Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Taylor Swift wins Grammys, loses music critics

February 4, 2010

Taylor Swift’s record label has come out in defense of the young pop/country star after her  less-than-stellar performance at the Grammy awards on Sunday had music critics shooting poisoned arrows at her vocal talents.GRAMMYS/SHOW

Swift, 20, took four Grammys on Sunday, including the coveted album of the year for the smash hit “Fearless”, which was also the biggest selling album of 2009. But her haul was somewhat overshadowed by her live Grammy duet with veteran rock singer Stevie Nicks, which The Washington Post called “incredibly wretched” and Ann Powers of The Los Angeles Times described as “tinny and rhythmically flat footed.”

Over to Scott Borchetta, president and CEO of Swift’s record label Big Machine Records in Nashville. “Maybe she’s not the best technical singer, but she is the best emotional singer,” Borchetta told The “No one is perfect on any given day. Maybe in that moment, we didn’t have the best night, but in the same breath, maybe we did.”

It’s not the first time that Swift’s vocal prowess has come under fire during the singer-songwriter’s rapid rise to the top and a marketing campaign that has put her just about everywhere in the last six months.  In the past, Swift’s managers have blamed some shaky moments on nerves and the technical constraints of  live performances, while pointing to a string of  sell-out concerts and her undoubted ability to connect with the angst of  young teens going through their first loves.


Veteran country star Naomi Judd also came out for “Team Taylor” , calling her multi-talented and a role model for her generation. “Smarts, manners and class. Why can’t fault-finders see that she is a sorely needed role model? We’re aware of how lyrics and musicians can influence our society. If America ever needed positive role models, it’s now,” Judd said.

But sudden fame also brings the risk of over-exposure.  Swift is now out to conquer new audiences with concerts in Japan and Australia. Australia wasn’t too fond of  Britney Spears and her lip-synching “Circus” concerts last year.

Will they be kinder to Swift, who plays guitar and piano and who has said she never lip-synchs?


Pray tell, when the record label sets out to create a “role model” singer-songwriter why don’t they choose an artist who can sing and write? By going instead for someone with the right looks and the financial connections it comes back to bite them. You can be sure that without Auto Tune those records of Taylor Swift will not sell. It does nothing to aid an ailing industry’s credibility to try and manufacture “talent” when there is so much real music to be found these days.

Posted by RoRoRosie | Report as abusive

She is a lovely singer. No, she is not Mariah Carey, but she obviously had trouble with her monitors and that made her singing flat. And in a world of non-musicians and non-singers in today’s ‘music’ industry (hmmm – can you rap flat???) – it was refreshing to see a Lady Gaga (who actually sings live) and Taylor Swift.

Anyone who has seen Taylor’s other live performances would agree. Doesn’t anyone remember Ricky Martin’s horrible performance at some major awards show? What about Madonna who can barely sing at all? I remember seeing Sheryl Crow on an awards show early on and she was dreadful too. Oh and Enrique Iglesias whose live caterwauling made me cry years back (well, almost).

Give it up, Taylor haters. She is the real deal. And if you want to complain about nasty singers, there are a lot worse, more celebrated ‘singers’ that they could target.

Posted by freber | Report as abusive

This is life in the fast lane. They build ‘em up, probably too fast, and then delight in tearing them down. Whether justified or not, this is the world of fame and fortune.

Posted by JeffT1 | Report as abusive

Naomi Judd is right… success shouldn’t be (and really isn’t) determined by critics. It is determined by hard work and the result of that work is evident in her following. If she wasn’t good enough for the rewards, she wouldn’t be getting them. The fact that a country music album was the most sold album of 2009, by no small margin, speaks volums alone.

Posted by dontdoit | Report as abusive

Very pretty, and vocally rather mediocre. That pretty much sums up my opinion of Ms. Swift.

Posted by Marla | Report as abusive

I think Taylor is a great role model, especially for the younger generations of girls. In the last couple of years Hollywood hasn’t really been cranking out great ones (i.e. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan). Everybody has their days and clearly she is doing something right to have the biggest selling album of the year when all teenagers do is download music. To have won against Beyonce and Lady Gaga is an honor and maybe we should let this twenty year old girl have her moment in fame, without ripping it to shreds and dissecting what she did wrong.

Posted by legl.n.infrmd | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see