Kurt's Singing Voice

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 6/15/2012, 5:49 pm

^I think your post in the SaSoG on GF is okay. It's your opinion and you have every right to express it. As a Kurtsie I'm pissed too. fanny2
But maybe you can remove the last sentence of your post there (the PS)? I have the feeling that a lot of people are already on our side, and pressing the issue more and mentioning the CCFF might work against us. But feel free to do whatever you like yourself. neutre

I've decided to put the song distribution diagrams and such in the General Glee discussion thread here.

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  BlueJazz on 6/15/2012, 6:08 pm

^Thanks for the advise bisou I've removed that part and changed some parts of the conversation that I imagined so that it would be less um... "controversial ". Sigh, I should've posted it in KSV or "S&B thread" here instead. I'm lucky that no one "attacked" me for that post ooppss

Still looking forward to your next Kurt's song review wub

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 6/15/2012, 6:36 pm

As said: you're entitled to your opinion, and I've seen much worse posts on GF, so you're fine. fanny2
The snark & bark thread here sure is therapeutic and wholesome, but I have to constantly remind myself in other threads here or elsewhere: "I'm not in the S&B thread, so behave!!!". Razz


I'm working very hard these days to finish this year's classes with my students (there's a big student concert next week), and I have some private stuff going on (nothing serious, just time consuming), so I don't have much time to do what I like most: making Kurt songs reviews. :(
And in 2 weeks time I'll be away on holiday with my family. But I'll bring some 'homework' with me and work on some reviews while sitting by the pool in sunny South France. coool
Hopefully they'll have an internet connection where I'm going, so I can still post then. If not: there will be something good ready when I come home. fanny2

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  BlueJazz on 6/15/2012, 10:03 pm

OT: Kurt in your sig looks so sad. I think my heart breaks a little whenever I see it crycry

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  BlueJazz on 6/17/2012, 3:27 pm

I just listened to a video of Sarah Brightman singing MOTN, here's the video:



I think it's very angelic and very un-Phantom, a bit like Kurt's version (I'm certainly not comparing Chris to Sarah here tonguue ). What do you think about this very different rendition of MOTN, Marie?

PS: I wish Chris can perform MOTN on stage someday if he doesn't get to sing in Glee. Gosh, I've mentioning MOTN a lot lately. I think I might be under Chris' spell tonguue

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 6/17/2012, 4:03 pm

^I'm not a fan of Sarah Brightman, but she's got a good voice.

She sings the MOTN a whole octave higher than the original. The intended meaning and emotions of the song are abandoned, but Sarah's rendition is still emotional, just a different emotion.
It's angelic, but to me it's more just a display of her beautiful voice than it is her telling a story, let alone the Phantom's story.

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  BlueJazz on 6/18/2012, 2:13 pm

^ Thanks for the comment neutre For an untrained person like me, I think it's a good performance that can help me sleep Razz

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  BlueJazz on 6/20/2012, 9:51 am

@Marie I've almost forgotten that I requested for your permission to send a link of your song-by-song review of Kurt's singing voice on Glee to the music producers and writers after the finale fiasco. I managed to recall it recently and I just sent 2 tweets to them. Here is my tweet:

@AdamAnders @alxanders Here's a song-by-song review of Kurt's singing voice on Glee by a vocal couch: http://www.gleeforum.com/index.php/topic/23287-kurts-singing-voice/ Enjoy! Smile

I sent the same thing to Brad and Ali adler so I don't put the tweet here. I think Alex Anders might read it since he seems to check fans' tweets regularly but I don't know about the others. Hopefully all of them will read it and make some positive changes to Glee neutre Besides, do you think it's ok to send the link to Chris, too?

After the Chris' beautiful rendition of "Ben" on Glee, I think he should sing more Jackson 5 and here's a great song that I would love him to sing this:



It could be song where Kurt expresses his endless love for music and vow that he'll never stop singing in his whole life wub However, I'm not sure if this fits his voice because there's a part where young MJ belted quite high unsure Do you think it's a good song for Kurt?

Besides, here's another Jackson 5 song that I really love:



I think it'll be great group song for the seniors during their reunion wub

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 6/21/2012, 4:39 am

No, please don't send a link to Chris !!! ohmy

I do this for fun and because of my admiration for Chris, nothing more.
If there is a hidden agenda at all, it's meant for the Gleeks on the forums, and in a very, very long stretch TPTB on Glee (but they probably don't care about me or any of this), to correct some 'mis-presentations' and hopefully get more sympathy for an unusual countertenor voice. But I never meant to write for Chris, God, that would be embarassing.

Of course I would want Chris to know that a lot of people (including me) think very positive about his voice and love his singing (instead of some horrible youtube comments), but if he wants to read about his Kurt songs or anything Glee/Kurt Hummel related I'm sure he knows how to find things. I don't want to knock on his door and bother him with it, least of all with my scribblings. The guy has got enough on his plate and people pulling at him already. I'll keep my distance from him and admire him from afar (unless he wants to call me of course, and discuss his singing voice over tea and chocolate chip cookies). Smile

So no, I know you mean well, and it's tempting (not gonna lie), but no.


As for Michael Jackson: Chris can sing the young MJ songs, as well as the grown up MJ songs.

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  BlueJazz on 6/21/2012, 2:27 pm

^I see. It's ok, I won't send it to Chris since you feel uncomfortable with it and I completely understand where you're coming from neutre So, no worries, I'm not gonna send any of your works to anybody without getting your consent Smile I'd feel bad if I do that.

I'm glad that Chris is able to nail all the MJ songs wub (I think you may have said that in some time ago but I must have forgotten it, sorry Embarassed ) Too bad Glee writers are too stupid to see that dryy

Anyway, thanks for always answering my questions patiently bisou




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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  brisallie on 7/16/2012, 6:32 pm

Glorfindel wrote:I just found out this little piece of information (from the Nationals setlist thread on GF):

Apparently Kurt and Blaine were not originally meant to sing in Paradise By the Dashboard Light but Adam Anders decided to put them in anyways. Based off what Alex Anders tweeted, it seems Adam Anders is the one who puts Chris and Darren in songs even if RIB or the script doesn't call for it.

Response by another poster:
I think you're confusing Paradise with Big Girls Don't Cry. Kurt's and Blaine's parts of Paradise are going to be in the show, and were therefore scripted. The Anders brothers are allowed to put whoever they want on the verses not in the show (which, I believe, is why we sometimes get really cool combinations that we get annoyed with not being in the show later - it's the Anders brothers playing around, sometimes with great results), but the writers determine all the singing that makes it into the show itself.

Look at the first graphic (ignore the 2nd one):


The light blue columns in the first graphic indicate small solos in group numbers that mostly get cut. Look at the difference between Kurt and the others: Kurt has had 8 (!) of those small solos. The others all had 1-3.

That is quite some information, if it's true. It would mean that the Anders brothers keep putting Kurt in the group numbers, and they are therefore responsible for a large amount of songs that Kurt actually got to sing in, and not RM.

Long time without posting here.

Oh My! I've always appreciated the Anders brothers and knowing this information makes me love them more. So the song distribution it would be worse if were totally handled by RM :O ¬¬

Regarding Chris singing MJ songs, everytime I listen Black or White, I insist there's a moment he reminds me Michael Smile

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  BlueJazz on 7/20/2012, 11:36 am

I'm gonna post a Chris quote here because it's relevant and this thread is dead and I miss Marie :(

Absolutely. I got a little fix of it while we were on the Glee tour. I sang live at every performance and I really miss having that connection with the audience. I hope to be on Broadway in the next few years.- Chris Colfer

Source

Haters who insist that he lip-synched, you guys can STFU. And YAY at the Broadway part hola

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  brisallie on 7/20/2012, 3:57 pm

^

Thanks for the article BlueJazz. And Marie must be enjoying her holidays in France (Or is she in Spain now?)

And In your face haters!!! and someday we're gonna see Chris on Broadway :D

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 7/20/2012, 4:21 pm

Absolutely. I got a little fix of it while we were on the Glee tour. I sang live at every performance and I really miss having that connection with the audience. I hope to be on Broadway in the next few years.- Chris Colfer
Source
I focused on the bolded part of that quote. Smiling like a Cheshire cat. Smile

I wonder what role Chris would play on Broadway (I'd laugh my ass off if he plays Tony in WSS some day)..... or will he write his own Broadway role?


(And I'm still in France, but will be home within a week, with the NTBND review in my suitcase, ready to post then.) fanny2

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Divalicious on 7/20/2012, 7:14 pm

I had better start saving now, because I will have to fly across the country, get a hotel, and will want to see him at least twice. But I will have to see Chris on stage. It is a life-must.

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Delight on 7/21/2012, 9:50 am

Glorfindel wrote:
I wonder what role Chris would play on Broadway (I'd laugh my ass off if he plays Tony in WSS some day)..... or will he write his own Broadway role?

We're still waiting for his Shirley Todd musical to hit Broadway one day. He still voiced this intention in a recent interview neutre

Glorfindel wrote:
(And I'm still in France, but will be home within a week, with the NTBND review in my suitcase, ready to post then.) fanny2

Can't wait to read it. And make sure to include some impressive screenshots from the performance (or maybe not, given that it'll be too distracting for the reader) tonguue
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  brisallie on 7/21/2012, 2:40 pm

Glorfindel wrote:

I wonder what role Chris would play on Broadway (I'd laugh my ass off if he plays Tony in WSS some day)..... or will he write his own Broadway role?




ptdr Oh My! that would be both awesome and ironic!!! Wish to see that.

Delight wrote:

We're still waiting for his Shirley Todd musical to hit Broadway one day. He still voiced this intention in a recent interview neutre


Is a pity that no one recorded Shirley Todd when he did at school. It would be a success in youtube today. I'd like to see it someday...on Broadway.

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REVIEW: Not The Boy Next Door

Post  Glorfindel on 8/8/2012, 10:43 pm

REVIEW: Not The Boy Next Door.

Kurt's real audition in 'Choke' was 'Not The Boy Next Door' from the musical 'The Boy From Oz'. For those of you who are not very familiar with musicals and might think that 'The Boy from Oz' is a follow-up of the streak of Hummelberry's Wicked and Wizard of Ozz songs (Defying Gravity, For Good, Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead), well…..it's not.
The land of Oz does not mean the merry munchkins land of the wicked witch of the West, but it means Australia. 'The Boy From Oz' is a (jukebox) musical partly written by and about Peter Allen. It's the autobiographical story of his life, him working with Judy Garland and marrying her daughter Liza Minelli, and ultimately his acceptance of being gay.
Carmen Tibideaux asked Kurt if he knew that Hugh Jackman had won a Tony for his rendition of Peter Allen, and it's true: Hugh won a Tony for ‘The Boy from Oz’ in 2004.

Originals and Glee :

Peter Allen (the real one):


Hugh Jackman (at the Tony's), songs start at appr.1.15:

(And can I just say how embarrassed I am for part of this fandom, when I read some of those comments?)

Kurt's (full) version:



Lyrics :
(low register = bolded, mixed register = Italic)

"Coming home used to feel so good
I'm a stranger now in my neighborhood
I've seen the world at a faster pace
And I'm coming now from a diff'rent place
Though I may look the same way to you
Underneath there is somebody new

I am not the boy next door
I don't belong like I did before

Nothing ever seems like it used to be
You can have your dreams, but you can't have me
I can't go back there anymore
'Cause I am not the boy next door

You've been saving those souvenirs,
Faded photographs from my foolish years
We made plans, but they're wearing thin
And they don't work out 'cause I don't fit in
And those mem'ries will just weigh me down
'Cause I got no place to keep 'em uptown

I am not the boy next door
I don't belong like I did before

Nothing ever seems like it used to be
You can have your dreams, but you can't have me
Oh, I can't go back there anymore
'Cause I am not the boy next door

I'm not sorry for just being me
But if you'd look past the past you can see
That
I am nooooooot
Nothing ever seems like it used to be
You can have your dreams, oh but you can't have me

I can't go back there anymore
'Cause I am not, I am not, I
am not the boy next door."


Singing style, high and low notes :

Well, it's been a long time, and because it might be easier to understand the next paragraphs, I will copy and paste Kurt's vocal range again:

A-Bflat-B-c-d-e-f-g-a-b-c'-d'-e'-f'-g'-a'-b'flat-b'-c"-d"-e"-f"-g"-a"-b"flat

So far I've used the European way of distinguishing the octaves, but I think it will be easier to use the more commonly used scale of numbers on this forum, like this:

A2-B2-C3-D3-E3-F3-G3-A3-B3-C4-D4-E4-F4-G4-A4-(B4flat)-B4-C5-D5-E5-F5-G5-A5-B5flat

blue = low register
black = both low register and high register: breaking points
red = high register
C5 = tenor C
(C6 = soprano C)


The Key Change:
'Not The Boy Next Door' was transposed upwards….. a lot. The Glee version is 4 semitones higher than the Peter Allen original, and 6(!) semitones higher than the Hugh Jackman version!
It's a bit ironic that in order to find the perfect song for Kurt, they used a song that had to be transposed so much in order for his vocal range to really shine.
As we've all seen and heard: the high notes are not a problem for Kurt, but the really low notes could be. NTBND starts with a D3 in the Peter Allen version, and the Hugh Jackman version even starts with a lower C3. If you look at Chris' vocal range, you can see that he can sing that low note, if he wants to, but it’s a long stretch down. I don't think the key with the low C in it would have suited Chris, but the Peter Allen version is well within his range, Chris' range that is. And there's the rub. Kurt a la season 3 cannot sing that low, because that would show us he's still a real boy and not a castrate.
Oops, sorry, promised a positive review. blushh

Still, I'm glad they changed the song to a higher key, because I think this key provides a perfect mix of Chris' registers, and it allows him to use the strongest part of his vocal range, the high middle part. The high middle part is very versatile, because that's where most of Chris' breakpoints are located. He can use his strong and hazy belting notes, he can use his clear falsetto, and he can switch registers whenever he wants, to emphasize words and express his feelings even better.
The original song's highest note is an G4sharp (Peter Allen version), which is not that high. After the key change, if they would have left out the improvisation with the high F5 and the end note, Kurt's highest note would have been a C4, still impressive, especially when done in low register, but that last G5 sure was the icing on the cake, wasn't it? hapitgh


Kurt the tenor with falsetto benefits :
As you can see in the lyrics above, NTBND is almost completely sung in low register. There are only a few words that are sung in high register. The high notes at the end being the most obvious, since they are a F5 and a G5(!). I'll get back to those later.
All this low register in a song means that Chris is singing as a tenor in NTBND: a tenor with some exquisite falsetto perks, that's true, but a tenor nonetheless. In NTBND Chris sings some amazing notes in low register, even a tenor C5, and I think that if he had limited himself as a singer to ‘just’ being a tenor we all would have noticed and loved his authentic voice on Glee nonetheless, but his falsetto makes his singing extra special for most Kurtsies.

In order to become more mainstream and usable on Broadway, and therefore hopefully a more appealing candidate for NYADA (in the Glee world, because in reality Kurt would be a sensation), Kurt decided on 2 audition songs composed for a tenor or high baritone: MOTN and NTBND. He’s partially right: there’s much more work for a tenor than a countertenor on Broadway. But what Glee doesn’t tell us is that although there are less roles for countertenors or tenors with falsetto benefits, there are also less singers out there who can sing those roles, so the odds for a countertenor to get a job on Broadway are about the same as for any other voice type, except for (mezzo-)soprano, since there are way more (mezzo-)sopranos than (major) roles available for that voice type. Rachel might have to realize that very soon.
Fortunately Kurt has the good sense to show of his impressive higher vocal range in his audition as well, and he adds 2 amazing high notes, showing something he’s very unique in, something a lot of tenors and countertenors cannot do: his fluent switching from one register to another.


Nothing ever seems like it used to be :
Besides the improvisations at the end, the only other words that are sung in high register in NTBND are these: "Nothing ever seems like it used to be…“ . The notes in the lines before that line ("I am not the boy next door, I don't belong like I did before."), go up to an A4, and they are sung in low register. An A4 is high, (only 1 semi-tone lower than 'Rose's Turn' B4flat) but we've heard Kurt sing higher in low register before, even up to a D5.
In "Nothing ever…" Chris has to sing several B4's (even C5’s, after a key change 1 semitone upwards in the middle of the song), and he decided to sing them in high register, even though he could have done them in low register if he wanted to. I think he made this choice because if he had sung them in low register those lines would get 'shouted' more: they are so high up in a tenor’s vocal range (due to the key change) that they can only be sung with more 'power', and therefore more emphasis. Peter Allen and Hugh Jackman didn't have that same problem, since they were already singing the song in a lower key, and therefore their high notes were relatively not that high for them.

But if Chris had sung these B4’s as a tenor, in low register, he really would have needed to reach for them, and that would have put more emphasis on those notes, creating a feeling of defiance or anger: that line would have been more 'into-your-face' than the emotion in that song warrants at that particular moment (like e.g. when venting his frustrations in 'Rose's Turn'). Chris saves that 'into-your-face' emphasis for the latter part of the chorus. He sings this line in a softer, gentler manner, probably to keep the song mostly light and friendly overall.
Chris singing "Nothing ever seems like it used to be…" in a slightly softer voice helps to build up to a climax in the chorus, which I think is an excellent way of using his different registers. The higher key provided Chris with a nuance opportunity the original singers had no access to, using his falsetto, and that is one of those perks of a tenor with a countertenor range in his back pocket.

In the word "se-ems " Chris makes this little 'jump' downwards, and changes gears (he goes from high to low register) in one word. Remember when I explained that it's harder to change registers in one word than it is inbetween words, and that it's easiest to change registers inbetween sentences? I think it's safe to conclude that Chris is getting very comfortable with this technique: by now I doubt he (hardly) even notices changing registers himself. hapitgh





High notes :

The high notes in low register :
So now we now know that Kurt sings a few C5's in high register in NTBND (not counting the F5 and G5 at the end), but, as some people might want to point out: singing a high tenor C in falsetto is 'cheating' and does not count for a tenor voice.
Luckily for us Chris also sings a few high notes in low register, to validate his tenor status. In the last "I'm not sorry for just being me," Chris sings a Bflat in low register, and if you compare that note with his first B4flat in ‘Rose’s Turn’ you can hear how easy this has become now.
Chris even sings a tenor C (C5) that is not in the original melody: the growled "Oh, but you can't have me." (and I'm not ashamed to admit that I love that growled "Oh" very, very much.) wub


The even higher notes in high register:
When I heard that NTBND was going to be Kurt's audition song I was a bit disappointed: it's a nice song but Chris would not be able to show his awesome higher notes. Then, when I started listening to the song when it came out on First listen Friday, I immediately heard the key change and my mind was set at ease: there were going to be a few high notes in NTBND. But then Chris sang the improvisation at the end, followed by that glorious high G5, and I lost it. Chris never sounded so good: the song was great, but the high notes at the end were gorgeous. They were open, they were free, they were pitch perfect, and d*mnit I wanted to swear and cry at the same time (and ngl: I did).


The improvisation:
" ThatI am nooooooot
(Nothing ever seems like it used to be")

The first word in the improvisation (" That…") is sung in low register, but with a clear mixed register in it to switch to falsetto on the next word. Chris sort of anchors/braces himself on that first word (in low register) and then takes off as he slides into the high register. In high register he sings an A4, a C5 and then he hits the high F5: it's a sequence of notes that form a chord together (F major).
Getting up into the rafters of the falsetto is one thing, coming down from it is another, especially when the rest of the song is almost completely in tenor style low register. Fortunately Chris had already chosen high register for the beginning of the next line ("Nothing ever seems like it used to be"), so all he has to do is slip back into the chorus and switch back to low register at the moment he had already used before in that same line.


Cutting the high F:
The full version of NTBND has the improvisation with the glorious F5 in it, but on the show they cut this part out, and I'm really pissed about that. The whole song only lasts 2.23 minutes, and the improv they cutwas a mere 7 seconds !!! Really, were other things on Glee so important that these 7 seconds needed to be cut? :angry:
It would have been so much better to use that cut part in the audition on the show as well, to showcase not just the one glory note at the end, but also an improvisation entirely in falsetto. That would have given Carmen Tibideaux a much better idea of what Kurt can do with his voice. But no, the most important moment for Kurt in the whole season for crying out loud, his NYADA audition, cannot take up too much time (when Rachel Berry gets 3 songs in 3 episodes to sing about her choking). 7 freaking seconds !!!


The high G5:
If the high F was already impressive, the high G5 at the end was mind-blowing. This higher ending is not in the original song, but it is a commonly used trick to gloriously end a (Broadway) song if you want to show off. (e.g. singers often sing a high end note in 'Memory' from 'Cats') Usually this high ending note stays well within the range of the voice type of the singer of the song. But I think even Carmen Tibideaux did not expect Kurt to jump so high to a countertenor G5, after hearing him sing a tenor song. It made the song so much better, and fortunately even without the cut improvisation it showed what Kurt can do if they would just let him.

Chris has sung high notes in the show before, high F5's and high F5sharps, in 'Defying Gravity', in ‘Le Jazz Hot’, in 'I Have Nothing', and the most criticized memorable in 'It's All Over'.
-The 'Defying Gravity' high notes (F and Fsharp) were unexpected and lovely, but clearly at the very limit of the vocal range of a not fully trained singer.
- The glissando in ‘Le Jazz Hot’ ended on a high F, but even though that long glissando was breathtaking (literally for Chris),it was at the end of a glissando, and that gives the high note an ‘easier’ access.
-The high F in 'It's All Over' was criticized because it felt out of place, and I can understand that feeling, although I do not agree with it. But the note itself was pitch perfect, open and good.
-The high notes in 'I Have Nothing' were many, and it was clear that, due to training and growth, technically there was more leeway for Chris to explore that part of his vocal range, but this song was a heavy task for him.
-But the G5 of NTBND is perfect. It's his highest note on the show yet, and tbh: I didn't know Chris could pull it off the way he did. wub

To get to the high G5 more easily Chris uses the same vocal technique he used for the high F: the first word is rooted in low register (the 3rd “I”), but with already a mix of high register in it, so the rest of the line can go fluently into falsetto:
"'Cause I am not, I am not, I am not the boy next door."



Copying from the master(s) :

Usually Chris sings with a lot of vibrato, that's why his voice is so perfect for musical theatre songs. There is some vibrato in NTBND, but I noticed that a lot of notes at the end of a line, usually the perfect notes to use vibrato on, were cut short and sung flat (without vibrato). Then I watched Hugh Jackman's performance, since it's more than likely that RIB used Hugh’s rendition to try to duplicate on the show, and I noticed that Hugh Jackman did the same thing too. And Hugh Jackman normally has a lovely vibrato. So then I watched Peter Allen's version, and guess what: he does not have any significant vibrato. So Chris copied this vibrato-light style from Hugh, while Hugh copied it from Peter. Smile

Peter Allen wrote a lot of the music that was in the musical, and the role of Peter Allen in 'The Boy from Oz' was based on Peter Allen himself. If you look at his live performance you can see how he moves on stage. Hugh must have studied his moves, his manners, or else it was scripted/choreographed for him in the musical.
When you look at Chris' performance and compare it with Hugh's you can see that Kurt really tried to re-enact that Tony-winning performance. The gold pants, the exagerated way of playing the piano, the piano climbing, the leg on the piano, the little dance-steps hanging in front of the piano, the hip-shaking, the high kicks. It's amusing and awesome to see. But the uniqueness of Kurt’s performance was his flexible back bend to the floor: I wanna see Hugh Jackman do the same. Razz

I found a great compliation of gifs on tumblr, comparing Hugh’s performance with Chris’:








source


That other song from ‘The Boy of Oz’ :
In 'Ballad' Kurt and Finn were meant to sing ballads to one another, and when Finn asked Kurt what his ballad was Kurt answered "I Honestly Love You". Awww, poor baby. The song 'I Honestly Love You' is also from 'The Boy from Oz' and looking at the set up of this scene in the musical (a piano on stage, 2 guys) you can see how meticulous RM can be when it comes to copying details.



Now, how wonderful would Chris have sung this song?
At the time I watched 'Ballad' I wasn't in this fandom yet, unaware of song spoilers. So as soon as Kurt said he wanted to sing 'I Honestly Love You' to Finn I got very excited, only to be interrupted by Mercedes (I really hated her at that moment), stopping Kurt from singing his ballad. dryy
Listen to the lyrics, and imagine Kurt singing them to Finn….. and prepare to cry a little for lovesick Kurt:

"Maybe I hang around here a little more than I should,
We both know I got somewhere else to go.
But I've got something to tell you that I never thought I would,
And I believe you really ought to know: I love you, I honestly love you

I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, I'm not trying to make you anything at all,
But this feeling doesn't come along every day and you shouldn't blow the chance.
When you've got the chance to say: I love you, I honestly love you

If we both were born in another place and time, this moment might be ending with a kiss,
But there you are with yours, and here I am with mine.
So I guess we'll just be leaving it at this: I love you, I honestly love you."
crycry

Back to 'Not The Boy Next Door':



The risky choice:

Glee made it very clear that 'Music of the Night' was the safe choice and NTBND was the risky choice for Kurt. Why was NTBND a risky choice? As usual with Glee we never really got a good answer to that question, except that NTBND was not the song that Rachel agreed on. So what was the risk?
Possible answers:

- Study time:
Kurt studied 3 months on MOTN, and we don't know how long he studied on NTBND. The longer you study a song, the more it gets integrated in your 'system', and the less likely you are to make mistakes.
^Since Glee never advocated practicing for performances a good time in advance :rolleyes:, I doubt that the message of the risky choice was that Kurt hadn't studied NTBND as well as he had MOTN. My headcanon: Kurt sang NTBND in the shower every morning.

- Music/vocal technical:
'Not The Boy Next Door' is not a very difficult song. I was actually disappointed when I heard that this was going to be Kurt's audition song. And in reality NTBND would not have enough vocal technical difficulty to get you through an audition like this one.
But in reality in most auditions the candidate does not have to sing and dance at the same time. The dancing Kurt did made the song 10x more difficult. Of course, we know that Chris sang the song in the studio first and lipsynched during the show, and some kicks he did during NTBND would have been impossible to sing simultaniously on in real life, but we're to believe the canon of Glee, and in Glee Kurt auditioned singing and dancing, and that improved the level of difficulty of NTBND.
What also improved the level of difficulty is the key change and the high notes at the end. That upped the level a lot. Without those high notes the song would have been nice, but nothing special.
^This is a good explanation why NTBND would be considered a risky choice, but knowing the lack of knowledge on music of RIB I seriously doubt that this is the canon explanation.

- Choosing a not main stream audition song:
Carmen was bored by hearing the same audition songs over and over again, and I can understand that. But there is a reason why those same songs get sung over and over again: they showcase a large part of a voice and the emotional expression a singer can put into a song.
NTBND is not one of those mainstream songs. What makes it even more of an unusual and not often chosen song is that it’s from an Australian musical, and besides Hugh Jackman winning a Tony for it, ‘The Boy from Oz’ didn't get much buzz in the USA.
^This could be a big part of the reason why NTBND was a risky choice in the show.

- Gay-diddy-gay-diddy-gay-gay-gay:
'Not The Boy Next Door' is a song of a character in a musical who is gay, written by a composer who came out as a (rather flamboyant) gay after having been married (so after he tried to ‘fit’ in when obviously that didn’t work). The comparison between Peter Allen and Kurt can be easily made. After struggling a season long because apparently he is not able to pass for straight on stage, trying to fit in (and I'm still not sure if that was what they wanted to show us, aaargh these writers), Kurt resorted to what he could do with vigour and abundance: be gay, and be proud of it.
^That could have been the risk, certainly in cowtown Lima.
But Carmen Tibideaux, dean of NYADA, a musical theater college in New York, would not bat an eyelash seeing a gay kid singing and dancing a gay song. So NTBND was not risky for her, but I think it could have been considered risky by RIB/Fox. Flaunting your gayness like that, and making it a vital part of why your audition is a big success ("I'm proud of being different: it's the best part of me."), is quite inappropiate: that's about as risky as letting 2 boys in love kiss on tv twice per season. dryy Gays are okay as long as they don't shove it in our faces, right? Kurt hip-shaking in tight golden pants really shoved…..something in our faces (oh gosh, I can't help coming back to that, sorry Chris).
Which brings me to the next risky choice of NTBND, at least in the eyes of the writers and the network:

- The demise of the baby penguin:
Maybe it was not meant to have such an impact, and the lighting on his golden pants (oh Chris, poor bb, I saw the interviews and how embarrassed you are for those pants although there is no need to be embarrassed) put…. it a bit more to the foreground (Rolling Eyes) than anticipated, but there is no denying that after performing NTBND baby penguin Kurt ceased to excist. Can ugly ducklings baby penguins grow into beautiful swans? Because that's what happened. Kurt's dancing in NTBND was not only very gay, it was also very sexy. That performance put Kurt (and Chris) on the map of many gays who were not interested in baby gayface Kurt before.
Glee is full of extremes and double standards. In this episode alone they had no problem with showing high school girls in leather fetish clothes straddling a chair, but they edited out a blown handkiss from Kurt's boyfriend. No sexy gayness allowed. You've got to give the writers that little triumph: regardless of the other implications this performance created (Kurt not being able to pass), they were able to sneak this in, since the narrative made it impossible that this performance could have been cut out of the episode by the big bosses of Fox. phr34r



Compromise:

We all know that Kurt’s heart lies in the female power ballads, but sadly, we all also know that that has never given him any success within the show. In order to give a good audition for NYADA Kurt had to compromise one way or another. He had to bow to the pressure of singing a male Broadway song, that was very clear, but that still left him with many, many options, but not all good ones. On the contrary: as long as Kurt cannot pass for straight on stage (ugh) his choices of male Broadway songs are limited, but there are still plenty, if one is willing to look for them. And if one looked even better, some of those songs would fit Kurt’s persona just as well as his designer clothes.
But that was not how it was presented on Glee: according to the canon Kurt’s choices were very, very limited and mostly drag queen parts (really, Glee?).
Kurt was willing to compromise a lot of himself in ‘Music of the Night’, but as we saw that performance was not a perfect fit fro him at this moment, and that’s why he chose NTBND. In many ways NTBND was a much better choice, an excellent choice, but it was not the perfect choice: Kurt still had to make some compromises.

- male / female song :
This one is obvious, and I support it. I love Kurt's female ballads, but if he wants to be a performer on Broadway he will have to sing the male Broadway songs. But I don't even think this was much of a problem for Kurt anymore: he wanted the romantic male leads, as he told his father; he wanted the role of Tony. This hurdle was already on its way to be taken.
- tenor / countertenor :
There are (tenor)/countertenor roles on Broadway (e.g. Gabe in The Next Normal, Angel in Rent, the MC in Cabaret), but they are sparse, and a new performer has to present himself as versatile as possible. Kurt has the good fortune of having 2 voice types at his disposal, so he could audition for strictly tenor roles, if he can't get a job as a countertenor. If Kurt would have gotten into NYADA (aargh), he could have educated himself on roles he might be able to play. And maybe he could have gotten a (chorus) job on Broadway singing as a tenor, whilst writing his own fabulous countertenor roles for off Broadway.
Still, Kurt sang a tenor song for his audition, to 'fit' the male hero singer mould more (though Carmen would know that there are countertenor roles on Broadway), but he was smart enough to sneak in a few falsetto back flips to show his versatility, and he nailed it.
- can pass / cannot pass :
We will probably never know if the story was that Kurt will never be able to pass for straight. Seasons 1 and 2 gave him no problems, but in season 3 his toothpick arms were too sissy to get him in the locker room scenes with the other 'bros'. :angry: Anyway: Kurt fought this 'handicap' all season, but in the end, when it really mattered, he caved in and compromised. He made his weakness his strength, no doubt, and I loved him for it. But with this glorious acceptance of himself he put himself in a very small niche in the musical theatre industry.
Oh, I really wish for a follow-up on this. Kurt deserves it.



Last remark :

'Not The Boy Next Door' was Kurt's triumph. It was the moment he combined all he learned over the years and the moment when he made his so-called weaknesses his strengths. I have some small criticisms on NTBND, but all in all it was the perfect song for Kurt's audition and his journey so far within the narrative.

Let's get the negative out of the way before I get to the positive: blushh
I didn't like the implication that Kurt could only be succesful if he resorted to a gay, flamboyant song. Besides the fact that it means Kurt gave up on improving his acting skills to pass for straight on stage, Kurt is not flamboyant, Kurt is effeminate. There is a difference. Kurt's clothes are outlandisch, but they are not flamboyant, and thanks to Chris Colfer's subtle acting Kurt's effeminacy is mostly internal, quite the opposite of flamboyant in fact.
Kurt is not a gay-bar superstar, although I can believe he overcomes his own inhibitions when he's performing on stage. 'Le Jazz Hot' was a good example of that, and so is NTBND. Still, it irks me that in the end, effeminate Kurt could not convince others to see beyond that. When Beiste, Emma and Artie laughed Kurt off stage and dismissed him for not being able to live up to their (masculine) vision of Tony, we were left with the impression that, besides Kurt's wrong audition song choice, the WSS directors were the ones that were wrong. Kurt's journey was to teach them and us (since a lot of the Glee viewers also cannot see past Kurt the 'fashionable soprano'), that there were more than 4 sides to Kurt and he should be seen for what he can do without being neglected and disqualified for who he is.
But the story turned out to be different: in the end the WSS directors were right: Kurt could not play straight, and what he can do will always be directly related to who he is, and that's where they left Kurt hanging after his NYADA rejection. :angry:

In order for the audience (not Carmen, but us Glee viewers) to see past his 'flaw' in performance, his effeminacy, Kurt did not defy and question this narrowminded vision of him, but he verified it by choosing a flamboyant gay song. He erased his disadvantage by making it a given: if he 'admitted' his gayness, people would not turn his performance down for 'hiding' it, while ignoring the quality of the performance itself. And I don’t like this message.
I hate these writers for implying this, and I cannot help but think that they themselves wear the same blinders that Beiste, Emma and Artie had on during the WSS auditions, since the writers themselves never gave Kurt a competition performance in ND and always put him down.
I'm all for Kurt embracing who he is, but let's be honest: he's been doing that ever since 'Preggers', and so far it got him nothing but hurt and ridicule in return. NTBND is a song that comes as close to Kurt's core being as it gets, and everyone saw him triumph: Carmen Tibideaux (God, I love Whoopi Goldberg. The thought that Chris got to work with her, sing for her, makes this all less grim), Mr. Schue (why did he never give Kurt a solo? why?), and us Glee viewers. The whole fandom applauded Kurt and the media loved his song, but it brought him nothing, again.



I'm sorry I couldn't keep this review all positive, as I promised, but I could not ignore the impact of NTBND and its conclusion in Glee. Now, to end with the positive:
I loved NTBND. Everything came together. Chris' vocals were perfect, and they let him use almost all of his vocal range. Chris' emotions in the song were, as usual, also perfect. Sure, NTBND did not have the epic impact that 'Rose's Turn' had, but it is a totally different song. 'Rose's Turn' was epic because of the anger and frustration Chris put in that song, and it was the first time we saw this side of Kurt.
In NTBND we saw another side of Kurt, a side we only saw glimpses of in 'Bad Romance' and 'Le Jazz Hot'. The performance that comes closest to it is the Single Ladies Dance the way Chris did it during the 2011 live tour. But that performance was cut from the dvd, and therefore it is not canon (if you want to count the live dvd canon).
In NTBND Kurt was sexy and hot as hell, and what made him so sexy and hot (besides the golden pants of course ooppss) was his confidence and defiance. To hell with all the nay-sayers, Kurt is going to be who he is. And this attitude, along with an excellent performance, got him the highest praise from someone who knows how to value a performer like Kurt. It was lovely to see how willing Tina, Brittany and Mercedes (aww, the female muppet babies) were to be Kurt's back-up singers. It was wonderful to see how impressed Rachel, Blaine and Mr. Schue were. Even Brad the piano player was smiling. Smile But noone in that auditorium mattered, imo, except Carmen Tibideaux, dean of NYADA.
And Carmen Tibideaux told Kurt that Hugh Jackman would have been as impressed with his performance as she was, and she congratulated him. Then Kurt almost passed out for joy and kurtsied his way off stage. In my headcanon season 3 ended at that precise moment.


source of most gifs


And oh….alright already, since some of you have been begging and teasing me with this, here’s the famous ‘gold pants’ gif….. behind a spoilerbar, because I don’t want everyone getting distracted from my review too much. fanny2

Spoiler:


Last edited by Glorfindel on 8/9/2012, 8:56 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  brisallie on 8/9/2012, 12:45 am

To begin with, good review as always Marie :D and I understand if it takes you time to do it because personally I've so many feelings, by one side this one of my favorite Kurt performances but we all know that sadly at the end it was a wasted of time; not totally because we enjoyed Razz

Regarding that paragrahp you talked about "can pass/can't pass", until today there's not an equality between the actor and the character, we have been told that Kurt is effeminate since season 1 and he doesn't fits to play a male role. However (and ironically) what happen with Chris in real life I'd say is the opposite, he's one that has the huge female fandom and physically he's not that twelve years old boy from season one anymore so Why are they still saying "Kurt is too effeminate to pass and has toothpick arms". Ok I can buy the first statement but the second one? I don't think so.

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I currently obsessed with this
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Buenos on 8/9/2012, 1:35 am

But the story turned out to be different: in the end the WSS directors were right: Kurt could not play straight, and what he can do will always be directly related to who he is, and that's where they left Kurt hanging after his NYADA rejection.


banzai This.
Thank you so much for your review Glorinfidel.

Even in the temporary moment of "triumph" of NTBND there was something about it that left me unsatisfied and that was what you summed up. Kurt is defined by being gay and in a bizarre way, while the show wants to tell us/him not to change the show doesn't hesitate to imply he cannot change but will be limited by how the world sees him. Always. Those that reject him have an arguably valid point in that Kurt himself can't get past being narrowly defined because his self expression must always include his orientation front and center.

The 3 times he tried to 'act' beyond his niche, ie "Pink Houses" John Cougar Mellencamp, "Romeo and Juliet" scene in "I am Unicorn" and "Phantom of the Night" in "Choke" there was something clearly "off" in what Kurt was trying to do.

The personal Kurt of "Blackbird", "IWTHYH" that transcends such narrow limitations isn't the performance one that the show wants to highlight.

What bothers me is that the show is constantly battling against the versatility of Chris Colfer to try to fit Kurt Hummel into a narrower range to pound home the point that it is clear in a singing/dancing show the character Kurt has a narrow range that he can work on/improve but never transcend. Kurt singing "girl songs" is fine and ok and to be celebrated but the idea of Kurt singing "boy" theatrical songs outside of his gay/effeminate persona is somehow not being "true" to himself. That would be a depressing but a valid POV (there are people that are so effeminate and gay/gay they cannot ) if the show didn't also have Kurt as someone who wants to succeed in performance/theatrical field. His orientation trumps his artistic ambition, they are clearly in conflict and orientation will always come first.

By the same token, Unique is an extreme version of Kurt. The other side of the spectrum are the gays of Blaine, Santana, Brittany and Sebastian who can pass, who have versatility and who paradoxically do not have to be defined by their orientation 24/7.

The show singles out Kurt as the constant of being limited/rejected/found lacking.

Ironically for me the one "performance" that highlighted to a significant degree Kurt outside the usual narrow limitations they put him in was the all too brief "4 minutes" with Mercedes when he was with the Cheerios and not New Directions.


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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  ColferGirl on 8/9/2012, 2:48 am

Thank you so so so much for the review, Marie. It was wonderful and enlightening as always. wub wub wub I wish I had something more meaningful to say, because you put so much hard work into these and just a few words isn't enough to express how much I love them and how grateful I am for them. But all I can really do is bask in the glory of your review and the glory of those gifs. fanny2
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  arina on 8/9/2012, 6:04 am

I love your review as always, Marie. I miss reading those. I certainly hope you'll get the chance to write more of them in season 4 :-)
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Delight on 8/9/2012, 10:04 am

Thank you very much, Glorfindel, for this lovely song review. As usual, it isn't only your breakdown of the 'mechanics' of singing that makes these reviews interesting to read , but also your in-depth interpretation of what the song/performance would mean for Kurt, and its implications in the narrative. neutre

After reading your review, I've rediscovered the reason why I liked Glee in the first place. I guess for all its (very numerous) faults, Glee at least gave us this memorable Kurt performance which we are very, very grateful for. Smile

I've rewatched the NTBND performance today-- something I haven't done since the S3 finale.

Sigh... I wish that I could fast-forward time and see what Kurt's next epic solo in episode 18 of season 4 would be (S1- Rose's Turn, S2- As if We Never Said Goodbye, S3- NTBND). In my pessimistic mindset, I'm bracing myself to wade through the preceding 17 episodes of 'Let's explore Kurt's resilience' (aka 'Kick Kurt') episodes to get there. But... it would be worth all the heartache in the end, wouldn't it? Here's to hoping for a less disastrous season 4 finale.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Ranwing on 8/9/2012, 12:13 pm

Glorifindel, I wish I had your understanding of the mechanics of singing. My history of singing was not nearly as technical and while I have a very clear concept of just what Chris is managing to do with his voice, your breakdown of his performances really show was a remarkable talent he is.

One thing that always irritated me about those who try to belittle his NYADA audition number is the argument that because NTBND isn't as technically as difficult a song to sing as DROMP that what Chris did wasn't so amazing (and thus feeds their argument that Kurt should not have stood a chance of getting into NYADA and justifying Rachel's admission). By breaking down the song the way you did, you really show that while the song itself might not be technically difficult, Chris was able to elevate it in a way that few performers could, both with the key changes and the use of his range. I loved the fact that he was able to use not only his full range (with a focus on his lower range that often gets neglected and using his upper range as an accent), but allowed him to add texture with his growls that we don't often see out of him. His technique was what elevated the material into something very, very special and that's something I don't believe his detractors really appreciate.

I agree with your assement that Kurt can't win with his song choices. It frustrates me to no end that Blaine can make a living singing P!ink and Katy Perry without it being used as a slam against him, but singing a song originally performed by a female artist is constantly used to bludgeon Kurt and his value as an artist. It's the old double-standard that drives me insane - girls can sing songs associated with male artists without prejudice, but boys should not sing songs performed by female artisits. And the idea that Kurt can't "pass" as straight and therefore must only perform as a flamboyant gay man is really insulting to his character. Still, I can't help from love this performance. The whole feel of it was not masking himself in another identity (the way Rachel does when she imitates Barbra) but a celebration of all that he is as a performer.


Last edited by Ranwing on 8/9/2012, 2:55 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Corrected for typos - because Ranwing cannot spell today.)
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Divalicious on 8/9/2012, 2:42 pm

The biggest problem are the lemmings that watch this show. They are told that this is acceptable and that is not. They do not think for themselves, look beyond perceptions, and form their own opinions. Blaine is sex on a stick, despite having greased hair, a sock aversion, strange clothing choices, and not being tall. Kurt, while taller, broader in shoulder, better hair, a fantastic body, is said to have stick arms and cannot pass. So it must be true. These are also the people that will happily move onto another show that tells them what to think when this one is gone. A few might continue to follow Darren, but not to the extent that people will continue to follow Chris, IMO.

We look at this handsome young man, who is becoming more handsome as the months progress, and say WTF?!! you expect me to believe this guy isn't being chased after? While Blaine is the best gay guy you can hook up with? Not only is Kurt gorgeous, he is intelligent, talented, a great cook, and highly organized. He is your go to guy to get things done. When they wanted to go to a contest, Kurt got up off his butt and drummed up money, and got his father involved. He did it not for rewards (obviously, he doesn't get rewarded for what he does) he did it because it was the right thing to do. Kurt is a stand-up guy. We have looked past what they tell us to believe, and see what is there, by evidence of his past actions. He is strong, and I'll use the catch phrase for season 4, resilient. If I were a gay young man in this fictional world, Blaine would be in for a world of hurt, because I would not be stupid enough to think that just because Kurt is effeminate that he is weak and ineffectual.

Going back to the difficulty of the song, one thing we know, and the writers have actually shown us, Kurt is a much better dancer than Rachel. He may not be a great dancer without choreography, the shoulder shimmy and all that, but he can follow direction well. He also is a great emotive singer, and doesn't just blast you with volume, he makes you feel. They are looking towards Broadway, which isn't just parking and barking, it is moving, dancing, singing, making the audience go along with you for the ride. We already know Kurt can do all of that, but can Rachel, when it comes to more than just singing?

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