Is American Idol Killing The Broadway Sound?

The way performers sing in Broadway musicals is changing, and not for the better, says Ben Brantley. “Close your eyes and listen as their larynxes stretch and vibrate with the pain of being an underdog and the joy of being really loud. Bet you can’t tell them apart. For that matter, bet you can’t distinguish the heroines of the current Broadway musicals Wicked, Little Women and Brooklyn from the average female finalist on American Idol… The accent is on abstract feelings, usually embodied by people of stunning ordinariness, than on particular character. Quivering vibrato, curlicued melisma, notes held past the vanishing point: the favorite technical tricks of Idol contestants are often like screams divorced from the pain or ecstasy that inspired them.”