Tony Winner Betty Buckley Explains Her "American Idol" Twitter Criticisms

News   Tony Winner Betty Buckley Explains Her "American Idol" Twitter Criticisms
As previously reported, Tony Award winner Betty Buckley took to Twitter to respond to "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson when he dismissed a contestant for sounding "too Broadway" on the Feb. 2 broadcast of the singing competition. Buckley wrote an article for the New York Times to explain her views.

Betty Buckley
Betty Buckley Photo by Myriam Santos

"I think it's important that young performers be encouraged — not discouraged — in their dreams to sing, whether on Broadway or in the pop arena, by a show that purports to celebrate great singing," said Buckley in her New York Times article. "The lines of demarcation about this style vs. that style of singing are not hard and fast. This is in truth a matter of 'style,' and not the essence of what constitutes a great voice."

On the Fox hit television series, Jackson and "Idol" judges have often dismissed singers for sounding too theatrical in their style of singing. Buckley has pointed out that Broadway is a place and not a style of singing.

She added, "What really constitutes a Broadway voice anyway? … What distinguishes a Broadway voice, in truth, is stamina. Surviving a run of eight performances a week takes training and skill. It is a kind of athletic feat, and professional coaching is necessary."

Jackson, who defended himself Feb. 10 via a Twitter posting, claimed, "A lot of people who sing broadway, do not have control of their vibrato, which does not easily lend itself to singing other styles of music. The wide open vibrato doesn't work everywhere. Was not dissing anyone, and if you know our show carefully, we have been using the words 'Too Broadway' for 11 seasons now, and we have all said it."

As for the "Too Broadway" phrase, the Tony winner said, "I wish the 'Idol' judges would just say, 'It doesn’t work for me' or 'It is not to my taste,' instead of saying a voice they don't like is 'too Broadway.' Broadway today is a place, not a style of singing or a specific kind of musical composition." Buckley concluded, "It’s time to celebrate such singers without denigrating their roots or their Broadway credits. Don’t you agree?"

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