Nicole Scherzinger And Vanessa Hudgens Pay ‘Rent’ At The Hollywood Bowl

Aug 9th, 2010 // 7 Comments

We caught the three-night only production of Rent this past weekend at the Hollywood Bowl, directed under the guidance of the infinitely likable Neil Patrick Harris. To put it succinctly, there was one thing we really liked about the performance, and one thing we really did not. One of those things was Nicole Scherzinger and the other was Vanessa Hudgens. Can you guess which one is which?

Let’s get to the bad news first. Although Entertainment Weekly was able to find the silver lining of Vanessa’s weak performance (“She didn’t suck” was how they opened their lukewarm review), we’re sorry we honestly can’t do the same. We’ve got nothing against the girl, but she was incredibly miscast—not because she has a squeaky-clean Disney background, but because she simply could not deliver at this professional a level of live theatre.

Vanessa’s acting simply wasn’t good enough (when Mimi dies and comes back to life, Hudgens played it like somebody just woke her up in the middle of class), but all could have been forgiven if her singing was up to par. Unfortunately, her limited range could not elevate her performance to anything other than bad karaoke. Mimi’s songs aren’t that difficult to sing, and she still had trouble hitting all the notes. Neil Patrick Harris should have cast someone who could absolutely kill these numbers, not his Beastly co-star who managed to just scrape by.

But that was our take watching live during Saturday night’s performance. You be the judge:

Vanessa Hudgens – “Out Tonight”

Vanessa Hudgens – “Without You”

The brightest spot of the entire production, believe it or not, was Nicole Scherzinger, who’s having quite the career resurgance after her recent Dancing with the Stars win. The pop singer was able to make the role of Maureen her own, nailing every single note, and even giving Idina Menzel’s original Broadway cast recording a run for its money. And although our own seats were way in the back of the Bowl, we were still captivated by her energy and natural skill.

In case the fifteen billionth reincarnation of the Pussycat Dolls doesn’t work out (or her rumored X Factor gig), Nicole could seriously have a successful career on Broadway. See for yourself:

Nicole Scherzinger – “Over The Moon”

Nicole Scherzinger – “Take Me Or Leave Me”

  1. Ego

    I am inclined to agree with everyone in saying she gave a rather lack luster performance. And I’m not saying this because I hate her. In fact I support her in what she wants to do and I hope she accomplishes everything she wants in life. I really do. I think she has legitimate talent and a chance to really do well in this business. However for RENT, I have to admit that she was completely unprepared and it shows.

    And like I said, I say this with a heavy heart because I really do believe she is capable of pulling off a good role. Possibly on a live stage if she really worked at it. I really do think she has the tools to do so. She wouldn’t have been in four musically theme movies and garnered generally positive reception from the critics if she didn’t have the tools and the know how.

    It would be like if a cook had all the raw materials to make an elaborate delicious meal as well as the know how to cook. But he never made a meal of such a caliber before and didn’t take any preparation FOR said meal, and then it’s going to turn out bad. And that’s what happened here. She was unprepared.

    She should take this as a lesson. Because negative reviews can be a good thing. You learn from the mistakes you made and you learn to better yourself as a performer.

    But in her defense, stage acting is VERY different from motion picture acting. You don’t have the luxury of the director yelling “cut” when you made a mistake or the added bonus of taking breaks in between scenes and what not. You have to CONSTANTLY be in character and on point. Also you’re not performing in front of a live audience in a movie so there’s also that. It’s a VERY different experience.

    None the less she at least attempted the role. And I give her credit for that. That’s about it. Maybe one day in the future with more experience and preparation, she’ll do better. I hope so. Like I said, she should learn from those negative reviews.

    She should take this as a lesson. Because negative reviews can be a good thing. You learn from the mistakes you made and you learn to better yourself as a performer.

    But in her defense, stage acting is VERY different from motion picture acting. You don’t have the luxury of the director yelling “cut” when you made a mistake or the added bonus of taking breaks in between scenes and what not. You have to CONSTANTLY be in character and on point. Also you’re not performing in front of a live audience in a movie so there’s also that. It’s a VERY different experience.

    None the less she at least attempted the role. And I give her credit for that. That’s about it. Maybe one day in the future with more experience and preparation, she’ll do better. I hope so. Like I said, she should learn from those negative reviews.

    As far as Mimi’s song are not THAT hard to sing? That’s a bit inaccurate. Mimi is a strung out character who’s angry at the world and takes her frustration out on her drug abuse. She’s a person who emotes her pain through her singing. The raspy voice and power chords are what makes her stand out from the rest of the cast. It demands a strong voice and for someone to tap into their inner rock star. Vanessa voice was wrong for that. Which is a shame because in the past she’s shown us she can carry a tune. But I agree she was a miscast and needs practice big time.

  2. Samantha

    Vanessa did a better job the 2nd and 3rd night A LOT better so people should check out those videos of her on those nights. It was probably more then she thought it was going to be like and the character of Mimi was 19 the people who play it are much older so how would a 19 year old strung out girl sound? Probably all over the place. Had Vanessa had more training and time she would have nailed it she does have a VERY strong voice but it’s been 2 years since shes been on stage so for that long of break and lack of time she did as good as expected but could have done better an A for effort she did come back night after night after being slammed so she should be proud for coming back.

  3. Emyli

    Wow, what a kick butt review. I felt like I was there and I’m sorry I missed it. Nice work Becky, keep em coming, I love the clips. Vanessa is clearly talented but needs a couple more years under her belt before she can pull off the infamous “Mimi.” At first I was surprised Nicole played Maureen but after watching, she totally created a unique and unbelievable character. Her career will surely be long and enjoyable!

  4. Torie

    We went to Sunday evening’s performance. And although we had “nose bleed” seats, we were thrilled to see Rent performed live. Nicole was awesome! Wayne Brady did a fabulous job. And Vanessa… Well, let’s just say there is something to be said for prerecorded musical numbers. I agree she can carry a tune and has a lovely voice in films but I’m convinced it’s no so great in a live performance. In fact it was like nails on a chalk board. In addition, the squeaky clean persona she normally has peered through her performance of a strung out junky. Too bad. She gave it her all but her sexy moves were more awkward than sexy.

  5. mv

    I did not watch night one. But I saw night 3 and was so disappointed with Vanessa. I actually had high hopes for her, and not much for Nicole. But man was I blown away by Nicole. She was awesome. There could not have been a more polar opposite performance than there was between those two.

  6. ella

    wow! i could not believe you really took time to lambast…err..critique Nicole in a subtle way or so you thought it. but you don’t get me fooled. you and your ilk are all the same! hiding yourself as cultured when in fact you are a egoistic ignoramus!

  7. snowhite

    is this article closed?

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