Poor Fergie. She and the other Black Eyed Peas have been smushed into the corner of our cultural dinner plate by the cruel tines of music history retrospectives. Will.i.am is now mostly some sort of tech mogul(?), and Fergie’s Double Duchess record, from last year, failed to move units or critics. And now, given an opportunity to reappear for a very public performance of the Star Spangled Banner, the world can only discuss just how bad a job she did.
While all of us, with immediate animal instinct, understand that Fergie’s jazz-inflected rendition of the National Anthem was something of an abomination, one man has helped explain exactly why it sounds so horrible.
Vocal coach O’Neil Gerald has, through his YouTube channel, dissected the decidedly un-Fergilicious performance with an expertise that gives us more helpful terms to work with in describing her singing than “upsetting,” “tortured,” and “actually sort of an avant-garde musical criticism of modern America if you think about it.”
Gerald doesn’t believe Fergie “altogether is a terrible singer,” but does say she had “a really, really, really bad day with a bad arrangement.” He singles out missed notes, “horizontal vowel placement,” lots of “nasality” and “tongue tension,” false vibrato that makes her “wobble out of pitch,” bizarre rhythmic choices, and so much more. He also mentions the unhelpful arrangement and that she seems to just plain be trying too hard.
So there you have it. Rather than shit on Fergie’s performance by simply calling it bad (or reposting photos of the wonderful faces made by the celebrity crowd witnessing her singing), you can now incorporate Gerald’s critique into your own lexicon or jazzily warble an explanation of it under a spotlight at the biggest public venue available to you.
Or, you know, just imagine what the backing music playing in her head sounded like, as the below video helpfully does.