Tuesday, December 02, 2008

O Holy Night: The Measure of a Singer

Clay Aiken is unparalleled as a live performer. Listen to him sing O Holy Night in concert. The video is not a professionally produced one by any means, but his voice overcomes that handicap. At one point he appears to be communicating with one of his sound engineers. Don't let that distract you too much. Its a live show :)

and for those who think that David Archuletta is the second coming or that he is Clay Aiken 2.0, here's David's version.

Here is Josh Groban, for those who think he sets some kind of standard. This is live from the Vatican and a professional production. No really!

and for the hearing impaired, here's Clay's O Holy Night in ASL.

What do you think?


  1. Wow it was great hearing the comparison. Clay's got such a beautiful tenor that is perfect for O Holy Night. He really brings out the beauty in that song. It's too bad there is no professional video available. I loved seeing the ASL while hearing Clay singing.

    David A is a snoozefest for me. I just don't get it but that's ok to each his own.

    I'm amazed at the lousy production of Josh Groban's version. If you had not written that it was a professional version I would not have believed it. He's got a great voice but personally I think Clay has more natural talent.

  2. kielbasa5:01 PM

    Let's start with Archie, and move up the line of talent.

    Archie is a cute young guy, who's seemingly shy and unassuming. He may have a "big" voice one day, but, for me, his version was amateurish, at best. Sure, the notes were dead-on -- he's got a really strong ear and is always in tune. I was left with a cold emptiness, though, as his performance was robotic and unfeeling. I rate it a strong ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Josh -- what can I say about Josh, the David Foster protege? He has a beautiful "classical" voice that seems almost too "technically perfect" for my taste. There is no "texture," no connection to the lyric. It's as if he's calling it in. I was bored. I'll rate it a medium ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    And then there's Clay Aiken, with a voice that is truly a gift from God. With Clay, no matter the material -- upbeat or solemn -- you get such eloquent nuances, an understanding and meaningful interpretation of the lyrics, the flawless, effortless chest-to-head notes that are his trademark. And then there's the real and honest emotion that shines through, especially on OHN. He's not just singing words, or going through the motions of yet another performance. He's connected to his Lord in some way when he sings it. You can tell, can't you? I know it's not just me.

    Thanxxx for posting these for a
    "compare and contrast" -- great idea.

    BTW, I rate Clay's version 5 stars. But that shouldn't surprise anyone. ;-D

  3. Anonymous5:17 PM

    Chexxxy, thanks for posting these videos back-to-back so that we can hear how different perfomers tackle this song. Here's what I thought: David Archuleta sounded a bit unsure at the start of his performance and didn't put much feeling into the song until the end. Likewise, Josh Groban's version lacked emotion and seemed a bit labored. Only Clay's performance seemed effortless and heartfelt. For me, Clay's version was clearly the best!

  4. Looks like David's has been removed.
    I couldn't get thru Josh Groban's after hearing and watching Clay's.
    Just no comparison.

  5. Chexxxy,

    I read your blog earlier, but didn't have time to play the videos until now. Looks as if I missed David.

    There is just no comparison between Clay Aiken's voice and the supposed professional recording of Josh Grobin. I am a musician, but I have never cared for his vibrato.

    As for Clay, there is just no comparison. I think I'll go play his Christmas CD right now.

    Thnx for the blog!


  6. Thanks, Chexxxy. I, too, missed David A's version.

    Clay sings from his heart. Gosh, that's an old video.

    Josh sings the notes. I struggled to get through it. Beautiful voice but no heart.

    That's all I've got.

  7. kielbasa, love your rating scale. lol

  8. Anonymous1:22 PM

    OMG why the hell is Clay not recognised for the great talent, the top notch performer and consumate entertainer that he is throughout the business and the mnedia? He shines above all the others. I just do not understand! And then I read who recieved Grammy nods and I just can't stomach it anymore. I Love Clay Aiken! He truly is the BEST!

  9. Anonymous3:38 PM

    It's official: the Grammy voters are deaf idiots. On My Way Here is a great album, and should have been nominated, but to leave Clay out of the Pop Vocal Performance category is inexcusable. He is better than any of this year's nominees.

  10. Clay is heads above anyone as far as I'm concerned. Other singers are good, but get boring. When Clay sings, the feeling and emotion of a song reach right into my heart. He's amazing.

  11. Miraclay9:34 PM

    The YouTube of O Holy Night is one of my favorite Clay videos. I've replayed it so many times. Clay's voice is just amazing.

  12. This is a great song from Clay. He has such a great voice! David A really gives a great version of this song here too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh7iUb8x_c8

    It's better than the other one of him.

  13. Anonymous4:44 AM

    I wasn't expecting Clay's album to be recognized, none of his albums really. But the fact that he keeps getting stiffed yr after yr in the Pop Male Vocal Performance category is outrageous. Part of the problem this yr is that what was submitted for consideration in that category was the one & only single ON MY WAY HERE. Sure we all enjoy it, but it's hardly the best vocal performance on the CD. Now FORGET I EVER KNEW YOU, THE REAL ME, LOVER ALL ALONE... at least he'd have a fair shot. But they usually have to go with the single & since RCA keeps making such lousy choices in that department, Clay is screwed.... again.