Emma Robinson has a curious peculiarity — she can sing like a robot. Well, more accurately, her voice sounds exactly like an auto-tuned voice, which is to say, slightly robotic in origin. Auto-tuning was/is a big fad with performers who maybe have trouble staying in key, or whose voice isn’t necessarily appealing, and so they use the computer software to mechanically correct their pitch. Only Robinson, a Florida high school student who has gone viral off her cover of Rihanna’s “Stay,” doesn’t need the software.
She’s already received Twitter accolades from the likes of Chris Daughtry and K.D. Lang as well as a few record contract offers, but the question remains: just because it is novel, is it good?
Having the ability to sound like everybody who needs a machine to sound like you seems like a complementary talent, but the reality is that there is a distinct sound quality to auto-tuning, and many people hate that sound now. This is a real girl who sounds artificial at a time when sounding artificial is not a good thing. But will the reality of her situation transcend that? I think it’s too gimmicky to be anything more than a lucky “unlucky break.” She’s like a guy who can make money at parties because he looks like George Clooney — he can’t get acting roles because it’s too distracting, but he’s at least able to do a little something with his situation. Emma Robinson hopefully defies convention enough that she breaks through, but listening to her voice unsettles me too much. Lets hear what the other judges have to say though …
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