It is the saviour of singing starlets whose vocal prowess might not otherwise cut the mustard, and the scourge of pop purists. But as a regular live performer who received rave reviews for his performance as Judas Iscariot on the arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, Tim Minchin did not imagine that his performance would be subjected to Autotune when it came to the tie-in DVD.
Nor did he take the surprise very well. “It really pissed me off,” the Australian comedian said this week, describing the decision to use the pitch-correcting software on his singing as “humiliating”, “a slap” and “f***ing rude”.
“I’m not deluded about my voice,” the 37-year-old told the podcast A Bit of a Chat with Ken Plume. “I know the weaknesses of my voice more than anyone. But I also can hear pitch. I know when I’m out of tune and I’m just not very often out of tune particularly.”
The rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice was first staged on Broadway in 1971 but was revived last year, with the role of Jesus selected though a primetime ITV talent show called Superstar and former Spice Girl Melanie C playing Mary Magdalene. Minchin said he has not raised the issue about his auto-tuning with Lord Lloyd Webber, but added he “might have to have a little tantrum” if the DVD goes into reprint.
He did add, however, that the episode was a “little negative in a largely massively positive experience.”
Minchin is in New York preparing for the opening of Matilda the Musical on Broadway. He wrote the music and lyrics for the show, which is still playing to sell-out crowds in London and won seven Olivier Awards last year, putting it into the Guinness Book of World Records. He told the interviewer: “I’m really only at the beginning of my career,” adding: “I hope.”