American Idol Season 8 Top 9 Vocal Masterclass Article: Top ITunes Downloads


American Idol

By: Rosanne Simunovic

Because I am traveling tomorrow, I am giving the readers an abbreviated Masterclass article this week. What you see will be my real time comments after viewing tonight`s show.

However, I have one word to describe tonight`s performances -brilliant! For me, all the performances were considerably strong and the individual performers improved immensely in one week! Pretty amazing stuff!

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.

Adam Lambert,     Allison Iraheta,   Anoop Desai,

Danny Gokey,     Kris Allen,   Lil Rounds,

Matt Giraud,      Megan Joy,  Scott MacIntyre

ADAM LAMBERT 27-years-old: “Play That Funky Music” by – Wild Cherry

Strengths: Come to the cabaret and enjoy another creative performance by Adam!  Why bother to writeI just enjoyed!  This was genius personified. Your vocal range is astounding and your stage movements – m-wah!  And kudos to you for acknowledging Rickey Minor and the band.  I cannot describe this performance – words do little justice to the extraordinary vocal and performing skills you brought to the stage.

Critique: Adam – critique?   Give me a break!  One cannot critique a phenomenon. However, take care of those upper range notes – please tell me you are screaming from the diaphragm! Please!   And try to keep your mouth in a circular position. Those screams will have even more depth!  

ALLISON IRAHETA 16 -years old: “Don’t Speak” by – No Doubt

Strengths: Allison –  I loved hearing the sustaining elements of your voice in this slower number. Wonderfully done.   You passionately delivered this number to perfection. Love the raspy nuances in your voice – nice contrast to your pure vocals.

Your performing skills are exceptionally strong – you pour every ounce of energy into your performances. You are such a passionate artist!

Oh my – your hair!  Oh well, you’re a rocker chick, right? Enjoy!  Good work, Allison!

Critique: Allison-you were better this week in terms of your technical skills. Slower numbers always coerce a singer to do their technical homework and I feel that you definitely did so!   However, you still tend to punch out those vocals and, because of this, we lose the true beauty and power of your voice. 

And  I am concerned that the raspiness is evidence of poorly ingrained technical skills.  And, I know you have a fabulous voice teacher -so my questions is – are you listening to him?  If not, you should be.  You need to protect your voice – it is a precious, unique commodity.

ANOOP DESAI 22-years-old: “Caught Up” by – Usher

Strengths: Anoop – you chose a song that you felt that the audience could relate to.   That’s the way you research  repertoire.   Good for you!  It was definitely a more current song and it happened at just the right moment in the competition.  

Loved the round mouth- beautifully placed vowels.  Great stage skills – both on and off the stage. Confident presence on stage.   Really confident!  Lots of drama, almost theatrical in presence. Those “oh”  riffs were technically secure and centered. I was truly impressed.

Critique:  Anoop –  this was your strongest performance to date!  A few lower range vocal issues where the diaphragm did not fully connect with the voice, but it is very obvious that you are really working very hard on your technical skills, as well as your performing skills.  You also paced and planned this performance exceptionally well.  Kudos Anoop!

DANNY GOKEY 28- years old : “What Hurts The Most” by – Rascal Flatts

Strengths: Danny – I loved your song choice this week. It provided abundant and timely contrast to the upbeat showcase you have presented over the past few weeks. This is what I have been waiting for – a heartfelt, poignant number that mirrored your “Hero” performance during the semi-final rounds. 

This song selection gave you room to breathe- literally and figuratively.  You emoted this song in such a genuine manner and your dynamic range was astounding.

Your technical skills were so wonderful – generally a round mouth that grabbed and focused those vowels in your vocal masque.  I also loved all the melodic variations you brought to this song. Brilliant performance!

Critique: Danny -try not to spread your mouth on the “i” vowel.  And careful that you do not push too much of your chest voice into that upper register.  However, your passionate delivery overrode the technical deficiencies – it was all about the artistry and you had it with a capital “A”.

KRIS ALLEN 23- years old: “Ain’t No Sunshine” by –

Strengths: Kris – why, I didn`t know you could play the keys!   Loved this song choice and loved your quiet, expressive demeanor.  Your soulful and expressive voice wrapped so cohesively around the melodic line.  You took this song classic and re-invented it.  What a wonderful tribute and testament to the depth of your artistry.

Your voice is such a pure instrument and yet it is laced with nuance and inflection. You are blessed with resplendent head resonance throughout your range and you make sure that it never disappears. That mouth is wonderfully round and your vowels are perfectly placed and focused.  Kudos and Bravo!

Critique: Kris -such a gorgeous performance and I will leave it at that. However, make absolutely certain that you release any tension from your jaw and neck muscles. Let the diaphragmatic muscles do the work – that`s what they are there for!

LIL ROUNDS: 24- years old “Surrender” by – Celine Dion

Strengths: Lil – this week we finally heard  the dynamic beauty in your voice. Wow – that round mouth is really working overtime tonight – good for you. And listen to your stellar breathing skills.! Your phrasing is impeccable – the cohesive magic of your sustaining skills was extraordinary. Wonderful head voice throughout your range.

Beautiful presence!  Loved this performance so very much, but the song choice not as much!

Critique: Lil – I have two words for you- song choice!  You have everything else in place – find a song that will celebrate your creative and passionate artistry. And something in a major key would work as well. Minor=too negative!

MATT GIRAUD 23-years-old:“You Found Me” by – The Frey

Strengths: Matt – you go guy!  This is such an eerie number!  It was an authentically delivered performance, but not the best choice for you.  However, I felt your vocals were sounding confident and you really tried to challenge yourself with this alternative song selection.

I love your style and your persona – there is real charisma emanating from you on stage, Matt.  Your bluesy voice is a wonderful instrument and you know how to use it to expressively deliver your music.

Critique: Matt- work on the support system when you vocalise through your lower range. Your mouth is still too horizontal, thus adding so much tension to you vocal sound. Easy does it, Matt!  Now, let`s get a better song on board for next week, shall we?

MEGAN JOY years-old : “Turn Your Lights Down Low” by Bob Marley/Lauren Hill

Strengths: Megan – you were really excited about this song choice because it is a personal favorite.  I loved this song as well and the expressive elements in your voice just oozed from your mouth.

This was a stellar key selection – your voice rested so comfortably throughout the melodic line of this song.  Your lower range riffs were spectacular, considering that you sing with  very green technical skills. You looked very confident on stage and the development of your performing skills have enjoyed wonderful improvement over the passing weeks.

Critique:Megan – make certain that you keep that rib cage elevated. It was pretty deflated throughout this song. Also, try to “round out” your mouth when sustaining those vowels.  Once you do so. you will feel the need to support your voice from the diaphragm.  However, overall, I loved this performance. Brava!

SCOTT MACINTYRE 23-years-old: ”Just The Way You Are” by – Billy Joel

Strengths: Scott – stellar song selection and one of my favorites.  Oh my goodness gracious. Spine tingling! Tears falling.! Totally acoustic! Fabulous new look!  And the melodic variation was inspired! Pure, uncluttered vocals – technical brilliance! One of the best of the night! Love you!

Critique: Scott – you are scott-free  from a critical assessment. You cannot critique perfection. This was  a Masterclass performance. Just outstanding!

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

52 Responses to “American Idol Season 8 Top 9 Vocal Masterclass Article: Top ITunes Downloads”

  1. Thanks for such a quick critique, MCL. My favorite performances tonight were from Danny, Kris, Adam, and Scott. I liked Matt and Anoop too, but not the songs so much. My least favorite were the girls.

    I wish I had a copy of the judges’ comments after Taylor Hicks performed Play That Funky Music–I definitely remember that Simon didn’t like the song at all. Anyone else remember that?

  2. Hey MCL. God I love Adam Lambert. He was EPIC tonight; just the way I love him. I really hope he wins. He’s the idol for many reasons.

    I agree that it was a good night for the contestants. I also really liked Kris and Matt. I don’t think Kris gets enough credit.

    Allison slipped a bit and Danny was pretty good. Scott was good too!

  3. Awww, Lil! Her tears definitely pulled my heartstrings; I just wanted to give her a hug. Her kids are adorable, and I feel that she’s such a genuine spirit. I agree with Kara that Lil’s sound this week was more “effortless” than it has been in previous weeks. My nitpick is that she could lean a *teeny* bit more of chest presence into her sound and still remain balanced. Her current tone sounds a tad nasal and thin, and for me, as much as I like Lil as a person, I can’t get “into” her voice because I feel that there are more powerful female R&B singers. And as the judges and MCL noted, for some reason, she doesn’t know how to pick songs at all! This song really was too old-fashioned, and “Independence Day” two weeks ago was very bland and lifeless in her hands. (Martina’s version is amazing, though!) She seems like a very lovely person, though, inside and out.

    I have to say that Allison’s phrasing on this song was really brilliant! I feel that she gave it a really cool vibe different from the original. That said, I have a hard time getting into Allison’s voice as well because to me, all her technical deficiencies are very distracting. Her sound would be so much better if she had correct technique behind it.

    I loved Kris’ arrangement of “Ain’t No Sunshine”! Lovely. I’m so glad that Kris made the top 13 because he’s definitely been growing more and more every week. I was a little skeptical at first, but Kris has definitely been impressing and surprising me (in a good way) with every passing week.

    I’m watching the performances out of order, so some random comments to start off. =P

  4. As always I am blown away by Adam’s ability to capture a moment! I loved it and I am not really a fan of that era in music. He is the total package; charm, stage presence, and vocals that are unbelievable. I love to hear the Steven Tyler reference…and I think sometimes he sounds a little like James LaBrie.

    I was also impressed by several of the other contestants that really sang well this evening. There are quite a few talented singers this year!

  5. Excellent Masterclass, MCL! I agree with most everything you said. Overall, I really enjoyed tonight’s performances. I admit that I expected better song choices from most of them, but the ones who picked the right songs for them simply soared tonight! Here’s my evaluation of the night:

    1. Anoop Desai–“Caught Up”: After two strong performances the last two weeks, I was afraid that it was only a matter of time until Anoop didn’t do so well. Unfortunately for him, that time was tonight. I think choosing an Usher song was a very bad idea. I feel like Anoop is trying to be hip and cool by singing very upbeat and pop rock music. However, every time he does that, he always comes across looking like, as Simon said, a wannabe. Anoop is a ballad singer. That is his strength. He needs to sing slower songs that he can connect with and showcase his pure vocals. Also, I hate to admit it, but Anoop is coming of as being a little bit arrogant to me. He just thinks he can do no wrong, you know? This lack of humility does not help him appeal to voters. Mark my words. He’ll be in the Bottom 3 this week.

    2. Megan Joy–“Turn Your Lights Down Low”: What?! Out of all the well-known, popular songs on iTunes, why would Megan choose a song so obscure? It was boring, forgettable, and didn’t do anything for me vocally. Megan seems like a nice person and I do wish her the best. However, in a spirit of absolute, it is so time for her to go. As many problems as some of the others had tonight, Megan was still the weakest of the night. I will be truly worried if she dodges the Bottom 3 again tomorrow, though I don’t think that is very likely.

    3. Danny Gokey–“What Hurts The Most”: As Simon accurately put it, the show finally began when Danny hit the stage. Danny made an absolutely brilliant song choice for two reasons. 1) It is a popular song that many people recognize and enjoy, and 2) It showed any doubters out there that Danny is not a one-trick pony. He may prefer to do the more upbeat and fun songs, but he has a POWERHOUSE voice as well and can easily nail a slower, ballad-type song! He connects with his songs on an emotional level the likes of which I haven’t really ever seen on Idol. Danny has had such a rough week this week with losing his grandfather and all. In spite of all that, however, he was still able to stand out as the BEST one of the night hands down! God bless him!

    4. Allison Iraheta–“Don’t Speak”: Oh, poor Allison . . . After delivering two great performances the past couple weeks, she just really got it ALL wrong tonight. The outfit (sorry but I have to comment on it) was atrocious, her song was obscure and forgettable, and she did sound a bit shouty at times. I wanted her very badly to sing Miley Cyrus’s new single “The Climb”. She has a very “Miley” voice and I think she could’ve made that song her own. Plus hitting the stage with a popular song that appeals to the younger crowd is always a positive thing. Sometimes I wish these guys would just let me pick their songs for them! LOL Ah, well, anyway . . . I hope Allison is safe. She is still my favorite of the females this season and shows the most potential for growth.

    5. Scott MacIntyre–“Just The Way You Are”: Hallelujah! Scott FINALLY made an extremely wise song choice and chose a Billy Joel song! Add to that a stylin’ new hair cut, mad piano skills, and spot on vocals and you have one of the strongest performances of the night! Kudos to Scott! I think being in the Bottom 3 last week lit a fire under him and motivated him to step it up a notch (which he more than did)! He does not deserve to be in the Bottom 3 this week by any stretch of the imagination.

    6. Matt Giraud–“You Found Me”: Well, I am going to tell you one thing I really like about Matt. At least he occasionally chooses songs that a lot of people are familiar with and enjoy. I enjoyed his Coldplay performance and thought tonight’s was pretty good. However, I admit that I was hoping for a little bit better from him than “pretty good.” As Kara would no doubt say, de didn’t show any artistry with the song. I am kind of confused by him at the moment. I know the guy is extremely talented, but he is inconsistent. One week he will completely own a song and knock my socks off like he did with “So Small”, and the next week he’ll pick a song and never really make any meaningful changes to it to make it his own. He so should have sung OneRepublic’s “Apologize”. Had he done so, he would’ve had the best performance of the night. It’s a shame for sure. I really like him though. He certainly does not deserve to go him, but he had better be amazing next week.

    7. Lil Rounds–“I Surrender”: I was immediately worried for Lil when I heard that she picking a Celine song. However, I will admit that she did a better job with it than I thought she would. However, I still can’t say it was smart of her to choose that song. This week was supposed to be about picking a song that shows the audience the kind of songs they can expect from her as a contemporary recording artist. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Lil is just NOT the Celine Dion type. Why not a Mariah song?! I just don’t get it. Ah, well. The bottom line is that she will most likely stay safe another round. However, I am afraid that “safe” is all I’m seeing from her lately. Nothing beyond that. Her little girls where truly adorable though, and I thought Randy was very good to them. If anything acquires Lil votes this week, it will be her kids!

    Adam Lambert–“Play That Funky Music”: Well, I have to hand it to Adam, his song choice fit hit perfectly. With that song you have a danger of coming off very corny and karaoke, which Adam managed to avoid. Easily the second strongest performance of the night in my opinion, I liked most of it. However, it’s like Adam always reaches a point where he just has to shriek. I love his falsetto, but I think there is a point where you can overdo it and go a little to high. Just because he has an uncanny vocal range doesn’t mean that he always has to push it to the limits. Still, I am being nitpicky. He did an exceptional job and will sail into the Top 8!

    Kris Allen–“Ain’t No Sunshine”: Kris closed the show with flare, I’ll tell you that! I love how he took a very outdated song (which was a major risk this week) and turned it into a contemporary and completely current song that could be a hit on today’s charts. Kris is one to watch out for in this competition. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Kris has risen from obscurity into the spotlight. He has remained consistent every week and has really never had a bad performance. He knows his musical identity and is comfortable with himself. I am very proud of him and will (for the first time in his case) download his song off iTunes this week. I am slowly but surely becoming a fan. He may end up surprising a lot of people. It is not inconceivable to think he has a real chance of making it right to the top.

    I really liked how tonight moved right along. It didn’t seem to “drag on” like it does sometimes. As much as I like most of the mentors, it is sometimes a nice change of pace to not have one. Anyway, I look forward to seeing how tomorrow turns out. Who do I think will go home? Anoop. Who do I hope goes home? Megan.

  6. I was a little disappointed by Adam tonight. I thought the song was a little too similar to Satisfaction. I’m looking forward to what he will show us next week. I thought Kris was the most enjoyable.

  7. I’m tired of Adam’s screaming and I hope Anoop sticks around…I like him!

  8. Danny was by leaps and bounds the best tonight. I think Adam is good, but a bit over-rated. Yeah, he’s a good looking guy and has great stage presence, but the high notes make me go ‘eeek’. I like his originality, but for Paula to compare him to Steven Tyler & Mick Jagger is an overstatement. He hasn’t even defined himself as an artist yet. I can’t put my finger on his style/niche. He seems to change to change it up every week. I’d like to see him be more consistent stylistically, and tone down the super high notes. As for Allison Iraheta, just becaause her voice has raspiness is not bad at all. This is not choir or opera singing. She’s a dyed in the wool rocker. When I listen to her I think Ann Wilson or Janet Gardner of Vixen. She can definately go far, and I’m rooting for her.

  9. Head voice is not to be confused with screaming & lambert uses head voice. Screaming is damaging to one’s throat and what people, do in a heated argument. If you sing, you know that screaming or talking loudly for long periods of time (like in a night club) can easily damage your instrument. I don’t like Adam’s high notes either. I didn’t like them from the word ‘go’ in his audition. They’re too over-done, and I’m shocked none of the judges have mentioned this yet.

  10. I agree with you. I wanted to see Megan Joy go last week, I think either her or Anoop will go this time around. I’d like to see Anoop get one more shot next week but I don’t think he’ll make it into the top 5. My top 5 based on everything I’ve seen so far: Danny, Kris, Adam, Lil, Allison.

  11. What a bummer…I DVR’d the show and only caught a few performances and by accident, I erased all the performances BUT I did catch Adam. Screaming no, its hitting those higher notes and I love it. I was grovin/ and dancin’ what fun!! What a performer. My only concern now, is how would he fit into radio ? not sure if his voice translate into air play.

  12. Hahaha. I knew Adam would be love it or hate this week, and I LOVED it. Awesome!!! He’s a star and there’s really nothing the judges can do or say to derail this train.

    I have to start judging the contestants differently. There is Adam who exists in a different league/world, whatever you want to call it. Then there are the other contestants who perform “in the box”: Nothing wrong with this, some of them are very talented.

    So here goes:

    The Adam Lambert Group:

    Adam Lambert. I simply can’t compare him to the other contestants. There is no one else like him and he is incredibly talented. He’s exciting, fresh and can sing his butt off. Sorry, but he is in a league of his own and is a total star on that stage. I don’t expect everyone to like this performance since Adam was back in true form. It’s a love it or hate it, and I absofreakinglutely LOVED it. There was so much happening on that stage that I could not possibly take it all in. Same goes for the vocals. Adam brings new meaning to the word unique.

    NEXT GROUP (In the Box contestants: Not necessarily a bad thing). Some are VERY enjoyable and have broad appeal.

    2. Kris. I LOVED this. I think he’s under-rated. He’s solid every single week. He is someone that won’t ruffle feathers unlike Adam so he has a very good chance in this competition (easy to digest). This is my “in the box pick”. I also think he has good taste in music and picks good arrangements. I don’t get a karaoke vibe from him. If you take away Adam, Kris is my pick.

    I’ll just rank the rest:

    3. Matt – one of his best
    4. Danny
    5. Allison
    6. Scott – One of his best
    7. Lil – needs to pick better songs
    8. Anoop- Good vocal
    9. Megan- I like her, but not this

  13. Certainly, I’m not at all in the same league as those of you here who can have an intelligent discussion about chest voice, head voice, technique, etc. Were those things alone to be the criteria for one being able to cast votes for who would be the next “American Idol,” most of the people that watch the show wouldn’t be able to vote. I can only base how I feel about how a person sings based on WHAT I feel when they do. There are so many variables that one has to consider, that sometimes, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, especially since this is a “Master Class” site, but it seems to me that the all the technical mumbo gumbo, and all emphasis on how well one performs carries more weight than it should. Far more important, to me anyway, is the ability one has to make another feel, to actually FEEL something. That, to me, is what “real” singing is all about.

    I’m reminded most especially of Taylor Hicks, who although he may not have had the best “technical” voice of Season 5, certainly had a voice that spoke to you. A voice that, if you really listened, you knew came from somewhere deep in his soul. While his bubbly and upbeat personality made it appear as though he were a happy man, if you listened to him sing, you knew he wasn’t. You knew he had battle scars, and you could “see” those scars when he sang. Finally, after five seasons, a contestant on Idol you could really relate to because you knew he could relate to you, and my, but wasn’t that refreshing? So what if the notes aren’t perfect? So what if the technique isn’t stellar? So what if the mouth is crooked and not opened? In the end, perfection may be of little consequence.

    I’d like to share with you some words spoken by Leonard Gershe about the great Judy Garland:

    “I’ve never seen audiences react to anyone the way they did to her. This creature, who had been dealt such a bad hand and here she was, trying to please, trying to entertain…and I think, she broke their hearts. They wanted to put their arms around her and protect her. She just reached them…..in a way no other performer ever did.

    What Judy had….a je ne se qua that you can’t copy. It’s what separates real, real, real talent from just ordinary talent. Judy had a range of emotions, come of which we can identify, some we can’t. Some of which we know about, some we don’t. In the final analysis, I don’t think there’s anyone that walks the face of the earth that can tell you what Judy had, in her way, or Heifetz, or Horowicz. They hit the same keys, they sang them same notes, the melody is the same, except it’s different.”

    Maybe that’s what we should look for in an Idol.

  14. I actually enjoyed Allison’s performance tonight, although I did like Kris, Adam, and Danny as well. I don’t think No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” is considered obscure though.

  15. I thought the exact same thing… too similar to Satisfaction. I still enjoyed his performance, but I wish Adam would have chosen a different song.

  16. Masterclass Lady truly love love love your posts, each one is truly a masterclass that we all can learn from. I just wish the rest of your life didn’t hamper your MCL AI duties…lol.

    As for the night:
    Anoop: Great skills but ya Wannabe needs to find himself.

    Megan: Unique….and pretty…but she needs to sign up for a Masterclass from you pronto.

    Danny: Always good …rises and fall from good to great depending on song choice. One of my favs of the season.

    Allison: Another one of my favs. Love her voice and whole vibe…truly is an authentic rock chick like AI has never seen. She just needs to work on those technical skills. Oh and btw Galen love your post but DON’T SPEAK

    Scott: Always boring for me. Just don’t get it .. pardon my lack of politcal correctness but I think he is getting by more on his backstory more than vocal talent.

  17. FYI – Taylor was my pick to win Season 5 – even before I heard him sing a note. I would have to dig to find the article where I mentioned this, but I loved this guy because of his visual and aural artistry.

    However, in the long run, technique is extremely important. It creates vocal longevity and allows a singer to truly identify the potential in his or her voice.

    I value artistry – otherwise I would not enjoy singers like Megan or Matt, both of whom are pretty green in the technical end of things.

  18. Oh, my, Skid, I like the way you think. And your comments about Taylor Hicks were SO perceptive. Sure, he had a few cheesy performances on Idol, but he also had some beautifully touching performances too. That’s why I spent every week voting for him, but no contestant since has moved me to cast one vote.

  19. MCL:

    Thank you for not becoming angry with what I first posted. Hopefully, you know, and it appears that you did, that I wasn’t attempting to disrespect you or any other other individual here who has the ability to speak intelligently about vocal technique, etc. Sometimes, it just seems to me that other things of equal importance get lost in the mix…..and, well, you know, we can’t let that happen.

    Nor did I intend to imply that you didn’t value artistry. How could you not? Perhaps to explain it more in the way I meant it I could say that although when looking at Adam Lambert I can tell he is a sensitive soul, and he does have great artistry, he’s yet to make me really FEEL that he believes in what he is signing. I do think he’s the most talented on Idol this season, and the most talented they’ve ever had, as far as how well-rounded and versatile he is as a performer. But still, for me anyway, he’s yet to really have moved me, to make me TRULY believe that he’s completely connected to what he is singing. He’s so darn talented, but there is just…something missing. I think it’s his fear of being exposed for the truly sensitive man he is. What a true shame for someone so talented to be so guarded.

    And Louise, if you like how I think, you’re in serious trouble. You might want to seek help immediately! :-)

  20. Skid -no worries there. However, I actually feel the same way. Adam entertains me but doesn’t truly move me -yet.

    I think that he hasn’t totally revealed the true depth of his soul – similar to what I felt when I saw Scott or Kris’ performances this week.

    What’s missing is the vulnerability – which we clearly see in his post-performance banter. He closes the door when he sings and opens it after he sings.

  21. MCL,

    Do you think this could be from his theatrical experience? I love his interpretation of songs. I know he is moving me though, moving me to watch Idol religiously and vote for the first time ever. I agree with you though; I want to see the vulnerability.

  22. If it weren’t for Adam, I would not be watching this season! LOL. He has my heart and moves me. :)

  23. Surely Shirley April 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    me too, he was the only one i voted for hours. he is not successful but he should go to Vegas for that showmanship and personality

  24. MCL…it was just revealed that Adam was denied his song choice on monday(rumored to be “crazy” by Gnarls Barkley…he threw together “play that funky music” with Ricky and the band in one day (which denotes the props he gave Ricky) and why some are saying he only sang the first verse and rather ad libbed with the vocal runs after the chorus. also people were saying his look didn’t make the song either. Just thought you might want to know…

  25. I was hoping that he would sing “Crazy” – darn it! Now, that would have been spectacular profundo!

  26. I agree, I would have loved to hear him sing Crazy. But I’m impressed that he did that well with short notice.

  27. Surely Shirley, have you heard Taylor’s new CD? I’ve been playing it at work and I really love it. It’s much better than his first CD after Idol.

  28. I tend to believe the reason Adam, to some, gives the impression of not really connecting and that his performances are not really coming from his soul, is because he’s *restraining* himself. “All out” he’d probably be way, way too much for the general Idol watching audience to handle.

    It’s not all that fun to dial it down and not be as fabulous as he could be, but winning the show would be nice, too.

  29. Well, I want to see who Adam is as an artist -it is what makes him so very special. All the pent-up emotion when he sings is creating some tension in his voice that I know is not there when he performs freely. C’mon Adam – let ‘er rip!

  30. I agree MCL. Based on what I’ve seen on YouTube, Adam is at his finest when he is unbounded. Only problem is that I think it would be too hot for tv and that Simon would probably have a fit if he went all out. LOL.

    I have to say, he is already so exciting even with the holding back. He is now my fave idol ever.

  31. As someone who loves to analyze technique, I DEFINITELY agree with you that the #1 most valuable thing a singer must be able to do is to make me “FEEL something.” In fact, I think I’ve probably written that exact phrase numerous times. Singing is much more than technique; singing is an art form. It has the power to speak to people’s hearts and their souls and to truly MOVE us as human beings.

    I’d take a technically imperfect but soul-reaching voice over a technically perfect, emotionless voice any day. I actually can’t stand the latter. That “singing” is so vacuous and devoid any substance; I don’t believe it’s really singing if there’s no heart behind it. Their voices that are SO polished that they sound robotic. I love voices that are lived-in, that can take on grit when they need to, and really embody the songs they communicate. Technique is a tool that allows a singer to have an expanded palette of colors to paint with; it is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

  32. I wanted to make a clarifying point that technically correct singing does NOT necessarily equate to “choral” or “operatic” singing, and also, not all singers who perform “classical music” have correct technique! People would be surprised to learn that Josh Groban’s technique in his upper range is not very good. In fact, he’s actually lost a lot of richness up there in various parts of his career because he “blasts” his upper notes.

    I just wanted to make a point that the vocal cords function in the same manner when one is singing, regardless of genre. The same muscles control the larynx. And technique is just about having the coordinations of all these muscles be balanced.

    Raspiness is not inherently bad when done correctly, but MCL’s point is that certain kinds of raspiness may speak negatively of one’s vocal health. Kelly Clarkson has added some brilliantly raspy edges to parts of “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” but the difference is that she did so CORRECTLY. Raspiness should be an additional effect of “distortion” that a singer adds on TOP of a technically correct sound. When the vocal cords themselves are creating a raspy sound, though, that speaks of unhealthy vocal cords. BOTTOM LINE: Underlying raspiness is unhealthy. Raspiness on top (able to be switched on and off) can be done in a healthy way. Any sound can be done in a healthy way, even rock grit of metal screams. I don’t particularly like metal music myself, but my friend introduced me to this one band where the lead singer actually had really good technique.

    As MCL said below, technique is ultimately important because it “creates vocal longevity and allows a singer to truly identify the potential in his or her voice.” That is what I’m most concerned about. Many singers (even in classical music) lose careers because of bad vocal technique. We don’t nitpick technique to be elistics (or at least I don’t), but out of concern that what the singer is doing not the most efficient way to achieve the sound he or she wants. There is always a technically efficient way to produce any sound. Style is not excuse for poor technique.

  33. *elitists; also, insert the word IS between “doing” and “not”; add AN before “excuse” (and some of the “of”s should be “or”s)

    Yikes! Sorry for the grammatical errors. Also, I just wanted to add that a specific thing singers want to avoid is developing vocal nodules. Nodules are just AWFUL and can really negatively affect a singer’s career.

    Anyway, there are a lot of singers whose technique I can admire but whose voices I can’t say I particularly enjoy. My favorites are not always the best technical singers, and the best technical singers sometimes leave me cold. What I really wanted to clarify is that I have nothing against gritty rock singing; in fact, I sing choral music, opera, AND pop-rock music and the third is *definitely* my favorite to sing! The point is that a gritty rock sound can be achieved with correct technique without losing any genuineness.

    The best singers in my book have great technique WITHOUT sounding as though they’ve been churned out of some factory manufacturing pitch-perfect overly polished singers with no subtlety, musicality, or artistry. To me, technique (or lack thereof) is an issue of “distraction.” Bad technique can be very distracting to me. Artistry (the ability to touch one’s soul) transcends everything, though. I have nothing inherently against singers with bad technique. Singers who truly MOVE me can steer me past their technical deficiencies to enjoy their artistry, but the problem is that some singers have technique that is just so subpar that I can’t get past how distracting their lack of technique is. Note that I’m not putting Allison in this category, but I’m just making a general comment that your comment inspired. It’s a basically a long semi-related tangent, lol.

  34. How can someone get lost here? LOL.

    Well, I posted my comments on the other thread last night because this one wasn’t here. Louis was there, too. Still at my daughter’s house…

    Most important, I was disappointed in Anoop’s choice of song. However, his performance was not as bad as the judge’s said. They are certainly confusing me. They told Anoop to change and not be so nice (is that dull), so he did what they told him. Looks wise, I think he looked terrific.

    A contestant is taking a major chance when they choose a song done recently by another contestant! Chikezie did a great job of “Caught Up” and that is my point of reference – not Usher’s. Being first didn’t help. So, I do see Anoop in the bottom three.

    Now, I am a fan, so I did not find Anoop to be arrogant. Frustrated, maybe. I like him and want him back for more. BTW, it is Simon who gives me a headache!!

    I must comment on Adam’s performance. I am old school, and I still “get it” – he is a terrific performer and totally in touch with his material. No one could ever say he is boring! LOL.

    Surprise of the night? Kris…who is really coming into his own. I don’t see him winning, but he’s GOOD! Cute, too!

    I want to read what others wrote since I was on the wrong page. BBL.

  35. Surely Shirley April 1, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Adam DOES remind me of Mick Jagger but I just love his high notes. Kara, the judge said that he has notes that she did not know existed!! Does he look like Elvis? and polite and humble like Elvis? The King is back! by popular demand! :^D

  36. Somebody summed up on another site just exactly how I feel about Adam and I find him so exciting to watch: “He just doesn’t sing the song, he becomes the song!”

  37. Thank you, skid, for that very thought-provoking post. I agree with you. I know that technique and vocal skill are important and all, but I what I look for in a singer is someone who can reach into your soul with their voice and make you “feel” the song. Not listen, but “feel” it. That is why I like Dannny Gokey so much this season and why I liked David Archuleta so much last season. Both of them have such a penetrating voice and you can feel the emotion and genuineness emanating from them. Most people (if they take enough vocal classes) can end up singing technically well. However, the kind of gift Danny and David possess is the kind that a singer can only be born with. It cannot be taught, nor can it be learned. It is there or it isn’t. That’s the kind of singer I want my American Idol to be.

  38. Take “Ring of Fire” for example. It was out of place in the good ol’ country week, perhaps even a bit disrespectfully so, but regardless of that it had an original and absolutely brilliant bloody vocal right there. However Simon ripped into it hard for stepping out of the invisible boundaries.

  39. Hawker,

    Respectfully, I disagree with what you wrote. If Adam were to go “all out,” to me anyway, that would denote “exhibitionism” and “role playing” more so than showing his vulnerabilities as a man. (BTW what a GREAT choice of word, MCL)

    Sometimes, perhaps most of the time, it’s the subtle moment(s) that speaks the loudest, and shows the truest and most accurate portrait of an individual.

    It’s not what you do when people are watching that defines you. It’s what you do when you think their not.

  40. “It’s not what you do when people are watching that defines you. It’s what you do when you think their not.”

    Well said, skid! A true American Idol is one off the stage as well! Being able to sing amazingly is very important, yes, but also doing your best to live an exemplary life for those who look up to you is vital as well.

  41. Quoted post:

    “Somebody summed up on another site just exactly how I feel about Adam and I find him so exciting to watch: ‘He just doesn’t sing the song, he becomes the song!'”

    My post:

    I totally agree with that! I am mostly okay with the fact that Adam has not yet seemed to bare his soul onstage. I enjoy watching him act out different things from week to week. It’s his forte, and that’s what he’s used to based on his theater experience.

    Even when he did Tracks of my Tears, I didn’t feel like he really bared it all. (No offense, Adam, if you’re reading this!)

    The weird thing is that I feel like so many singers who are NOT trained are great at baring it all, but many singers I can think of who ARE trained, aren’t as good at it. MCL, I’m sure you can come up with some who are trained and do bare it all emotionally, so maybe I’m wrong on this.

    At any rate, as I said, I’m mostly fine with Adam acting out different types of songs. I don’t ask to be “touched” in everything I see on stage. I ask to be entertained. And whether that is through seeing the essence of a singer’s soul, or whether it is through seeing the fabulousness of performances like Adam’s, I don’t really care.

    Oh, and on a slightly different topic – I wouldn’t say Don’t Speak is obscure either. But I was a teenager in the 90s, so…..make of that what you will.

  42. I suppose “Don’t Speak isn’t THAT obscure, but I just don’t consider it extremely well-known either. Honestly, I had never heard of it before. Still, maybe I’m just weird. LOL

  43. Allison’s tone does worry me, because she seems hoarse so much of the time. I watched some of her performances from earlier years, and she’s much more hoarse now than then. She’s too young to have that much ‘noise’ in her voice.

  44. Galen …not obscure in the least. “Don’t Speak” was released in 1997 topped the airplay charts for 16 weeks…was on the billboard singles charts for 63 weeks..It was nominated for two Grammies for both Song of the Year and Best Performance by a Dou or Group. It was off the album “Tragic Kingdom ” for which they were nominated for Album of the Year and Best New Artist and the album has sold 16 million copes worldwide.

  45. You know, I think I’m going to go back on what I said about Adam not leaving his soul on stage yet.

    Perhaps he has not left his overall soul on stage yet. But he sure left part of it on stage during his performance of Black and White.

    There were just so many lyrics in that song that pertained to what he was going through in the media that week. He basically got onstage and told everyone that he was equal, that no matter what dirt was kicked in his eyes, he wasn’t scared of anyone, and that he was second to none.

    And I’m proud of him for it.

  46. Woops. I meant “Black or White.” Not “Black and White.”

  47. Thanks for the information regarding “Don’t Speak”, rudy. I will concede to your point that it is not obscure. I guess I’m just not that crazy about it as a song. I guess my point about Allison is this. “Don’t Speak” may have been a record-breaking, very popular song, but that was WAY back in 1997. Therefore, I think it came off as obscure to me. I didn’t remember it. I wished that Allison would’ve sang a song from our current decade. Something more current and recognizable, you know? Take Matt Giraud for instance. His performance of “You Found Me” by the Fray wasn’t his best. However, he stayed out of the Bottom 3 this week because he picked a current song that nearly everyone was familiar with. I truly believe that song choice is one of the most important factors in this competition, if not the MOST important.

  48. kelsey wrote:

    Quoted post:

    “Somebody summed up on another site just exactly how I feel about Adam and I find him so exciting to watch: ‘He just doesn’t sing the song, he becomes the song!’”

    My post:

    I totally agree with that! I am mostly okay with the fact that Adam has not yet seemed to bare his soul onstage. I enjoy watching him act out different things from week to week. It’s his forte, and that’s what he’s used to based on his theater experience.

    Even when he did Tracks of my Tears, I didn’t feel like he really bared it all. (No offense, Adam, if you’re reading this!)

    The weird thing is that I feel like so many singers who are NOT trained are great at baring it all, but many singers I can think of who ARE trained, aren’t as good at it. MCL, I’m sure you can come up with some who are trained and do bare it all emotionally, so maybe I’m wrong on this.

    At any rate, as I said, I’m mostly fine with Adam acting out different types of songs. I don’t ask to be “touched” in everything I see on stage. I ask to be entertained. And whether that is through seeing the essence of a singer’s soul, or whether it is through seeing the fabulousness of performances like Adam’s, I don’t really care.

    Oh, and on a slightly different topic – I wouldn’t say Don’t Speak is obscure either. But I was a teenager in the 90s, so…..make of that what you will.

    I don’t think it’s so much that one can be a “trained” singer and not be able to “bare their soul” or that one can be an “untrained” singer and is able to make it look like they are “baring their soul.” I think either they do, or they don’t, and that is pretty much the long and short of it. There are many songs that warrant being performed for just their sheer entertainment value, and there are others that “miss the mark” to some degree unless the singer actually does connect to it when they are singing it.

    Take Elvis for example. Do you know, he never won a Grammy for any of his rock and roll hits, only for his Gospel music. Here he was, an icon, known for breaking barriers in rock and roll music, and never won a Grammy for the genre he is most well known for. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it? The truth is, Elvis was a Gospel singer at his core. Although not a Gospel song per se, but sung by Elvis with the intensity and intonations of Gospel, watch Elvis’ ’68 Comeback Special “If I Can Dream” performance. It is simply, pure magic. In my opinion, that was Elvis at his best. He so connects to that song that you can’t help but feel that connection when you hear him sing it. Now, to watch him perform it, that’s a treat. There’s only one other song in that special that he does that is done with as much sincerity, with as much heart and soul, and that is “Trying To Get To You.” In that song as well, there are “connotations” of being helped along in his journey by God, so…it does not surprise me that he performs it so beautifully. If you’ve ever watched those performances you KNOW Elvis felt them. Not for any other reason other than he really DID feel them, and that’s what makes them both so beautiful. You can always tell when a “performer” is faking an emotional response, or when they are hiding (from) one. But the real test of one’s character is when they feel vulnerable and they are willing to show that vulnerability. There’s nothing more beautiful, nor anything that leaves such a lasting impression as that.

    Respectfully, there are at least a hundred artist who can entertain me, and yes, Adam Lambert is one of them. But what I want is to see if Adam Lambert can move me. So far, he hasn’t, and to be honest, I don’t know if he’s willing to take that big a leap. I tend to think the guy is afraid of, well, himself. And with his talent, and what he could with that talent, that’s a real shame.

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