Credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany Sing in Glee Season 3, Episode 6: “Mash Off”

Didn't Jay-Z kill auto-tune? Not according to Glee. If there's one complaint about the hit series, it's that the songs rely too much on post-production and pitch manipulation. Isn't this supposed to be a show about how anyone can sing? Anyone, apparently, with an army of producers and engineers at their disposal.

This has been a problem with Glee from the start. (Fans were so upset by the show’s overuse of auto-tune, they started a petition to "Stop Vocal Pitch Correction Abuse" on the show.) Back in Season 2, Gleeks were harping on the fact that Cory Monteith's Finn sounded like Cher circa "Believe" whenever he sang. Same with Mark Salling's Puck and Kevin McHale's Artie. Even Lea Michele (Rachel), she of the blessed and booming voice, has been struck with the auto-tune. Take a listen to her performance of Jordin Sparks' "No Air" and try not to think she's become a robot.

 

And the question that needs to be asked then is: Why? Why does Glee continually use auto-tune to "improve" the vocal quality of its singers? Perhaps the answer lies in their 2010 performance at the White House. Technical problems aside, it showed that some members of the cast (*cough* Cory Monteith *cough*) aren't — shall we say — there to be singers. And that's fine — Monteith is adorable and funny and great at playing Finn's more bemused moments — but then maybe don't give him as much to sing.

 

Monteith, Salling, and McHale aside, maybe Glee can compromise. There are no situations when Lea or Amber Riley (Mercedes) would need their pitch adjusted; they're just too good. Maybe creator Ryan Murphy can only use auto-tune when it's really necessary. Gleeks won't mind. We just want the songs to sound as good as they can. But once in a while, a little reality wouldn't hurt.

 

Plenty of Glee's stars can kill their vocals even without the use of autotune. Darren Criss (Blaine) has performed completely live not once, but twice on the show: First, during that tear-jerking acoustic performance of "Teenage Dream" during Season 4 Episode 4: "The Break-Up," and then again during his moving performance of "Against All Odds" in Season 4 Episode 17: "Guilty Pleasures." Both times, nothing was prerecorded, and Darren was playing piano the whole time, too. Both of these songs got rave reviews from fans. In fact, it felt like the lack of auto-tune was a good thing.

 

What do YOU think? Should Glee continue the trend and cut down on auto-tune, or would that decision end up hurting the show?