How Badly Did the Oscars Screw Idina Menzel?

We all watched John Travolta inexplicably butcher Idina Menzel’s name during her intro at last night’s Oscars. True, he apparently suffers from dyslexia but that’s really no excuse for not even being able to remember the one name he needed to know to complete his presenting duties without looking like an idiot.

But Travolta’s gaffe may not be the only way the Oscars screwed Menzel. I hate to speculate, but I’m going to anyway because it’s impossible to imagine that what happened on TV last night was the plan from the start. Going into the Oscars, Menzel’s song, Let It Go, from the gargantuan Disney hit Frozen, was pretty much the song to beat. It was always going to be the signature musical number of the show and you could tell that because the producers of the Oscar telecast saved it for last, essentially making Menzel the headliner.

So with that in mind, why the hell did the song get cut in half? Anyone familiar with Let It Go knows that Menzel’s live version last night was short an entire verse, with Menzel and the orchestra jumping from the end of the first verse directly to the bridge then taking the chorus all the way to the end. It’s unfathomable that the producers always intended to gut one of their main musical set pieces and the song that was almost certain to go home with an Oscar. The stronger likelihood is that the track was cut for time at the last minute, with the producers determined to bring the entire show in at exactly three-and-a-half hours.

Let It Go runs just 3:45 in its entirety. Again, I can’t imagine the producers not believing from the outset that they could spare that full run time for a song as huge as Let It Go, a song from the biggest animated Disney movie in history. It’s much more plausible that they felt like their backs were against the wall time-wise toward the end of the show and simply made the decision to make a cut.

I could be wrong about this, but either way, between Travolta’s flub and the clumsy and unnecessary edit, Idina Menzel and one of the very best songs of the year got kind of screwed. Oscar win or not.

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  • ubu

    OMG They forgot to turn “Auto-Tune” on

  • Em

    Menzel always looks as if she’s in pain when she’s singing. Her “Defying Gravity” was full of more gulps than a 7-11 Slushee. I have never understood her appeal.

  • darthroseman

    Idina Menzel is just bad at singing. That’s all there is to it. Look up her performance of Defying Gravity at the Tony’s. Makes my ears bleed.

    • Taylor Wikoff

      Who do you think is a good singer? Christina Aguleria? Idina Menzel is a tony winner, has been leads in multiple Broadway musicals, and is know for her excellence in vocal technique. She is fantastic at her craft. But, obviously Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, One a Direction, and Lorde are all better. She is honestly better than pretty much all mainstream artists present and past.

      • darthroseman

        Now now, you know what they say about assumptions. Kristen Chenoweth is a good singer, to reference her Wicked co-star. Sutton Foster is an incredible singer. I’m also a huge fan of John Tartaglia. Idina Menzel is an alto who puts a fake vibrato on her voice and tries (and repeatedly fails) to hit notes she is incapable of hitting. Even in the recording of Let It Go, you can’t honestly tell me she hit the high note at the end of the song. If you think she did, you are just wrong. Nicolas Cage has an Oscar and has been a lead in many films too.

        • TheMrguguzinho153 .

          watch this and shut your mouth :)

          • Bella

            Ugh… her enunciation is ugh and ugh some more.

          • Matt C

            You mean, when they lowered the key for the climax? Yeah she totally didn’t nail it…

        • Carrie Watts

          Just listened to the recording of “Let It Go,” and you are wrong. She totally did hit the note. I find her voice a bit nasal and occasionally unpleasant, but she did rock the high (for her) note at the end of that song.

    • Bella

      Whew! Ever had one of those moments where the “sheeples” make you question for a moment, your own preferred taste in music? For about 15 minutes, I questioned my hearing wondering why I utterly wince when I hear her sing. I effing hate her voice! It sounds like her larynx is in one of her nostrils! I’m glad I’m not the only one.

    • ninascarlet

      soooo true. i loathe her voice
      it really destroy elsa’s appearance and performance!

  • FJN

    It was bad not only because they shortened it but they also put the orchestra in a different location then the theater (they also were all over the place playing the song to begin with)

  • Heather Chadwick

    Somewhere Over the Rainbow sure didn’t seem short. Also Idina seemed to be singing the words a little faster than normal, like she was told to rush it.

  • Mozo1

    They always cut songs down. Every year.

    • Sean Richardson

      Yes. This.

  • bgporter

    *all* the songs were shortened — note this tweet from before ‘Let It Go’ was sung:

    • Chez Pazienza

      I noticed that the Moon Song was short, but that’s a short song anyway. Happy seemed to run full-length or at least very close to it.

      • Sean Richardson

        Happy was doubling for the opening number of the night because Ellen can’t sing.

      • Mozo1

        Usually, it seems they go from first verse, chorus to conclusion. Seems the second verse gets the axe most of the time. I remember the producers cutting both Adele’s Skyfall and Annie Lennox’s Into the West in that fashion, anyway. Why they let so many other segments and speeches bloat if they’re so concerned about time remains a mystery, however.