Rent: Live delivered a new staging of one of Broadway's most popular modern musicals on Sunday night, Jan. 27, but not everyone was a fan. After an unforeseen snafu forced the production to air previously-recorded footage for dress rehearsals instead of the planned live performance, viewers could not help but wonder whether the show was the best it could have been. Most notably, fans took to Twitter to complain about some of the vocal performances in the show. These tweets about the singing in Rent: Live show that there were a couple hiccups in the musical special.
Unfortunately, Rent: Live hit a major snag before the broadcast even began airing on Sunday night. During the show's final dress rehearsal on Saturday night, actor Brennin Hunt suffered an ankle injury that made him unable to perform the lead role of rock star Roger Davis live on Sunday night's performance. Because of the injury, the bulk of what Fox broadcast on Sunday night was previously recorded from Saturday's final dress rehearsal, from before Hunt broke his foot.
After the show's first commercial break, the full Rent: Live cast addressed the change in a message to viewers. The cast confirmed that Brennin Hunt broke his foot and was unable to be part of a live production on Sunday night, so the show was forced to rely on previously-recorded footage from dress rehearsals, since the production did not train any understudies. The video message from the cast did confirm that although the rest of the show was previously recorded, the full cast would come together for the show's finale number, including Brennin Hunt with his broken foot.
The use of dress rehearsal footage instead of being able to go ahead with a live performance may have been part of the reason that some of the musical numbers did not meet the expectation of some fans of the musical. While most of the singing was still on point, fans were not as impressed by RuPaul's Drag Race star Valentina when she sang Angel's big song "Today 4 U." Although Valentina totally nailed the looks and acting of Angel, she unfortunately struggled to hit some of the notes in her songs, as Twitter was quick to point out:
Of course, Valentina does come into Rent: Live with considerably less stage or singing experience than the rest of the show's cast. In fact, the drag superstar is best known for having trouble memorizing the words for a lip-sync song on RuPaul's Drag Race and wearing a mask to hide her mouth during the performance. By contrast, the show's other stars like Brandon Victor Dixon, Jordan Fisher, and Vanessa Hudgens have all starred in live network musicals prior to Rent: Live, and Tinashe, Brennin Hunt, Kiersey Clemons, and Mario are all known for their singing talents.
Despite a bit of rockiness in her singing, though, Valentina did manage to deliver a totally enjoyable take on Angel, thanks to her impeccable looks and winsome acting ability.