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Taylor Swift's off-key Grammy moment

Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift won the evening's biggest award, but her performance was what really had people talking. (Reuters/Mike Blake)

Another fairy tale evening for Taylor Swift? Not quite. Yes, the country-pop princess took home the most-coveted Grammy of the evening - Album of the Year - for her juggernaut "Fearless." But a couple of hours before that she took the stage and sang. Or did something resembling singing. To borrow a phrase from Montgomery Burns it was more "off-key caterwauling." To be kind. After a bit of "Today Was a Fairytale," Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks came out and the pair warbled at each other during the classic Mac song "Rhiannon" before Swift finished with "You Belong With Me" as a dazed Nicks stood in the background shaking a tambourine. MTV has a clip of the footage - it gets bad right around the 20 second mark. Even before the performance was over the instant critics on Twitter had weighed in. And they were not impressed. At all.

After the jump, a sampling of some harsh tweets...

@Borowitz Report Satan Chooses Taylor Swift Performance as Ringtone

@questlove dear kanye im sorry

@Borowitz Report: God Hoping Taylor Swift Does Not Thank Him

@jfdulac Wifey, listening to Taylor on the #Grammys: "She couldn't even get into the chamber choir at my high school singing like that."

@Borowitz Report T-Pain Hired to Autotune Taylor Swift at 2011

@idolator How suitable: that guy from #americanidol introduces @taylorswift13, who — we have to say — sounds a little pitchy, dawg.

@harvilla taylor swift's career singing on live television should've gotten an "in memorium" nod

@Kiarri Last year the big battle was between Rihanna & C Brown. This year the fight was between Taylor Swift & pitch.

@jjjrrr Dear Taylor Swift, the music store called, you left your pitch on the counter with your lip gloss

@jeffstearns Taylor Swift? More like Francis Scott Off-Key, am I right?

@feliciapollack Taylor Swift can't sing. She sounds like she's playing "Rock Band" in her basement.

@JenRBoyd Oh boy. Taylor Swift's pitch is flatter than a pancake tonight. Bless her heart

@ianfrancisbush I am starting a disaster relief fund to get Taylor Swift a chromatic tuner.

For more fun, try searching on Twitter for:

Taylor Swift Can't Sing

Taylor Swift Offkey

Taylor Swift Pitch

By David Malitz  |  February 1, 2010; 1:30 AM ET
Categories:  Grammys  | Tags: Taylor Swift  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: To live and tweet in L.A. -- Follow Washington Post pop music critic Chris Richards on Twitter
Next: Morning click: Steven Tyler considers suing Aerosmith; Kanye West is back to blog ranting


This has been every performance I have ever seen by here. Why are people just now noticing?

Posted by: lordscarlet1 | February 1, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't get why the total pan of this show. I thought it was great entertainment. Not all stilted and awkward acceptance speaches but good singing, staging and great stunts. I thought Pink's number was astoundingly beautiful and courageous. I am wondering if its the fact that it was mostly women winning and performing that really bothered you?

Posted by: jrhepworth | February 2, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse


Thank you for stepping up to the plate and critiquing this young lady FAIRLY. As media, that is your job and any newspaper, blog, television show, or so-called music critic that continues to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room, namely that this girl has not merely had a few "poor live performances" but that she truly cannot sing, is just too afraid of "stepping on a kitten," to use Miss Katy Perry's choice of words when Kanye West swiped the mic from her at the VMA's.

Yes, we all realize and agree she is a lovely young lady and that she carries herself with refreshing grace and poise. I am in no way just out to "bash Taylor" nor am I simply a "jealous hater" as many of those expressing the obvious are tagged. Truth be told, I don't mind having out there in the music world. Not at all in fact. Lord knows it's better for our young teenage girls to be looking up to her rather than another train-wreck pop star. And certainly, the girl has some songwriting chops, although I could also argue there that she is a theme recycler with limited diversity regarding the content of her songs. She has beat the fairytale/prince & princess theme til it's blue in the face.

But this is what's important to know. What makes people angry is not that she is here in music. Or that she is successful. People are angry because of the lack of fair appraisal of her capacities as an artist. It becomes simply a slap in the face to those artists out there who CAN sing, who DIDN'T show up in Nashville with a daddy that had an open pocket-book and a massive background in business and finance, who PAID their dues. People are not asking that we all boycott Taylor Swift or that we all host a roast in her name but that media and music critics review her and submit the same fair reports that they make of other artists.

I realize this was long for a comment post but felt it needed to be said. Again, thank you Washington Post. Please keep the honest reviews of EVERY artist coming. It may seem small but it renews faith in the media. After all, how could anyone trust the media to tell the truth without bias about really significant world events if no one will even admit that a superstar may not be quite so deserving of all her hype after-all.

Posted by: truthteller23 | February 2, 2010 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Truthteller, you are spot-on. And thank heaven for the Washington Post. I have been ranting and raving ever since this off-key cutie hit the stage. I have never in my 50 years heard such horrible singing! I have never seen such a horrible singer make it so huge. The only explanation of her success is, of course, her fans are 13 to 16 year old girls that wouldn't recognize a tune if it fell in their lap. (No offense to them, mind you.) I will admit that Swift can write, so PLEASE for the love of all that's HOLY keep her OFF THE STAGE and in the back writing songs for REAL TALENT to sing, and SHAME on Stevie Nicks for lending her face, name, talent and presence to this no-talent little pixie. Swift WOULD NOT make it to Hollywood if she were to audition on American Idol, and EVERYONE reading this that has ever seen Idol knows I speak the truth here. Lord I'll be glad when the Taylor Swift fad passes.

Posted by: debbie24014 | February 5, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

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