Kurt's Singing Voice

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  MoviesAreLife on 1/28/2013, 8:29 pm

Aw. We're like sharks circling you in the water! I'm sorry! *hangs head*

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  fantastica on 1/28/2013, 8:32 pm

i think my tactics worked. tonguue

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  MoviesAreLife on 1/28/2013, 8:33 pm

LOL!

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 1/28/2013, 9:25 pm

fantastica wrote:i think my tactics worked. tonguue
Yes, mom, I'll go clean my room now. taunt02

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  fantastica on 1/28/2013, 9:29 pm

good girl. now here is some cat food for you. tonguue

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  MoviesAreLife on 1/29/2013, 7:43 pm

So, I remember Chris saying in an interview that he retained his high range in an unusual way. He said when he was around 13 years old and his voice started to crack, he'd purposely sing along to his favorite female singers everyday and go as high as he could. Also, in some earlier tweets from 2009/2010, he mentions being able to hit high notes in vocal warm ups (done in private, of course). A high C, a high A (or was it a high F? I'm not sure...)

And it made me think of a very interesting coincidence. Chris played Kurt, the youngest boy, in "The Sound of Music" when he was 14 years old in a community theatre production. Also, as a child, one of his favorite movies was "The Sister Act"...he didn't say which one, because he was too young to tell them apart. Both of these productions have boy roles that sing extremely high notes as the highlights of some songs.

The Sound of Music (at 1:33): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o48aZ_C52wc (I think everyone remembers this one)

The Sister Act Two. I am around Chris' age, and I too, remember watching this film as a little kid. The only thing that sticks in my mind to this day is that glorious high note. Everytime I hear it, I get tears in my eyes and a chill down my spine. It is stunning. The note is at 2:49 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdmw7VdFYjg

It just makes you think. I wonder if he used these moments as practices in keeping his range. neutre

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REVIEW: Being Alive, part 1

Post  Glorfindel on 2/7/2013, 8:37 pm

REVIEW: Being Alive.

“Kurt paces and frets and wishes he’d brought some of his props with him because he feels so naked performing without them. Rachel’s eyes are twinkling when she tells him the only prop he needs is his face because, honestly, it looks like it was molded by cherubs at God’s own atelier. He decides on “Being Alive,” and it’s perfect and he’s perfect and when he says, “I’m Kurt Hummel and I’ll be auditioning for the role of NYADA student” I burst into tears.”
afterelton.com/2012/12/glee-recap

After a whole season of trying to get into the college of his choice, the ultimate prestigious musical theater school NYADA; after being lifted to cloud #9 because of the praise he got from dean Carmen Tibideaux for his amazing audition song ‘Not The Boy Next Door’, and then being dropped into the deepest pit of despair with “I didn’t get in”; after waiting another half year while trying ot make a home for himself in New York, Kurt finally got another chance to re-audition for NYADA.
That is, after he got rejected yet another time for a reason that doesn’t make much sense to me and put Kurt further down for no reason at all, and then he got to re-audition in a way that made even less sense to me and put Kurt through more stress for no logical reason at all either. What the he…..?!? blinkk Well, as this is Glee, maybe we should just be thankful he finally got in, lick our wounds and call it a day. Mission accomplished after all, right? Brush your shoulders off and move on, please.
Anyway, Kurt got his 2nd chance at NYADA, and although many fans thought that his first audition NTBND was flawless and impossible to beat (and I still think this is the case) ‘Being Alive’ managed to at the least be on the same level of that ‘golden nugget’ (tonguue) performance. It was a completely different song, different style, different staging, different performance, different emotions,…. but the same performer. And that, my dear dean Carmen, is the deciding magical factor in both performances, although the writers made you forget this to get their cheap contrived drama.
Let’s get to the song before I spew all my snark while this review has hardly even begun. And I promise myself to make a mostly positive review, which won’t be hard, as Kurt’s ‘Being Alive’ deserves all the praise I will give it in this review.

The videos :

Raul Esparza:


John Barrowman (musical version with other cast members):


Glee version, episode performance:


Glee version, complete song:


The Lyrics :
- Bolded are the lyrics shown in the episode.

Verse 1:
Someone to hold you too close,
Someone to hurt you too deep.
Someone to sit in your chair, to ruin your sleep,


PAUL: That's true, but there's more to it than that.
SARAH: Is that all you think there is to it?
HARRY: You've got so many reasons for not being with someone, but
Robert,
you haven't got one good reason for being alone.
LARRY: Come on, you're on to something, Bobby. You're on to something.


Verse 2:
Someone to need you too much,
Someone to know you too well.
Someone to pull you up short, to put you through hell.

DAVID: You see what you look for, you know.
JOANNE: You're not a kid anymore, Robby. I don't think you'll ever
be a kid again, kiddo.
PETER: Hey, buddy, don't be afraid it won't be perfect. The only thing
to be afraid of really is that it won't be.
JENNY: Don't stop now. Keep going.


Verse 3:
Someone you have to let in,
Someone whose feelings you spare.
Someone who, like it or not, will want you to share a little, a lot (of being alive).

SUSAN: And what does all that mean?
LARRY: Robert, how do you know so much about it when you've never
been there?
HARRY: It's much better living it than looking at it, Robert.
PETER: Add 'em up, Bobby. Add 'em up.


Verse 4:
Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care.
Someone to make you come through, who'll always be there,
As frightened as you of being alive,
Being alive, being alive, being alive!


AMY: Blow out the candles, Robert, and make a wish. *Want* something!
Want *something*!


Repeat verse 1:
Somebody hold me too close,
Somebody hurt me too deep.
Somebody sit in my chair, and ruin my sleep,
And make me aware of being alive,
being alive.

Repeat verse 2:
Somebody need me too much,
Somebody know me too well.
Somebody pull me up short, an put me through hell,
And give me support for being alive, make me alive, (make me alive).

Bridge:
Make me alive, make me confused,
Mock me with praise, let me be used.
Vary my days, but alone is alone, not alive!


Repeat verse 4:
Somebody crowd me with love,
Somebody force me to care.
Somebody let me come through, I'll always be there,
As frightened as you to help us survive,
Being alive, being alive, being alive!



Full version vs. episode version :
As you can see, besides the comments from the other characters in the musical ‘Company’, in the Glee episode version they left out about 3 verses of the actual lyrics the character Robert sings. Which is always a pity of course, but in this case it’s even more of a pity because it takes away a lot of the build up of the song and the change of heart the character is going through.
The original (musical) song repeats the same 3 verses, and there is a 4th verse that is sung only once. The repeat of those 3 verses is the main ‘trick’ of the story being told: the character has different emotions when he sings them the 2nd time. The many repetitions, each with a slightly different emotion emphasized or added, is why this song is mostly an ‘acted’ song, although the singing techniques needed should not be underestimated.
The first time the character sings the verses he objects to a partner in life: they are obnoxious and make you lose your own privacy/identity. Giving yourself to another means opening up, being vulnerable and letting others in to hurt you. Therefore the character has chosen to be alone. These verses are sung more in general, as an opinion. But then, halfway through the song, also because of what the other characters on the show are saying to him, Robert realizes that being alone might be more comfortable at first glance, but it does not mean being alive. Feelings for someone else, even getting hurt or confused, might be preferable over closing your heart and not feeling life to the fullest. Alone is alone, not alive. The last verses are about Robert himself, what happened to him and what he wants, not a general opinion he has about love anymore.
Because of this realisation the 2nd time the verses are sung the pronouns are different. “Someone” changes into “Somebody”, and “you” changes into “me”. Instead of talking in general, in theory, as he believes it ‘should’ be (Someone to hold you too close.”), Robert starts talking about himself, how he got hurt, but how he also still needs someone (Somebody hold me too close.”). Those changed pronouns are essential to the change and realisation Robert is going through.

Now here are the lyrics of the episode version:

Verse 1:
Someone to hold you too close,
Someone to hurt you too deep.
Someone to sit in your chair, to ruin your sleep,


Verse 4:
Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care.
Someone to make you come through, who'll always be there,
As frightened as you of being alive,
Being alive, being alive!


Repeat verse 1:
Somebody hold me too close,
Somebody hurt me too deep.
Somebody sit in my chair, and ruin my sleep,
And make me aware of being alive,


Bridge:
Make me alive, make me confused,
Mock me with praise, let me be used.
Vary my days, but alone is alone, not alive!


Repeat verse 4:
Somebody crowd me with love,
Somebody force me to care.
Somebody let me come through, I'll always be there,
As frightened as you to help us survive,
Being alive, being alive, Being alive!


In the episode version Kurt basically repeats 2 verses (and the chorus ”Being Alive”), with only the bridge as a build-up to the glory long note at the end. With the rest of the verses and the comments from the other musical characters taken out of the song, the only clue we get in the shortened version that something has changed for the character is the pronouns suddenly changing the 2nd time the verses are sung. The rest of the change has to be conveyed by the emotive powers of the singer.
By taking out this gradual realisation process of the character, by taking out verses that were in the full musical version, it interrupts that build-up and realisation point. The song is crippled. However, if the singer was aware he was singing a shortened version with some verses and lines left out, he could make a new build-up and realisation point with the verses that are left in the song, as he can ‘re-invent’ the song as it is presented to him to perform.
The Glee episode version is the same as Raul Esparza’s excellent 2007 Tony performance (see video above). Raul knew about the short cuts and he anticipated them and made a new build-up plan, re-creating the song as still ‘complete’ in build-up, emotion and story.
So in the Glee episode ‘Swan Song’ Kurt has the exact same arrangement and verses as that Raul Esparza’s 2007 Tony performance (and some solo versions of other artists). But we know that Chris also sang the complete musical version (without the other character’s lines) as the released iTunes full version.
And there’s the rub:
I doubt that Chris recorded 2 versions of ‘Being Alive’: the full iTunes version and the episode (Raul Esparza’s) version, because to me his versions sound exactly the same (the lines that are used in both versions, of course), and with the crazy Glee schedule I suspect they just let Chris record one version, the longer one, and cut it short to the 2007 Tony performance for the show.
Therefore Chris could only create a build-up in the ‘full’ musical version he recorded, but, because Chris did not record a separate shortened version, he could not anticipate and deliberately put a more tailor made build up in the edited/cut version, if he was even told beforehand that they would cut verses out (for the episode version) when he recorded ‘Being Alive’. If he was aware they would cut the song shorter and knew what verses they were going to cut, he could not use those verses as an emotional build-up, because when they would be cut from the episode the transitions from one kept verse to the next kept verse (while skipping a verse) would be too disjointed. There would have been a gap in build-up and emotional level because of the cut version inbetween being gone. The build-up line would be severed and have a ‘hick-up’. If Chris was not aware that verses would be cut (or which ones) the problem would be how to cut and edit the song without breaking the build-up apart.
It’s like taking 2 pictures outside within minutes of each other pretending to be taken at the same time, but the first picture is sunny while the 2nd picture has a cloud in front of the sun: you just know time elapsed between these 2 pictures.

I wonder if this played a part at all in why Kurt’s version of ‘Being Alive’ is a bit subdued in emotions compared to some other performers? Did Chris put in more build-up while recording and did they have to edit it down? Or was Chris directed (or figured that out himself, knowing of the 2 different versions) to sing with a more even build-up, so the gaps wouldn’t show in the cut version? Or was it just a very fortunate coincidence that Chris sang ‘Being Alive’ a bit more internal and subdued than many staged performance, out of personal preference or to get a more stripped down effect (like Carmen wanted)?
Sometimes I wish I could be a little fly on the wall of the Glee recording studio. Rolling Eyes
Anyway, it’s a good thing that Chris decided to sing the song more subtle, calm, more internalized, I’d almost say ‘resigned’ than most versions out there. His realisation process is more turned inwards, without too much anger and frustration shown on the surface of the singing (like angry growls or raising of his voice). If he had gone full blown in his emotions while singing (like he did with ‘Rose’s Turn’), the cutting of the song would have been really audible. And the song itself, its meaning, did not suffer from this more subdued singing. There is still build-up and a turning point. It’s just more gradually done than in the versions we are used to, but still beautiful and truthful to the spirit of the song.
[To illustrate: can you imagine ‘Rose’s Turn’ being cut up like that, e.g. leaving out the 2nd and 3rd verses, if it immediately it had jumped from the first verse (”All that work and what will it get me, Why did I do it. Scrapbooks full of me in the background.”) to “Well someone tell me when is it my turn?”. Because of the build-up (of anger) in the song the cut version would not have fitted together. It would have gone from being irritated and disappointed to full blown rage without the middle part. Luckily back in season 1 they didn’t cut most of the songs up like they do now.]


The Key :



“It’s gotten to the point where I have to ask them to lower the key of songs. I’m doing Being Alive in an upcoming episode and they had it in a higher key, and I was like, ‘Guys I get that you like when I sing high, but can I PLEASE sound like a man for the man song, pretty pretty please?”
- Chris Colfer on Broadway Names (CCN – 2012-11-30)

Finally our Kurtsie prayers were answered and Kurt had drunken sex with Rachel sang a male Broadway song. And one of the great songs too. Instead of Kurt singing a female musical power ballad, and again stepping into the high heels of Broadway divas like Barbra, Patti and Bernadette, RIB allowed Kurt to….. oh wait, no, I’m wrong: because that’s exactly still what RIB wanted Kurt to do. ‘Being Alive’ is a “man” song, sung by great singers as Raul Esparza and John Barrowman, but it has been covered by the divas I just mentioned as well. And apparently RIB (and or the music producers) wanted Kurt to sing it in the same key as the divas they worship so much.
Now, there’s no doubt that Chris could have nailed BA in a higher (female) key, and if I try to imagine it in my head, it would not have taken any power or emotion away from the song, imo. Hey, if these queens of the Broadway stage can make BA emotional resonant with the use of both of their voice registers (as most women do), than so can Chris. He has done it before with e.g. the iconic Kurt songs ‘Rose’s Turn’ and ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’.
But, the big, big difference between these earlier Kurt songs and ‘Being Alive’ is that they originally already are female songs, and BA is not: it is a ‘boy’ song (as Chris said). If Kurt had sung it in a female key it would be 2 times removed from the original. Male song >>1>> translated to a female key >>2>> sung by a man. That’s like a text in one language translated into another language, and then translated back in the first language again. blinkk

Chris begged to sing the ‘man’ song in a man’s key, and I am so glad he did.
By asking to lower the song, to sing it in its original key, Chris shows (again) that he has more insight than all of the Glee producers combined when it comes to Kurt and that he has great instincts when it comes to his voice. And I wrote “again” because this is not the first time Chris asked for a key change.
Although not everyone agrees with me on this (and as a voice coach I have had my concerns with it as well), Chris asking for ‘I Have Nothing’ in the original Whitney Houston key also showed good instinct. It gave something extra to that song, an extra meaning, that maybe was not executed 100% right, but was totally right in intention. It was a great way to honor a great singer, very thoughtful of Chris, and I’ve noticed that the more I listen to IHN the more I love it, partly because of this intent and backstory.
In some other songs Chris chose to color his voice and its timbre more to his low register or to his high register, influencing the atmosphere and sound of those songs in a subtle way. I don’t know if that’s purely the instinct of a singing actor, or if it was his deliberate choice every time, but he knows his voice and what it can do like no other. With Chris it’s all about bringing the emotions across, whether he’s singing, acting or writing. “Being a storyteller”, as Chris would say.
By singing ‘Being Alive’ in its original key Chris accessed a part of his voice that is perfect for the adult character Robert he’s portraying and the emotions he’s feeling. The low-middle part of his low register is rich, full and most importantly for this song: mature. Kurt is 19, officially adult and he went through a lot that forced him to grow up faster than many of his peers, but he is still too young to be cast as a Robert (and so is Chris with his 22 years). But his low voice combined with his acting skills gives his rendition of BA what it needs nonetheless: depth and power (vocally and emotionally).
If they had insisted on Chris singing BA in a higher key, it still would have been a beautiful Kurt song, and considering what Kurt just went through, it would have worked in the context of the song. But it would not have gotten the extra emotional layer of also being true to the character of the original musical, Robert. It would have stopped at Chris portraying Kurt singing a song. Now it’s Chris portraying Kurt portraying Robert, with a lot of Kurt’s own emotions mixed into it as well (as Carmen wanted), giving this song a multilayered depth that I, as a musical theatre nerd, can appreciate very much. hapitgh

Chris singing a man’s song ‘like a man’ is not the only good thing that came out of his request to sing ‘Being Alive’ in its original key. Besides of stripping down his angelic 3 octaves voice to a mere mortal 2 octaves tenor, and showing that Kurt can still be fabulous without the unicorn voice (I will elaborate on this later in this review), the lower key established something else, something we’ve been craving for a long time.
Because not only Chris got a chance to show off his rich low register, but so did Kurt. Ever since we got that nasty stinking WSS/not able to pass storyline on Glee, this has not yet been re-addressed nor resolved in the show (one way or the other). And although parking and barking a ‘man’ song on stage is not the same as acting a male romantic lead in a musical, ‘Being Alive’ comes pretty close. (And I still mourn for never getting WSS’s ‘Maria’ sung by Chris)
Add to that that RIB deliberately connected Kurt’s high voice to him failing to ‘act straight’ in season 3, I consider Kurt singing a male Broadway song completely in low register getting one step closer to resolution (and revenge) of that horrible storyline, even if this was (and take good notice of this!) solely something that the character’s actor brought about, and not one bit intended by the writers who attempt to write the show (on the contrary I’d even say). It will probably have no lasting consequences whatsoever for Kurt in the canon, as old storylines are seldom revisited (although they are readily copied and re-used) or even remembered, but as a Kurtsie I’ll put that little detail in the ‘win’-column for Kurt.



Complexity, depth and soul :
(ugh Carmen, how could you not see that in NTBND?)

”I just did Being Alive from ‘Company’ and that was so much fun. It’s such a great, um, emotional number and I think it’s one of the very few emotional numbers that are written for men.”
— Chris Colfer on the Bobby Bones Show (CCN – 2012-11-30)

It’s been a while since the episode aired, so some of you may not remember this, but when the song came out there were some people complaining that Kurt/Chris’s ‘Being Alive’ was nothing like Raul Esparza’s or John Barrowman’s versions, etc. (I believe that everytime Glee covers an iconic song and/or a song sung by an iconic singer, there are complains in and outside the fandom that “*insert character* ruined this song” and “*insert character* is not as good as *insert iconic singer*”). And no, Kurt’s version wasn’t like any of those other versions. My first response was: “Why would it be?” as each performer brings his own interpretation into a song, although he/she has to sty faithful to the lyrics and intention of the song.
My second response was: “Why is it different? What prompted the choices being made by Chris as an artist?”, questions I try to answer now.
Chris chose to mainly internalize the emotions of ‘Being Alive’, making it more intimate, and therefore harder to spot and pinpoint., although the emotions are definitely still there. I’ve already speculated above that the song being cut in the show might have played a (big?) part in this. But I’ve also got another theory why Chris took a more subdued approach to the song. Again, this is also speculation, and maybe it’s a combination of both reasons, or maybe it’s just me looking way to deep into this, lol, but here goes:

Surface: whistles and bells.
When Carmen told Kurt he had only shown surface in NTBND and ‘Wake Me Up Before You GoGo’ (really, who writes something like this? The Kurt Hummel I know would never pick a song like that for his 2nd NYADA application), and needed to lose the whistles and bells, that is exactly what Kurt did with singing ‘Being Alive’.
Some of that was literally forced upon Kurt by Carmen’s whim (and I’ll deal with Carmen later) to have him perform at a 5 minutes notice: no costume, no props, no backup singers, no choreography, no proper preparation. Those were all the outer trimmings of some of Kurt’s previous performances that the writer of this Glee episode focused on and decided to build Kurt’s alleged ‘flaw’ on (wrongly: if anyone showed only surface this episode, it was writer Stacy Traub, imo, but I’ll deal with her later too). :angry:

Glee has a tendency to show us what a character is going through by using cheap, very visible tricks, that may show the outside of an argument/situation but certainly not the inside (imo we owe it to Chris’ acting that we know so much about Kurt’s inside), and then hitting it into our heads with a sledge hammer. Therefore not only did Kurt have to show Carmen he could sing a song with more depth and soul and less surface, he also had to do it without any props to distract us and Carmen-a-reknown-voice-coach-who-apparently-could-not-see-the-depth-and-soul-of-NTBND-because-Kurt’s-golden-pants-made-her-lose-focus. On second thought: who can really blame her for that? fanny2 Maybe Kurt really should have done ‘Music of the Night’ in the nude: it doesn’t get anymore stripped down to the bare essentials than that (although that might have had the exact opposite effect than the intended no distractions, lol).
So we got just Kurt standing alone on the stage singing, with no smoke and mirrors, no whistles and bells: the traditional park & bark (which effect then got immediately ruined by adding the spinning camera trick: that was a director’s mistake). Narratively wise that would have been enough to drill home that with the props removed that Kurt apparently hid his feelings behind he finally was able to perform with complexity, depth and soul. Evil or Very Mad
But on top of the visual effect of Kurt simply standing on stage, Chris himself took the ‘not-only-surface-but-stripped-down-to-bare-emotions’ challenge of Carmen to another level. He made 3 very effective performing choices to remove even more of those condemning whistles and bells from his performance. I already covered part of this in earlier paragraphs of this review, but just to paint the complete picture, forgive me the partial repeat.

1) Again: the key.
Chris asked to sing BA in a lower (the original) key, because of the song itself being a “man’s song”. But it had the secondary effect (and how much Chris anticipated this I don’t know) that it took away the voice Kurt is known for and what makes him special: his falsetto and ability to switch between his registers. Besides not using his falsetto is reducing his voice to only 2/3 of his total vocal range, it also took away an extra layer and tool for Chris to use.
By limiting his voice by only using his low register in BA, Chris could not rely on his almost female vocal instincts of putting emotion in his song by singing softer in falsetto at certain moments and belting in low register at others. This removed a big part of his vocally emphasizing and building-up abilities. All the emotion and expression in his voice had to come from only one timbre, one aspect of the voice he (and we) got used to over the years.
Chris laid Kurt’s soul bare (and his?) by taking away what would certainly have made him very different from the famous male BA performers (and not the female ones like Barbra, Bernadette or Patti, who he didn’t want to be compared with this time) : his falsetto and colfertenor.

Now Kurt did not have his famous rare voice to bedazzle his NYADA audience with: he put himself at the same advantage/vocal range level as any other male singer, so nothing would distract from the emotions he could put in the song by merely singing and acting them. Noone in that beautiful auditorium besides Rachel, Brody and Carmen knew that Kurt has got some extra vocal tricks up his sleeve, tricks that were a big part of the misleading label they put on him in Lima, the label of being a unicorn that made him into a musical and social llama; tricks that are very special and rare but were never used properly in show choir.
The NYADA audience knew nothing about Kurt. All they saw was an ordinary guy, albeit with a daring fashion sense, knocking their socks off with a tenor/baritone song that suited him as well as those flashy pants he wore….. and they gave him a big, fat standing O.. crycry



“2) This is NYADA we’re talking about, after all.”
Time and again we were told by the narrative (and part of the fandom) that NYADA is so exclusive that only the best singers can get in. Rachel of course, she is the special one after all, but Kurt? This was the school that rejected Jesse St. James!
In order to be admitted Kurt did not only have to overcome Carmen’s depth and soul challenge, but he also had to do it with sufficient vocal techniques to be NYADA worthy. So Chris did his best, more than his best, to sing BA with all the right techniques he’s learned over the years (I’ll get back to that later, too). Singing Bel Canto (singing as beautiful as you can, using your voice as a mere musical instrument) is beautiful and praise worthy. However, it takes away the rough edges of the voice, and therefore can take away some of the emotions normal voice displays when used in all its aspects. Bel Canto techniques frees the musical voice but it limits the speaking voice and its expressions.
I’ll refer to ‘Rose’s Turn’ again: that song was one big ball of raw emotion, when Kurt was very upset. There were growls, shouts and ‘slips’ of his vocal techniques during singing to demonstrate how upset Kurt was. If ‘Rose’s Turn’ had been sung in the Bel Canto style a part of these emotions would have been gone, or severely subdued.
Now I’m not saying that singing as beautiful as you can stops a singer from being emotional, opera singers like Maria Callas would protest, but Bel Canto limits the outwardly expressed emotions, and therefore a singer has to internalize them, and show them to the audience (‘act them out’) in more subtle ways.
I believe that is what Chris did. He took meticulously care that he vocal techniques were practically flawless and up to par with what NYADA (and the fandom) expected from its students, and therefore he couldn’t go full out in acting mode. The way he performed pointed that out too: he was standing still all the time, only moving his hands in the bridge of the song. The acting part was solely in his eyes and his tone of voice.
So singing Bel Canto also stripped part of the whistles and bells from Kurt’s performance.

“3) Dedicate it to yourself, Kurt.”
Chris was not only singing as the character Robert, but also as the character Kurt. It was Kurt’s emotions he had to portray as well, on top of the character’s Robert’s emotions. Chris needed Robert’s emotions in the performance to be true to the song and its musical. But Carmen did not want to see Robert, she wanted to see Kurt’s soul in his performance. Rachel gave him the best advice to tell Kurt to dedicate ‘Being Alive’ to himself.

Kurt just went through a horrible break-up which must have crossed his mind while singing (”Somebody hurt me too deep.”), and he is finding out what it means to have a roommate who he let into his shielded and protected heart (“as frightened as you” and “sits in his chair”). Kurt always shielded his heart and feelings, because of what he went through. In Lima he lowered these protective walls for only a few people, and got hurt more than once because of that, esp. recently by his ex-boyfriend. But the liberating atmosphere of New York and his success at Vogue has made Kurt more comfortable and confident, and he’s less shielded as he was before. Kurt is realizing what it means being alone in a big city, and what a difference it makes having friends like Rachel and Isabelle there, even when he just lost his love.
All these emotions could be seen in Kurt’s ‘Being Alive’, if you went looking for them in his face during the performance. Lots of theatrical hand gestures, raising his voice, and other emotional ‘effects’ would only have emphasized a few of these emotions, and not the full range of them in the double layers that are there behind his eyes. Sometimes less is more.

Going full blown with his emotions in ‘Being Alive’ like Robert in ‘Company’ could have resulted in a great BA rendition, but it would have been too theatrical for the setting, as it would have created those smoke and mirrors, whistles and bells to distract the audience who is too stupid to see through them (not going to let this one go, Carmen, nope), and that was not what Carmen wanted. Had this been a stage performance in which Kurt was specifically asked to re-enact the musical, then the theatricalities would have fitted.
Kurt was not acting as Robert and hiding behind that: he was laying his soul bare to Carmen, and in the process also to himself. He said that he finally understood what the song meant to him. That immediately made the emotions of the song more internal than external, more Kurt than Robert, as he was contemplting the words himself when he sang them, and it was up to Carmen and the audience to pick that up. It was all or nothing for Kurt, and a revisit to his wonderful stance across the years: “Accept me for who I am or don’t accept me at all, but I will not compromise who I am.”
Chris choosing a more subdued way of singing and acting made it less ‘theatre’ and more ‘real’ for Kurt, imo. Plus it showed how absolutely gifted Chris is with his subtle, internal acting. He can say more with one look and a single note than others can in a whole song.
Carmen’s challenge for Kurt was to show more complexity, depth and soul, and Kurt gave her that, and then some. hapitgh


Carmen Tibideaux, dean of NYADA :

"Kurt stops by Carmen Tibideaux’s office to ask if she received his most recent application and she tells him that she very rarely accepts repeat auditioners, and also that while she was impressed with his range and the way he wears gold leggings under his tearaway trousers, she doesn’t think he has much soul. Which is probably the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life, and Ryan Murphy just hijacked Heather Morris’ voice and spoke to me through my television, so I know a thing or two about stupidity. Have you seen Kurt Hummel’s face? Have you looked into Kurt Hummel’s eyeballs? When that boy sings, he lays his soul bare and your soul bare too. Even robots cry. Carmen Tibideaux, you are my favorite nun/lounge singer, but you are wrong on this one."
afterelton.com/2012/12/glee-recap

Okay now: trying to write this paragraph without spitting fire and having steam coming out of my ears is the reason why I have not been able to post this review, even when it was practically finished for almost 2 months. I know Glee has done some bad storylines and is not a bundle of continuity and logic, but somehow the way Kurt’s 2nd audition was handled, and especially Carmen’s role in this, really, really pissed me off. Maybe it is because I am a vocal coach, and because I have studied at a NYADA kind of college, and know what it’s like to audition, prepare for an audition, and judge an audition. I’ve been on both sides of an audition judges table: I know the criteria to look for and how to look beyond just what the eyes and ears can tell at first glance.
What Glee did in ‘Swan Song’ with Kurt’s audition was pure shit. There, I’ve said it. And to my great chagrin they not only tainted one of Kurt’s best solos for me, but also ruined a potential interesting character in the process: dean Carmen Tibideaux. I don’t want my anger about this color this review too much, because this song deserves a raving review and not the bitterness I feel about the storyline surrounding it, so I will put my thoughts on the storyline behind spoiler bars, before returning to praising Chris for his singing. Read at your own risk.

Spoiler:
Instead of making a long rant of this, I have simply put up the facts of the canon here, and then given my comments on how things like these get done in the real world. Not to say that I never encountered whimsical, incompetent and power-abusing conservatory teachers before in real life, because I have, but none of them were as bad as Carmen, nor could they have gotten away with what Carmen did at the Winter Showcase, without losing face and their good reputation.
Of course, all the blame goes to RIB+, especially Tracy Traub who wrote the episode (and didn’t only mess up with Kurt: everything was disjointed in ‘Swan Song’), but in the canon I’m forced to not be that enamoured with dean Carmen Tibideaux anymore. Kurt was right: she is a total bitch.
I’ll try to get through this without frothing at the mouth too much. blushh

- 3x18: ‘Not The Boy Next Door’:
After Kurt’s first audition Carmen told Kurt that “…I am certain that he [Hugh Jackman, who won a Tony for his portrayal of this role] would have been as impressed at what you did with that song as I am. A bold choice, young man. I congratulate you for taking such a risk today”.
These words, this elaborate praise from an extremely hard to please person, combined with the criticism of Carmen for Kurt in 4x09, does not make any sense. Carmen praised Kurt like this when it was made clear in canon that she barely ever gave praise (she even criticised Jesse’s audition!). But half a year later she scolds Kurt for not even being worthy enough to get a 2nd chance to audition. What happened?
There are only 2 possibilities here:
1) Carmen lied to Kurt in ‘Choke’, but why would she, as she doesn’t owe Kurt anything?, or
2) the praise she gave Kurt for NTBND was retconned to get contrived drama.
As this is Glee, what scenario do you think is more plausible?....right.

-Okay, let’s play along with the retcon:
Carmen was ‘impressed’ by NTBND (she did say Kurt was talented and could sell a number), but somehow still found Kurt’s performance only surface, lacking complexity, depth and soul, and she found this so terrible that she wouldn’t even consider giving him a 2nd chance in december, let alone admit him in the summer. Possible, but THEN SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE PRAISED KURT THE WAY SHE DID!!!
She should either have:
1) kept her mouth shut, say “Thank you, next!” and leave Kurt in the dark about how he did.
2) given Kurt praise for his bold choice and her enjoying his audition, but then she also should have listed and criticized what he did wrong in her eyes, and give Kurt a chance to work on that and improve for his 2nd audition, or at least not get his hopes up.
That is simple etiquette, and how things normally work in real life (and I don’t mean talent shows on tv).

- 4x09: Carmen’s office:
First of all: a smart guy like Kurt who loves musicals and Broadway (and did research for WSS, knew about Cassandra July’s past and spent time on the NYADA forum) would never send in an acoustic version of ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ (WMUBBYGG) as his audition tape for a school like NYADA. But this is the show in which Rachel Berry didn’t know that Cats was closed ages ago, so…..
*deep breath in, deep breath out*.

Carmen’s words: “I thought exactly what I thought the first time you auditioned for me, last Spring: here’s a very talented young man who knows how to sell a number, but who is devoid of complexity and depth. You gave me surface when I was looking for soul.”
You have no idea how painful it was having to watch that scene again and again (omg, Kurt’s horror-stricken face!) to be able to write this quote down word for word, ugh.
So now we know that Carmen did not only dislike WMUBYGG, but she didn’t like NTBND either. Wow, who saw that one coming, huh? Kurt certainly didn’t as SHE PRAISED HIM WITHOUT CRITICISM at the time.
Besides the clear retcon and the stomping on maybe the best acknowledged and praised vocal talent that Kurt’s actor Chris is known for: this criticism was quite a shock for Kurt and kinda important in the narrative, so to be able to feel something for this storyline, why didn’t we actually see his “devoid of complexity and depth” performance of WMUBYGG? Because Kurt is not Blaine Glee once again tells its stories rushed, half-assed and without actual showing. (And wouldn’t this have been a hilarious performance?)

“I rarely give anyone a 2nd chance, and when I do it is on my terms.”
Carmen gave Rachel a 2nd and a 3rd chance, even after Rachel behaved very badly, first during her audition and later by constantly trying to contact Carmen (sorry, Rachel fans, but this is true). Carmen even went to Nationals solely (!) to see Rachel, as she left right after ND finished their set. Carmen also admitted the Ave Maria girl with the warning that she needed to practice (even when there were only 20 slots to fill), and when she concluded the girl hadn’t practiced she threw her out of NYADA in the very first 5 minutes of the new semester, instead of letting her re-audition before the semester started, so Ave Maria girl wouldn’t have moved to New York already and someone else could have taken her place. That girl had good grounds for a law suit on Carmen for that.
Anyway: Kurt was denied his 2nd audition, when we saw both Rachel (after very bad behaviour) and Ave Maria girl (when she occupied a coveted slot with questionable abilities) being given a 2nd chance. That’s not handling the power and responsibility of your position very well, Carmen. La donna è mobile (The woman is fickle) – Verdi’s Rigoletto

-Carmen only saw NTBND and WMUBYGG: she never saw Kurt’s emotional ballads:
Not true, although the canon and the stupid writing wants us to believe otherwise.
There’s the argument that Carmen could only rely on those 2 songs to make an estimate of Kurt’s ability to show complexity and depth, instead of us, viewers who saw all of Kurts performances. Well, there’s 3 things that go against that reasoning :
1) Kurt must have had to sent in several songs along with his first NYADA application form. There’s no way that a school like NYADA would not demand mp3s or videos of performances of an applicant. The acoustic Wham song Kurt sent in for his request for a 2nd audition even confirms that. So Carmen saw more than just these 2 songs.
2) An audition for a school like NYADA would have consisted of at least 2 musical numbers, usually 1 ballad and 1 uptempo song. For musical theatre it also could consist of 1-2 ‘park and bark’ songs, and 1 performing song, with staging, dancing and acting. If NTBND was the stage number and also the uptempo number, there would still have been a ballad in which Kurt could have shown more complexity and depth. But why waste time on that when we can dedicate precious screentime to Beiste being beaten up by her husband?
3) Even if Carmen only saw NTBND, she is a trained vocal coach and therefore must have been able to see beyond the props, the dancing, the gold pants, and she would have seen how much that song meant to Kurt and how he went deeper than simple surface. I know this because I am trained to do this too, and I’m just a modest vocal coach, not a big shot theatre name with impeccable (and feared) skills like Carmen Tibideaux.

- Kurt hides behind his props:
Let’s see….. we can only look at Kurt’s auditions and staged performances here, imo, not the ‘spontaneous’ ones. And then we have had:
- Mr. Cellophane, auditioning for ND: no props.
- Defying Gravity, auditioning for a solo in ND: no props.
- Le Jazz Hot, staged performance for an assignment: props.
- Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, auditioning for the Warblers: no props.
(- Candles, Regionals performance with the Warblers: no props.)
- Some People, auditioning for a solo in ND: dancing (is that using props, or simply owning the stage?).
- Ding Dong The Witch is Dead, preparation for the NYADA mixer: props.
- I’m The Greatest Star, auditioning for the school musical West Side Story: props.
- Music Of The Night, auditioning for NYADA: props.
- Not The Boy Next Door, auditioning for NYADA: props.

So, the only times Kurt used props was when he was either singing a musical threatre song or auditioning for a musical theatre school. The times he auditioned for a simple solo or admittance to a choir he didn’t use any props. That doesn’t sound like Kurt hiding behind props to me, but more like knowing the material he’s working with and being smart.
Also regarding this:
It’s a bit ironic to have musical theatre school NYADA be the place where a park and bark performance is prefered over a staged performance….. dryy

-Why did Carmen put Kurt on the spot at the Winter Showcase?:
This makes the least sense of all.
Why would a reknown dean of NYADA risk her and NYADA’s reputation at their prestigious Showcase, in front of all those critics from the showbusiness, for a boy she was not sure off and very firmly rejected earlier? Was she enchanted by Kurt’s beautiful blue eyes? Did her cold heart thaw by the way he hugged bff Rachel? Even so, she would have not risked a potential failure and embrrassing performance at the school’s Winter Showcase.
The more logical way would be to have told Kurt at the Winter Showcase that he would be granted to audition for her in her office or an empty classroom after the concert was over. It would have been less cruel to Kurt also.
And this brings me to the theory I’ve read (and that even Rachel mentioned) that Carmen wanted to test Kurt’s quick adaptation skills and stress management level. Why would she have a need for that, when Kurt already proved how he was able to sense what might work and what not, thinking quickly on his feet and working under stress, at his first audition? Rachel was the one who couldn’t adapt and handle the stress at that given moment and time (although I would never encourage anyone to change an audition song a day before the audition either).
If Carmen deliberately put Kurt on the spot with a 5 minutes notice to ‘shake him loose’, to make him lower his shields and get to his vulnerability, she was severely mistaken in her thinking and educational upbringing. This hardly ever works in real life. A forced, unprepared performance is not the same as a spontaneous impromptu performance. The latter can be a vulnerable, completely free and emotionally touching performance, but the former never can achieve all that.
If anything, a stressful and unwilling performance like this, a performance that weighed heavily on his future career, as Kurt was offered this as his very last chance to get what he really wanted, would have him shaking in his designer boots, flowing over with adrenaline, and he would have to regain control over his body again by pulling up his shields even higher than before. It takes great willpower and energy to overcome such strong emotions in a moment like that and perform nonetheless. Kurt having been able to simply walk on stage and getting sound out of his mouth would have been a great achievement alone. Even knowing that Kurt overcame it all (it’s Kurt after all, Glee’s paragon of resilience) and triumphed: that’s a shitty way to treat a student, and as a vocal coach I’m offended on behalf of my fellow teachers).
These things only ever turn out well on tv and in the movies, guys.

With the ridiculous way Kurt’s 2nd audition storyline was written and executed in the episode, I can only come to the conclusion that in canon Carmen is a fickle, icecold, power-drunk weak excuse of a dean and vocal coach. No offense, Whoopi, I still love you in ‘Sister Act’.

And all this stupid contrived melodrama could simply have been avoided by Carmen refusing Kurt for a 2nd audition for another reason, a reason that was already embedded in the canon and still (!) needs resolution: Kurt not being able to pass for straight on stag,e combined with his high voice, and Kurt pigeonholing himself in the restricting flamboyant too-gay to-function niche with NTBND (and even WMUBYGG). If Kurt could not reach beyond the limitations his high school peers and teachers brainwashed him into, then why would Carmen give him another chance? Carmen still could have had a change of heart and granted Kurt a 2nd audition (but not at the Winter Showcase!) after seeing him interact with Rachel or getting more background info from Rachel. Problem solved, and Carmen would still be a tolerable and even awesome character.
This would have been a great, satisfying storyline, and it even would have gotten rid of some loose ends from season 3. But that would have required of the Glee writers to actually look back in the canon and have some grip on the characterisation of these pawns they move around carelessly at their weekly Life board game. dryy



Part 2 of this review in the next post.


Last edited by Glorfindel on 2/8/2013, 10:05 am; edited 1 time in total

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REVIEW: Being Alive, part 2

Post  Glorfindel on 2/7/2013, 8:38 pm

REVIEW: Being Alive, part 2

Breathtaking vocal techniques :
It is no secret that when Chris started on Glee he had not had many vocal lessons. He was not inexperienced and he had had some incredible accurate instincts to develop his (countertenor) voice, but he never got the chance to hone it to perfection with the help of a vocal coach. And, crazy talented or not, even the best singers profit from a vocal coach (hey, I want to keep my job, okay?). Over the years we saw Chris blossom and grow, his body, his face, and his voice as well. His countertenor voice got clearer and stronger, his highest notes more open and relaxed.
His tenor voice got stronger too, but because of the emphasis in Glee on the higher part of his voice, we hardly got to hear it, especially in season 3 when it was linked to his effeminacy, and we certainly got to hear his chest voice at its fullest potential (‘full blown’). His ‘4Minutes’ was way back in season 1 and almost forgotten (not by the fans, but by RIB). In season 3 NTBND was the song that came the closest to showing his low register, along with maybe ‘I’m The Greatest Star’, but both songs were up tempo songs, and were kept ‘light’ in timbre, except for a few, more intense, emotional parts.
So you could say that Kurt’s ‘Being Alive’ was awaited with anticipation by his fans.

Vocal coaches love to teach vocal techniques by using ballads, slow songs, so the techniques can ‘sink in’ without the student having to concentrate on keeping up with a fast tempo and remembering the many words in the lyrics. It also allows for long held notes, and training the breathing techniques necessary to hold those notes.
‘Being Alive’ stripped down Kurt’s emotions bare, as Carmen wanted, but it also stripped down his vocal techniques bare, by being a slow ballad. Besides limiting his range and emotive powers, there was no hiding his voice behind a fast, fun beat, or an arrangement with whistles and bells that can mask any vocal technical flaws. Chris had to bring his A game with this song, especially considering that it was his 2nd audition for NYADA, a college that let in Rachel, but refused Jesse, and we all agree that’s a really high bar (ignoring Brody: I think he got in by showing his abs and knowing RM’s modus operandi that will not be far from the truth).
When I first listened to BA the vocal coach in me smiled (while the fangirl in me was doing cartwheels and was uncontrollable crying all at the same time), because this performance reminded me of actual auditions and final exams performances I witnessed and participated in. All the vocal techniques that vocal/singing students get judged upon were carefully displayed; all the usual flaws were taken care of. An excellent showcase of how far Chris has come and what he has learned over the years from his very competent vocal coach on the Glee set.

Timbre in vowels, and keeping the low register:
One of those techniques displayed was strengthening and emphasizing the lower timbre of his voice. Chris deliberately ‘pushed down’ his higher timbre, to sound deeper and more mature, to sound closer to the character in the musical ‘Company’, and maybe even Kurt who is growing up fast.
Some vowels have a ’lighter’ timbre by nature, although it differs from person to person. For Chris this is most noticeable when singing an A, È (ai) or I: they tend to ‘jump’ a little higher in timbre. Others, like an E, O or U have a more natural ‘deeper’ timbre.
In ‘Being Alive’ Chris emphasizs the deeper sounding vowels, using them as ‘anchors’ to solidify and model all his other vowels after. At the same time he makes sure that the vowels with the natural higher timbre don’t ‘escape’ that lower timbre: he ‘pushes’ them down. This can be heard very clearly in his last ”Being Alive”. He not only ‘pushes down’ the ”…live.”, but also ‘weighs down’ the high note at the beginning on ”Be…”, to not let it pop out and escape.
This is a technique that requires good breath and vocal control, and a constant concentration throughout the song.

Directly connected to this is the effort Chris had to put in to keep singing in low register. The song doesn’t go too high (‘only’ to an A4) but the melody does crosses over Chris’ mostly used breaking points a number of times. I already explained a couple of times why it is difficult for Chris to stay in low register as opposed to a ‘regular’ tenor. Combine the urge to switch on his usual breaking points with deepening a ‘light’ timbred vowel at the same time, and you can understand that maintaining that ‘darker/deeper’ sounding timbre suddenly became even harder to do.

Pronunciation / Articulation:
Chris usually talks very fast, causing him sometimes even to stutter (actually, I think he thinks faster than he can talk) and it can be hard to decipher the words he’s saying. He also has a slight lisp. But in ‘Being Alive’ he takes a lot of effort to make every word comprehensible, emphasizing them. You can hear every vowel and every consonant.
The danger of pronounciation while singing lies in finding the right balance between OTOH clearly seperating all the words and OTOH stringing the words together. Over-articulating can lead to staccato (short and separate) sung lines, while not articulating enough leads to ‘whining’ and incomprehensible sentences. So the trick is to clearly pronounce the words while still keeping them together in a steady flow of sound.

Related to that is the way a last word in a line should be ended. Especially in a slow ballad like BA it is very noticeable when this is not done properly. Some words end on a ‘sustainable’ sonsonant, like an M, N or S, other words on a ‘stopping’ consonant, like a K, P or T. An R causes its own problem by clenching the tongue and uvula together when pronounced wrong. Ending on vowels can end with a pinch/squeek when not executed right.
It is quite logical that a word ending on e.g. a P should be sung on the vowel right before that P untill the very end, because singing the P too soon causes the tone to stop immediately, before the note should be ending. Good examples in ‘Being Alive’ would be “…sleep” and “…deep”. You can hear Chris prolonging the note on the vowel, before rapidly and firmly ending it on the consonant. These words are the easy ones.
The more difficult words are the ones ending with a consonant that doesn’t stop by itself: the M, N and (especially for Chris considering his lisp) the S (a fricative consonant). People tend to sing on those consonants instead of the vowel right before it, e.g. ”…clossssssse” or ”…innnnnn” or ”lovvvvvvvve”, because it’s easier on the jaw muscles (remember: a body is lazy in nature, always trying to save energy). It’s one of those things that always irritates me when I hear people sing who do it wrong. Chris sings those words ending on a ‘sustained’ consonant the way it should be: on the vowels, only at the end of the words does he close his mouth on the consonant. Well done. hapitgh

Breathing and abdomen support:
A good breathing control is at the basis of all good vocal techniques. It helps to keep the throat relaxed, to stay calm during singing, and to give the sound proper support by using abdomen muscles to keep the diaphragm low while ‘pushing’ the air outwards. Chris has shown good breathing control before: his most famous demonstration of that was his glissando over 2 octaves in Le Jazz Hot.
In ‘Being Alive’ his breathing is calm and strong. He uses his abdomen muscles to support his tone, and his throat is relaxed. An immediate result from this is that the tones can resonate freely deep in the chest, creating a deeper and stronger sound. Another positive effect is that you can hardly hear him take in air inbetween his singing (something that always annoys me in Lea’s singing), and he doesn’t need to take a new breath every few seconds. If he does take in air very shortly after another it is done as an acting choice, an effect (”…a little. *breath* …a lot.”), or to keep the flow of the melody and rhythm going.

There are 2 moments in the song that show off how long Chris can sing with one breath. The first one is at the end of the bridge (at 3.30) when he goes from the last line in the bridge directly on to the next verse (“…not aliiiiiiiiiiive>>> Somebody crowd me with love”). That takes about 14 seconds! More importantly than just sustaining his singing that long, is that the long note in the middle plus the long note at the end are sung open and strong, without any signs of strain. Anyone can hold his breath for 14 seconds, but singing that supported throughout those seconds takes breath control and stamina. To compare: Lindsey held the long note right before the end of her Anything You Can Do (at 2.15) for about 11 seconds.
The second time Chris held a long note in BA is of course the glory note at the end. It is not a high note (an E4) but it has to be strong and supported. Chris holds this note (including the word before) for another 12 seconds, and still that note is so relaxed his natural vibrato kicks in in the last seconds (same goes for the long note after the bridge btw).
If this was recorded in one take, from the bridge to the ending (and I think it is considering the tight recording schedule of Glee), it’s remarkable. wub


There’s more to tell about the vocal techniques used by Chris in BA, but these are the clearest ones to hear. Other techniques are Chris being pitch perfect and sustaining all his notes, the short and the long ones (they don’t ‘droop’). His recurring vibrato is a sign of good relaxation of his throat and upper chest, and his overall tone is strong. He has a great ‘offtake’ at the beginning of his words, especially on the often used word ”…too…”. And his little flaw is gone: his tendency to sing a little ‘sigh’ on an H. It only pops up on ”…to put you through hell.”, but I think this was done deliberate, as an acting choice.
All in all ‘Being Alive’ showed me how far Chris has come in developing his singing skills. As endearing, daring and beautiful his earliest songs like ‘Defying Gravity’ are, to see the difference now with ‘Being Alive’, sung only 4 years later, is astounding. NYADA worthy indeed. hapitgh



Final remark :
‘Being Alive’ is a great Kurt song. I love it because it’s a beautiful song and Chris did a remarkable job on it. I love it because I love the melody and the lyrics of the original. I love it because for Kurt it marks an important turn in his life, and it also sets a new standard for his voice, being the first male Broadway power ballad he ever sang on the show, as a ‘man’, as Chris said. It only took them 3 ½ seasons to get there, woot, woot. Next stop: a male pop song, please.
I will not let the context in the actual episode ruin my enjoyment over the song. I can enjoy ‘Ben’ if I don’t think of the episode and the context it was in, and I still think that NTBND was Kurt’s best audition song, despite the retcon made now and Kurt’s heartbroken “I didn’t get in”.
To me NTBND still was the better audition of the 2, because it showed off his whole vocal range and his rare unicorn skills. In a way it was Kurt conforming to a mould, but so was BA. In fact, maybe Kurt always will have to press himself in a restricting mould when he wants to succeed in the musical theatre business. I want Kurt to fit into the moulds he has to fit in to get his education, to make a career and a living for himself. In ideal circumstances he will be able to fit in both the hero tenor mould and the angelic countertenor mould while doing that. But I also want people to recognize his potential and use it, free him from the common standard and enable him to keep doing his own thing. Maybe he can find a more comfortable niche of his own, or create so much buzz that they will adapt the roles to and for him, instead of the other way around (something I can see Chris doing later in life).
This could be an interesting story arc for Kurt, but I doubt Glee will use the potential it has right in front of them.

As long as Kurt does not fit in a ready-to-wear mould, as long as the mould he (mainly Chris) created for himself is not a commonly accepted mould, there will be controversy around his voice. As much as I didn’t want Kurt’s voice limited to his higher range last season, I do not want it limited to his low register this season, at NYADA. On the other hand I don’t want Glee to give Kurt male songs like this and force him to sing them in a female key, like they almost did with ‘Being Alive’. My review on his next solo will elaborate on that, I’m sure. fanny2
And this is something I thank Chris’ vocal coach and Chris himself for: not compromising, but doing it all. These 2, together with the music producers when they get the chance, who thankfully listen to Chris when he suggests something, are gradually finding out how to use that lovely voice to its maximum capacity and to fit it as best as possible in the also limiting mould of Glee.
For a while I was afraid that Chris could not uphold and maintain 3 different voice types (tenor, countertenor, colfertenor) and a few times I saw him stagger while dancing on the high rope he created for himself. Well, he didn’t wobble one little toe or finger when he sang ‘Being Alive’. His tenor voice is steady as a rock, and so are his other voice types.
NYADA is lucky to have him, and so is Glee.


Smile


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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Ranwing on 2/7/2013, 10:11 pm

bisou

Marie, thank you so much for that beautiful and oh, so insightful critique. It's always so wonderful to have someone who really understands both the technical and artistic sides of singing to show how truly remarkable performances like BA were.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  MoviesAreLife on 2/7/2013, 10:12 pm

Thank you so, so much! I am in love with your reviews and insight on Chris' voice! wub

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  brisallie on 2/7/2013, 10:18 pm

That was a long and well made review Marie! I bet it take you days to do it, but again I'll say, it was well made Smile Congrats.

Glorfindel wrote:... Luckily back in season 1 they didn’t cut most of the songs up like they do now

Probably that is because they sing so many songs ein every episode today. I forgot if they sang that much in season one.

‘Being Alive’ is a great Kurt song. I love it because it’s a beautiful song and Chris did a remarkable job on it. I love it because I love the melody and the lyrics of the original. I love it because for Kurt it marks an important turn in his life, and it also sets a new standard for his voice, being the first male Broadway power ballad he ever sang on the show, as a ‘man’, as Chris said. It only took them 3 ½ seasons to get there, woot, woot. Next stop: a male pop song, please.

Please I want an Adam Lambert, Mika or Queen song. I think this man can sings songs from them. Oh! I forgot MJ too. And what about Bruno Mars?

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  MoviesAreLife on 2/7/2013, 10:24 pm

I agree! Bring on the male pop songs!

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  fantastica on 2/7/2013, 10:32 pm


clap clap clap... another masterpiece. thank you marie dearie.

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 2/7/2013, 10:34 pm

Thanks everyone. blushh
I love 'Being Alive' (the song and the man singing it) and I guess it showed. Smile

Adam Lambert, Queen and Mika are high on my list too for Kurt. If he sings Bruno Mars I want it to be Grenade (Kurt singing to Blaine of course).
Queen's 'Under Pressure' for Furt is high on my list too. And maybe some oldies, like Roy Orbison (It's Over) or The Platters (Only You).

But this is the song I really want Kurt to sing (because of its range): Take On Me - A-Ha.

Ah, just let me dream, okay? crycry

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Ranwing on 2/7/2013, 10:39 pm

You're not the only one who has a list of songs that you'd love to hear Chris tackle.

Totally agree about Adam Lambert, especially off his last album. He would sound amazing doing "Shady". I've said it before and I'll say it again... anything by Muse. I would also have loved to hear a duet with Kurt and Puck singing the Red Hot Chilly Peppers (don't judge me!). And yes, I would have loved ot hear Kurt sing several Queen songs (such as "Who Wants to Live Forever?" and "The Show Must Go On").

And he must, before this wretched show goes off the air, get to sing "Grace Kelly" by Mika.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  MoviesAreLife on 2/7/2013, 10:53 pm

I love the idea of Chris/Kurt singing "Grenade" and "Take On Me". Anything by Michael Jackson is something that I'd love to hear (especially "Dirty Diana" and "Beat It"), but sadly, they've already done the MJ episode.

There is an older Adam Lambert song that I think Chris would sound so sexy singing...it's called "What Do You Want From Me"...actually, I think it's spelled "Whataya Want From Me", but that looks weird. Anyway, I'm not sure what the context would be for that song, but I like it! I would kill to hear Kurt sing this song to Adam! And actually, I think all of the lyrics to that number fit his and Adam's situation now, with Kurt being hurt in the past and hesitant to trust again.

I wonder how Chris would sound singing "I'm The Only One" by Melissa Etheridge. I know it's a female pop song, but Chris said it was his go-to karaoke song years ago. I'm disappointed that they gave it to Mark.


Last edited by MoviesAreLife on 3/22/2013, 10:57 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  valkeakuulas on 2/8/2013, 5:04 am

Thank You for another insightful and interesting review of Kurt's song Glorfindel! And I don't think you were at all too harsh about Carmen's characterisation.

And thanks again pointing out that Chris does have amazing set of lungs on him. I hate it when the breathing isn't top notch on some of the songs out there. As a former choir member I can stand behind on you that getting the breathing right is one of the hardest things to do when singing. When to take it, remember to take it before it runs out and what part of the verse.

I sucked at remembering lyrics without notes but found it even more harder to remember the precise moments for air. It was actually quite funny when twenty-odd people choir were tired at practises and didn't focus on the breathing, it sounded like a bunch of elderly walking up a long set of stairs and getting out of breath!

With Chris I can't really hear any of that. Of course you hear him take breath because taking a full lungful does make a sound, but during the actual verses.

And I find it somewhat annoying that some reviewers out there do not talk about how technically well Chris sings, maybe it's because he sings so little now or that his part in duets and group numbers are toned down in the edit? I don't know. I always get exited when someone outside the fandom itself list Lea, Chris and Matt as the best singers of the show, because I see them looking at the small details of the process of singing.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Delight on 2/8/2013, 6:11 am

Thank you for another lovely and insightful song review, Glorfindel. I fully agree with you that Carmen's illogical criticism of Kurt's NTBND performance and later actions ruined the 'Being Alive' performance to some degree. Ah well, at least Kurt didn't make the song about Blaine, so thank goodness for small mercies.

*Starts waiting for the review of 'Bring Him Home'*

Because of this realisation the 2nd time the verses are sung the pronouns are different. “Someone” changes into “Somebody”, and “you” changes into “me”. Instead of talking in general, in theory, as he believes it ‘should’ be (“Someone to hold you to close.”), Robert starts talking about himself, how he got hurt, but how he also still needs someone (“Somebody hold me to close.”). Those changed pronouns are essential to the change and realisation Robert is going through.

Forgive me for being the most annoying nit-picker who's ever nit-picked, but I just want to point out that 'to close' should be 'too close'. I just want your nearly flawless review to be completely flawless blushh

Finally our Kurtsie prayers were answered and Kurt had drunken sex with Rachel sang a male Broadway song.

Glorfindel, your Hummelberry fantasies are showing tonguue

Now it’s Chris portraying Kurt portraying Robert, with a lot of Kurt’s own emotions mixed into it as well (as Carmen wanted), giving this song a multilayered depth that I, as a musical theatre nerd, can appreciate very much.


I love how you've picked up on the significance (to the narrative) behind Chris's choice of singing the song in the original key. Yes, this is not just Chris singing as Kurt, but Chris singing as Kurt singing as Robert. There's more complexity to this song than I had imagined.

Therefore not only did Kurt have to show Carmen he could sing a song with more depth and soul and less surface, he also had to do it without any props to distract us and Carmen-a-reknown-voice-coach-who-apparently-could-not-see-the-depth-and-soul-of-NTBND-because-Kurt’s-golden-pants-made-her-lose-focus. On second thought: who can really blame her for that?

Haha, this shall be my new head canon from now on, thanks to you. Of course Carmen was too distracted by Kurt's golden pants to make a proper judgment of his vocals and emotional delivery of NTBND Smile
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 2/8/2013, 10:03 am

Delight wrote:*Starts waiting for the review of 'Bring Him Home'*
Tsk, never a moment's rest. Rolling Eyes
(Psssst: I already started writing it. At least this time the narrative didn't ruin the song. fanny2)

Forgive me for being the most annoying nit-picker who's ever nit-picked, but I just want to point out that 'to close' should be 'too close'. I just want your nearly flawless review to be completely flawless blushh
No forgiveness needed: I appreciate it when people point things like that out in my reviews. I hate those typos (I'm a perfectionist).
So thanks and.....fixed it. fanny2

Finally our Kurtsie prayers were answered and Kurt had drunken sex with Rachel sang a male Broadway song.
Glorfindel, your Hummelberry fantasies are showing tonguue
Isn't that what we all want? sifflou

I love how you've picked up on the significance (to the narrative) behind Chris's choice of singing the song in the original key. Yes, this is not just Chris singing as Kurt, but Chris singing as Kurt singing as Robert. There's more complexity to this song than I had imagined.
That's the multi-layering that attracts me so much to musicals: stretching the acting muscles, so to speak. And I'm sure Chris loves that about musicals too: acting through song. Adding even another character into the mix must have been like candy to him. hapitgh

Haha, this shall be my new head canon from now on, thanks to you. Of course Carmen was too distracted by Kurt's golden pants to make a proper judgment of his vocals and emotional delivery of NTBND Smile
It created a serious handicap for Kurt, imo. Nothing could beat those pants when it comes to.....ah.....uhm.....exposure. ooppss

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  MoviesAreLife on 2/8/2013, 7:46 pm

Just so you know, Marie, I get the Hummelberry thing. I was afraid I was going to be the only secret Hummelberry shipper on here (but there are a ton on Tumblr and FF.net) but I'm glad to see this is not the case! Wink

I can't wait for the "Bring Him Home" review, but no pressure! mrgreen

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 6/6/2013, 11:06 pm

AAAAAANNNND I'M BAAAACK!!!

After a long leave of absence I hope to be able to start writing and posting reviews again.
I have had a really busy (work) schedule for many months up till Easter, and after that I needed to take it a bit slowly for a while to recover from the stress. So these reviews had to wait.

But I'll be honest: besides the work load I also had to stop writing my reviews for some time because I was so fed up and angry at Glee in season 4 that everything I wrote turned into long vicious rants. And I don't want my reviews to be full of rants (well, not too much anyway, lol). I want to celebrate Kurt's singing voice in my reviews.

Having said that: the next review won't be rant free, I'm afraid. It's the 'Come What May' review, and when I started writing it in earnest a few weeks ago I discovered so many things that made me angry I knew I couldn't make the review without mentioning them, and calling RIB out on their shit.
It being a Klaine ~duet doesn't help either. That's why I want to get this particular review out of the way first.

Another warning: it's looooooooooooooooooooooooong. blushh

I'll start posting the review now. It'll take some time, because I have to put in links and gifs and bolded text, and all kinds of other things. But I hope to have it posted within half an hour. neutre


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REVIEW: Come What May

Post  Glorfindel on 6/7/2013, 12:15 am

REVIEW: Come What May (CMW).

After campaigning for it for almost 2 years the Klainers got their wish: the Moulin Rouge duet ‘Come What May’. Chris himself has expressed several times that he considers it one of the most beautiful love songs, for the first time I think in this interview (at 1.00) and again in the BTS of ‘Girls and Boys on Film’:

Season 2: BTS 4x15:

What little could Dalton’s Kurt guess of what lies ahead for Klaine 2 years down the road. The long anticipated romantic ‘Come What May’ became a bittersweet Klaine song in the end, as Kurt reminisces in a day dream of what could have been if the reality hadn’t been that Blaine cheated on him. And so Kurt cried after waking up in that reality, while watching Moulin Rouge on the couch with his new beau. Well, when Kurt cries I cry, and we all know he got ample reason to cry, but if we consider the parallel we can draw of him with poor Moulin Rouge’s Satine (who dies of consumption) I think he still got the better deal in the end. fanny2
Speaking of parallels: many fans thought that Kurt getting ‘cast’ as Satine seemed to be a given after he first expressed the wish of singing CMW on the show. There is something that can be said for that, but the way the ~duet was eventually done on the show does raise some question marks and eyebrows for several reasons, which I will touch upon later.
But let’s do the real analyzing of the song first.

The song:

Come What May, Glee version:


Come What May, Moulin Rouge, film version:



The lyrics:
(Klaine = bolded, Kurt =italic and red)

“Never knew I could feel like this, like I’ve never seen the sky before.
Want to vanish inside your kiss.
Seasons may change, winter to spring,
But I love you until the end of time.
Come what may, come what may,
I will love you until my dying day.

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place,
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace.
Suddenly my life doesn’t seem such a waste,
It all revolves around you.
And there’s no mountain too high, no river too wide,
Sing out this song and I’ll be there by your side.
Storm clouds may gather, and stars may collide,

But I love you (I love you)
Untill the end of time.

Come what may, Come what may,
I will love you, I will love you.”



Klaine duet?

As is quite obvious from ^above lyics, Kurt didn’t really get to sing much in this Klaine ~duet. dryy The Klaine ~duet is 3.25 minutes long, and Kurt does not start to sing untill 1.50, which is after half of the song is already over. On top of that from thereon he only gets to harmonize with Blaine (as his 1 measly solo line isn’t even a solo line but part of an echoing harmony).
Let’s face it: this ~duet was basically a Blaine solo with Kurt as his back-up. Yes, I’m pissed about that, and I’m not the only one. So, as not to mistake this for a real duet, I will use the “~” everytime before “~duet” when I’m referring to the Glee version of CMW in this review. Because I can.
I’ll get back to this, but first….. the harmonies:



The harmonies :

Unisono in octave :

”Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place,
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace.
Suddenly my life doesn’t seem such a waste,
It all revolves around you.”


These lines are sung in unisono, but it’s a unisono in octave, meaning Chris is singing one octave higher (same note but higher up in the scale) than Darren. Chris sings these lines completely in high register, up to an E5, which is just below his ‘Defying Gravity’ high F, but by now we’re so used to it and Chris has trained his voice so thoroughly that this is no big deal anymore.
Glee has used this form of harmony with Kurt before, for Klaine, but also for Furt (in the Journey songs), and if you’ve read my reviews you’d know that I don’t think it’s a good harmony form for Klaine. I’m actually not sure whether I like it in CMW or not. unsure
On the one hand Chris sings the Nicole Kidman parts flawlessly, he has no trouble reaching the notes (btw: the song has not been transposed: there was no key change necessary for Chris to sing the Nicole Kidman parts), and because we have heard CMW as a male/female duet before and these lines are exactly the same as in the original it sounds familiar.
But on the other hand there’s the weakness of the harmony itself: an unison in octave harmony is quite ‘hollow’ in itself, and the Klaine dynamic can’t handle big gaps between their voices very well, so the result is quite thin. In the original this is no problem, because the mix of voices is better, as Nicole’s higher voice is firmly supported by Ewan’s voice, and a woman singing one octave higher than a man is a widely accepted harmony listeners are accustomed to.

I would have preferred it if Chris and Darren both had sung this verse on the same height: still as a unisono, but without the octave. Chris would then have sung in his low register, just like Darren. It would have sounded quite different than the original, but imo more intimate/together, and it wouldn’t have trapped Chris in the female part right from the start of the song.
An other alternative would have been to let Chris sing most of this verse as it is now (like the original), but with more of his low register mixed into it (now it was completely in falsetto). All but the 3rd line can be sung easily in low register. On the 3rd line (the one with the highest notes in it: “Suddenly my life doesn’t seem such a waste”) he could have switched one octave lower, so Chris wouldn’t have had to sing that high E5 (as high notes don’t work well in a Klaine harmony).

Of course: the best option would have been, imo, to let Chris sing this verse alone, as a solo, just like Satine did in the pop version. He could have done it in the low octave (the way Darren was singing) or even in the higher Satine octave: both would have sounded really good.
Although I think the lower octave would have been the better choice here, not because I think Chris sounds better when singing low (because I don’t), but because it would have been more fitting in the song. Chris sounds fine singing female songs as a countertenor in a free-standing solo and when he’s singing a duet with a girl or a deeper voiced man (a baritone), but in this case I think the 2 ~duetting voices are too far apart to sound rich enough (due to the bad Klaine soundmix).


Real harmonies :

1) And there’s no mountain too high, no river too wide,
2) Sing out this song and I’ll be there by your side.
3) Storm clouds may gather, and stars may collide.”


This is where the real harmonies start. Darren keeps singing the main melody, while Chris sings the same second voice that Nicole sang in the movie. The melody is low and Chris is singing mostly in low register, with some higher notes in falsetto. I doodled again (making these diagrams is turning into a nice, soothing mandala making kind of hobby for me, lol Smile) and this piece of art was the result:


The first line is mostly third intervals, Chris singing only a third higher than Darren, and this is usually a good harmony dynamic for Klaine, as Chris does not have to sing too high while Darren sings low enough to support Chris’s slightly higher voice, and Chris is even singing a lot in low register. To me this is the best part of the song. neutre

In the following lines (#2 and #3) we have a lot of fourth, fifth and sixth intervals, even sevenths, which keeps the 2 voices further apart, although it’s still within the Klaine marges, imo, especially when Chris is singing in his low register.
The sixth interval is still a relative strong interval (being the ‘reverse’of the strong third), but the fourth and fifth intervals are ‘weaker’ in a harmony, and if 2 voices do not fit a harmony build from these intervals can fall apart. In the last half of the 2nd and the 3rd the harmonies are therefore weaker and ’hollow’, especially when Chris goes to falsetto (and as a result his voice becomes much more different from Darren’s).
On top of Chris having to resort to falsetto in the higher notes in lines #2 and #3, Darren also sings quite high notes in his vocal range here, so he can’t support Chris properly with a deeper/darker timbre, and this weakens the harmony even more, and the harmony becomes thin and unraveled.
This overall thinner harmony is somewhat corrected by the music arrangers who edited Darren’s voice louder than Chris. Sound familiar? If not: see the Perfect review. dryy
To add even more to that: Darren is singing the lead melody in this harmony, and Chris the 2nd voice, and a lead melody usually is more prominently featured than the 2nd voice anyway.

If this had been another song, or a solo, Chris would have sung most of the notes in these few lines in his tenor voice (his low register), except for a few high notes he would be more comfortable singing in falsetto (although they are also not impossible to sing in low register).
And here is where being forced to only sing a female part in an original male/female duet starts to bite him in the butt:
Chris is sort of ‘trapped’ in having to sing the higher notes in falsetto, even when he’s able to reach them in low register. Because if he had belted these higher notes more forcefully in low register (up to a C5), like he voice wise could have done if the song had been (re-)constructed in another way, it wouldn’t have fitted that well in the song’s style, especially not after he already sung in falsetto in the first verse. Belting these lines on this height at this moment in the song wouldn’t have sounded romantic (it would have been too loud and rough instead of soft and smooth). So Chris had to continue to soften the high notes by singing them in falsetto.

I actually appreciate that Chris sang the first line and parts of the 2nd and 3rd line in his low register, even though in the original version Nicole Kidman sang those parts a lot ‘lighter’. Chris simply could have copied that, but he didn’t. Singing those lower notes in chest voice creates a richer sounding harmony with Darren than if he had sung them in falsetto. It balances their voices out more, plus it adds a little ‘masculinity’ to the song (although I have come to hate that word to describe a voice’s timbre, due to season 3).
If they would let Chris sing more as a tenor when he’s singing with Darren the Klaine dynamic would improve a lot. It’s a waste that Glee has firmly locked itself into their own stereotyping with this. Evil or Very Mad


x


Switching roles :

But I love you (I love you)”
”Untill the end of time.”


The version of CMW they used in Glee was the movie version (see video at the top of the review). The Glee version follows the movie version almost exactly, by having Blaine sing the Christian parts (Ewan McGregor’s character) and Kurt the Satine parts (Nicole Kidman’s character)…. except surprisingly for the “(But) I love you” lines. blinkk
In the movie Christian sings “But I love you” first and Satine echoes her “I love you” back to him. However: for some reason they changed that in the Glee version, having Kurt (‘Satine’) sing the “But I Love you” first, and having Blaine respond, and the same goes for the “Untill the end of time” lines. Why?
An argument can be made that changing only these lines (and nothing else!) fits in the narrative, as Kurt is the one having the fantasy, contemplating his relationship with Blaine and clearly still hurting from Blaine’s betrayal. Therefore Kurt singing “But I love you” fits with his mindset. It could also simply be because they wanted Kurt to say “I love you” first. But I don’t know: both of these reasons seem a bit too trivial to take all that effort for. Because believe me: it took a lot of deliberate effort to switch these lines.
However: the only other reason I can think of for going through all this effort is that switching these lines made the singing more difficult for Chris, but actually a little easier for Darren (as he doesn’t have to go quite low now at some point, and it reduces a big jump between 2 lines for his part). I really doubt though that they went through all that trouble just for 2 or 3 notes Darren would find hard(er) to reach.

So by lack of a better explanation I’ll go for the added “But” of Kurt, and the scene seems to support that (see the following paragraph ‘Kurt’s POV’). If so, the music arrangers went through a lot of trouble just to add the word “But” to Kurt’s lines. The much easier solution would have been to just add a “But” to Kurt’s response as Satine, and maybe even leave Blaine’s “But” out in the beginning. Honestly: I don’t get it, unless there is more truth in changing those lines for Darren’s sake than I actually think there is.
Whatever the reason, Glee switched the “I love you” lines (lines #4 and #5 on the diagram, the ones I underscored with a lighter color red and green). This little switch of 2 lines seems simple, but it creates several music technical problems in the song:


In the previous lines (#1, #2 and #3) Chris was singing a high female part, and Darren was singing a lower male part, but now (lines #4 and #5) they switch places, so you’d expect that Chris gets the lower male part and Darren the higher female part. Except that they don’t do that. Chris doesn’t get to sing these lines in the same octave that Darren was singing in (the lower male part), but he has to sing them one octave higher!, even though he is as much a tenor as Darren is and those lines in the original octave would not have been a problem at all for him. But Darren isn’t required to sing higher as he switches to the female part, although that makes more sense as he can’t sing that high the way Chris can anyway. Suspect
The result is that the “But I love you” line, which is almost a ‘spoken’ line, is much higher up in Chris’ vocal range than Kurt’s usual speaking voice (which is higher than Chris’s btw), making this line sound odd for a boy and out of place. I love Chris’ voice high and low, and he has no trouble reaching those notes, but just like his “What?!” in ‘It’s All Over’ his “But I Love You” in CMW sounds a bit off.
And although Chris is still able to put all the emotion in them that they need (combined with his acting in the scene), these important words in the song lose momentum because of the unusual high pitch for a man, what Kurt still is after all, and I personally find it grating.

The rest of the song I can (grudgingly) live with, but arranging his “But I love you” so high up in Chris’ vocal range is a bad choice from an acting/emoting angle and also music technical wise, and it’s so obviously a bad choice that the Glee music arrangers should have noticed that.
Besides the nasty implication this entails that Kurt really is ‘the girl’ in this relationship and therefore should strictly stick to singing as a girl in a Klaine ~duet, even when he could have easily have sung this particular line as a tenor, there cannot even be made a convincing argument that jumping down to Christian’s voice height after singing in Satine’s height would have been music technically a more complicated thing than jumping an octave higher (to stay in Satine’s regions of vocal range)! Because it isn’t: it would have been easier to have him sing that line in the lower octave:
If his “But I love you” had been sung one octave lower (the normal tenor height) Chris would only have to jump 3 semitones up (in the diagram: the blue lines with the 3 in it) to the next line (“Untill the end of time”). Now he has to jump a more sizable 6 semitones lower (the red line with the 6 in it).

And then there’s this (I’m sorry if all of this octave jumping talk is getting confusing: I’m doing the best I can explaining it all in a clear way) panik :
The #5 line (“Untill the end of time”) is also arranged one octave higher than the original (the Christian part). But when Darren sings his “Untill the end of time” line right afterwards they conveniently arranged it for him on the Christian height/octave, even though Darren could have sung it on Satine’s height too!
Arranging the first line for Darren (“I love you”) one octave lower I can understand because if he had sung it on the higher octave his voice also would sound way too high in comparison to Blaine’s speaking voice (just like Kurt’s did now). But the line “Untill the end of time” Darren could have easily sung in the Satine octave, as the highest note is only a G4. And yet they also lowered that line one octave to a more ‘masculine’ part of his vocal range.
So Darren was allowed to stay in the Christian/male part vocal range, whereas Chris was not allowed to go to Christian’s vocal range. Kurt was denied singing the only legit male part he got of this original male/female ~duet!
Now that’s not fair, is it? :angry:

And besides of Chris having to sing line #5 (“Untill the end of time”) one octave higher, he also had to sing it almost completely (except for the first and last note) in falsetto again, when it normally would have been more logically for Chris to sing this in his low register (as his highest note is also a mere G4). To compare: “Untill the end of time” is lower(!) than his earlier “And there’s no mountain too high”, which Chris did sing in low register.
This is becoming a pattern: again Chris gets trapped in the ‘female’ role. As it was now, with the octave higher “But I love you” preceding it, if he had sung “Untill the end of time” completely in low register there would have been a very audibly difference between the 2 lines, so singing in higher register was again the better option.


Why? :

But why did they do this strange up and down jumping and switching of octaves for both of them to begin with, especially if it creates more problems than it solves? Heck: most of this song is arranged in a way that practically forces Kurt in the female role, from the unison in octave in their first verse together, to the high E5 in the next lines, to the switched “(But) I love you”.
I have some plausible theories, but I don’t know which one is true, although I have my own favorite. It’s probably a combination of 2 or even all 3 of them:

1) Kurt wants to sing only as Satine.
I could make a feeble argument why Kurt would want to sing as Satine throughout the entire song: CMW being his fantasy after all and his history with singing female songs and considering himself an “honorary girl”. Although I can easily make a stronger counterargument by pointing out that Kurt never wanted to be a real girl, and he wanted to be a male lead (e.g. by auditioning as Romeo, and wanting to be Tony in WSS, not Maria). I’ll come back to this later, when I talk about Kurt’s POV (point of view).
Although I don’t think that canon Kurt would want to be only Satine in his own fantasy, the problem is that I think that RIB might think that Kurt would want it that way. After all: this is not the first time they went down that path (just look at the bigger half of season 3). They have chucked Kurt in with the girls numerous times, in ND, and in his relationship with Blaine.

2) Kurt cannot sing lower than Blaine.
A very ugly theory, connected to the first one: if Chris had been allowed to sing this whole segment (lines #4 and #5) in a lower (tenor) octave, he would have sung lower than Darren had sung in CMW so far, and also lower in their harmony together on that specific line. But since this is Glee we can’t have feminine Kurt sing lower than his man, now can we?
I wouldn’t have believed in this theory in season 2, as warbler Blaine sang a few times higher than Kurt (‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ and ‘Candles’). I thought there was some merit in this theory in season 3, with all the “not being able to pass” crap that never got followed up on. After listening to all the harmonies Klaine sang together in season 4, I see no reason not to believe it.

3) Kurt really is a box with no more than 4 sides to him.
If I choose not to believe in RIB deliberate enforcing the veiled boy/girl dynamic of Klaine in their harmony dynamic, the only other reason I can think of is that TPTB simply got caught in their own habit of not being able to value their actors’ singing capacities beyond the tiny limiting boxes they have put their characters in over the years. They were the ones who linked Chris’s trademark countertenor voice to Kurt’s effeminacy very firmly in season 3 (when in reality a countertenor voice has very little to do with being effeminate), and now they find it hard to see him and his voice anymore as the versatile singer he was allowed to be before (back in the day when Kurt still sang frequently :().
They sometimes forget now that Chris has a beautiful tenor voice as well (untill it suits them, that is, e.g. when they get stuck with certain songs due to a tribute episode, like Stevie Wonder’s ‘Wonder-Ful’: then they don’t mind dumping a difficult song on Chris, putting him to the test with those low notes, knowing very well that he is one of the few ones who still manages to pull the more challenging songs off). I haven’t forgotten how Chris had to ask/beg to sing Kurt’s “man song” ‘Being Alive’ in its original male key, as they automatically had put it in a female key for him. Evil or Very Mad
It could very well be that the thought of Kurt singing on the same height as Blaine in ‘Come What May’, either by sharing the male part and/or re-arranging the female part, never even crossed the music arrangers’ minds. They switched the “(But) I love you” lines, but failed to really switch the roles for the singers, because TPTB never were able to make that switch in their heads themselves.


This is exactly the reason why I was never a fan of ‘Come What May’ as a Klaine duet. Besides that I just knew they would almost automatically give Kurt the Satine part without even thinking about the implications, the song’s harmony dynamic is problematic by its own nature as the structure of the song itself makes it a bit awkward as a male/male duet, ‘trapping’ Chris in a girl part more than ever.
What’s baffling to realize is that it was even engineered like this on purpose. Instead of trying to negate or solve the problems of the nature of a male/female duet, they let themselves and the singers get pulled in and locked in even deeper. There were several other, more logical options for the music editors to arrange this song. And all those options would have not left the smell of effemiphobia and forcing heterosexual old-fashioned standards on a gay couple. mince

If they really found it so important to switch the “I love you” lines, why didn’t they make it easier by switching more lines up right from the beginning of the song? Give Kurt a few Christian lines in the first half of the song, in the same vocal range as Ewan McGregor and Darren.
With some more variation in the harmony and if they had already given Chris a few lines in low register in the Christian solo part, there would have been no need for Chris to sing an octave higher all the time. It wouldn’t have changed the meaning of the song, nor the meaning of the fantasy scene and Kurt’s feelings in it. And it would have made this farce of a ~duet a something the description “duet” worthy.
Glee wasted an opportunity to make this song into what it should have been: a genuine male/male duet.

Oh, and changing the “I Love You” lines (but not the first half of the song) also means that the argument that “Glee wanted to stay true to the original” doesn’t fly anymore, as RIB were very willing to change lines when it suited them, and they did. The ‘tribute’ (aka shameless copying) to ‘Moulin Rouge’ in this movie episode was already violated by this: so a few more shared lines wouldn’t have made a difference. And this wasn’t the only thing that was not like the original at all.




The ending :

”Come what may, Come what may,
I will love you, I will love you.”



After switching parts in lines #4 and #5 Kurt and Blaine switch back to their original roles again. Blaine sings the Christian part and Kurt the Satine part. The harmony starts with wide sixths intervals, but soon gets into the comfortable range of third intervals, something Klaine can do well when the notes are not too high. This time the notes are reasonably high, but their harmony stays away from the red zone, imo. The repeated “I will love you” at the end even allows Chris to sing in low register.
The only really jarring harmony is the high note in the 2nd “Come what may” (line #6), when Darren jumps upwards to sing a belted A4. This is jarring because Darren really has to shout out that note to reach it, and therefore this note is much ‘rougher’ and louder than Chris’s smooth falsetto there. What adds to that jarring feeling is that the interval on that note is a first interval, the most jarring intervals of them all by nature: it’s meant to create some tension, to then quickly ‘dissolve’ into a more easy on the ears harmonious interval. In CMW this first interval also quickly ‘dissolves’ in a better harmonizing fifth interval, but Darren’s (too) powerful belt unfortunately puts an unnecessary emphasis on that dissonant interval. blinkk

And notice: Chris’ high notes on the “Come what may” lines are only a few semitones higher than Darren’s belted A4. Chris could have belted his part too, but again the (original) arrangement/style of the song forces him into falsetto.

The ending is quite different from the original, which ends in a big orchestrated finale. In the movie version there is an instrumental break at the end, right before the big finale (at 3.16), and that’s where the Glee version ends, with adding one “I will love you”.
Maybe they did this because they didn’t want the last words in a romantic song of an ‘endgame’ (ugh, I really hate that word) couple on Glee to be “Untill my dying day”. Maybe they wanted Kurt to slowly come back from his fantasy to real life (sitting in front of the tv), instead of rudely ‘waking up’ after a big bang finale chord which would have rattled his teeth. Maybe they simply didn’t know how or if to put a choir into the fantasy scene. saispa
Anyway: the way they ended the song now sort of leaves an open ending: as if the song is cut off abruptly. The final line “I will love you” feels unfinished, as if the song is ending too soon, even if you never had heard the original before.
Part of this unfinished feeling is created by ending the harmony on a fourth interval, a quite ‘hollow’ interval. Most of the time duet harmonies at the end of a song end on a solid third or a sixth, or even both singing the same note (unisono). Ending it on a fourth however kind of creates a question mark instead of a firm exclamation mark.
The big build up in the last lines before the ending (the repeated “Come what may”) whithers, instead of blossoming into a grand ending: the build up needed more ‘cooling down’ than it got now, so to speak. I find it a bit clumsy, and there would have been better ways to end the song, imo.
As the Duke would say:




”They wanted to re-enact ‘Come What May’ like it was in the movie”:

I’ve read this explanation for why Glee chose to record CMW the way they did about a hundred times after the song was released. And it’s true that the audio of Klaine’s ‘Come What May’ was, but for the differences I already pointed out, mostly a direct copy of the movie version. Out of the 3 versions (2 in the movie, 1 released as a pop track) the movie version is the only version that has the male role Christian sing solo half of the song. The finale version in the movie has Satine singing the most, and the pop version has an almost equal share of the lines.
So when it turned out that Klaine’s CMW ~duet was, ironically just like their joined ship name, mostly Blaine, the justification of some people for this was that Glee used the movie version and not the more popular pop version because they wanted to “pay tribute” to the original song in the movie, as an ‘hommage’, and unfortunately(?) in the movie version Christian has the lion’s share, so therefore Blaine needed to have the lion’s share in Glee’s version as well, if they wanted to stay true to the original. This nice theory however is based on absolutely nothing.

First of all: there were 8 songs in ‘Girls (and Boys) on Film’, all movie songs. Of those 8 songs only 1 other was an exact copy of the movie the song was from (You're All The World To Me, originally from [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsoYyDlYU8M ]Royal Wedding[/url]), and that wasn’t a direct copy either because it had Jayma in there (audio and scene) besides only Matt: so the onlyother direct copy of the movie the song was in changed its solo to a duet. (btw: I love that scene)
There were 2 other songs that had scenes which somewhat resembled the original movies they came from: ‘In Your Eyes’ and ‘Unchained Melody’, but they were more loosely based on a very visual prop of their original scenes (the boombox and the pottery wheel). The other half(!) of the songs were simply choir room or stage performances, with just the costumes and some basic moves linking them to the movies they appeared in.
All songs had alterations in the music itself, and all but one song added more singers when they originally were solos: ‘You’re All the World to Me’ became a duet, so did ‘Diamonds’ and ‘Shout’. The others were group numbers, and one was a mash-up.
So why would ‘Come What May’ be the only song that rigidly should hold on to the original? Rolling Eyes

The simple fact is that Glee’s CMW did not stay true to the original at all. I’ve already pointed out the 2 differences in the music arrangement of the Glee version, and now I will point out another one in the scene.
In Kurt’s fantasy we see a rooftop with lights and neon letters on other buildings, and a beautiful lighted canopy/baldachin with roses and golden drapes:



Now, this is a screencap from the actual movie ‘Moulin Rouge’:



Wow, they are so similar, right?
Ha, nice try, but nope. The above pic is from the scene in the movie when Christian and Satine sing ‘The Elephant Love Medley’ (TELM), not ‘Come What May’. Glee used the music of the movie version of ‘Come What May’ and pasted it on the scenery of an entire different scene and song in ‘Moulin Rouge’. They even mimicked the scene of TLEM, with Christian chasing after Satine while she initially fends off his avances and walks away, instead of trying to re-enact part of the real CMW scene in the movie.
There never was a direct copy/tribute of CMW on Glee at all, and therefore also no need to copy the song’s lyric distribution directly from the movie. They chose to have Blaine sing more simply because they wanted him to sing more (and Kurt less), nothing more and nothing less. dryy


x


Kurt’s point of view?:

Using the scene set-up of ‘The Elephant Love Medley’ for Glee (instead of the real CMW scene) also lead to a difference between the original CMW and the Glee version that had a serious repercussion when it comes to the storytelling that was intended on the show: it messed up Kurt’s fantasy, his so needed POV in it all.
‘Come What May’ was Kurt’s day dream he had when he was watching ‘Moulin Rouge’ with Adam, Rachel and Santana at the loft as they were snowed in. However, people who had not read the spoilers (which I estimate to be 99% of Glee’s viewers) only found this out after the song was over. Keep this in mind: nothing indicated that Kurt was having a day dream before or during the song. Kurt and his snowed in comrades were talking about ‘Moulin Rouge’ right before the song as an intro to the scene, but in the first seconds of the CMW scene Blaine appears: Blaine who supposedly is in Lima singing songs of movies for the assignment of the week.

Getting into detail here, so bear with me:



(0.00)
The scene of CMW starts with Blaine entering a rooftop of a building that could be located in New York, or it could be an elaborate decorated stage at McKinley (especially in season 4 it has not been unusual to have costumed imaginary fantasy-like performances at McKinley that stretch the reality of a poor ND club’s fundings for costumes and staging quite a bit).
Blaine starts singing about never knowing he could feel like this and how he wants to vanish inside a kiss,….. and they simultaneously show Klaine flashbacks. Those Klaine flashbacks are directly linked to what Blaine is singing, and the conclusion is very easy to make that Blaine is remembering them, not Kurt, because hey: 99% of the viewers can’t possibly know that Kurts will even be in the scene, as Kurt is not in Lima with Blaine, and Blaine is not in New York with Kurt, unless they used a transporter.
Remember that before GOBr spoiled us that CMW was Kurt’s fantasy a lot of fans assumed/speculated that it was Blaine’s fantasy, and this was quite a discussion topic in the spoiler tags weeks before. With Blaine entering the scene I bet most viewers at this point in the scene assumed the same, as the scene shows Blaine singing while there are Klaine flashbacks prompted by his lyrics, and it goes on for half of the song.

In the actual movie scene of CMW, when Christian is singing his solo part Satine is looking at Christian most of the time, and she is in the scene from the beginning on, so Christian is singing directly at her. But in the Glee version Kurt only literally came into the fantasy halfway of the song, untill after Blaine’s solo is done! Therefore Blaine was not even directly serenading Kurt and Kurt did not watch him sing, not even unnoticed by Blaine, e.g. standing hidden behind a corner.
By not having Blaine serenade directly to Kurt during his solo they made those solo lines all about Blaine instead of what they were supposed to be about: them both, as a couple (like Satine and Christian). In the movie Christian sings those lines to Satine to comfort her, to take away her doubts, to strengthen their love, but without Kurt being present in the scene to sing to Blaine’s solo turns into him singing solely about his feelings. The powerful message of CMW in ‘Moulin Rouge’ (a song specifically written by Christian to sing for and with Satine) was taken away by setting up the Glee scene like this. Now it unfortunately became what 90% of the Klaine break-up has been: only Blaine’s feelings, his POV. I think this was Glee’s biggest mistake with CMW. Mad

How are we even supposed to assume that this is Kurt’s fantasy, when the first half is all about Blaine? And more importantly: how can we possibly get Kurt’s point of view (POV) as he’s fantasizing about him and Blaine and what they lost, if he’s not even featured in half of his fantasy? If we can’t actually see him looking at Blaine during the song? If we can’t see his face and guess his thoughts? If we don’t even know he’s going to be in the bloody song in the first place? How on earth was this Kurt’s fantasy?
They should have showed us Kurt looking at Blaine from the beginning of the scene. Then we would have been aware that CMW was Kurt’s fantasy and that they were giving us Kurt’s POV, even when Blaine was singing a solo. For 2 seasons now we have watched Kurt watching Blaine sing, sitting on a stool or do-wopping in the background. And then, in the one scene that it actually made sense for Kurt to watch Blaine sing he is MIA half of the song. :angry:
The way it was done now Kurt’s POV could only start when the song was already halfway over, and even then the set-up of the scene (loosely following the original scenario of ‘The Elephant Love Medley’ scene in ‘Moulin Rouge’) still did not clarify that this wasn’t Blaine’s fantasy.

(1.50)
Even after Kurt walked into the scene the point of view in the storytelling still mostly stayed on Blaine for a while:
Kurt enters the rooftop and starts singing along, but he has no solo lines: he simple joins Blaine. We see Kurt approach Blaine with hardly any expression on his face and part of the scene he has turned his back towards us. OTOH we see how Blaine looks at Kurt surprised, happy and hopefully: so we’re still focusing on Blaine’s feelings.
(2.05) Blaine then approaches Kurt and they dance shortly untill Kurt walks away. This is the first time we actually see a flash of Kurt’s feelings, but then he positions himself with his back towards the camera, while Blaine is the one who’s moving around and walks after him to the baldachin.
(2.25) The camera follows Blaine chasing after Kurt and shows us his face, while Kurt’s face stays hidden. Tell me: how can this be Kurt’s fantasy with Kurt’s POV if he can’t even see what the person he’s having the fantasy about is doing half the time, because his back is turned to him? And how can the audience know this is Kurt’s fantasy and get his POV if we can’t see his face due to the camera angle? blinkk

(2.40)
But then something changes, both in the music and in the scene: this is the place in the song where the singers switch roles: Kurt starts singing “But I love you” first instead of Blaine, and finally we get some proper focus on Kurt while the boys start circling around each other. (And Chris’ acting in this scene is stellar: you can see Kurt’s pain, the betrayal, the love that lingers, the doubt) wub
Kurt is also the one who starts hugging Blaine, and we see his (hurt) face as the camera pans out, to reveal only then that it was Kurt who had done the fantasizing all along, and not Blaine. So now most viewers had to do a double-take and reassess their earlier assumption that CMW was a fantasy seen from Blaine’s POV, in order to look back on the scene from Kurt’s eyes this time.
In the last 40 seconds of a 3 ½ minute song that in canon is Kurt’s fantasy his actual POV is shown. That’s about 20-25% of the entire song. It was his fantasy, but his feelings weren’t focused on in appr. 75% of the scene. Someone explain to me how that is in any way good storytelling?
Bottom line is that this wasn’t really Kurt’s fantasy, because the writers never committed to making it so. It may have been a Kurt fantasy in canon, but in execution it was not. :angry:

To bring this back to the music (which is my ‘job’ in this review after all) :
It’s typical (but in no way coincidental imo, as Ryan Murphy meticulous-on-the-details himself directed the scene) that as soon as the roles of the singers switch in the song (when Kurt’s starts singing Christian’s lines and Blaine Satine’s) the focus also switches in the scene. It is as if Ryan needed that role switch to concentrate on Kurt from there on, as it almost seems that Ryan only reluctantly gave Kurt the bare minimum he needed to make CMW plausibly be his fantasy in the canon. dryy
Blaine was cast in the role of Christian (the male hero of ‘Moulin Rouge’), he was the first to enter, the only one who got (plenty of) solo lines and the one getting the most focus camera-wise.
It wasn’t untill Kurt briefly took over that role of Christian (the male role, although Kurt kept singing on a female height), that Kurt got the focus he should have gotten right from the start.
Make of that what you will.

The simple conclusion is that CMW was not put in the show to service a storyline, let alone Kurt’s. It was put there only because it was coveted by the Klainers for a long time, and RIB fed off of their fandom instead of making up their own ideas. LBR: it was fan pandering and nothing else. A ‘Moulin Rouge’ duet for Klaine, and indeed this entire storyline of Kurt fantasizing about CMW as a Klaine wedding duet, would not even have entered RIB’s minds if it hadn’t been them listening to fans again and giving them what they wanted come what may, albeit with a cruel twist when the romantic duet turned out to be very bittersweet for Klaine.
CMW was awkwardly shoe-horned in an episode when Klaine was not even together, and they had to fabricate a dream sequence to fit it in so the song wouldn’t have any canon consequences. They even needed an explanatory comment from Santana to make the storyline at least remotely plausible. On top of that the writers then neglected to give proper attention to the actual canon reason for the song even having its right to exist in the show: to finally give Kurt a greatly needed POV by the means of a clear fantasy.
Screw continuity and the chance of dedicating screentime and a song to something really significant, like actual a decent Kurt POV or fleshing out his real boyfriend on the show. (and no: I’m not a Kadam shipper, but I g*ddammit wanted some decent Kurt focus for a change instead of the same one-sighted Klaine dance of season 4). :angry:
Well, at least they didn’t give another potential fatal disease to one of Kurt’s family members this time. Suspect

DrSheBloggo (Glee episodes reviewer):

“The episode's strongest scene goes to Kurt and his new beau Adam, in a refreshing conversation intended to cut the bullshit. I love when characters decide to cut the bullshit! We had to wade through some BS to get to this point, though, naturally. See, Kurt gets all weepy watching Moulin Rouge because he always dreamed he'd sing "Come What May" with Blaine at his wedding. Adam notices, Santana spills the truth tea, and Kurt tries to hide the feelings. I don't think these story elements are all that bullshitty (except for maybe Santana knowing what Kurt and Blaine want to sing at their wedding) - but the musical number was. It's one thing if Kurt watches Moulin Rouge and fantasizes about singing the song with Blaine. But with the way "Come What May" actually happened in the episode, it felt more like Inception than Moulin Rouge. As in, they decide to watch the movie, we cut to commercial, and when we're back, Blaine is wandering on top of a rooftop wistfully singing to the night sky. Kurt is nowhere to be seen.

I'm sorry, but aren't we in Kurt's fantasy? Why did he not even bother showing up for it until it was time for the harmony? Couldn't we at least have him watching Blaine sing, like Marley watched herself confuse her love interests over the potter's wheel? As it stands, we have a Kurt fantasy that doesn't even seem like a Kurt fantasy because it's not even from his point of view. And the writers tried to cover that up by sticking a commercial between Kurt's POV and the actual musical number, to break it in two. You can't fool me, show! I have DVR! I fast-forwarded through the ads! Honestly, the whole things smelled like a reason to give Blaine most of the song, with the nasty side effect of completely marginalizing Kurt from his own POV and also confusing the hell out of the audience. It was like a fantasy within a fantasy within a fantasy. But look - slow dancing and twinkly lights! How romantic.

Sorry. That was the BS that set the scene for Kurt and Adam's BS-cutting interaction

DrSheBloggo




More Kurt’s POV, and some of that alpha male/effeminate crap :

Now, I’ll be honest here. Although I have given valid music technical reasons why Chris practically was forced to sing in falsetto throughout most of CMW, and this had the unfortunate effect that it suggests that Kurt is the ‘girl’ in this original male/female ~duet, it is very well possible that Chris had no problem at all with this. He might even have liked and preferred it that way, as Chris always loved strong women and singing their songs. After all: Chris deliberately kept training his high voice (by singing scales at the age of about 12-13) when he expected his voice to change due to puberty, so he could keep singing those female Broadway songs he loved so much. I don’t want to even pretend to know what Chris was thinking back then or now, but I think it’s safe to say that he can easily identify himself with female roles and has no qualms singing their parts in a duet.
I can imagine him wanting to sing strictly the female parts in a song he loves very much, just like he once said he wanted to sing Christine in ‘Phantom of the Opera’. moque He would find nothing inferior about that, and he would be right: there is nothing wrong with a boy in a same sex (or even a heterosexual) relationship singing a female part in a duet like CMW if he wants to.
But Chris is not Kurt.
Kurt has his own canon characterisation and history on the show. Considering his canon development I don’t think in this case and situation the female part suited Kurt narratively speaking (although it suited him fine voice wise). Nor do I think that it was a good idea to deliberately apply an original male/female song dynamic to the Klaine relationship.

”I’m a guy” :
Although RIB definitely sometimes tried to push the Klaine dynamic in a traditional male/female way, I never got the impression that Kurt saw himself as the ‘girl’ in that relationship. Inferior and undesired at times, yes: he had to cope with Blaine being seen as the overall accepted alpha male while he was the rejected effeminate ugly duckling (ugh). But that never came across to me as Kurt thinking he was the damsell in distress who needed protecting and resqueing from his man to feel better and overcome those adversaries : Kurt always could take care of himself really well. (not that girls can’t take care of themselves, but this is Glee and well….. they have a quite…uhm… old fashioned view on women and their roles in a relationship)
So why would fabulous, more-independent-then-ever-in-season-4 Kurt put himself in the vulnerable Satine position in his own fantasy? Why would he picture himself as the girl being romantically courted and comforted by the guy, if he had sent that guy away himself for cheating on him?

Christian and Satine :
If CMW really was to represent Klaine in their current state/mindsets wouldn’t it have been a lot more logical if Kurt had been Christian and Blaine Satine? See the parallels:
- In ‘Moulin Rouge’ Satine was the one who was doubting their relationship and who was willing to sleep with the Duke (and therefore cheat on Christian) to get his attention so he would finance the play she would star in, while Christian was the one who composed CMW to declare his undying love for her and assure her that their love would survive “come what may”.
- In Glee, before they broke up Kurt kept assuring Blaine they would be alright even when they had to be in a long distance relationship for a year, and Blaine was the one who needed more attention and cheated.
If the writers had put some effort into the lyrics and symbolism of CMW in the movie, instead of focusing on recreating a romantic scene of an entirely different song, then they wouldn’t have made both song(-distribution) and scene this way. But if they then still wanted Blaine to have the lion’s share of the song, they could have used the finale version of ‘Come What May’ in the movie, in which Christian starts walking away after feeling betrayed by Satine, and she begs him to come back and to “forgive everything”. But then Blaine would have been Satine and Kurt Christian. This version would even have left a more positive spin on a possible reunion of Klaine in the future, imo, because it actually deals with Klaine’s current problems of betrayal and forgiveness (both asking and giving).
Basically everything of CMW as it is now in Glee should have been reversed. saispa

“Only the most talented member of the Glee club: myself” :
Why would Kurt not use his own fantasy to indulge his season 3 long wish to be seen as equally a star as his duet partner for once? Why would Kurt imagine his own wedding song being sung 75% by Blaine?
Did he become that insecure and beaten down by his experiences in season 3 that he could not even imagine that a duet with his once assumed to be husband on their wedding day would be equally divided, both in lyrics and in (traditional) status, narratively speaking? He had some insecurities even after being accepted at NYADA (demonstrated by the dance room scene with Adam in ‘Sadie Hawkins’), but Kurt had no problem challenging Rachel and her sycophants in ‘Diva’, plus he never was shy of singing and stealing the show before. Why would he refrain from doing that in his own fantasy?
Answer is: he wouldn’t.

Weddings and bowties :
As said: this scene was set up as Kurt dreaming about CMW being Klaine’s wedding song. Why did RIB feel the need to give another big hint at a more traditional (heterosexual) relationship dynamic for Klaine, by having them both wear a tuxedo but giving Kurt a white bowtie (when Blaine’s was black), to subtly suggest that Blaine is the groom and Kurt the blushing bride? That’s no coincidence, imo, certainly not if you look beyond this episode to the finale 2 episodes of the season, in which Blaine wants to propose to Kurt and asks his father for permission to do so. arghh
Why differentiate those boys with a stupid bowtie even more when you already picked a very unequal version of a male/female ~duet for a male/male pairing in the first place? If you really want those 2 guys to be seen as equals in their (ex)relationship wouldn’t you do your damnest best to level the field out and find a better balance, instead of deliberately treating them even more uneven?

Conclusion :
In CMW the writers created imbalance in 3 different ways:
1) by giving one of them the majority of the song and the focus;
2) by not re-arranging a male/female duet so it would suit 2 males better;
3) by hinting at a traditional heterosexual dynamic through clothing and behavior.
I can understand not being able to avoid all inequality/imbalance in a song like CMW, but what I can’t understand is then taking deliberate actions to emphasize and enhance this inequality/imbalance even more.
Maybe it was done to maintain at all costs on Glee the individual images of Blaine being the alpha male and Kurt the effeminate milkmaid (although those images have been busted a long time ago). Maybe RIB really see Klaine’s (ex)relationship this way. Maybe it is simply the way RIB think when it comes to all relationships, homosexual and heterosexual.
Whatever it was, I really dislike the hidden messages behind it, and the more I can see that they actually do this on purpose, the more I dislike it, and not just as a fan of Kurt, but as a fan of Glee in general. :angry:



Final remark :

In this review I did more than what I usually do in these reviews: just analyzing the music and the singing. And to be honest: I didn’t expect this review to turn into what it became (nor that long, lol).
But I figured that although the analyzing of the CMW scene in Glee isn’t a strictly musical technical subject, it does have overlaps with my profession and the knowledge that comes with it. Music is more than lyrics put to melody: music is about expressing thoughts and feelings, and when it’s a musical or movie song it is also about context and meaning. I make reviews about Kurt’s singing voice, and Kurt’s singing in CMW imo was directly influenced by the scene’s context, so I should mention it in my its review. Everything that’s done to a song has its consequences. There were just so many layers in CMW I felt I had to peel.
Ah well, here it is, and I hope you enjoy it.

And while I’m at it: here’s another disclaimer. Although it may seem that I don’t like Glee’s CMW at all (because of my many critical remarks in this review), I do love Chris’s singing in it, and the original CMW is very beautiful. I never could warm up to Nicole Kidman’s singing voice, but I am very enamoured by Ewan McGregor’s singing in ‘Moulin Rouge’ (and I don’t even know if that’s based on vocal coach criteria, nor do I care: I can be a simple fangirl too).
If I could have my way I would make a mix of Ewan’s voice in the original and Chris in Glee. Sadly I don’t have the means or knowledge to do that, but I was able to cut the first half of the Glee version off (sorry Darren) and replace it by Ewan’s original solo just for my own amusement. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do. So if you want that version, or only the 2nd half of the song without Blaine’s solos (so from the moment that Kurt starts singing), PM me and I might be able to assist. Kurt’s not the only one who can create his own Moulin Rouge fantasy. fanny2


x

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  brisallie on 6/7/2013, 12:57 am

Is been a while since you did a review Marie, so it took me by surprise this CWM review. And to be honest I wasn't expecting it ,because is a performance that it was deleted it from my mind. But anyways, as usual, you did a good work rooots. But I'm wondering if weren't a headache to analize every line and realize how Kurt was put aside in his "own" fantasy. Speaking of that, I love this gif you put:


I should feel upset, but instead I'm laughing because is so accurate. I've a bittersweet feeling.

And you know, never before I heard the pop version of CWM and you know what, I'd have loved to see this version being performed. Is more equal. But the son of bitches (sorry for that) decided they had to emulate the movie, and they didn't even copy the right scene! dryy

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  ColdFlame96 on 6/7/2013, 1:05 am

Okay this is genius. It really is. I also was not satisfied by their version. Some people have commented that Blaine sings the 2nd verse with Kurt because Kurts voice is too thin and he needed backup, which is completely untrue. :angry: But you're right. This wasn't a real duet. Just like 'How to be a Heartbreaker' by brochel was not a duet either. Rachel didnt even come in until 2/3 of the song was over.

Also, that belted A4 you mentioned literally made my ears bleed. He just sounded so strained! Couldn't he have toned it down a bit? saispa But yes. Someone should figure out how to mix the 2 versions so that Ewan and Chris are dueting. Razz Also, even though I hated the implications behind it, Chris looked really gorgeous in that suit. His shoulders...they just kill me. ded
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  ColferInspired on 6/7/2013, 1:19 am

I would love Kurt and Santana do "Just Give Me A Reason" by Pink and Nate Ruess.

Santana could do Pink's part.

I really love this song.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

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