Performance Critic - The Evolution of Mariah Carey

The Rise And Fall Of Mimi

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What can I say about Mariah?  I've been watching her in all her glory since I was about nine years old. I've bought her albums and even watched all her 'Top of the Pop's' performances, recording them and driving my father mad by singing along to all her songs.

The truth is, I love her - I always have.

Her voice, her persona AND her amazing song writing ability. In my eyes, she could do no wrong, however, since her disastrous performance at the New Year's Eve Party in New York in 2016, I've wondered whether the effervescent butterfly had clipped her wings? And, what happened during that performance that she couldn't recover from? Where was her mind-set at and how could she have handle that performance fail better?

Follow me, as I will take an in-depth analysis of Ms. Mariah Carey's best and worst performances. Keep reading for the blog version or watch the video below for my Facebook Live video about my critic of Mariah Carey through the ages.

'A Star Is Born', Mariah Carey

I'll be there - MTV Unplugged 1992

I chose the Jackson 5 cover 'I'll be there' during MTV Unplugged in 1992, as one of her best performances. To start with the full concert is a tour de force of her vocal capability, this song in particular, had an effortless ease that you rarely see on stage these days. I love how Mariah Carey interacts with her fellow musicians on stage, and allow them to shine. Especially, Trey Lorenz which, let's be honest, has a range that even the most famous of male singers would be jealous of. Oh, let's not forget his silky smooth tone and agility too. Mariah allows him the spotlight to shine.

Her Performance

Mariah is confident in her ability on stage. Her arms are spread wide and there isn't any mental blocks - no emotional/fear based thinking that could impede her performance. She is there to sing her song, shine bright and do what she was born to do.

I really believe that this performance was the shining beacon of her career.

From her camaraderie within the singers and musicians on stage, to the nuances of her outstanding vocal performance and her emotive interpretation of the song to the audience. Not only am I in awe of her talent, it makes me feel inspired to get in front of the microphone and sing my heart out - and it still does, every time I listen to it. 

Her Look

Mariah Carey's look is stripped back. She wears an all black clothing ensemble. Black trousers, blouse and jacket. It isn't about her looks here - it's about her performance and her raw talent. Mariah Carey has publicly spoken out in the past about her tumultuous relationship with Sony Records. How she felt confined by her record label, and her ex-husband, Tommy Mattola (the chairman of Sony Records at the time) into being 'The Voice'. She wasn't allowed to be herself. She couldn't write the songs that she wanted to write, wear the clothes that she wanted to wear or act the way she wanted to. Mariah finally broke free leaving Columbia/Sony Records for EMI's Virgin Records in 2000 and she changed her fashion, her sound and her direction - her way .

It's tough for me to admit (because I know that Mariah was unhappy), but I liked the natural, confident, happy to sing anywhere Mariah. I liked her non-fussy clothing, her natural hair and make-up.

And in a way....I kinda miss her....


The 'What Just Happened?', Mariah Carey

Song Medley - New Year's Eve - Time Square Live Performance 2016

After all the experience, after all the rehearsals, stage prep, stage marking and sound checks in the lifetime of her career the poor people of New York City were privy to one of the worst performance that Mariah Carey has ever given. I've watched this performance back numerous times. Not to laugh at her or to mock her reaction but because I genuinely felt for her. A lesser performers career would have been buried by this (*cough* Ashlee Simpson), however, Mariah Carey -even with this catastrophe of a performance, can still bring out a Las Vegas residency and Christmas album in 2017 and all is forgiven. 

Lets talk about it....(do I have to? ..... YES! ....)

Firstly, I was really excited to watch her New Years Eve performance in 2016. I was sat, popcorn in one hand and a can of Dr Pepper in the other. I watched it the next day, as well, you know, it was New Year's Eve. I was excited to see her performance. 

The Performance

It's hard for me to say it was terribly, but it really was. Let's face it, Lambily, our Mariah's vocals just aren't what they used to be. Can she still belt out a pop song better than most? Yes! So, when this 'sound malfunction' (I'm still contemplating a PR cover up) happened, it was her opportunity to grab the microphone and sing it acapella. Regardless of what the circumstances were, she should have been able to command the stage after all her years and years of incredible shows and appearances. 

The Mariah Carey that I have grown to love would have just gone for it- sang her heart out for the crowd that has patiently waited to see her.  Although, let's put this into perspective - the 2016 Mariah Carey is one that has been thwart with personal issues and relationships woes that overtime ebb away at one's self-worth and confidence. I sadly don't know Mariah personally however this isn't the behaviour of someone who is confident with her vocal ability and performance skills. 

Mariah was constantly looking around to her dancers for reassurance and guidance. What is wrong with just saying, 'Let's start again, the sound isn't right and I want you all to have a great New Year'? What's wrong with that? That takes balls and a spoonful of courage. That courage award I would like to award to Adele.  She did this exact thing at an awards ceremony in tribute to George Michael. It showed leadership, authenticity and a passion for giving the best performance. 

Mariah stuttered through this performance like a lamb to the slaughterhouse. I absolutely don't want to say it I have to - I felt for her. Where has the 'butterfly' gone? Who is she surrounding herself with? Who in her management wouldn't tell her the truth about her vocal ability and lack of performance skills? Is Mariah Carey now just a cash cow for others to milk?

Her Look

Perfectly presented like a Veela member of Beaubatons, gliding onto the stage with microphone in hand. I thought she looked beautiful and was rocking the outfit. Now, as I've previously mentioned, I'm more of a stripped back fan of Mariah style, however I did like her ensemble. It was a great party atmosphere and she did bring the flair and excuburence of the occasion. Great Job - MC. 


The future of Mariah Carey 

Shania Twain is a great example of how your personal life circumstances directly effects your vocal ability, self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence when delivering a faultless, fearless performance. Those foundations blocks have to be rock solid before hitting the stage. Mariah has a long way to go to get back to her best and I really hope she gets the coaching and therapy that is needed to rebuild her foundation of self-love. 

Mariah Carey is still loved and adored by millions - me included. However, this contrast in performances have highlighted the chinks in her amour. Mariah has been all about the vocals first, performance and look second. Now, that order seems to have reversed as time has gone on.  Let's face it, she is a middle-aged woman trying to keep up with the like of Rhianna, Ariana Grande and Rita Ora.

I hope Mimi reigns for a long time and that this performance has given her the wake up call she needs. When she's playing in the big leagues, you got to do your practise. 


Thanks for reading,