Saturday, January 01, 2005

Kennedy Center Honors

Did you catch the Kennedy Center Honors? Singing was very much in evidence. Joan Sutherland, looking a bit frail, was one of the honorees.

Renée Fleming was there to answer the question "What if 'Over the Rainbow' were an opera aria?" What if it arced up and down like Puccini and grooved like Ella and crescendoed like, well, like Renée Fleming? Renée is a cross-over. You knew that about her, didn't you? She is the exception that proves the rule that you can't cross over from pop to classical. Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli are the ones who follow the rule. For the last month these two singers were the only people listed by Yahoo as releasing classical albums. Ach! What is happening?

I digress. Back to Renée. I would like to see more risk taking by Renée and all the classical singers. Everything Renée tries doesn't necessarily work, usually because she doesn't take enough risks rather than too many. Renée, sing everything just that amount of out there. If you go too far, we'll let you know. 'Over the Rainbow' was perfection, a bowl of ice cream with nuts and cherries.
Billy Joel and Kid Rock were there to honor Elton John, a man who is always more out there than anyone thought possible. And there was Fantasia. I will be found to obsess over American Idol, which I regard as both the apex and nadir of music on television. Other people will talk endlessly about Simon, Paula and Randy, but I'll talk about the music. It's wonderful to think that the highest advertising rates on TV go to a talent scout program.

Elton John is watching out for Fantasia, just as he said he would do on the show. Her talent very much exceeds her context, and she is going to need help to find her nitch outside Idol. In Idol terms her album is a bust.

So Randy Jackson, why is it that your top 10 music list for 2004 didn't include one thing from Idol? And what are you doing to change that? Or is it all just bullshit?

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