is it too much to ask for more than 75% correct, when all you have to do is sing for 5 minutes on live television? NO... no it isn't too much to ask.
Now that's been let go, you wanna know someone who delivered a fair 95% every time she sang? Whitney Houston. Watch her in her heyday singing "One Moment In Time" or her AMA's medley of "I loves you Porgy/And I am telling you/I have nothing" when she tears the house down live. Her manager, Pat Houston, is on record stating that one of Whitney's favorite things to do was sing live.
Watch Kristin Chenoweth (Idina's frequent co-star) sing "Glitter and Be Gay" live. Watch her videos from her early days on Broadway, watch the vids of "Popular"... she is technical and consistent in her work!