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The head of Taylor Swift's record label has come to the country singer's defense following her widely panned, off-pitch Grammys performance, which he attributes to a technical problem.

"She is the voice of this generation. She speaks directly to [her fans], and they speak directly back to her," Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Records, told The Associated Press. "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."

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Swift, who took home four Grammys on Sunday, including album of the year for Fearless

, came under fire from fans and critics for her duet with Stevie Nicks. "To borrow a phrase from Montgomery Burns, it was more 'off-key caterwauling,'" wrote The Washington Post's music blogger, David Malitz, who also compiled a list of critical tweets from viewers.After singing a few bars of "Today Was a Fairytale," Swift teamed with Nicks to perform "Rhiannon" and "You Belong with Me." The two sounded fine in rehearsals, Borchetta said, but on the live show, Swift, 20, had "a volume problem in the ear."

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"So, she was concerned that she wasn't able to hear everything in the mix," Borchetta said. "That's just part of live TV. ... So you're going to have difficulties on occasion. Unfortunately, on one of the biggest stages, we did have a technical issue. She couldn't hear herself like she had in rehearsal."TVGuide.com's calls to the Recording Academy were not immediately returned.Borchetta said he needed to defend his superstar artist because the criticism was "just over the top." "It's that classic thing that critics do of building something up and then wanting to tear it down," he said.

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Still, Borchetta doesn't want critics to look away.

"If you haven't seen her live performance, you're welcome to come out as my guest to a Taylor Swift show and experience the whole thing, because it's amazing," he said. "You can see her in her element. There's a reason tickets are selling like they are."