It's a good time to be Taylor Swift, as if there's ever a bad time. Last Sunday, she won an American Music Award for Favorite Female Artist, Country Music, which should sit nicely alongside her awards for Top New Female Vocalist (Academy Of Country Music), Video Of The Year and Female Video Of The Year (CMT), Breakout Artist (Teen Choice) and last year's Horizon Award from the Country Music Association. She also currently has the #1 album in the country, with her sophomore release Fearless topping this week's Billboard 200 chart. Plus, of course, the cuteness and the perkiness and teenagerness and the used-to-date-a-Jonas-Brother of it all.
So it seems a little weird to ask if anybody's noticed that she can't sing. And by that, I don't mean that she's bland or immature or incapable of connecting with her material or totally devoid of any personality whatsoever. I mean that she can't carry a tune. Sunday's AMA performance of "White Horse" was practically a home run by her standards: her voice was weak, she appeared to be desperately trying to remember to hit all of her marks and there are some seriously rough patches towards the end, but for the most part, she managed to hang on to the song enough to sound like Vanessa Carlton on a bad day.
No such luck at the last two CMAs. The broadcasts are less about handing out awards than about providing a national showcase for country music, and Swift rose to the challenge with live versions of "Love Story" (from two weeks ago, shown at the top of the post) and "Our Song" (from last year) that were awful in the earnest, self-unaware manner of someone about to be rejected from her American Idol audition by Paula Abdul because neither Simon nor Randy feels like being mean to her. She seems to be sweetly, genuinely untalented. Yet here Swift was, in giant rooms full of music industry types ostensibly there to celebrate excellence who enthusiastically applauded her every time. Whatever, Nashville.
It's also worth noting that none of the awards mentioned above contain the word "best" anywhere in them.