Madonna on Eurovision

Yes, it was quite the evening and yes, I’m a few weeks late in commenting on the performance.

Whether you’re a fan of ‘Madge’ or not, you have to give her her dues about being able to turn out a new image for every occasion. That’s not to say that every decision she makes is a good one, artistic or otherwise, but she’s constantly reinventing and pushing the boundaries of her creative persona.

I’ve left it a couple of weeks before writing this post, as there was always going to be a backlash about the performance whatever had happened on the night. This was mainly to take stock of what happened rather than jump on the bandwagon.

There’s a strange thing that happens when you’re performing live. You can rehearse as much as you like, but sometimes technical (or not so technical) things go wrong. Whether you trip on your own cape (THIS is why Edna in The Incredibles refuses to make costumes with capes any more…too many accidents! “NO CAPES!”) or you can’t hear yourself, the backing track or both! Sometimes things go out of sync, there’s nothing you can do but soldier on & make the best of the situation.

This (in my humble opinion) is something that should be celebrated. The tenacity required to power on through something in order to deliver a performance despite the compromise is what separates the professionals from the not-so-professionals.

In the meantime, the rumours were rife that Madonna did not rehearse in the performance space prior to the show and/or was not available for the press to interview. Perhaps this was the great work of her publicist, or perhaps it’s true. Who’s to know…

Either way, the vocals on the performance were somewhat compromised by Madonna being unable to hear what was going on with her own voice, or the backing track.
Here’s the live footage if you didn’t watch it on the night…

Here’s the originally broadcast performance. If you listen to what’s actually happening in this clip, there are only a handful of notes (generally the held notes) that are compromised. These also tend to be when the backing in just a low drone (which is difficult to hear in a noisy place like a stadium AND then try and pitch at least an octave above! Harmonically she had VERY little help!)

This isn’t an indication of a lack of musicality, ability, vocal prowess, or understanding, but instead on a poor musical arrangement that left her exposed rather than harmonically supported.

In post-broadcast production, the vocal line was adjusted using a tuning software (which is RARELY ‘Autotune’ as this often gives you that Cher ‘Believe’ sound rather than immediately adjusting the pitch).

Here’s the adjusted Vevo version of the performance…

Perhaps it wasn’t very well thought out & was a little more style over substance (Madonna? Style over substance…Noooo!) although she didn’t learn from the BRIT Awards costume malfunction & had another cape here…so I would anticipate further marginally atonal renditions of her back catalogue in the future.

One thing’s for sure. She’ll always fill blog & newspaper column inches with ease.