Some songs worked beautifully, others didn’t. However, all in all, these singers justified their presence in the Top 3 showcase. Although we lost some wonderful singers along the way, no one can dispute the outstanding vocal ability of these three talented young artists.
Agree or disagree? Read on and feel free to comment. But, remember, please be nice!
Here are my evaluations and, remember, I am reviewing each singer in (first name) alphabetical order. Your comments are always welcome.
To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below.
David Archuleta, David Cook
Strengths:David A. –once again, your pure and uncluttered vocals combined with your genuine and youthful persona signified the rationale behind your outstanding success on American Idol Season 7. You are a brilliant vocal artist and your technical skills are absolutely stellar.
In all three songs, your voice sounded perfectly focused and centered, mainly because the ringing quality of your head voice was the nucleus to your overall vocal timbre. Therefore, your pitch was absolutely perfect throughout your showcases and the resonating quality of your voice remained a strong presence throughout all three songs.
Also, your strong technical approach allowed you to create a seamless vocal quality throughout your entire range. This was also assisted by your proper attention to the key selections of your songs. You made absolutely certain that the melodic line rested in the strongest part of your singing range, a range similar to one that is possessed by a classical lyric tenor.
Therefore, your voice always sounded uniform and the phrasing elements were extremely musical and fluid. You have a solid bel canto approach to your singing style that deserves applause and recognition. Your vowel placement is so secure, as you have adopted a natural preference to eliminating the messy diphthong components within your lyrics through a more refined approach to your diction and articulation.
Your first song, And So It Goes was an inspired song choice. I was hoping that you would perform this at the piano; however, the a-cappella portion at the beginning of this song was a very smart move indeed. Once again, it signified that you have an excellent musical ear and are willing to take risks in a song that is extremely transparent at the best of times.
Additionally, the soulful bend in the melodic line was beautifully inspired and showcased your innate ability to sing, not only with musical intelligence, but also with a distinctive style that identifies you as an impeccable vocal artist.
Your singing was so expressive and so real and the technique – perfecto! The round mouth, relaxed jaw and strong diaphragmatic support all assisted the sustaining process on the pure vowels. This was an excellent beginning to your triple showcase, David.
As we moved on to your second song, I was ecstatic with your decision to channel a little Chris Brown “vibe” through your “With You” performance. This was a very neat performance and I thought you vocalized this song extremely well. It was wonderful watching you sing something a little more carefree and upbeat, yet still managing to convey a positive message via a more jubilant atmosphere.
Additionally, this number provided great contrast to your other two introspective songs, once again showcasing that you are a performer that values the art of entertaining and communicating with his audience.
Indeed, your present artistic strengths do lie in your interpretation of the ballads, but this song emphasized that you are quickly evolving into a multi-layered artist. It gave us a glimpse of who you will be in 5 years from now and, from my perspective, it’s a pretty exciting picture! Time will determine and validate this statement, but I have no doubt that your career can only gain in momentum and promise.
You closed your Top 3 performance with the Dan Fogelberg classic, Longer. What can I say? This was just so beautiful and heartfelt. Once again, you added your own melodic variations by your soulful and sincerely expressive approach.
The lyrics may be dated for this edgier type of musical lifestyle that everyone insists on embracing, but, honestly, to me, it was like a breath of fresh spring air. And it is indeed a sad statement and scary reflection of society when one cannot appreciate the inherent beauty of this song. This was a very musical performance David and a strong ending to a great triple showcase.
Bravo Archie! See you at the Finale!
Critique:David – if I have one thing to critique in all three performances, it would be the fact that your eyes were not as open as they could be. I know this was a stickler with Andrew Lloyd Webber and I hesitated to emphasize this problem as I did not want it to negatively affect your future performances on the show.
However, once the show is over, this is a technical aspect that you may want to address in your technical regime. You need to create more space in your eye formation, not only to advance the vocalization process, but also to establish a more efficient communicative approach with your audience.
Also, the increased openness of your eyes will convey a more confident and self-assured stage demeanour. Presently, the sleepy eyes you now possess accentuate your nervousness and apprehension, whether or not this is truly a problematic component within your performances.
However, to your credit, I could not discern any level of tension in your forehead muscles, so at least the resonating areas in this part of your vocal masque were open and free. So, I do hope you will continue to work on this technical aspect. It is not easy to achieve, but, with time and patience, this problematic technical glitch will be nothing but a memory for you.
Also, in your second number, With You, your stage movements, although adorable, needed further refinement. I was hoping that you would move off the stage and perhaps walk down one of the side steps, if, for no other reason than to minimize your novice approach to your choreographic skills..
To your credit, however, you paced this song extremely well and your vocals, generally, remained wonderfully focused and secure. There was a spot, midway through the song, that you lost the foundation of your lower range, but it was momentary and barely affected the overall performance. So, good for you for making certain that the vocals remained strong and vital throughout this busy showcase.
Additionally, I would like to add that I was confused with the string introduction before you sang the a cappella opening segment of And So It Goes. To me, it seemed an unnecessary and distracting element in the song arrangement. It essentially subtracted a small measure of power and impact when you began the a-cappella portion of this song.
Also, it deterred an artistic element of surprise when the string players joined in the performance 30 seconds later. Without that instrumental accompaniment in the beginning, the audience would have assumed that the whole song was going to be sung a cappella. Perhaps the introduction solidified the key of the song for you? Wouldn’t a pitch pipe work just as well? You have a tremendously refined ear, so I cannot even imagine that this was the issue here.
Finally, during the last part of Longer, I would have loved to see you move off your seat, walking the perimeter of the stage during the final segment of this number. I think that the freedom you would have felt from a changed position would have relaxed your stage demeanor even more so. Also, a change in position would have created a stronger visual impact and would have had those young girls screaming even louder.
However, you have rightfully found your place in the Finale and so look forward to your performances next week. Hang in there! It’s almost over!
See you next week, tiger!
Strengths: David C. –what I love about your weekly performances is how absolutely faithful and true you are to your rock- inspired style of singing. Of course, this week was no different, as you treated us to three distinctly different songs in your signature style.
Your first number, a truly inspired adaptation of the classic song, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was exquisitely performed with artistic confidence and passion. I was also initially astonished at the key selection for the song; the melody line clearly sat in the high tenor range of your voice and I was interested to see how you were going to sustain the high tessitura of this song over the course of 1 minute and 30 seconds.
However, you pulled a fast one on me, David. Your vocal sound was pure and light, brimming with head voice clarity and central pitch. This vocal quality was at the core of every note and phrase of this song and never diminished, even as the song climaxed to a vocally elevated and dynamically powerful finish.
The expressive tone of your voice and the dramatic change in nuance from beginning to end was very impressive indeed. You maintained a round and very relaxed mouth and jaw position for the majority of this song and this encouraged you to sustain your vocal sound in the best possible manner – by cohesively sustaining your pure vowels in the resonating areas of your vocal masque. I loved this performance very much and it was performed with remarkable style and substance. Very good work indeed!
Then you showcased your personal choice, Dare You To Move. I was not familiar with this song but I did appreciate your reason for selecting this song. It really is a shame that this song had to be compressed in this short time frame, as your strong artistic connection with this song was very palpable and extremely authentic. This was a very comfortable fit David and gave us a clear direction of where your career will take you post-Idol.
You sang this song with passionate expressivity and you vocally negotiated the register and dynamic changes very well. Also, as in all of your numbers this week, you paced this song extremely well, carefully conserving the adrenaline flow so as not to run out of steam in the closing segments of each of your songs. You were very sedate in the first half of this number and this allowed you to conserve energy for the more passionate end to this song. Smart!
You closed your triple showcase with a very interesting arrangement of Aerosmith’s, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. This performance was a major extravaganza and nothing was spared. Surrounded by a group of very earnest string players, you were later joined by a roving guitarist who happened to stroll on to the stage during the more potent position of this song.
Then, just when I didn’t think it could get any more stimulating, the lightening – excuse me – lighting started to flash and, for a minute, I thought I was in the middle of a July 4th celebration. However, it was pure entertainment and the raw intensity emerging from your vocal sound was the stuff that great concerts are made of!
As much as I go on and on about technique, one can never forget that a singer must first and foremost perform in an entertaining and unique way that leaves them wanting more. This is one thing that you do so well, David. You know how to put on a show and bring the audience to their feet and do so in a very bona fide and genuine manner.
However, it is the triple combination of your intelligent artistry, nicely developed technical skills and passionate commitment to the music that has provided you with the ammunition to strengthen your role as a primary contender in this year’s competition and, in the end, propelled you to a deserved place in the Finale.
Bravo David! Superb work once again! See you next week!
Critique: David C. – the biggest problem I isolated in your approach to your singing style is the aggressive manner in which you push and shove your upper level power notes from your throat. In all three songs, whenever you reached a louder dynamic in the higher range of your voice, the tension in your facial muscles were all too obvious, resulting in a less than aesthetically pleasing vocal sound.
I know that, at the core, there is some level of diaphragmatic breath support happening, because you have proven to be very capable of sustaining your lyrical tenor sound with finesse and accuracy, especially when you utilized a softer or gentler dynamic level in your singing.
However, you do tend to throw it all away when you become more aggressive in your power vocals and, although the increased muscle power in your vocal timbre does stimulate a positive audience reaction, I do hope you will continue to find a way to produce a louder dynamic through the correct technical process.
Also, during your second number, Dare You To Move, you encountered further technical issues during the first half of this song. Because you were singing in your lower register and utilizing a softer dynamic, you allowed your diaphragmatic breath support to falter, thus creating less definition in the pitch of your melodic line. As a result, your voice sounded poorly centered and lacked proper focus.
It is very important that the lower range of your voice and the softer dynamic level in your singing are enjoying the benefit of support from the diaphragm. You need to maintain a resonating vocal sound at every dynamic and register level, so that we are able to distinguish an even and seamless vocal timbre throughout your melodic line.
Furthermore, I felt that your articulation lacked clarity during the opening section of this song. You must remember to avoid a lackadaisical approach to your diction when you sing at a softer and/or lower dynamic level.
Spin those consonants crisply and quickly, thus enabling the consonants to provide a springboard foundation for your sustained vowels. This will, of course, not only provide cleaner diction, but also keep the energy in your sustained vocal sound a constant presence.
Finally – and I am still speaking about your second number –I question your thought process in choosing this number. As I said last week, you have adopted your personal formulaic approach to your interpretative style that clearly works wonders in your performance delivery. However, I felt that this song peaked too late in the short time frame.
Also, the song, in and of itself, was less than memorable because of the time constraints. I fully understand your artistic reasons for choosing this song; however, given the restrictive nature of this competition, you would have been wise to find another song that would have given you more flexibility in the abbreviated harmonic model.
Also, as I said last week, remember to keep that head position level with your audience and/or television camera. Once again, in all three songs, you moved your head upward when singing through your higher range, especially when you added your muscular vocal sound to this area of your singing range.
Remember to think over the notes, similar to hitting a volley ball downward with the palm of your hand. Bend your knees and squeeze the old butt – the former technique will keep your throat open, while raising the soft palate and the latter will access those strong back muscles for increased support of your vocal sound.
Finally, during your last number, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, I found the orchestral arrangement strangely dissonant and manic. And, when the guitar player made his appearance, it became even more confusing.
To your credit, however, you really tied it all together. Your vocals were very strong and the singing extremely passionate. I just found the entire showcase too complex – not enough vocal transparency for my personal taste.
However, you are in the Finale with little David. You have most definitely created some of the most memorable performances of the season and deserve this enormous performance opportunity.
Kudos David! See you next week! It’s going to be a good one!
Strengths:Syesha –I applaud you for adopting an intelligent and futuristic approach in your song selections. You wisely used this Top 3 opportunity to market your outstanding musical style to the music industry. What a savvy and timely decision! Good for you!
When Idol closes its door, another one opens and I believe that all three song choices opened a plethora of doors and windows, thus ensuring the successful longevity of your musical career. Brava on this achievement alone.
However, there was much to celebrate in all three of your performances this week. All three songs were performed with consummate style and substance. You exuded a beautiful and joyous persona on stage and, of all three performers, certainly looked like you were having the most fun during the performing process.
As a result, you appeared wonderfully relaxed and confident, and your lovely composure elevated the essential components of your vocal and choreographic elements.
You first number, Alicia Keyes’ If I Ain’t Got You was an excellent song choice and you expressively communicated this song with exuberance and enthusiasm.
Generally, your voice sounded extremely resonant, especially when you vocalized through your upper vocals during the second half of this song. During this portion of the song, you successfully projected your voice in your vocal masque with the perfect mix of head and chest voice. Lovely!
And that mouth was perfectly positioned, maintaining a circular formation that assisted the relaxation of your jaw with ease and comfort. As a result, your upper voice consistently maintained a forward projection, floating with freedom and security toward your audience.
Your second selection, Fever sizzled with attitude and fire. Your character role for this song was absolutely perfect, as evidenced by your “come hither” look at the start of this number. Your mischievous and sexy vibe was a constant presence, solidifying the proper tone and atmosphere for this very suggestive song.
Then, as you moved off the chair and sashayed toward the double bassist, I was so taken by the ringing clarity of your head voice. It was wonderful to hear the purity of your soprano voice at this point in the song, as it provided wonderful contrast to the more resonant vocal sound later on in the number.
This song is so repetitive that, unless a singer adds expressive nuance throughout the song, it can fall flat on the listener’s ear. This is what was so remarkable about this performance, Syesha – your ability to successfully communicate the lyrics through the range of colors in your voice. And the addition of your performance skills completed the multi-dimensional attributes in this fine performance.
Your final song, Hit Me Up was just pure fun. And, I have said this before, but I applaud your strong choreographic skills. You are rhythmically secure and so fluid in your choreographic movements. Also, you truly know how to pace yourself during these busy up- tempo numbers, allowing the vocal and choreographic elements to blend in a cohesive and effortless fashion.
I really could go on and on and on about your performances, Syesha! I was captivated by all three numbers this week and you have truly worked incredibly hard to reach this level of success on American Idol. How I wish there was a Top 3 in the Finale!
Kudos on your extraordinary achievements, Syesha! The future is yours!
Critique: Syesha- I have only two bones of contention to address.
First of all, be very careful to project your lower range through consistent support from the diaphragmatic breathing muscles. This became problematic in your first number, If I Ain’t Got You. I thought that, during the first part of this number, your lower vocals sounded less focused than did your upper vocals later on in the song. As a result, your lower register lacked a velvety rich quality, which is a distinguishing feature in this part of a singer’s range.
Secondly, again pertaining to the same song, make absolutely certain that you articulate with precision and clarity when you vocalize in your lower range or with a softer dynamic. If you had done so during this number, the strong articulation skills would have contributed vital energy and focus to your overall contralto vocal sound, while augmenting the clarity of the lyrics.
However, to my eye and ear, that was all I could reasonably detect in terms of offering you any more room for improvement. Your blend of chest and head voice was “spot on” this week and, as long as you are judicious in maintaining sound vocal health, then your career will be one of outstanding success and longevity.
Brava Syesha! See you on Broadway!