We asked a professional singer what happened to Mariah Carey during THAT performance

5 December 2014, 17:04 | Updated: 29 May 2015, 11:38

Mariah Carey All I Want For Christmas Is You Live Rockefeller Center NBC (Official )


We asked our very own vocal expert, professional singer and Classic FM presenter Catherine Bott exactly what happened during the now-infamous Mariah Carey performance from earlier this week - and it could be down to illness.

Carey's performance at the Rockefeller Centre's tree-lighting ceremony has become a viral sensation after an isolated vocal track (i.e. just vocals with the backing track removed) surfaced on the internet. The reaction on social media was brutal:

We asked Catherine Bott to wade in on the matter:

"I think she's got a bug, she's ill. She should have cancelled. She may regret going out and doing that.

"I think that performance absolutely wasn't perfect, but it's an awful lot better than some of these mean comments are stating. That singing does not mean Mariah Carey's career is over. You can't expect a high soprano to sound like it did 15 years ago.

"I think she's got something like pharyngitis. Her voice is working perfectly well in her middle ranges but she can't reliably access the top notes because something is inflamed. She forced a couple of them out and they were rather good.

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"I noticed she had the wit with something that didn't work the first time to put it down the octave when she did it the second time. She's revealed herself in this to be a more intelligent musician than perhaps I had her down for.

"People protected by the anonymity of social media feel free to say really horrible things, and I really feel for her. She's not an artist I'm a fan of, but I actually feel sorry for her there."