Broadway star Betty Buckley has a thing or two to say to American Idol judge Randy Jackson.
The former Eight is Enough actress Tweeted about her contempt for the disdain the talent show demonstrates towards singers they deem ‘too Broadway.’ Buckley wrote, “With respect, ‘Dog,’ your opinion is whack and uninformed!” She also said that Jackson demeaning theatrical voices was “beneath contempt” and “beyond idiotic!!!”
Over the past 11 seasons, there has been many an audition that Jackson (and the other judges) disparage by saying that a singer would be better suited for the stage rather than the pop world.
The New York Post reports that Buckley said, “Broadway is a place, not a style of singing. Whenever he doesn’t like something, he just throws in that ‘this is a Broadway voice.’ I don’t know how many Broadway shows Randy Jackson has been to, but clearly not many, because there’s a wide variety of shows on Broadway.”
Buckley has a point. Gone are the days when Broadway musicals were just limited to soprano-operatic sounding voices (a la Oklahoma or My Fair Lady.) Today’s shows range from jazzy (Chicago) to rock (American Idiot) to gospel (Sister Act). It is interesting that many American Idol finalists have transitioned from the television show to the stage—Constantine Maroulis, Diana DeGarmo, Taylor Hicks, among others.
Buckley attributes Jackson’s opinions to his dislike of vocal vibrato. She said, “He clearly doesn’t like vibrato, and doesn’t think vibrato exists in pop, which is absurd. Lady Gaga sings with vibrato. Freddie Mercury did. Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald. Christina Aguilera has a vibrato, and she’s spectacular.”
As an actress who has maintained an impressive career since the late 60s, the Tony-winner (for her role singing “Memory” in Cats), Buckley has become a legend in the theater world. But her main concern with American Idol is that the show will deter young singers from pursuing their dreams. She said, “You’re a young kid, a good singer, you go to these auditions, and Randy Jackson says, ‘you’re too Broadway.’ Then this kid, who had dreams of going into musical theater, says, ‘I don’t wanna be in musical theater because Randy Jackson thinks it’s not cool.”
American Idol producer, Nigel Lythgoe, is a great supporter of the theater through his other television show, FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. He responded to Buckley’s comments by saying, “Broadway is a Mecca for talent. I will certainly speak to Randy.”