Britney Spears without Auto-Tune? It's a peek behind the curtain that fans rarely get a glimpse of -- and there's probably a reason for that.
The singer found herself amid a firestorm of criticism this week as a demo track of her song "Alien" made its way onto the Web. The audio is pretty raw and Spears' vocals are noticeably off-key, but producer William Orbit is jumping to Spears' defense.
"I'd like to affirm that ANY singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalisations in order to get warmed up," he posted on Facebook. "Warming up is essential if you're a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I've heard all manner of sounds emitted during warmups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners."
But here we are.
Orbit goes on to call Spears "generous" for putting down warm-up vocals so that the engineer could get the systems in order and suggests that the singer could have been "having a cup of tea and checking through lyrics" at the time. "It's not expected to be a 'take,'' he insists.
"Whomever put this on the internet must have done so in a spirit of unkindness, but it can in no way detract from the fact that Britney is and always will be beyond Stellar! She is magnificent! And that's that," he concludes.
This is hardly the first time Spears' vocal prowess has been called into question. Ever since she burst onto the music scene 15 years ago, Spears has been accused of lip syncing live performances and criticized for frequent use of Auto-Tune on recordings.
Listen to the "warm-up" track and the final version of "Alien" below.