‘Where Did That Voice Come From?’

The ‘Mismatched’ Voices of Girls in TV Talent Competitions

  • Melissa Morton
Keywords: Voice Studies, Sonic Girlhood, Liveness, Televised Talent Competitions, Vocal Mismatch


For the last two decades, the viewers of televised talent competitions have witnessed an intriguing phenomenon—singers with voices that fail to ‘match’ their bodies. With a particular focus on female child singers, this article explores the phenomenon of the ‘mismatched girl’. Combining theories from voice studies and musicology, the article examines the depiction of the relationship between voice and body within the talent competitions. Ultimately, mismatched girls prompt journalists, fans, and musicians alike to consider fundamental questions concerning the human voice—where do voices come from and what do they mean?