I’m not into singing shows, so I admit I had to look up who Adam Lambert is when I started writing this story. Lambert — who was the runner-up on American Idol in 2009 — criticized Les Misérables director Tom Hooper‘s decision to have the cast sing live during the production on his Twitter by saying, “Les Mis: Visually impressive w great Emotional performances. But the score suffered massively with great actors PRETENDING to be singers …it’s an opera. Hollywoods movie musicals treat the singing as the last priority. (Dreamgirls was good),” among other (much more positive) comments.
In particular, he praised Anne Hathaway, Aaron Tveit, Helena Bonham Carter, Sasha Baron Cohen, and Samantha Barks, but added, “I do think it was cool they were singing live- but with that cast, they should have studio recorded and sweetened the vocals” and “The industry will say ‘these actors were so brave to attempt singing this score live’but why not cast actors who could actually sound good?”
For whatever reason this turned into a mild controversy online, and another Twitter user asked Russell Crowe — clearly absent from Lambert’s list of praise — his thoughts on Lambert’s comments. Crowe responded, “I don’t disagree with Adam,sure it could have been sweetened,Hooper wanted it raw and real,that’s how it is.”
Like Crowe, I don’t disagree with Lambert — despite being an, ahem, rock musician, Crowe is no Broadway singer and is probably the worst singer in the whole film — but I definitely respect how he handled the question with, “well, that’s what the director wanted and that’s how we did it.” After all, it’s pretty clear Lambert is saying, “basically all the leads were great except Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, and Eddie Redmayne,” unless he’s also lumping Hugh Jackman, who is also absent from his praise, in as an actor “pretending” to be a singer.
Well, now that all that is over with audiences can now go back to enjoying Les Misérables, which has already made $80 million in its first week of release.