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Britney Spears’ “Alien” Without Auto-Tune Leaks Online, Producer Comes to Her Defense

Not even Britney Spears sounds like Britney Spears all the time. The “Work Bitch” singer, 32, came under fire recently when an unedited version of her song “Alien” was leaked online, giving fans a chance to hear her voice without the magic of auto-tune.

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The clip is believed to be Spears’ raw vocals for the song, which appeared in its finished form as the opening track on her eighth studio album, Britney Jean, released in November 2013. Critics have maligned her unedited singing as “flat,” “cringe-worthy,” and “downright scary”—but her music producer says it’s not a reflection of the pop star’s true talent.

William Orbit, who produced the song with Anthony Preston, took to his Facebook page on Monday, July 7, to defend Spears against all the backlash, and to explain what it was that people were listening to.

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Ethan Miller/Getty

“Dearest Music Lovers,” he began. “I have heard that Britney vocal link that everybody’s been discussing…I’d like to affirm that ANY singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalizations in order to get warmed up.”

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“Warming up is essential if you’re a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly,” he continued. “I’ve heard all manner of sounds emitted during warmups. The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners.”

Orbit (who has worked with the likes of Madonna, Blur, and All Saints) went on to explain that a “generous” singer will sometimes “put something down the mic to help the engineer get their systems warmed up and at the right level, maybe whilst having a cup of herb tea and checking through lyrics before the session really kicks off. It’s not expected to be a ‘take,'” he wrote.

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“Whomever put this on the internet must have done so in a spirit of unkindness, but it can in no way detract from the fact that Britney is and always will be beyond stellar!” Orbit concluded. “She is magnificent! And that’s that.”

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