IDK, I watched her perform "BRILLANTE" from latest concert on DVD a couple weeks ago and I didn't think her singing was very different than what she's doing on TV. Ayu was never a vocalist. She was tolerable before her voice started changing and she changed her singing style. Now her vocal tone is ugly and it's paired with a pretty dismal singing style.
It's weird. I see comments by her fans on other forums about how this performance or that performance was better than the last one. Many acknowledge that her voice has changed, but many think it's okay and not bad. To me, someone who rarely watches her performs but does listen to her recorded music sometimes, she sounds consistently bad all the time. Every time she's done SURREAL this year including this Kouhaku performance she just sounds like she's talking/shouting the lines, not even really singing.
yeah cuz we're all masochists and we pay thousands of euros to go to Japan and see her multiple times because she sounds terrible...
As with every other artist Ayu has songs that suit her current vocal style and ranger better and worse. Imo she slayed 95% of the songs on HLS, with Ladies night being the only one that sounded awful. The rest ranged from good to perfect. Her voice has changed and that's not something one can argue with. Whether it's good or bad is very subjective. 90% of the artists couldn't handle the majority of her songs as so many of them aren't that easy to sing in the first place.
This is extremely true. I get irritated when people say that her songs are so easy, and that's why they're popular or sung a lot at karaoke, etc. If somebody means that they're 'easy to sing', as in easy to remember, then yes, a lot of her singles are catchy and have fairly predictable melodies. But by no means does most of her discography take average vocal talent to properly pull off. And honestly, that's just one of many reasons why she, to say the least, doesn't come across as the best singer. (In reality, she obviously has had pitch and tone problems, in one way or another, throughout most of her career, but she's no worse than the average pop singer, be it from Japan, the U.S., or wherever.) However, think about other singers who aren't know for their vocals, and who are more of "performers" or even straight-up idols. Now, imagine them singing, say, Dearest. That song takes a lot of control and has a fair stretch of notes to hit for somebody who isn't the best at singing. And because of this, I can guarantee that many singers would not sound any better - if not, a lot worse - than Ayu does, even with her "bad" vocal eras (whether, to whoever, that means 2002 or 2009). Long story short, in this sense, you have to cut her some slack, regardless of what you think of her vocals now or what you have thought of them in the past.