Kelly Clarkson
Credit: Clarkson: Jeff Kravitz/; Swift: Kevin Mazur/

Today’s passionate defense of Taylor’s much-maligned performance at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards by her record label president has drawn the ire of one its incidental targets: Kelly Clarkson.

Big Machine Records head Scott Borchetta said, in part, of Taylor, “”She is the voice of this generation. She speaks directly to [her fans], and they speak directly back to her. This is not American Idol. This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It’s not about that technically perfect performance.”

“Maybe,” he went on, “she’s not the best technical singer, but she’s probably the best emotional singer because everybody else who gets up there and is technically perfect, people don’t seem to want more of it.”

Clarkson, who has taken her own knocks in the press before, seems to have genuine sympathy for Taylor but is none too pleased with Borchetta’s defense—or the accidental Idol insult it implies.

This afternoon on her blog, Clarkson posted the following note:

“Wow …..Dear Scott Borchetta,

I understand defending your artist obviously because I have done the same in the past for artists I like, including Taylor, so you might see why its upsetting to read you attacking American Idol for producing simply vocalists that hit ‘the high notes’. Thank you for that ‘Captain Obvious’ sense of humor because you know what, we not only hit the high notes, you forgot to mention we generally hit the ‘right’ notes as well. Every artist has a bad performance or two and that is understandable, but throwing blame will not make the situation at hand any better.

I have been criticized left and right for having shaky performances before (and they were shaky) and what my manager or label executives say to me and the public is “I’ll kick butt next time” or “every performance isn’t going to be perfect” ……I bring this up because you should take a lesson from these people and instead of lashing out at other artists (that in your ‘humble’ opinion lack true artistry), you should simply take a breath and realize that sometimes things won’t go according to plan or work out and that’s okay.


One of those contestants from American Idol who only made it because of her high notes”

Honestly, Borchetta seems to have done Swift more harm than good today; the best defense is not, in all cases, one that is actually offensive to not only your own star, but also any artist who sings better than she does.

Things he could have emphasized—Swift’s songwriting chops, her relative youth and inexperience, general human frailty in a high-pressure situation—were played down in favor of, well, coming off like kind of an ass.

But you tell us, readers—Team Kelly or Team Scott? Ultimately, they both seem to be on Team Taylor, though Swift herself might prefer the less-divisive rule book Kelly is using to play the game.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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