Adele’s “Skyfall” Performance At The Oscars: Review Revue

Feb 25th, 2013 // 9 Comments
Did The Critics Find Adele's Performance Oscar-Worthy?
Adele Oscars Academy Awards Skyfall 2013 James Bond

Professional awards magnet Adele can now add an Oscar to her growing collection, after her win at last night’s Academy Awards for her James Bond theme “Skyfall.” And, believe it or not, this is the first time a 007 tune has won in the Best Original Song category!

At any rate, Adele also performed at the ceremony. Some critics were a bit nonplussed over the vocal mix, citing the fact that the London songstress’ pipes were drowned out by the orchestra. Still, most were in agreement that the singer herself brought her A game to the Academy’s big night. See our roundup of what the Internet had to say about Adele’s performance of “Skyfall” below.

:: The Los Angeles Timesfelt Shirley Bassey and Adele’s Bond songs saved the night: “Like Bassey, she doesn’t succumb to the drama inherent in the song’s big-band orchestration. Adele practically tunes it out, and though Oscar host Seth MacFarlane joked earlier that Adele would be “shouting” at the audience, she did anything but, keeping her vocals low and her tone slyly conversational.”

:: MTV found nothing to gripe about: “Adele let loose with her very own James Bond tribute on Sunday night’s (February 24) Oscars. Done up in sequined all-black everything, the diva gave a flawless performance of the theme song for ‘Skyfall’.”

:: HitFix felt Adele’s vocals could have been more prominent in the mix: “All night, the house orchestra tended to overpower vocals — including on other powerhouse performances from 007-famed Shirley Bassey and Dreamgirls Oscars winner Jennifer Hudson. While Adele kept her kinder notes understated like in the recording, her backing band seemed to challenge her. Great performance on her part, but an iffy mix.”

:: also lamented the vocal mix: “In her first televised performance since giving birth to her child, Adele belted out Skyfall‘s title track to the excitement of many. But from the second she stepped out on that Oscar stage (introduced by America’s other favorite no-filter queen, Jennifer Lawrence), the emotional rollercoaster we were ready to board was not ready for us. The mix seemed to overpower Adele — an impressive feat considering the strength the singer holds in her incredible vocal chords — and she seemed visibly frustrated through the entirety.”

:: Billboard was blown away: “With hair down and gold sequined black dress shimmering, Adele did her trademark stand-and-sway and this-big hand gestures as a full chorus and massive backing band (complete with a 15-plus orchestra) brought the layered, building track home.”

:: E! concurred: “It was a simple setup: Some glittery jewels hanging as a backdrop, a band and Adele, with her killer voice and and the sparkliest dress we ever did see. And as with all things that Adele does, we think it was perfect.”

:: Finally, Chart Rigger had this to say: “I truly love Adele’s Platinum-selling ‘Skyfall,’ and think it deserved to win the Golden Globe, BRIT Award and, now, Academy Award that its racked up. And while her performance of the James Bond theme at the Oscars last night was truly grand, it was really Dame Shirley Bassey who stole the effing show with ‘Goldfinger’.”

What do you think of Oscar winner Adele’s performance of “Skyfall”? Hit us up below with your thoughts, or let us know on Facebook and Twitter!


  1. madison

    I thought Adele’s voice was weak…I would have liked a bigger show of strength from her considering all the energy of the backing singers and the orquestra…she was very low key. Especially when you see how Bassey and Hudson rise to the occasion. Adele’s voice needs some more training.

    • Clif

      Adele’s a great singer. But her performance at the Oscars showcased her voice not in it’s best form. She was nervous and a bit weak and unsure, vocally. And, as Madison pointed out–Adele’s live voice may not be fully ready for prime time after her voice operation. She needs more vocal coaching–which I’m sure she’ll get. She has fantastic potential!

      • Tammy

        Did you not see her performance at Royal Albert Hall? That was her first performance after her throat surgery and it was anything but weak. The problem here was the production; the orchestra was too loud, not only for her performance, but for others as well.

    • Pielle

      Firstly- I would like to correct Tammy’s statement about Royal Albert Hall. The performance was on Sept. 22, 2011 and her vocal surgery did not happen until Oct 2011, so her voice was, indeed very strong. That is not to say, however, that her voice since then isn’t strong when, like you said, it very well is. She has such a wide range of vocals that Skyfall didn’t utilize, it is a song that she made for a movie that she believed in. It wasn’t one of her signature, “belting it out” songs. However, you can see that she is neither weak nor in need of more training, at 3:03 and 3:51 of her Oscar performance. She produced such strength throughout, but in those particular areas it showed that she has no problem with her vocal chords! I loved Bassey and Hudson’s performance, but I also noticed that neither of them had a live (live-meaning the orchestra was on-site, when actually all music was performed at a location down the street) orchestra and they were basically having to yell into the mic. Sound mixing was terrible all the way around. In this case it was worse for Adele because she did have an orchestra on-site and they weren’t mixing properly, making Adele’s voice seem weak and in the background. She just chose not to scream into the mic and instead keep her composure and sing it the way she knew it should be done. For me, it was flawless and beautiful and everything she has always purported to be, however humbly.
      p.s. Christina Aguilera, never believe everything you read, especially on the internet. (Commercial anyone?)

  2. pgreske

    I think the orchestra was a little too loud. Adele’s voice is usually so much stronger but I think the orchestra did drown out her voice a bit. Having said that she still looked fabulous and was the best performance of the night. Totally deserved the Oscar!

  3. Christina Aguilera


  4. lauren

    i thought adele was brilliant. fantastic song – delivered perfectly.

  5. Aristillus

    Adele’s voice was as it was meant to be. Skyfall only gets dramatic and loud towards the end, elsewise, the song gradually builds up, ala Dimonds Are Forever style.
    The problem was not Adele, it was how the sound stage was set up, and how the mix was administered. At the first chorus when band and orchestra kicked in normalization was used which pushed Adele’s amplified voice to the back of the mix.

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