Kelly Clarkson And John Legend Receive Major Backlash For Critique About ‘God Bless The USA’

by Angela Andaloro

The coaches on The Voice may have a lot of fun doing their jobs, but that doesn’t make their jobs easy.

Critiquing someone’s art is a very delicate business. When artists perform songs on the show, coaches have to critique their technical skill, song choice, and more, all without letting their own feelings get in the way. A singer may do a mind-blowing rendition of a song that one coach in particular hates, but the coach still needs to provide constructive feedback that will allow the artist to improve and grow. Still, some fans think that The Voice coaches let personal feelings get in the way, as proven this week by feedback offered by Kelly Clarkson and John Legend.

Many fans took to Twitter to comment on Kelly’s and John’s critiques of one particular performance. Gyth Rigdon performed “God Bless the USA” this week, which is understandably a controversial choice in itself given how divided sentiments are about the state of the country. Kelly and John both provided thoughtful reasons why the performance wasn’t Gyth’s strongest, but they still commended him on picking something that meant a lot to him. Fans were not happy with the feedback, going so far as to say Kelly and John weren’t behaving patriotically.

The coaches on The Voice always seem to be having a blast doing their job. It comes with some big responsibilities, however.

All of them have gotten where they are today in their careers because of the constructive criticism of others. Compliments alone don’t push artists to flourish, take challenges, and break out of their comfort zones.

As coaches, Kelly, John, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine are responsible for providing that kind of feedback to their artists. It can’t always be easy.

This week, the show’s Top 8 had their semifinal performances. Among those performing was Gyth Rigdon, from Team Blake.

The Louisiana singer performed a rendition of “God Bless the USA.” He performed the patriotic ballad with a microphone stand covered in red, white, and blue scarves.

It’s obviously hard to criticize such a meaningful and well-known song. Kelly joked, “I feel like you can’t critique this song or you’re going to hell or something,” according to Country Living.

Kelly went on to try her best to give helpful feedback. She told Gyth, “I will say, this is not my favorite vocal of you this season because I think you are a ridiculously talented vocalist.”

She went on to explain: “This song is a lot of sustained notes, you know, because it’s all heart. It’s all of us singing together, usually in a big crowd. So, this wasn’t my favorite, but I loved that you picked it, and I love that it means something to you, and I think that it’s beautiful that it’s never been done on the show before.”

John then added his thoughts, which largely mirrored Kelly’s. “I agree with Kelly that this wasn’t your greatest vocal performance, but it was very strong and I felt the energy and the emotion,” he explained.

He gave Gyth his props for a job well done. He noted, “It was a powerful rendition. Great job.”

Despite Kelly’s well-thought-out response and both judges giving Gyth credit for the heart he put into the performance, many fans were unhappy with the critique. They took to Twitter to give the judges a piece of their mind.

The comments on the critique went from mildly disagreeing to very personal. It seems that fans were not OK with anything but a positive critique, given the song choice.

Fans accused both judges of being unpatriotic. Some even went so far as to say Kelly is biased in her critiques of all contestants who aren’t from her team.

Thankfully, there were some fans who had the coaches’ backs. You can’t win over everyone with your opinions, but that doesn’t mean those opinions are hateful and should be condemned.

Lee Greenwood, who is the writer and original performer of “God Bless the USA,” even commented on the matter. He said that while he’s honored any time anyone chooses to perform the song, he doesn’t feel Kelly or John should be getting the backlash they are getting for it.