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Does Italian Tenor Andrea Bocelli Really Deserve the Billboard Latin Music Award for Lifetime Achievement?

By James Inverne j.inverne@classicalite.com on Mar 29, 2014 12:09 PM EDT

The Billlboard Latin Music Awards will honor the freshly-hitched Andrea Bocelli at a ceremony on April 24. The Italian tenor will get the Lifetime Achievement Award. So, what do we all think about the prospect?

That Bocelli is phemoemally popular around the world is beyond doubt. That his voice is fairly dry, his technique imperfect and his artistry erratic and, at times, a bit clumsy should also be beyond doubt to anyone who really knows voices. The reason why this award is especially interesting is that it's not a classical award--it doesn't seek to put Bocelli up with truly great operatic tenors--in fact, it puts him in company with the likes of Santana.

Thus, it spins traditional crossover wisdom on its head. Usually, we are presented with an easy listening singer who happens to be essaying classical songs, so one has to make allowances and think, "Well, they're really an easy listening singer." Here, fans of Latin music will no doubt be thinking, "Well, he's an opera singer." Given that he's only an average opera singer, does he cut it as a Latin (the genre, not the race) singer, I mean to those who really know their Latin music? My guess is no.

OK, so what is Bocelli? Simple: He's a star. He has the great gift of communicating with an audience, of moving and inspiring them. Shame there isn't a Billboard award for that. Because, you know, it is actually worth celebrating.

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TagsAndrea Bocelli, Billboard