Courtesy of MCT
Each year that Taylor Swift walks away with awards for Entertainer of the Year or Female Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Awards, I start to question the judgment of the voting members of the Country Music Association.
So when she again took home the Entertainer of the Year award Wednesday, I was less than thrilled. While she was beaten out by Miranda Lambert in the female vocalist category, it infuriates and confuses me that she took home top honors. Again.
Before you jump down my throat, let me say that I can certainly appreciate that Swift writes her own songs, a rarity in the music industry today. I appreciate that she plays an instrument instead of just standing there. And, I can appreciate her loyalty to her fans.
But that’s pretty much where my appreciation for Swift stops.
I was a big fan of her self-titled first album, so when I saw less-than-stellar performances from her on award show after award show, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. But when I saw Swift open for Carrie Underwood in 2008, I realized that her shaky performances had nothing to do with the acoustics in the awards venues or with awards-show nerves.
It simply came down to the fact that she is not a good live performer.
Underwood made a name for herself by proving she was talented onstage, not just in a studio. Swift, on the other hand, seems to be off-key each time she performs live, a fault that is almost unforgiveable to me, seeing as she writes her own songs. If you know a note is out of your vocal range, why not leave it out of the song rather than straining to squeak out a pitch that you realistically can’t hit? Even when she does hit the tough notes, it sounds forced.
Compare that to the effortless sounds of Underwood, Lambert or Martina McBride, and, to me, there is no contest. This should eliminate Swift from the vocalist category, a group in which I feel she should not even be nominated.
But it also should eliminate her from contention in the entertainment category because while Swift certainly puts on a show with elaborate sets and staging, none of that matters if you can’t do the one thing people came to see you do: sing.
Swift can’t sing live.
I’m not sure which show the voters were watching, but it certainly wasn’t the same performance I’ve seen from Swift because, as likeable as she is, her inability to sing her own songs on key means she is not a good live entertainer — let alone the best live entertainer in country music.
I have my own issues with the content of her songs, which I feel have become almost childish in nature. But one could argue she simply is writing to her audience, which mostly consists of young girls. So I can even cut her some slack for that one.
I wouldn’t take issue if the voters handed her awards for songwriting. It’s that she’s winning awards in categories in which she clearly is not the strongest candidate. Just as I wouldn’t argue that Underwood should beat Swift in a songwriting competition, Swift never should beat Underwood in a vocal contest, and Swift certainly should not be given top honors at a music-awards show.
Oh, and Taylor, before you go off and write a nasty hit song about me for writing this column, please make sure you pick up a thesaurus and come up with a more creative adjective than “Mean.”