Here's a link to a syndicated column by Dan Neil, entertainment editor for
the LA Times. It's about the TV show "American Idol," which I don't
normally watch. But the daughter and son-in-law, who are both professional
musicians, watch it for some reason, so I saw an episode while staying at
their house. The question addressed in this column is why a singer who
appears to be tone deaf managed to survive on the show, bumping other
contestants who did have a modicum of musical talent. In the course of the
discussion, Neil provides an introduction to the clinical condition that is
normally called "tone deafness," which I wasn't aware actually
existed. He says it includes about 5 percent of the population, about the
same as those who dyslexic.
The thing is, I've been aware for years that some well-known singers,
typically stars of Broadway musicals, share this affliction. I finally
decided that in some cases the delivery must count for more than singing in
tune. In other words, these people are actors whose singing is incidental
to their performances. An example might be Rex Harrison in "My Fair Lady."
Question: Does the fan base for these singers consist of people who are
also tone deaf? I kinda don't think so--there are too many of them-- but
it's still an interesting question.