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Autotune's fine - pop music's supposed to be pure entertainment.

IN MY view, the fuss about autotune technology being used to enhance singers' voices on X Factor should be looked at in context and kept in perspective.

OK - it's a secret vice of mine - I watch and enjoy the show! I accept it for what it is - entertainment.

However, X Factor is a talent contest and it seems unfair to alter contestants' voices using computer software. Apparently the judges hear the real sound but the important judges are supposed to be the viewers, who decide the ultimate winner by telephone vote.

The suspicion is that this form of trickery has been used in performances, as well as auditions.

On the previous series Jedward sounded almost passable as singers although their appeal was more as a novelty act. Then, on their last appearance, their "vocals" showed up their total lack of musical talent.

Had they been made to sound better in previous appearances, or did the sound engineers deliberately make them sound even worse than they were, if that is possible? This would ensure that they were disqualified at a crucial stage in the contest.

But "It's only rock'n'roll", or "pop" if you like. Rock and pop artists have for long years used electronic gimmickry, though it was once confined to the studio. Go into the archives and listen to Elvis's recording of Heartbreak Hotel.

Pop music is purely entertainment. What's with this musical snobbery and elitism on the subject of the X Factor? Where's their sense of fun? Sting weighed in on the subject a while back. He put out an album of troubadour-type songs a couple of years ago. Some of it aired on Classic FM and, by the sound of it, a judicious use of autosound may have been a good idea.

To me, his high reedy voice was about as pleasant to listen to as someone scraping a knife on a plate.

Then some Smart Aleck averred Bob Dylan would have failed to qualify for the show. Well, Bob was no great shakes as a singer. His appeal was in his incisive, sometimes poetic, lyrics and laconic delivery of same.

Having said that, his talking/singing style could have led Bob into rap today. He would of course have had to master the ghetto language and mumble monotonously the same near-incomprehensible phrase over and over - throwing in the odd four-letter word for effect.

To return to X Factor, I shall continue to watch, despite the snobbish carping of humourless musical elitists.

Roger Kendall Cardiff


The duo G&S on a recent X Factor show - there were claims that autotuning was used to enhance the voice of Caroline, right
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 28, 2010
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