By Renata T
With a year filled with disasters of epic proportions, it seemed fitting that 2016 would go out with an equally epic and disastrous performance by Mariah Carey.
Now, what stands out with this performance is not the fact that the track skipped, that she stumbled on their words, had a voice crack, or even was out of tune. No, because for all these to happen one would have to sing and if there was one thing she didn’t do for sure, it was sing.
Mariah’s performance consisted of an awkward and frantic soliloquy over a musical track. For the entirety of the many minutes that was the performance, it was painfully clear that she was searching for what she could do to fill the awkward void. On more than one occasion, she would defend herself, uttering things like, “I need a vacation too” or “it happens to everyone.” She also made comments on her own performance, admitting herself that it was no good. During some points, she even gave some feeble attempts at singing and even danced with an ill-suspecting background dancer. By the end, as she quickly disappeared in a frenzy of twirling feathers, strutting off the stage in true Mariah fashion.
The exact reason for what went wrong has been debated over. The first debate was whether the performance was planned to be lip-synced. Her manager said that the performance was not lip-synced and we need to understand is that “every artist sings to a track, especially in circumstances like that when it’s really loud and impossible to have a great musical performance. You’re not singing at the Philharmonic. Every artist who goes out there sings to tracks. What Mariah was doing was singing to tracks.” But this is only seen with one of her songs; in the others, it was quite obvious that her voice was being projected over the speakers, while her mouth was very much closed. She even admitted, “this is the album version so… I’m just going to sing along.”
But the main issue with her performance is whether or not there was a problem with her earpiece at all. Carey’s team claims that the problem was in the earpiece that was choppy and malfunctional so that she couldn’t hear her own voice. The team says that Carey did do the soundcheck for the songs and that was where they first noticed the malfunction, and Carey was assured that it would be fixed. Yet, it is debatable due to the fact that in the beginning of her first song, Emotions, she starts off by ripping off the earpiece and muttering “We never did a soundcheck, but it’s New Year’s, baby.” Besides this contradicting evidence, there is even more. Dick Clark Productions, who is in charge of the performance, says, “There were zero technical malfunctions…Every monitor and in-ear device worked perfectly.” Then DCP denies Mariah’s allegations and claims that in fact did not do the sound check at all.
Whether it be that the team is not telling the full truth to protect her star image, the fact still remains that Mariah’s future career has been put under intense scrutiny and is at great risk for permanent termination. But let us not forget that behind the facade of allure and confidence that Mariah has built, Mariah is a person with the same insecurities as us and is not immune to the hurtful comments running rampage on the internet.