Mariah Carey is facing a new embarrassment after raw audio footage of her live performance at a Christmas concert in New York was posted online, revealing her strained vocals as she struggled to hit the high notes.
The pop superstar opened the live broadcast of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which aired on NBC on Wednesday, with a rendition of her festive classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” before artists including Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, LeAnn Rimes, Idina Menzel and Cyndi Lauper hit the stage.
However, isolated, unedited vocals from Carey’s set have since surfaced on the Internet, with the footage clearly suggesting her voice wasn’t in top shape – it cracks as she tries to sing the higher octaves of the track.
Critics attacked the singer online for the poor performance, but rock matriarch Sharon Osbourne has come to her defense, blaming the cold conditions for her vocal struggles and insisting she has nothing to be ashamed of.
Discussing the incident on The Talk on Thursday, Osbourne said, “Anybody who knows anything about vocal cords (knows) the best environment for singing live is humidity. Heat and humidity, and she’s out there – it’s freezing cold in New York – she’s singing live, this woman is going through a divorce (with) two kids… It’s like, ‘Cut her some slack!’ She could have mimed, (but) she didn’t.”
Carey split from husband Nick Cannon, the father of her young twins, earlier this year.
It’s not the first time Carey’s apparent vocal problems have hit headlines this year – she disappointed fans on the opening night of her Elusive Chanteuse World Tour in Tokyo, Japan in October, when it became clear her usually flawless vocals were not up to par as she attempted and failed to reach the high notes in some of her hit songs, including We Belong Together.
The vocal trouble wasn’t the only drama surrounding Carey’s appearance at the 82nd annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center celebration – her performance was initially scrapped on Tuesday after she arrived three hours late to a pre-taping the day before the festive gig. She subsequently apologized to fans for her tardiness, blaming circumstances beyond her control.