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JillandKate and Kelly Clarkson vs Miley Cyrus - The Climb

Updated on October 2, 2009

Living Room Acoustic Cover vs Miley's AOL Music Sessions Appearance

JillandKate, who I had never heard of until writing this, are apparently backup singers for Kelly Clarkson. JillandKate have a Wordpress blog where they put up a new performance on the 17th of each month. On September 18th (they were a day late), they invited Kelly Clarkson to come and perform with them on Miley Cyrus' "The Climb." The performance is an acoustic cover in a living room, not so much a remake. I have also included Miley Cyrus' performance of the song on AOL Music Sessions.

For those who aren't familiar with how covers work online, debates instantly develop between the fans of each singer as soon as a cover or remake gets posted on YouTube or elsewhere. If you read the comments, you will find out quickly that many are not intellectually honest and are, in fact, self-serving rants. This is just a part of the social networking phenomenon. It is similar to how people argue over which football player or president or whatever is the best of all time. And things get ugly sometimes when people can hide behind their keyboards.

At any rate, it is pretty well known that Kelly Clarkson, winner of the first season of American Idol, is an excellent singer due to her range and versatility. She does pop, but she can easily mix it up with rock, soul, and even blues.

Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. Young fans garnered from her Disney show, where she stars as Hannah Montana, just love her. But that's frankly not judging talent, as kids of that age don't have the multi-level thinking necessary to actually compare two completely different singers. They just know what they like, and that's that.

Older music fans will not necessarily appreciate Miley Cyrus to that same degree. In fact, my opinion is that she is more talented than what many people give her credit for. As we can see from her AOL Music Sessions performance of "The Climb," she has a fairly deep and rather nice tone when she finds her center. It's when Miley goes high that she loses that nice tone to her voice. But this particular song plays to Miley's strengths because she does not have to hit many high notes.

One other point that Miley haters don't give her credit for is that she can bring out the proper emotion of a song when she performs. In fact, I give Miley the edge by far vs Kelly Clarkson and JillandKate on this particular performance when it comes to emotion. However, I do that while noting that JillandKate and Kelly Clarkson were basically just playing around in a living room. This was not really a serious performance and was more like a practice session in a garage.

Now, the harmonizing done by JillandKate and Clarkson sounded nice, but it is very hard to compare voices harmonizing with one singer giving a solo performance. There's a completely different goal going on there, and the solo performer will find it easier to emote. This is another reason why Miley was better from an emotion standpoint on this particular performance.

True, I think that Kelly Clarkson and possibly JillandKate have better overall voices than Miley Cyrus, but it's very hard to tell when comparing these performances of "The Climb."

I wanted to point out something else that comes up with comparison videos that you see all over YouTube and the Internet. Many of these are nothing but self-serving devices of a fan who edits them to make his favorite seem better than the other singer. So always look at these "vs videos" with a grain of salt. They are often clearly edited to sway the viewer's opinion in a chosen direction.

In fact, it would be unfair to really compare and give an opinion on these two performances of "The Climb." Why? Because one is a professional performance with a stage, lighting, a band, and everything else that goes into a legitimate live performance. The other is three people sitting in a living room and playing around with a digital camera.

In the end, I prefer Miley's version over JillandKate and Kelly Clarkson's cover when comparing these two videos, but that doesn't amount to a hill of beans when considering the differences in quality between these two videos and what each was trying to accomplish. Miley was actually trying to give a polished, professionally produced performance, and it was successful. JillandKate were trying more to get exposure for themselves, and they were successful at that considering that they got over half a million views in less than a month on YouTube.

JillandKate and Kelly Clarkson Cover of "The Climb"

Miley Cyrus Performance of "The Climb" on AOL Music Sessions


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