Mariah Carey’s Las Vegas Residency: 10 Most Scathing Lines From The ‘New York Times’ Opening-Night Review

Robbie Daw | May 11, 2015 9:04 am
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The age-old motto of the New York Times is “all the news that’s fit to print,” but members of Mariah Carey’s Lambily might be begging to differ after reading the respected publication’s review of the singer’s opening night in Vegas. Mimi’s first show in the 18-date spectacle went down last week at Caesars Palace. And whether you read the Times writeup in print (“Trying To Find A High Note In Vegas”) or online (“Mariah Carey And Her Can’t-Look-Away Debut In Las Vegas”), the headline is the first indication that Carey is about to get a harsh spanking by the newspaper.

From there, there’s one barbed comment after another by writer Jon Caramanica — maybe they sting so much because there’s truth in those jabs?

Below, we rounded up the most scathing of the review’s lines.  You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll probably laugh again…and then you’ll most definitely let out a whistle-shriek in four octaves. Read on!

:: “You watch the crash because you want to see how it will end: near miss or carnage, relief or horror, laughter or tears.”

:: “Ms. Carey is still durable, and sometimes excellent, but her once-transcendent voice is like decaying manufacturing machinery: It still churns, but the product might be polished or dinged. You don’t know until it happens.”

:: “That she’s embarking upon something like this is already a sign of defeat: The show consists of her 18 No. 1 Billboard hits, and the last of those came in 2008. (There’s a new song, too, called ‘Infinity’ — it won’t be No. 19.)”

:: “When it came to the notes, though, the struggle was real.”

:: “Often she appeared to be holding back, as if to build up to a big moment, only to shy away from it. As she’s aged, her voice has gotten huskier, but sometimes the rasp felt like a glitch, not a goal.”

:: “‘Fantasy’ featured Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died in 2004, rapping via video, and he felt more alive than Ms. Carey, who was right there onstage.”

:: “Las Vegas has become a safe haven for setting stars, from Celine to Shania to Britney: Ms. Carey’s arrival here was practically inscribed in stone.”

:: “All in all, this show displayed a minimum of imagination and effort, from the song order — although she did rally near the end, on ‘We Belong Together’ and ‘Don’t Forget About Us’ — to the strategically lethargic band to the constant reminders of the things Ms. Carey wasn’t doing.”

:: “…as the night wore on, it became increasingly unclear whether the sounds coming through the speakers were coming from her mouth.”

:: “Whether the decision to undertake this project was born of necessity, hubris or obliviousness, it has put Ms. Carey in a precarious position — she is in decline and trapped in a cage of her own making. It would be so much easier to turn away if the spotlight weren’t so bright.”

The review isn’t all sour, as Carimanica doesn’t hesitate to point out the following: “None of this changes the fact that, somewhere in there, Ms. Carey has one of the greatest pop voices of the last three decades.”

He also notes that “in the relatively fallow period since she last topped the charts, she’s made some strong music, especially on Me. I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse, from last year” — words with which we will wholeheartedly co-sign.

But the message is clear: that instantly-recognizable and unstoppable voice you grew up listening to on the radio might be far from what you get if and when you check out Mariah’s show at Caeasars…at least, so sayeth the New York Times.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.