Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 9 Top 9 Part Two: The Music Of Elvis With Adam Lambert


This week, the very talented Season 8 American Idol Runner-Up, Adam Lambert, returns to act as a mentor for the Top 9 Semi-Finalists from Season 9. This week they will be celebrating the music of The King – Mr. Elvis Presley.

And, it promises to be quite the show! In order to immerse the singers in the music, Adam and this year’s crop of talented singers visited Las Vegas where they had a special viewing of Cirque de Soleil’s, “Viva Las Vegas“. And apparently, they had a blast!

And thanks to the Judges’ Save, we are in for another round of exciting Top 9 performances. The big guy with the bigger voice, Michael Lynche, was redeemed by the judging panel as worthy to continue on for another week.

And, boy, did he sing his heart out during last week’s Results Show. As if they weren’t going to use the save!  The guy is amazing.  This is what should have happened last season when Top 7 Finalist, Scott McIntyre, was eliminated in an untimely fashion.

So we move on to this week’s Top 9 Show Part 2 where the remaining singers -Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, Katie Stevens, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus and Tim Urban – as they attempt to capture the magic of last week’s performances.  Can that bottle hold more lightning? Let’s hope so.  I know that Adam will be extremely supportive and knowledgeable to the singers, so I am expecting big things this week.

Best of luck to the Top 9 Finalists and feel welcome to add your comments before, during and after the live telecast on Tuesday, April 13th.


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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 “Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 9 Top 9 Part Two: The Music Of Elvis With Adam Lambert”

  1. I, too, am looking forward to this week’s Idol. Maybe Adam will have rubbed off on each contestant in a VERY positive way. Although with this group, it is hard to say. After all, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Hopefully, ALL the contestants drank their fill and will deliver a performance that takes us by surprise. Here’s hoping! Best of luck to everyone and let’s make this one memorable in a good way!

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  2. While you’re on the topic of Adam, I thought I’d share this video from a concert Adam gave on Friday at River Rock Casino and Resort in Vancouver. I’m particularly fond of his improvisational skills:

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  3. Oh, I think Siobhan will do just fine! She’s already been told she is weird and funny. I think she’ll love the interaction with Adam! I simply cannot wait!

    I might mention that Tim is certainly not boring. Regardless of what some may think of his singing, I think Adam would like the fact that Tim wasn’t afraid to interact with the audience and move about the stage.

    Yes, I do think this will be a POSITIVE experience with Adam as mentor and ELVIS PRESLEY as themed music! :smile:

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  4. I found an article about the contestants’ rehearsals for tonight’s show . . .

    http://tvwatch.people.com/2010/04/13/american-idols-top-9-get-ready-for-performance-night/

    Now I’m REALLY curious!!!

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  5. I wouldn’t count on Adam being blown away by Tim. He said that he will have to be careful, because he tends to be quite honest. But he will see Tim for who he is. I am sure Adam will be gracious and give great advice to each of the contestants, but this is a guy who has had years of vocal training, tons of stage and theater experience and really understands all the elements of performance. He knows what it’s all about.

    I am really hoping that Adam can give Siobhan some words of wisdom. I think she could use it right about now. He will hear the brilliance and potential in her voice and maybe throw in a few nuggest of vocal technical suggestions.

    Louise,

    Thanks for that link to the People article. I must say that the hints from rehearsals are very tantalizing, to say the least. I was thinking that Aaron might do well with an early Elvis uptempo number and it appears that this is what he is going to do. I had a few in mind, “Good Luck Charm”, which has a nice little country vibe to it, maybe even “Return to Sender”. I see Tim doing “Teddy Bear”. That will be perfect for him, since he never connects emotionally to any song he sings. The perfect, cute early Elvis number that the teens should love.

    I am thinking someone should do “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care”. It might work for Casey or even the likes of Tim, Andrew or Aaron. I think “Kentucky Rain” or “Mystery Train” might be a good one for either Casey or Lee. I want to hear Mike do “Love Me Tender”. It’a s big risk, but he is the only one who has the voice for that song. But he has to keep it simple, sincere, no silly shtick or posing. Just sing the heart out of the song. I have been listening to Elvis on youtube and it’s been such a trip down memory lane. There is a clip of him from the 50’s singing “Love Me Tender” that reduced me to tears. After listening to many of his great songs, I can say that there will only be one King forever and always.

    I am glad that Elvis is being celebrated this way. God bless him and r.i.p.!

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  6. Sorry, meant to say thrown in some NUGGETS of vocal technical suggestions!

    Right now I am listening to Elvis singing “All Shook Up”. Aah, so very, very good! This would also be a great choice for someone like Aaron, Tim or maybe Andrew. But no one can do it like the King. This has been the best part of having Elvis theme.

    We were really lucky to have him in our lives!

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  7. Was I the only one to be disappointed in the show tonight?

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  8. Wasn’t a great show tonight. Was banking on a great show, but it was just so-so.

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  9. I am in agreement with louise and MCL. Not a great show. I am ready to explode over the judges and their comments, especially Kara and Simon. I honestly do not have a clue as to what they are hearing, if they are listening at all.

    Both Katie and Siobhan are apparently being thrown under the bus in favor of Crystal. I just thought a lot of the comments seemed canned, almost rehearsed, as though they knew what they were going to say in advance. They are obviously pimping their particular favorites and that’s unfortunate for the others.

    Crystal – this was a solid, safe performance, not spectacular, and not her best. Think “Me and Bobby McGee”. She loses those lower notes and gets kind of breathy and in my notes I also wrote “enunciate”. She tends to lose the words at times without pronouncing them clearly. She is the obvious favorite here and, as I think I have said before, she could get up there and sing scales and the judges would praise it to the heavens. I have this feeling that she is playing it somewhat safe, both this week and last week.

    Andrew – I actually felt sorry for him after the judges pretty much picked him to pieces. It’s not enought to sit there and say – come on, it’s Elvis, or – I didn’t like what you did with it. These judges are just full of baloney! What did they want Andrew to do with the song – sing it just like Elvis in that fast, uptempo style? We all know what they would have said if he had done that – copycat! So it’s a no-win situation for Andrew. They just were basically telling him to go home. I don’t know that this song was ever going to work, even though it has a very limited range which would work for Andrew. Maybe he should have kept the guitar. I think they have just sucked the life out of this guy. Maybe he wasn’t ever going to win, but give the guy some dignity at least! Can anyone see how upset I am with the judges?

    Tim – I honestly don’t know what to say. The judges loved it, but this is a beautiful love song and I did not feel any of that emotion. Tim’s phrasing is not good, he made the song sound positively insipid and there seemed to be nothing real about it. I will say that he stayed mostly on pitch, and has a nice lower range. I am glad that he didn’t do the falsetto at the end.

    Lee – I thought this was much better than last week. I have never loved “A Little Less Conversation” even when Elvis did it. Lee rearranged it and I don’t know that I loved it. He wasn’t as off pitch as last week. I just think he’s straining his vocals at this point. He still seems kind of tense and nervous on stage, but the judges love him.

    Aaron – I realize that he wanted to try to go uptempo, but I am not sure if “Blue Suede Shoes” was the right way to do it. One thing he said that concerned me is that he didn’t know if it was right for him. If you don’t believe it, then the audience won’t, either. I think that is what happened to him. He wasn’t really comfortable with it and it showed in his performance, althought he tried valiantly and gave it a good effort.

    Siobhan – I don’t know if I would have chosen “Suspicious Minds” for her. She started off slow in her lower register, which doesn’t always come across clear and then I like the crescendo and the intensity of the vocals and the high power notes. Sorry, Simon, she DID hit those notes! So there! But Kara and Simon just do not like anything she does and that’s pretty much it. Kara is like a broken record – again saying I just don’t get it! Well, Kara, what do you want her to sing, because you didn’t like it when she went soft, restrained and lovely last week! I could see the frustration on Siobhan’s face, because now it’s obvious that the judges are just playing with her mind. I loved her interaction with Adam!

    Mike – This was perfection! I didn’t necessarily want him to do this song, but he managed to convey the meaning of it, the emotion, it was beautiful. He was restrained, stripped down, simple and I loved it. What is with this word “sleepy” that I am hearing from the judges? In other words, if you scream and sing over the top then that’s okay? When did soft, restrained, pulled back vocals get to be “sleepy”? Every great singer has done songs like this, from Frank Sinatra to Tony Bennett to Judy Garland to Barbra Streisand, all the greats. It’s called performing! I can recall these great singers just sitting on a stool or on the stage, under one spotlight with a mic and just singing a beautiful, hushed, soft song. Honestly, tonight I just wanted to put the sound on mute when the judges spoke. All of my frustration is just boiling over. I know that this wasn’t the greatest night of performances, but I would like to see the judges make some sense, be consistent and not phone in their critiques.

    Katie – Well, thank you girl! Yes to the judges – “Baby, What You Want From Me?” Good way to get her own anger and frustration out. She has sass, attitude and her vocals are really coming into their own. In some places she still sounded sharp, but overall her vocals are more on pitch and more confident. I think both Katie and Siobhan are being thrown under the bus by the judges.

    Casey – I did not like this song choice at all. This was a big step back as far as I am concerned. Casey’s vocals sounded off pitch throughout and he has a vibrato or sound that seems like a goat. Sorry, but that’s all how it sounds to me. This was not the Casey that was so great last week.

    So who goes home? I think Andrew most likely. I am not sure about who else will go. I am thinking maybe Aaron.

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  10. My favorites (in order of performance, not necessarily rank) were: Crystal, Lee, and Mike.

    Crystal’s clearly still sick; I can definitely hear it. (She also coughed while her numbers were being given.) Still, she has this authentic lived-in quality to her phrasing that really elevates her singing in my mind. I just feel that she embodies the songs she sings; she is the character she’s singing about! Crystal conveys effortless believability and musicality, and I can’t emphasize how singular that quality is. I can say, as a singer, that the ability to sound completely “natural,” conversational, and real, rather than overly coached and manicured, eludes many people.

    I actually really liked Lee’s bluesy turn in “A Little Less Conversation.” He was definitely much more in tune, and I actually thought his diaphragmatic support was pretty solid this week. Probably the least amount of push in his voice ever; one of his best vocals. He got the grit in a way that wasn’t taxing on his vocal cords; I heard very little constriction this week. (Especially compared to last week, where as MCL noted, he pushed his voice on some of the tricky intervals). I like his personality a lot too, even though it doesn’t quite come out in his singing. He’s adorable!

    Mike’s vocal was beautiful, rich, and expressive. Sensitive. What can I say? Definitely one of the bright spots of the night. I’m so glad that Mike was saved just so we could have a performance like this. This performance ended much too soon for me, but it was wonderfully sung and memorable.

    *

    I liked Adam’s honesty a lot; I don’t think any mentor has ever admitted to thinking a performance was boring! I like that about Adam. And I really liked Adam’s enthusiastic clapping in the audience; he really seemed proud of the contestants and was genuinely rooting for them! (And not to be negative about Miley Cyrus, but when she was on the show, she wasn’t even trying; she looked completely bored and was chewing gum the whole time! Oy.)

    I have to agree with Adam on Andrew. Andrew’s tone completely lacked dimension and overtones, and he somehow made this upbeat song boring. Also, Andrew serves as an illustration of strain versus healthily done grit. Most of Andrew’s grit is strain or tension. (You can tell by listening to the underlying sound, the level of the vocal folds. Underlying much of Lee’s singing this week was this clarity, which comes from singing in a free, released fashion. Andrew, on the other hand, “creaks” a lot [that crackly sound], which means he’s not centered in his mix, and the “high class” note that he sung when his numbers first flashed on screen was definitely constricted, for example.) I agree, though, that at this point, Andrew’s just taken so much of a beating that it’s a bit ridiculous. At least he’s trying! I like Andrew a lot as a person (and I liked his YouTube covers that I saw!), and I really wished this season turned out differently for him. I thought there were some weeks that Andrew deserved more credit from the judges, but at the same time, I also understand that Andrew’s not performing at the expected level.

    I completely agree with Mindy’s comments on Aaron. I applaud him for his effort, and I like his potential. Aaron doesn’t have nearly the swagger of Elvis, of course, but I like Aaron for his sincerity.

    Katie gets an honorable mention from me! There were a few sharp spots as Mindy noted, and some of the very top notes were constricted, but I like that we’re getting more sass and genuine emotion from Katie. She’s breaking through that pageant image and showing more rawness in her delivery. Definitely a good step for her.

    I really felt Casey’s emotion last week; that performance was excellent. This week, Casey is back to his modest, respectable, but not particularly noteworthy efforts. I agree that his overly fast vibrato is distracting (I noticed this even from “Heaven”), but for some inexplicable reason, something about Casey makes me want to like him. I don’t know why. His vocal ability isn’t particularly remarkable, but there’s just something about Casey that’s very… unassuming, I suppose. Gaining more technical skill would definitely help him be more versatile in his delivery and show more nuance and dynamic range. Adam gave excellent advice when he talked about Casey’s performance needing more of an “arc”; this is a really important aspect of musicality and interpretation—this sense of movement and direction in phrases.

    Honestly, I’m on the fence about Siobhan’s performance. As a Siobhan fan and someone who appreciates her despite her technical shortcomings (because of her fearlessness and raw talent!), I thought it was a really good vocal for her. Siobhan was very musical in her phrasing (as always!). I love her expressiveness and the clear passion she has for singing. Her lower register was focused. And the highest notes were in tune. I actually really like how she didn’t overdo the twang on the highest head voice notes; the balance was just right. In my opinion, she didn’t sound noticeably shrill on the F5-G5 run at all. And the ending—the whole “I love you too much, baby” segment—was beautiful.

    At the same time, I can see how this performance wouldn’t do anything for people whose vocal pet peeves are Siobhan’s main shortcomings. The same issues as before—(1) the lack of twang in her lower register and (2) her underdeveloped heavy mix range—pop up again. The first issue makes Siobhan’s lower range very polarizing, so the fact that the first half of the song was mainly in this part of her range means that some people are going to like it, and others just won’t. For me, Siobhan’s musicality saved her lower register from being completely “flat and uninteresting” (MJ’s words), but the lack of bright overtones (some of which come from twang) will make her voice sound “flat” (as in lacking in dimension) to some people. In terms of the second issue, the highest notes (the F5-G5 run) were head voice, and the really brassy “whoa” did not sound completely released, which tends to happen when she tries to sing full around a D5 or higher.

    In terms of pitch, most of the high notes were in tune. The “never” note wasn’t, though; was it? I think it was in between a C#5 and D5, and I’m pretty sure it was supposed a D5 (based on the key), which it really was far from being. The “whoa”s were in tune, but she slid into the first really brassy one, which might bother some people. (I think the “never” note and the brassy “whoa” note are what MJ was referring to as “pitchy.” It’s eerie that MJ’s comment on the performance really mirrored Simon’s, but was written before Simon commented.)

    Still Siobhan’s pure head voice is really pretty, and she’s very musical. She loves music, clearly, and pours her heart into her performances. And when she connects with the right song, she has so many interesting vocal aspects to offer. I do wish that Simon would try to be more positive in his comments and commend Siobhan’s strengths. Maybe Simon’s just forgotten how difficult it is to be Siobhan’s age? Talent like Siobhan’s really needs to be cultivated. Being fresh out of her teens means she’s still in a time of insecurity, and what Siobhan needs is affirmation for what she’s doing right, which Simon’s been withholding the last few weeks. (This really reminds me of Didi’s commenting situation. *sighs*) It saddens me that we probably won’t see Siobhan’s potential unfold completely in this season; I really don’t think she’ll be able to figure out the two above issues on her own. She needs a vocal coach and/or guidance. Still, the fact that she still has areas to improve doesn’t mean that we should ignore all the talent she already possesses.

    *

    Lastly, I agree with Mindy that Tim’s phrasing needs a lot of work. The phrasing at the beginning was particularly fragmented; he breathed after nearly every word. I wonder if nerves were partly to blame because his tone sounded much smoother with Adam. I think there were spots in this performance that were pretty, but I completely understand ambivalent responses to this performance. I didn’t really understand the positive judges’ comments the first time around (especially since some versions of this song are absolutely beautiful), but to give Tim credit, the performance got better with repeat listens (for me anyway).

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  11. In the spirit of spreading more positive comments, I wanted to add that I like the melodic twists Tim took (even though he wasn’t quite spot on pitch in spots), and the “take my hand, take my whole life” segment, where he backed off of the twang, was quite pretty. I definitely think the song picks up after the start; the phrasing becomes more connected. And on repeat listens, I do like parts, particularly the ending. (There are other parts, where if you paused or ended the performance there, I wouldn’t be so positive, but Tim certainly ended well.)

    As for Andrew, I applaud his effort. He is trying to change things up. Not only did he listen to Adam’s advice concerning the arrangement, he also responded to the judges’ criticism by trying to adjust every week, and it’s a shame that his efforts go unacknowledged. I must say, it must also be very difficult for Andrew: going from early frontrunner to the tail end of the pack. He certainly has many fans (his YouTube followers). I think he needs to connect with the right song choices, ones that minimize his technical deficiencies, and that hasn’t been happening for the most part. I think Andrew really does have something to work with—if only he could get some vocal training to learn how to create his sound in a non-breathy way. His current sound lacks resonance, and when he tries to sing full, he constricts. But the idea of his tone is lovely. Such a shame!

    And rewinding to last week, I really like Casey’s “Jealous Guy” performance. The emotion and phrasing were amazing. He sang the lyrics as though he had written them, as though he were actually talking to someone. The vocal imperfections were there, but he transcended them. I’d love to see Casey reach this level of performance again. Even if he doesn’t, I’m glad he gave us that one performance.

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  12. Elvis is number one in my book and there were several performances I enjoyed last night. Adam did a nice job mentoring and I think he had a good time. I loved his interactions with all three girls, especially Siobhan. I hope he told her to ignore Simon as much as possible.

    J, I like your complete analysis of Siobhan performance. You explained everything clearly and thoroughly. I just get so angry at Simon and Kara. I think after Siobhan’s response to labeling I think Kara may ease up. To keep saying she’s confused shows how totally out of it she is. There aren’t two Siobhan’s, but one very talented young lady! I have no hopes for Simon. He is being cruel with his analysis. Why does he do these things? Is his affection for Crystal over-riding his sense of decency?

    I was please with Mike and thought he added dimension and emotion to his song. Adam told him to go for the dramatic, and it worked. Katie did a nice job and I don’t think she should fear going home. Crystal was also a favorite of mine.

    Tim’s performance last week was so much better; however, I think the word is out about his missionary work in Africa and helping out in the community. They want him to be on IGB next week. I liked his song choice but not his delivery.Was he sick or just plain nervous?

    I also feel Casey’s overly fast vibrato is distracting. He had this problem last week where it sound like he’s singing into a fan. I remember Matt had this goat-type vibrato and I don’t know what he can do to get rid of it.

    Neither Andrew nor Aaron delivered and will more than likely go home. They are fortunate to have gotten as far as they did and can look forward to the tour. I am looking forward to the tribute for Elvis. I hope the group sings as well as they did for the Beatles theme.

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  13. My fav’s for last night…Adam!!!

    I thought Adam did a wonderful job mentoring, and I loved his very first comment to the kids about his credentials to mentor, that basically he has none, but, he has been exactly where they are! I found him to very open and honest. I can not wait til’ tonight, to
    hear him sing! :-)

    My fav’s for the night, Lee, Crystal, Katy, Tim (I know, I can’t beleive I’m saying it either, but, I think these last two are the most improved for me). I agree with the comment that Tim sounded much better in his session with Adam than he did live!

    As I was watching last night, I realized just how hard Elvis is to sing…Elvis had such a distinct sound and style, that for the most part it is hard to take one of his songs and make them sound good! I know that there is the exception to this rule, but for these kids, I thought that last nights theme must have been one of the hardest for them so far, especially with some of the song choices.

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  14. cookie monster April 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Hey guys! Well, I too did not fully enjoy yesterday’s show. Adam was the only “thing” keeping me glued to the tv! I thought he was brilliant with his observations and advice. He always seems to know what to say and everything he said about the contestants was bang on. And yes I loved also that he said he had no mentoring credentials. Some of them didn’t seem to take some of his advice???? or so it seemed. Too bad. He knows his stuff! As for the performers here is my ranking:
    Crystal #1 – but even as my top choice, she didn’t wow me. Nobody did.
    Mike #2
    Siobhan #3 – sorry, but I loved her despite what the judges say. And KAra just angers me…what the hell is confusing about Siohban??? What are you coonfused about! Give me a break!!! I’m glad Siobhan spoke up for herself. I listened to her high note and she WAS a bit off on it but BIG DEAL! The rest was amazing (and even that one note was bearable…).
    Lee #4 – I loved that Adam said he was great except for his facial expression – nothing there! He still looks like a deer caught in headlights but he sounded ok tonight.
    Katie #5 – I thought she sounded good. What did Simon hear??? I might even put her before Lee now that I think about it.
    Tim #6 – I did like his performance last night but do agree with Mindy (I think it was Mindy) who mentioned the phrasing. With better phrasing he would have emoted the song a bit better, but I liked it and I loved what Adam told him to do (although I thought Tim was going to do more head voice than he actually did, based on what Adam told him to try)
    Lee #7 – I was sitting there rooting for him and I really wanted him to do better, but he was just boring. I still like the quality of his voice but he sang MUCH better and performed better last week.
    Aaron #8 – he just does not look like an idol to me. As he was singing I wanted him to loosen up a bit more. If our going to dress like Elvis, try to move a little more like him (although no one can actually move like the great Elvis…). Aaron’s voice was ok on this song but he should have listened to Adam a little more and put even more of an edge on it.
    Andrew #9 – needs to go
    I’m afraid someone good is going to go home tonight…
    Baby is crying…gotta go

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  15. “I feel like you guys are picking up on this like, SIobhan has two voices: the first part of that performance as one voice, and the second is kind of like this crazy screaming thing…” when Kara said this I wanted to scream, “You’re the one who is thinking of Siobhan that way, not Ellen or Randy! Get real!”

    I’m just so frustrated at the judging, I can’t remember much of the singing part anymore. :( And if she really find’s Siobhan’s performances “confusing”, can she explain why?

    I feel sad for Siobhan. They told her to stop screaming (or screeching), and when she did, it came off as ‘boring’ and ‘confusing’. When she decides to go a notch higher again, it becomes erratic. JUDGES, PLEASE MAKE UP YOUR MIND… or just shut up. :(

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  16. Good morning everyone. I am back at work now and will try to get the Vocal Masterclass article up as soon as possible.

    However, all of you made extremely valid comments and it looks like we are hearing and seeing the same thing. (applause)

    That being said, I am becoming very frustrated over the the judges’ treatment of Siobhan. They clearly feel that she is a threat to Crystal and, with Katie, they are still on the fence so she is still receiving some well-deserved kudos.

    However, Crystal has not grown throughout this show – totally comfortable and a laissez-faire attitude because the judges are pimping her until the cows come home. The contracts must already be inked and they are using the Idol platform like a promotional machine for her.

    I. don’t. get. it!

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  17. One more thing about Siobhan. Why the confusion, Kara? She is a multi-dimensional artist and taps int0 a depth of creativity many of the others can only dream of!

    I guess Barbra Steisand would have been confusing, correct? Too bad that whole famous thing happened to her- I guess all her fans are confusing as well. Yes, we are walking around in a daze and wondering why we love “Babs”! I think it’s because she has something called TALENT!

    Many great artists are eccentric – this is what defines them and sets them apart from the others. (sheesh)

    And Siobhan falls into this category. American Idol should be embracing her, not sending her to the gallows! But, of course, they already went that route with Adam last year, so once was enough. I thought, by doing so, they were elevating their thinking process for future singers, but I guess not! Ridiculous!

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  18. Have to say that as a casual listener Siobhan as we say in Jamaica “nuh ready yet” I think her immense potential is causing people to see more than what is actually there at this time. Her singing to me is just all over the place and my friend who dropped by during idol said the same thing. The notion that she is being thrown under the bus is a silly frankly because when the was good in the first few weeks top 24, 20 etc the judges were in her corner. I can remember them telling Crystal that Siobhan was better than her in her “paint it black” performance. Siobhan needs to stop falling into the “Lil” trap stop being so defensive and dig deep. Go back to some of those passionate performances that she used to give. Just my two cents.

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  19. Oops, it’s supposed to be finds not ‘find’s’. XD

    I also noticed that they seem to judge the performances on whether it sounds “current” or something that can be “heard on the radio” which is funny, because there’s nothing current about the Rolling Stones, Elvis, and Beatles at all (or maybe it’s just because they were before my time? Haha). If they want to hear “current” songs maybe they should just let the contestants be Autotuned or something. LOL

    Okay I’m ranting. Ain’t this a cute screencap though? :P http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff25/solbay2/Siobhan%20Magnus/untitled-3.jpg (Siobhan and Adam)

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  20. Solidarity- thanks for the screen cap -it is now featured in my Results Show thread and I did credit you!

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  21. Just noticed I put Lee as #7 when it should have been Casey. Oops. Just wanted to make one more comment about Siobhan – she does need to grow more, she is young BUT at this stage of the game, if SHE’s “nuh ready yet” then NOBODY else (except for Michael) is. And maybe that’s the case. We have a group of nine who are raw (yes even Crystal) Everyone seems to have their flaws but you have to admit that the judges are harder on some of the contestants than others – and unrightfully so. They are hard on Siobhan (and others). So yes it does APPEAR that Siobhan is being thrown under the bus in that regards – it’s not too silly to say that. She is much more polished than most of the singers up there. And she is entertaining! She works the audience well as well as the cameras. She’s comfy in what she is doing.
    NOW on the flip side, and I’ll start by saying I do have somewhat of a musical back ground and can appreciate Siobhan’s voice and artistry (geeze, even on a bad day she sounds good!!) the everyday, casual listener – like my husband (no musical background or musicality what so ever! HA!) who was watching it with me was not impressed by her. BUT agrees that the judges were harsh with her when others were much worse than her.
    I love what J said about her and I totally agree.

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  22. MCL,

    What can I say? You really said it all so passionately. I read back my comments and wonder if I should have waited until I was a little less emotional. As many can see, I was positively furious with the judges in a way that I have not been in a long while. It has been building up for weeks now and it’s not just about Siobhan. It’s about their whole attitude, the way they fall back on cliches that don’t really say anything at all. No constructive criticism, just – I don’t get it! That’s what Siobhan has to take from all of her hard work! Whether she sings softly and restrained or sings full out loud, or starts slowly and then builds to a crescendo, it’s still – I don’t get it! Wonderfully articulate!

    I was a substitute teacher about ten years ago and last night got me thinking about why I may be reacting so strongly. As a teacher, you have to correct students when they are wrong, but also give them some positive reinforcement so that they won’t get discouraged. I was remembering how I tried to give them their dignity, even when they did poorly on a test or with their homework. Of course, this is not necessarily analogous to what goes on with Idol. There it’s more like survival of the fittest. But last night I really felt a good deal of empathy for Andrew, who looked completely defeated, Aaron, who looked like he was ready to burst into tears, Siobhan, who looked defiant but couldn’t quite hide the hurt in her eyes and Katie, who yelled back at the judges – What You Want From Me?, the title of the song she had just performed.

    Somehow it all hit me very hard. I don’t think we are seeing judging, as much as seeing people with very specific commercial agendas. That’s understandable up to a point. It’s all about the music business and the judges are looking for the most marketable, potentially commercially successful singers. But if you damage a young person’s self-esteem or trash their dream, that’s not okay with me. I have come to terms with the fact that Siobhan is not going to do well in this competition. She is trying to explore her unique vocal gift, but this isn’t the place in which she can do that.

    J summed up quite well what was going on with Siobhan’s performance. She read what was said by MJ and others. They are still hearing those problems with Siobhan’s lower register and her high notes. I do understand why some don’t like the sound she has, but I love it. I just listened to her again twice, while I am writing this. I concentrated again on the end of the song. The only thing I heard that might be off was when she sang the words – love you. That is where I thought I heard something that might be off pitch.

    J – let me know if that is what you were talking about. I listened to the “whoa’s” and they sounded okay, but I am not positive. I go for voices that are different, unique, unusual. But then I was always someone who heard things in a way that most people did not.

    One thing that I want to be really clear about, is that in no way do I think that either Crystal or Lee or undeserving or not talented enough. They are both extremely good singers with enormous talent. I just resent the blatant overpraising from the judges. When I listened to Crystal again, I thought she was shouting some of the notes. While she is always consistently good, this was not one of my favorite performances from her. Lee actually sounded better when I listened with my eyes closed. J is right. His vocals were really good. I guess that I worry that he is straining, maybe singing from the throat, because of the sound he produces. It’s what makes him sound so great. I think Adam was right when he told him to smile and be more animated. I think that it was the lack of performance value that might have interfered with my enjoyment of his vocals last night.

    I heard Andrew again and it was even worse the second time. He just really got lost and never found his way. I don’t know that he was ever going to be a serious contender, but my heart still goes out to him. I thought Aaron sounded better when I listened with my eyes closed and that just confirms my feeling that it was the performance, his lack of belief and confidence, that did him in. There was a look in his eyes when they were announcing his numbers, that kind of hurt my heart. I hate seeing a young man look so scared.

    When I listened to Tim again, I heard some off pitch notes, but that wasn’t what ruined this for me. I can see why people like him, because he comes across well, seems like a really nice guy, has a certain charm and appeal. But I have to say it like it is – he took the life out of that song. The phrasing was the worst part of it. You don’t always know how important it is until you hear it done badly. I happen to love this song so much. It has a great deal of meaning for me and I didn’t hear any connection with the powerful words in this song. I need that from a singer. I don’t know why the judges were so enthusiastic, but I think it’s just as wrong to criticize someone too harshly as it is to praise them too much. This was not all that good.

    I don’t know if I want to keep watching. I am really disillusioned. I don’t think anything that Siobhan does will make a difference with the judges. They will keep on trashing her and I don’t know if I want to see that. Once you put that seed of doubt in someone’s mind, then they will have problems. Even though Siobhan is putting on a brave face, I don’t think she is okay with what she is hearing. If I were in her shoes, I would have no idea what to sing and how to sing it. I have made my peace with the fact that she won’t do as well as I had hoped. I just want her to come out of this with her dignity and respect intact.

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  23. If only I weren’t tied up (metaphorically, of course) for the next few hours, I’d respond now! I’m really loving the discussion for last night’s show. I always love the discussion, but really, last night drew out some very articulate and thoughtful comments from the visitors to this site for sure!

    I hope to eventually respond in some way or another to: Kariann1‘s post after me, kammy‘s post, cookie monster‘s second post, Mindy‘s post directly above me, and also MCL’s post. (I’m glad we’re on the same page! ;))

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  24. Sorry, a slight correction – the title of Katie’s song was “What You Want Me to Do”.

    One additional comment about Adam as a mentor – he was fantastic! I thought he stepped up and managed to focus like a laser on each contestant’s particular areas that could use some improvement. His advice was not always heeded, with unfortunate results. He conducted himself with just the right amount of honesty, caring, and a real desire to see these young people do their very best. If anyone had any doubts, Adam answered them! Great job!

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  25. There have been some wonderful posts here. And Mindy, I so understand where you are coming from about Siobhan. She looks so hurt when they make ridiculous criticisms of her singing. I was really pleased that she stood up for herself last night. I also have come to terms with the fact that she’s probably not going to go as far as I’d hoped. But she has a beautiful voice and I hope she has a very successful musical career.

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  26. louise,

    Yes, I am resigned to Siobhan’s fate. It helps that I also like Crystal, Lee and Mike, so at least there are others that I can support. But it’s becoming too painful to watch.

    When I watched my recording again today, I caught something that I had forgotten about. At the end of Simon’s rather scathing critique of Siobhan’s performance, Ryan asked him point blank what suggestion he might have for how she should sing. Now that was a clear opportunity for Simon to give some thoughtful advice and guidance. Instead, he just reminded everyone of the obvious – that it was Elvis week. Wow! Thanks for that Simon! Then he said that she didn’t choose the right song for this theme. That was pretty much it. So Simon opted out of giving Siobhan some legitimate, constructive criticism, which reinforces my belief that he just wants her gone. He was “outed”, so to speak.

    Without any guidance or help from the judges, Siobhan is pretty much on her own. I am pleased that she spoke up. I realize that it’s usually a big no-no to do that, but in this instance I think it was justified. It’s for her own pride and self-esteem. If she stays this week, then I don’t see it getting any better. Kara and especially Simon, seem to feel that Siobhan is a threat to their plan for Crystal to be the one female who gets through to the finals. When judges use code words and specific phrases, that’s when it’s time to get suspicious. Kara says she doesn’t get it, no matter how Siobhan sing. Kara is “confused”. What does that mean? For the viewing audience, it has a negative connotation, which is precisely why Kara continues to use it. The judges are sending a message to the audience at home. For people who are not sure or who may be not sure about Siobhan, this given them a reason to reject her. The words “I don’t get it” also have a good deal of impact. It means that the singer isn’t communicating, isn’t getting across to the judges. Not good.

    I am not saying that this is all one big conspiracy. It’s not that sophisticated. It’s just a not very subtle way of sabotaging a singer. It would be better for Siobhan to be gone, as far as Simon is concerned. I think it all started with Simon’s utter dismissal of Siobhan’s performance of “House of the Rising Sun”. I don’t think anyone would think that this was anything but a brilliant, mesmerizing performance. Why would Simon deliberately trash such a superior effort? This performance really got everyone’s attention. So it’s fair to think that Simon has his own agenda.

    On the one hand, I want Siobhan to go far enough to assure her of getting the most opportunities possible. But on the other hand, I am worried about how she will hold up. There is no question in my mind that Simon has gotten into her head. I did notice that Randy and Ellen were much more favorable in their critiques. The problem is with Kara and Simon. I just wish I understood why they think that they have to work so hard to undermine Siobhan. Is she getting that many votes? The fact that their critiques are so arbitrarily negative, no matter how or what Siobhan sings, would indicate that maybe this is the case.

    I can only hope that Adam was able to give Siobhan some encouragement and words of wisdom. He said that she has the pipes. So is Adam a fool? Does he not know what he is talking about? I would think he knows a great voice when he hears it. There was a time when voices like Siobhan’s were celebrated. Being a teenager in the 60’s and having such great music, I got used to listening to great singers with diverse voices. People seem to be afraid of anything that is different or not easily categorized or labelled. What a shame.

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  27. Sorry, some more typos in my last post. I meant to say – for people who are not sure about Siobhan, this gives them a reason to reject her.

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  28. Mindy,
    I just did a little web-surfing and found quite a few articles very critical of Kara’s and Simon’s comments about Siobhan last night. I also looked on the AI Forum and see that Siobhan has far more views than most of the others. It infuriates me every year when the judges try to sway the voting to their favorites. Up to now, it hasn’t bothered me too much because I also like Crystal and Michael too. I hope that Siobhan has enough fans to keep voting for her IN SPITE of the comments of Kara and Simon. I remember that Simon’s comments backfired in Season 5 when Taylor won! But then they did very little to help him afterwards.

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  29. louise,

    I haven’t read a too much online. I’ve been too upset. I am still feeling kind of down, but when I come here and read the beautiful comments from you and others, then I feel a lot better.

    I feel the same as you. I have been able to deal with the judges and their pimping, because I have others that I like. Crystal, Lee and Mike are my other favorites, but Siobhan is number one. Something just snapped in me last night, because it was so obvious and blatant. They might as well have told Siobhan to go home and not waited for tonight’s double elimination. That was the message, loud and clear.

    I remember how Simon felt about Taylor. But Taylor was old enough at 29, smart, savvy and confident, to just kind of brush him off. He handled Simon beautifully. No, they couldn’t stop Taylor from winning, but they sure did him no favors afterwards! But Taylor is still working, doing his thing and seems to have a great attitude about his career and life.

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  30. Thank you for all the wonderful comments about Siobhan. It is heart-warming to hear these things. She is such a talented, sweet young lady with such a wonderful voice. Yes, a vocal coach could improve the quality and tone, but she is like a diamond in the rough.

    So happy to hear MCL is questioning the judgement of Kara and Simon. Kara may see the light, but I have very little hope for Simon.

    Mindy, sending along *HUGS* and telling you I felt the exact same way! I am sure Siobhan was one of the top vote getters. It would be awesome for her to get to the TOP 3 so the show can visit her home town. It is such a lovely area; I hope this happens for her!

    I don’t think anyone would think that this was anything but a brilliant, mesmerizing performance.

    This is probably my favorite performance of the season!

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  31. House of the Rising Sun.

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  32. I love reading everybody’s comments here. Now if only we could get Siobhan to read this… :D

    I’m just not ready to give up on Siobhan winning the whole thing–or maybe just making it to the finals. I want her to win so badly, I liked Jason Castro back then, but for me Siobhan is… on a different level.

    @MCL – thanks! I was just trying to find something positive out of the show last night when I took a screencap of Siobhan and Adam… :)

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  33. I am a new poster here but have read MCL’s reviews as well as the discussion forum for several seasons. I have learned a lot and enjoyed both very much. I find myself talking to you guys under my breath way to often, so if you thought you heard a strange voice, it may have been me. Thanks so much for the effort each of you put into this very informative site.

    I am an unabashed Siobhan fan. If I was 20 to 25 and single I’m sure I would be head over heels in love with her, but I’m in more of a position to be her grandfather! I like everything about this unique young woman and find her fascinating as well as immensely gifted. I do what is in my power to help her be successful. The first thing is voting! In past seasons I voted proportionately for several singers depending on how much I liked them. This year I have decided that my past strategy was flawed and that I should concentrate my efforts on my favorite singer. There are groups that are capable of out voting a yestertech old man like me, but one thing is certain, if I don’t vote the singer of THEIR choice will surely win. Glee should have distracted the tweeners sufficiently this week for me to get a head start so I took advantage of it. The other thing that I do is to buy the iTunes downloads of my “dawg.” I have to believe that a singer with high sales figures at iTunes will get more respect from the Idol staff than one who doesn’t. Visiting their site at AI (rather than You Tube) and watching the videos has to help as well. Let’s not resign ourselves to Siobhan, or any other young singer that you may support, loosing. I take a lot of ribbing from my friends and family members for my rabid support and you can too! Get out the vote!! BTW, last week the phone lines were open way past two hours. This week they closed right on time, so don’t stop until you repeatedly get busy signals.

    On the second point, if you haven’t been downloading some of these songs you are missing out. The first two are the live performance that you heard on TV. The later ones are full length studio versions of the same song. In my opinion, the studio versions have very little massaging done to them and, even though they are different, still reflect some of the problem areas that each singer has. For example, Siobhan’s studio version of Through The Fire still has the problem areas that we all heard and J detailed in her post the day after that performance, but believe it or not, it is the very best of her downloads, again IMHO. The nuance she puts into her singing is a joy to listen too. I’m looking forward to watching her grow in her professional career. Lunar Valve’s loose will be our gain.

    MCL, I commend you for pointing out her strengths in the Through The Fire “showcase” and for your spot on comparison of Siobhan to an early Barbara Streisand. Wow, I hadn’t really considered it prior to you writing your review. Obviously Siobhan’s gift isn’t developed to the same level but the artistry, nuance and musicality she possesses is reminiscent of the one whose voice is like butta. I usually refer to someone’s musicality as them “having the music in them,” to paraphrase Kiki Dee. I love those little glimpses that we get to see of the mentoring sessions or the studio recording sessions. I couldn’t help noticing the stark contrast between when SM was working with Usher and was so happy and confident and moving so naturally with the music compared to the way that she appeared on stage. The most egregious thing that Simon has done is rob that girl of her confidence. The Evil Games He Plays indeed. Mindy, you were exactly right about when it happened. He also made uncalled for remarks about here clothing that night. I have two daughters and I know that a young woman’s sense of style is something very near to her heart and is one of the ways that they express to the world who they are. He has made remarks on three occasions about what she was wearing. Although I didn’t particularly like one of the outfits that he remarked about on the other two occasions she looked fantastic.

    Her fashion forward sense of style is one of the many things that I like about her. In that area she really is like two people. She has that subdued librarian thing that men have loved for decades. By day she is Clarkette Kent, and by night she steps into a phone booth and reappears as a Si-O-Bhan, Superstar!

    The comments of Simon and Kara say more about them than they do the contestants. I don’t mind frank criticism that has some merit and is geared to helping these young people onto a higher path but Simon is badgering this young woman in an attempt to make her fail. Kara, frankly, is out of her depth. On paper she is highly qualified to be a judge on AI, and on rare occasion she is good at it. I believe her goal is to come out on top after Simon leaves. She needs to go back to writing songs for Otis Elevator Corp. Did that seem harsh?

    An interesting note for Mindy and anyone who has a recording of Tuesday nights show. Watch the part where Ellen is commenting on Siobhan’s performance and pause it when you can see the look on Kara’s face as Ellen is speaking. She appears to be angry at Ellen for going off the farm with complimentary comments as if she didn’t get the memo.

    Thanks again to MCL for the great site and your thoughtful analysis each week. If you would consider shortening your nick name, I would suggest CL. You certainly are a “Class Lady.” I wish I shared your gift of praising the good and giving gentle guidance when mistakes have been made.

    Since I begin typing this post we have discovered who will be leaving this week. Best wishes to Andrew and Katie in their future endeavors. I hope each of you can keep your dreams alive and fulfill your goals one day.

    I hope I didn’t stray too far from the topic of singing.

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  34. Gene W.
    Your post was wonderful! I’m only sorry we haven’t heard from you before.
    I’m so glad to hear from others who are Siobhan fans–I have loved her voice from the beginning and have also grown very fond of the person she seems to be. I also loved MCL’s comment about Siobhan reminding her of a young Barbra Streisand. That is the highest compliment possible in my book.
    As much as I enjoy Crystal, Mike, and Lee, I just think that Siobhan has the standout voice of the season. And, yes, Kara has been getting on my last nerve this season with her critiques of Siobhan. Your comment about Kara writing songs for Otis Elevator was absolutely priceless!!!!!
    I hope you keep posting here, Gene.

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  35. Thank you very much for the warm welcome Louise. She really does seem to be a very nice young woman. I’ve seen you tube videos of her fellow townsman speaking of her and they seem hold her in high esteem. In one of her bio videos at the AI site she sayes that the high point of her life will be when her little sisters tell her they love her without her having said it first. Ok, I’m not looking, go ahead and wipe those little tears that are welling up in your eyes! I mean, ya gotta love that.
    Have a good day Louise.

    I meant to say in my previous post:

    “Lunar Valve’s” (her band) loss will be our gain.

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  36. Gene said of Siobhan, ” . . . In one of her bio videos at the AI site she sayes that the high point of her life will be when her little sisters tell her they love her without her having said it first. Ok, I’m not looking, go ahead and wipe those little tears that are welling up in your eyes! . . . ” You were absolutely right. When I read that, I had to stop and say, “I DO have tears in my eyes.” How’d he know that?!?

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  37. Welcome PJ, Reboho and Gene: Nice to have you on board here. Gene, your detailed comments were wonderful and insightful. Please come back often and share you views.

    Reboho – I will try my best to avoid Tuesdays when I travel. Luckily, however, I did return home to see the show live, but was very tired when compiling my article. If there are some typos, my apologies.

    Solidarity – loved the picture and, if you come across any more gems, please send them my way.

    Kudos to all the readers here! You are terrific.

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  38. Oops – Minerva AND Julia – you are new as well! Welcome. I hope I didn’t miss anyone else! :)

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  39. Gene W,

    I am not a fan of Siobhan’s, but after reading your post, I wish I was!!! I love your passion for your contestant! She is lucky to have you and all of the others on this site who support her!

    I must apologize to all my friends here on this site who are Sibhan fans! I have not really paid much attention to the comments from the judges concerning Siobhan, like I have said before the hubby likes to fast forward through much of the talking, however, I did pay attention this week and I did see Kara’s look to Ellen. I love Ellen, I don’t think anyone is going to tell her who to like or dislike! I wish the judges would use the old adage “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”, there is no reason to bust these kids chops, be adults…you are talking to young men and women, how disrespectful! Why not be a positive influence on these contestants, if you don’t like the performance say that and leave it alone, they do not have to de-grade them in the process! Again, I am sorry, the best thing that I can tell you is vote her to the win!!! That’s what us Soul Patrolers did with Taylor!!! He too had to put up with Simon’s bully attitude!

    I’m getting a little frazzled with Crystal and the judges too! I love her voice, BUT, she has been doing something the last couple of weeks that I think she needs to be called out on! If one is going to play an instrument, looking down at the bar during your performance and moving away from the mic on a lyric stretch, is a no-no in my book! For two weeks she has looked down at her bar a you couldn’t here her sing!!! My grumbles!

    I really don’t know who I would say this year that I would like to see win, there are a couple who have grown and would do well in different area’s! I guess if I had to pick a voice that I could here on the radio right now, it would be Lee’s. I listen to the top 40, he’s got the voice for the pop/rock vibe. Just my opinion though!

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  40. Wow! Such wonderful comments!

    Gene,

    You are my hero! I loved, loved, loved reading your comments. I hardly know where to start! You said so much of what I am feeling. Even before I read what you said, I made a promise to myself that I will be giving all my vote to Siobhan. Thank you for reminding me and other Siobhan fans that we don’t have to resign ourselves to her losing out. No more defeatist attitude! This is war!

    You gave a pep talk that I really needed. I was feeling so down about what Kara and Simon are doing to Siobhan. I hate how they are trying to insidiously undermine her confidence. This young girl has just turned 20! Only just out of her teens, and still so vulnerable. You were right to mention Simon’s crude and tasteless remarks about her outfits. That does hit a young lady right where she lives. It did start with “House of the Rising Sun”. What he said got my warning lights flashing! Simon knew perfectly well just how brilliant that performance was from start to finish. No one online was complaining about nonsense like flat lower register and off pitch higher notes or Siobhan being strange, weird or different or not getting her. That performance and “Think” put her out front and center and gave her strong momentum going into the finals.

    My favorite part of your post was what you said about Kara! Absolutely right! I was wondering if I was the only one who noticed how she is full of affectation, trying to seem way more articulate than she really ever could be. She may be in the industry, written hit songs for successful singers, but she is a wannabe when it comes to judging. She is too self-aware to be a really good judge. A judge should always be focused on the person they are judging, but with Kara and especially Simon, the focus is all on them. How they come across, how witty or biting or sarcastic, how great they are, it’s all – look at me, aren’t I the greatest! I think you may be right about her own agenda. I never thought about it but she seems ambitious and may want to be top dog after Simon exits. I am definitely going to watch the show again, as soon as I finish writing my comments. I did not originally see the look Kara gave Ellen when she said nice things about Siobhan. But I will be looking for that now. How interesting! You could see how the panel of judges was clearly divided about Siobhan. Randy and Ellen clearly liked her. Then you have Kara with her – I don’t get it! Now that’s really helpful! Her partner in crime Simon was even worse. He has no mercy when he goes after Siobhan. He emphasized every single word for maximum effect and impact. He knows how to manipulate an audience and send a strong message. Did what he said even make any sense? Did it even need to make sense? He was babbling on about Siobhan reminding him of someone who has gone twenty years into the future or some nonsense. What on earth did that have to do with her performance?

    I am now energized and will do my best to support Siobhan. I thank you so much for deciding to join us in the discussion. Please promise that you will continue to participate and give us your wonderful insights.

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  41. vonnie,

    I happen to believe that the judges aren’t doing Crystal any favors by not seriously critiquing her performances and just basically being cheerleaders. She has some technical issues with her voice, as MCL pointed out in her critique. My issue with Crystal is enunciation, something MCL made sure to point out. She garbles and swallows and just slides over the words and that compromises her vocals. She also loses the lower notes and can sound breathy.

    Everyone can benefit from better vocal technical skills. No one is ever perfect. Good singers always try to keep improving their voices. No one should stay static. But the judges aren’t challenging Crystal. I believe that she appears to be content to just stay on track, playing it kind of safe. It is the responsibility of the judges to step up and ask Crystal to raise her game.

    You are right about her looking down and not keeping eye contact with the audience. That’s a big performance no-no! But the judges won’t say anything that isn’t fulsome praise. They are honestly doing her no favors.

    I have really been trying to not focus too much on the judges comments, but recently the bias has been getting out of hand.

    gene,

    I went back and watched it again and oh, yes, I saw that look Kara gave to Ellen! Wow! How did I miss that! What I also noticed is that Kara took what both Randy and Ellen said and completely twisted it around to mean something that neither of them intended. Did anyone catch that? She then said that Siobhan has two voices. Baloney! She knows better than to say something like that. She has worked enough in the music business to understand full well what Siobahn was doing with that performance. Many great singers start a song singing it one way and then gradually build until they explode into full voice. It’s not the first time that anyone has done this. But Kara wasn’t just being a bad judge, she was flat out lying.

    But I sincerely hope that Siobhan realizes that she has the power to control her destiny. She needs to focus on getting the song right. That comes first. This is not an easy theme and there are pitfalls with many of the songs. Then she needs to think through what she wants to accomplish and then go out there and do it. I can see that she is internalizing what Simon is saying. That is not good! She must keep his comments out of head at all costs. Simon’s comments, hearing them for about the third time, were especially harsh. He had the gall to say that she has lost who she was in the last few weeks, lost her confidence! This is Simon using the power of suggestion. He is really trying to psyche her out. Also, he did send a very powerful message to the viewing audience. She has to be sure to counter that perception that he has put out there. I hope she keeps her focus and uses her energy to give an astounding performance.

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  42. Thank you MCL, Vonnie and Mindy for your kind remarks and warm welcome. All of you ladies are so polite and I am barely house broken so feel free to spank me if I get out line.

    Vonnie,
    You are right about voting. That was what I was trying to convey as well. I would be embarrassed to tell you how many votes that I have cast, but it is a lot. I have read comments in the past that the voting should be limited to one per customer, and I don’t disagree with that, but that isn’t the rules of this game. I encourage all of you to vote for the contestant of your choice every week. Not only are we making choices about who we would like to hear and see in the future but we are also helping to shape the music that our kids and grandkids will grow up with.

    Soul Patrol hmm? That’s one of my home boys. I live about 5 miles in one direction from Taylor’s family home and maybe 10 miles in the other direction from Ruben. Then there was Bo. Honestly, none of these guys were my favorites but that’s why there are so many singers and other musicians making a living doing their respective things.

    Lee was one of my early favorites but I began to loose interest in him during his period of self discovery. I like his tone though. He seems to be somewhere between Chris Allen, David Cook and himself. He may be the dark horse whose pace will put him in the right place at the end. We will see.

    So what will it take to bring you over to the dark side?

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  43. Gene W,

    Whoot! You are hilarious, where have you been? :-)

    Ah, my young apprentice the force is strong with you, but my allegiance, falls to the other side, Lee is my Luke Skywalker!

    None of the boys were your favorites, so messa thinks you likes the ladies of idol? I bet you were a Carrie and Kat McPhee fan!

    I want to see Lee come out of his shell and bloom…I hope his bromance with Andrew doesn’t hurt him on his journey now that Andrew is gone!

    Like

  44. Mindy,

    I have read many of your post in the past and quite often you cover what I would have said so I take the lazy way out and don’t post.

    I am glad I could help lift you out of your funk and encourage you to stay in the game. Here is a pearl just for you that you may have overlooked.

    Siobhan is winning!

    I left it hanging out there alone for effect.

    I think that is the only reason they would be so hard on her. I believe that Ryan speaks to the leader in the voting first each Wednesday night, and she has been first or close to it every week. I hate to appear to only be interested in the contest aspect of it because that isn’t the case at all, but if we are going to get to see any more performances from our favorites then they have to stay in the game. It is hard to watch a sensitive girl like Siobhan take the undeserved beating that she has been getting in the name of entertainment. I know that the poor quality of the judging does rob you of some of the joy of seeing a really good performance.

    I like your war analogy because it reminds me of something that I said to my wife about Siobhan early on in the competition. I told her that of all of this year’s contestants that she was the one I would choose to be in a fox hole with. She has a steely eyed determination about her that shows in the tough song choices she makes and a calm inner drive and work ethic that surpasses her years. She is dependable. Another of her many sides.

    I think some of the other contestants play it safe when they select their songs by simply looking at the well worn set list that is taped inside of their guitar case and find an Elvis, Beatles’ or a Stones’ song that they have performed fifty times before instead of looking for a song that is a genuine challenge for them to perform. The night that Siobhan received the harshest criticism could have been a cake walk for her had she taken the easy route. She had already perform three Motown favorites in her Idol “journey,” two Stevie’s and an Aretha, so she is no stranger to R&B and could have easily picked a song that she and her Dad had sung many times at home. Instead she picked one of the most difficult songs that anyone has sung all season. Even Chaka Kahn has trouble with that song in the same areas as Siobhan did. Casey, on the other hand, did a great cover band version of a song that I like by the great Sam Moore and received rave reviews for his efforts. So what’s wrong with that? He isn’t making even half an effort. He has a great tonal quality to his voice and if you wanted a Holiday Inn Lounge version of a timeless R&B Classic, he’s your man. He has said that the blues are where his heart is. I think he could have sat down with his guitar and rearranged the song into a genuine Blues song. What he did wasn’t even close to what the judges told them all they would have to do to compete in the future rounds yet he was praised and a performer who did take the message of the judges to challenge there selves was roundly ridiculed. Casey wasn’t the only one just an easy example. You are also correct about the judges not doing Crystal any favors with the constant praise. They did the same thing to Melinda Doolittle. She was my favorite of her season. I think Crystal has a lot of promise but she needs work and honest criticism to reach her potential just like our Siobhan does. I wonder if they will praise Crystal up to second or third place and then dump her in favor of someone else like the did with Melinda?

    Unlike many of the regulars here I am not a big Adam fan. He’s a talented and creative fellow, just not my cup a Joe. I think he did a good job with his mentoring responsibilities and the contestants enjoyed their time with him. Allison was my Dawg last season. She reached out a grabbed me by the face the first time I saw her sing just like Siobhan did this season. I was on my feet shouting “rock star” at my TV screen then. That term doesn’t fit Siobhan so she gets a “YES” or “That’s what I’m talking about.”

    I wish that we could see the show that the mentors see. From the glimpses of these sessions that we do get to see I am envious. Even young Aaron has demonstrated the ability of a professional singer to change his style instantly at the suggestion of both Usher and Adam. It’s a shame that the changes didn’t make it to the stage in his case. As I mentioned before, Siobhan is so at ease and the music just flows out of her during these sessions. She might have benefited more from a mentoring session from Kellie Pickler. She was the master of neutralizing negative comments from the judges with a pre-emptive strike and self deprecating humor.

    Like you, I paid particular notice to Simon’s remarks after House of the Rising Sun. Yes! I loved her very original, very much her own, extremely contemporary version of that all time classic. The very fact that she chooses great songs like that sayes a lot about her as well. Simon was oblivious to it. I can think of two contestants that Simon has treated in a similar fashion in the past. One was Carly Smithson, particularly when she sang “Blackbird,” and the other was Allison Iraheta. Draw whatever inference you like from that. His remarks were over the top and from out in left field on occasions with each of them. He also used the attack on their clothing in both cases. To be clear, I think the way these performers choose to appear on stage is a topic that the judges have every right to comment on, either good or bad. But in each of these cases, he made remarks when the ladies looked very nice and were addressed appropriately, so it appears to be just an attempt to demean them and break their confidence down. Who knows, maybe he is just trying to fire up the fan base so we will vote. He wins either way.

    You mentioned her performance of “Think” which was another very well done number. Not only did I enjoy the vocals but her stage presentation was flawless. Her timing, hand gestures and interaction with the band and back up singers was extremely good. All of these elements came together perfectly when she sang the lines “Hey think about” and “You Think about it.” That seems so simple, like a lot of things do when they are done right, and she nailed that. Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot and I think that may have been the song where Randy said words to the effect of Yo Yo Dawg, You got yours right there.” (it’s hard to repeat, much less type dawgisms) I’m pretty sure he liked it. I think Simon said that her mike technique was old fashioned. I may have said “moron, or words to that effect at about that time. Mic technique is one of my pet peeves. I can’t stand a mic eater or someone that hides their face behind a hand held mic or their whole body behind a mic on a stand. I think I just wiped out the whole field and Carrie Underwood to boot! One of the things that struck my about Allison last season was her professionalism in the use of the mic. For the record, Siobhan has excellent mic technique as well in my opinion. She knows how to move it away from her mouth to soften the money notes or to fade out a gentle passage. She incorporates what she has learned from her drama club experience into her stagecraft as a singer better than many professionals with similar experience do. She seems to be singing with appropriate gestures and movements and not acting like she is a singer, if that makes sense. You can also see the acting side of her when they do the group “sinc” numbers and the Ford commercials.

    Remember as you are voting that a vote Siobhan is a vote against poor judging. I accept your invitation to chat when I can I’m challenging you to 500 votes next Tuesday night. We have an advantage as grown ups over the tweens. They are lazy and many have homework and even bedtimes!

    You go Girl!

    Oh yeah, I wanted to thank you for turning me on to Eva Cassidy. How did I miss her? It’s a shame to learn of her untimely passing at the same time as I discovered her though. Also, I don’t recall who posted the link to the Joan Cassidy version of what Becomes of the Broken hearted but I loved that as well. Last night I was scanning the band and happened on to a documentary on TCM about the Funk Brothers band. They were the house band of studio musicians at Motown for anyone who may not know. The program was great and it happens to be where the Joan Cassidy performance came from. My apologies if all of that has already been posted.

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  45. Gene,

    It’s like we have known each other for years! That’s how easy it is to talk to you. We seem to think so much alike. It was kind of you to say that what you did about my posts, but it’s good to hear everyone’s voice on here. Even if we sometimes say the same things, another intelligent person who loves the beauty of the human voice is always welcome. We are very fortunate that MCL has created this haven, in which we are free to speak our minds in a respectful way, have our disagreements and always engage in lively discussion.

    I will say that I have wondered about why the judges are coming down so hard on Siobhan and working to derail her. I don’t know if I said it here or somewhere else, but I have already speculated that they may feel that her vocal power and brilliance is too great a threat or, as you said, it may be the vote totals. But I am hearing that Siobhan was fourth from the bottom of dialidol. I think Simon knows full well that Siobhan is capable of coming out and blowing the roof off the place with one mindblowing performance and in essence, ruining their carefully laid out plan.

    You are right about Siobhan’s toughness. I saw a hint of that in her eyes when she was listening to Simon’s comments. She knows what’s going on. The girl is smart, too. She can see right through Simon. She knows he was talking a bunch of baloney. She will need every inch of that steely will and determination. They won’t make it easy for her. I thought Simon was just playing silly mind games when he gave that rather absurd critique of “House of the Rising Sun”. Talk about choosing challenging songs! Who gets to do a better version of Eric Burdon and the Animals? That was their big hit. They put their stamp on it. It was an audacious pick and I just loved it! If you read what I have been saying about her, then you know that I love her fearlessness and gutsy courage. But what Simon did this week was truly cruel, because once you say out loud that someone has lost who they were and doesn’t have confidence, then people start to accept it. Perception is everything and Simons knows that too well!

    When I heard that Siobhan was going to sing “Think”, I thought to myself – this is not going to work! But as I said before, but it’s worth repeating, she just willed herself to do a kick butt performance. She always goes for the toughest songs, the biggest singers, reaching for the heights. I love that! I was one who didn’t understand the choice of “Through the Fire”. As you said, even Chaka Khan has trouble doing her own song. Unbelievably difficult to pull off. I wondered if that was really her choice. I don’t even care if she reaches too far and doesn’t quite make it. It’s the fact that she dares to touch greatness, that is what I love so much. I hope she never plays it safe.

    Thanks for also saying what I have been feeling about Casey. I have been trying to get on his bandwagon, without much success. I try not to be too harsh, but I just do not get what so many see in this guy. I think he is beyond overrated. He had that great performance with “Jealous Guy”, but everything else has been pretty forgettable. I guess because I don’t love his kind of voice and style of music, maybe I am trying to back off because of a fear of bias. But I think you basically said it loud and clear – before last week, I did think that he was playing it safe. I still think that’s true. He did miss a big opportunity to have a strong performance with Elvis.

    Guess what!! Melinda Doolittle was my favorite! In fact, when shd didn’t get into the finale, I was so upset that I promised I would never watch Idol again. I almost kept my promise. That hit me hard. Such a great talent, never a bad performance and yet she loses out to Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks? I think Jordin is very talented, but I didn’t believe that she was quite ready. Blake Lewis – the less said, the better! But seeing Melinda go down that way took the breath out of me. It took me a long time to get over it. Do you think the judges threw Melinda under the bus? I think that I have tried to blank that whole experience out of my mind, it was that painful.

    I feel very strongly that the judges are not helping Crystal. In fact, I think she is kind of static right now. I don’t see her getting better, challenging herself, taking risks. Her last two performances were good, of course, but not brilliant. She was pushing herself harder at the beginning of the finals. I am not saying that she is deliberately coasting, but I think it’s just natural to get comfortable and do just enough if you aren’t being challenged or asked to do more. I honestly don’t know why the judges aren’t expecting more. They should. But right now I don’t see them throwing her under the bus. I genuinely think they want her to win. That’s their agenda. But they know that it will be hard, because lately the vote has skewed towards the men. That’s why they want all the other girls out, so that Crystal is the only option for people who want to see a female win again.

    Regarding the links to Eva Cassidy and Joan, I got them from mjsbigblog. Someone in the comments section posted them as suggestions for songs the Idols could sing.

    As far as mic technique, with all of the things I pay attention to with the vocals, I usually don’t notice it unless someone is really doing something wrong. If you have read my comments, then you know about me and my pitch perfect ears. Watching these performances can be hard, because I hear every single thing. Any slight miss, off key, poor phrasing, improper breathing, singing from the throat, differences in head and chest voice, my ears hear it all. But it’s MCL and J and the professional singers who have helped me to understand what I am hearing. I get passionate about singing, but hopefully in a good way. I learn a lot from reading what people say here. Sometimes I have changed my mind or get a different perspective on some of the other singers.

    I like Lee, but think he still needs to work on performance value. He has to get more animated. Mike has an extraordinary voice. I love r&b singers, but this show is not very kind to them. But I have decided that I need to focus on supporting my favorite. This is crunch time. So many online seem to think Siobhan is losing momentum. Some of that is coming from the comments of Kara and Simon. I don’t know why people should fear someone who dares to be different or move to the beat of her own drummer. There was a time, in the 60’s and 70’s, when we celebrated great voices that were unique and extraordinary. We need to get that back.

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  46. Vonnie,

    You are pretty funny yourself. “Bromannce” is way too funny! I think Lee is still in the game as are Crystal and Mike and maybe Casey. I would give Tim a great big at-a-boy for effort because he has really tried to bring his game up. For me, Aaron may need to try again in a year or two. Everyone has favorites though and I can’t fault them for liking any of these young folks.

    I really enjoyed the segments they did (last week?) with the contestants talking candidly about each other. They seem like a fun group that enjoys each others company. They share that great, off beat, sense of humor that comes from being dropped on your head as a child. I had a new found appreciation for Katie Stevens when she made the remark about Lee and Andrew spawning little Danny Gokeys or something like that. I knew then that she had been dropped repeatedly. Maybe YOU have the tell-tell flat spot on your head too? Kidding aside, Katie is a very mature young lady who seemed to be right in her element in front of one or several million people. I will miss the little spark that she brought to the mix.

    On Idol I definitely have a preference for the female contestants for several reasons. First is, while there are many male singers that I like, most of them have much harder mileage on them than the typical AI contestant. That mileage shows up in the voices and the faces of the type of male singers I like. Younger singers can sing the songs these guys made famous but you just can’t imitate the character in the voice of people like Delbert McClinton, BB King, Eric Clapton, (particularly recent years) Joe cocker (early and late years) Stevie Ray Vaughn, George Jones, Gregg Allman, Michael McDonald or the unique artistry of a Buddy Holley, James Taylor or Vince Gill and I could go on and on and I haven’t even touched on Motown, the Beatles or most of the British evasion types yet. All of these guys are or were able to emote in a very believable way. I wouldn’t encourage these young men to take up hard drinking, smoking or other vices but they certainly add to the mix of what I like, with few exceptions, in male singers. For a young male singer to get my attention they have to bring something new to the mix. I liked Chris Allen pretty well last season and “Two Guys named David” as well. I think Andrew was on to a good tactic of performing songs originally done by female artist so that the audience is forced to take a fresh view of the song rather than be disappointed if it doesn’t live up to the original artist interpretation of it. If he keeps working on and refining that tactic and adds his own original work into the mix he could become successful in the future.

    Young women singers on the other hand, have a broader avenue to my heart. Like the men, I like the ladies with a little gravel in their throat and some road mileage on them. If I had to choose just one, Bonnie Raitt would top my list but then again Allison Krauss, who has the pure sweet voice of an angel, is right up there as well. My first true love in high school was a big fan of Barbara Streisand, so she drug me to see all of her movies, and I “got” to listen to all of her music. I developed my own appreciation for the mastery she had of her instrument. I have never seen anyone who had such control over every square centimeter of their face and mouth. She uses her lips like the valves of a woodwind instrument to allow just the right amount of air to escape to add the most subtle nuisances to a note. Frankly, I wouldn’t enjoy seeing a man do exactly the same thing. As for Carrie and Kat, they were who I ultimately pulled for each year but I was a strong supporter. Carrie is a very likeable young woman who works hard at her craft and I am thrilled by the success she has enjoyed. Her tone is not as pleasing to my ear as many other female singers though and I think, if memory serves me, she was a little pitchy during her tenure on Idol. She has recorded several songs that I like though. Kat gives good Rainbow, which is a direct path to my heart. There are so many others who do that song well, and differently, that I won’t even go there, but she did it very well. I like the young ladies who come prepared to play. I don’t know if you saw the brief segment during Hollywood week where they showed about 10 seconds of Siobhan singing Stevie’s Living For The City but that was when I said “that’s my dawg right there.” They had a shot of her from a camera placed behind Ellen and Simon. Siobhan must have been thinking that time is running out for me to get noticed so she stepped up and knocked the ball out of the park. Ellen and Simon both turned to each other and looked like wow can you believe that? Last year Allison laid down a memorable performance when she “Alone” by Heart. “Rock star” and “where did she come from” flew out of my mouth like I was possessed. It’s always important for me to make note of what stage of the competition these performance come at and at what level the other singers are performing at the same time. The same performance in the finals for either of these ladies would have been unacceptable but at the time they delivered them, they were very memorable. These two ladies couldn’t be more different but I like both of them a lot.

    I don’t know if I cleared that up or not but I guess the short answer is that there are many more styles and approaches that female singers can have that I find pleasing, enjoyable or satisfying than there are for male singers, especially young ones.

    Like

  47. I want to thank the person here who posted the link to the Eva Cassidy link. I had never heard her before although I’d heard of her. I loved her voice when I heard it and my son just gave me one of her CDs for my birthday. I also learned that my daughter-in-law went to school with her. I highly recommend her Live At Blues Alley CD.

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  48. Gene W,

    So that’s where that flat spot came from, mom never told me!!!

    See, knew you were all about the ladies…nothing wrong with that! I usually fall for the guys; can’t say until this year that I have liked any of the girls. Katelyn would have been my pick this year of the girls had she made it through, I really like Crystal, and was warming up to Katie as well, musta been the same flat spots!!! :-)

    Lee has that springstein vibe for me; I would love to hear him sing, “I’m on fire.”

    Nuff said, I am glad you came out of lurking mode to join us!

    Like

  49. Mindy,

    You never know, maybe we do know each other. Mindy is a lovely name but aside from Pam Dauber’s use of it when she was cohabitating with an alien, I don’t recall ever knowing anyone by that name. It’s nice to meet you as well as the other music lovers here. To that end, music is interesting in the eclectic nature of the crowds who will gather to see a particular performer. We have beautifully restored art deco era movie theater here in town that is used for a wide verity of performances. I have seen Alison Krauss perform there four times over the years and she draws a very diverse crowd. You will see men in bib overalls to women in evening dresses who are as different as night and day. The lady may play violin in the Symphony Orchestra and the man may be a very accomplished fiddle player in a blue grass band or just a farmer, who knows, but at the of each song they are both clapping enthusiastically. Music has a wonderful way of bringing people together and touching people’s hearts. So even if we haven’t met, we are kindred spirits. Was that you in the evening gown?

    I am familiar with vote idol but I don’t put much stock in it. You can tell more from it later in the season. They readily admit their weaknesses. The only votes they can monitor are those of people who use the vote idol system and then it measures busy signal. In my case for example, I vote a lot for someone in my demographic but I don’t use the vote idol system and I have not encountered a busy signal at all this season, except when the polls close at the end of the night on Tue. So my votes are completely off of the radar. I used to believe that the pimp spots for performing the next week were derived by vote from the past week, and that may have been true in years past. This year I believe it has more to do with the way they performed in rehearsals or some other metric, but not the vote performance from the previous show. That is purely speculation on my part. I also believe that the order that Ryan speaks to them on Wednesday night is directly related to the way they polled the night before, even though he said this week that Mike wasn’t actually in the bottom two. I don’t believe that. Why would they torture someone who they saved and who scored well by making them think they were in the bottom two. I haven’t been a big fan of Mike’s antics on stage and his song choices and arrangements have been hit or miss for me, but, I think he is a remarkably good singer and that he delivered his best performance last Tuesday. A bold and generous move on Siobhans part to suggest a song to him that could have put her out of the competition. I think Mikes performance should have easily put him in the top five. While I’m on the subject of Mike, he has been very kind to Siobhan when she needed a friend. When the camera followed her into the green room while she was distraught, mike recognized what was happening and stood up from his seat to shield her from view and then gave her a (gentle) hug. The next night you may recall he was wearing the little blond pony tail and said something about taking some style cues from SM. She looked like she was bound for the gallows prior to that but his little gesture brought a big smile to her face. Finally, his acknowledgement of her helping him choose the perfect song was generous and put a feather in her cap. He knew what he was doing so let me say thanks, big Mike for looking after our girl!

    We’ve bantered the term ‘steely” around a few times. I always loved the message in the Steely Dan song, “Hey Nineteen.” I’m sure as my musical missing twin sister you know how it goes. That me be what predisposes me to really appreciate a young singer, and especially a young female singer who has a working knowledge and genuine love and understanding for great classic songs like House of The Rising Sun. Could you hear that phantom voice I was talking about yesterday saying YES as you typed those words? There might have been an adjective added just before the word yes. That was me. There is no way I could have said it as well as you did. The last time I looked at my itunes song play total for that song it was at 79!

    BTW, have you heard of a mp3 service called LaLa? I joined it several months ago because you can listen to any song one time in it’s entirety for free. I’m in no way affiliated and this isn’t an endorsement but is is nice to be able to do that if you are reviewing song choices or have an interest in the way the original artist performed the song and do not have a copy available. I haven’t received any unwanted email from them or had any bad experience at all. I haven’t bought any downloads from them either. I dug up Chaka Kahn’s version of Through the Fire there. You can also listen to the song as many times as you like if you stop it before it reaches the end and move the slider back to the beginning or where a passage began.

    All of that to say that Chaka used non standard word pronunciations to help her through those tough parts. It sort of worked but you could tell why she was doing it. It was right after the big money notes for her as well. I was fascinated reading both J and MCL insightful explanations on those topics. I agree with you that perfection isn’t a requirement when someone is shooting for the moon. Think about that literally for a moment. The three Apollo Moon missions that we remember are One, Eight and Thirteen. One was a horrible tragedy, Eight was the ultimate triumph of mankind’s technical skills and base instinct for exploration and discovery and thirteen was about defying all conceivable odds and coming out victorious, even though the original goal was missed. All of the other mission might as well not have happened. Some of my remarks may have been disparaging of other performers. I think it’s only disparaging if they are giving their all and then you give them harsh or mean criticism. There will always be a conflict when art is compared to other art, but that is the nature of the beast. The thing about Casey for me is that he I think he has a lot more potential. To my ear he has a nice tonal quality, he sings mostly on key in that gritty fashion that I like from male singers and, as you noted Jealous Man was the first time that he stepped up to the plate and swung for the fences. On my little score card, I rated him in the top spot for the evening. Then he ruined it for me by saying that when you come to see one of his shows back home, this is one of the songs that you would hear. For some reason that just doesn’t work for me. All of my clichés come from songs, so here is another one. If I were inclined to hang out in bars, I can imagine sitting, nursing a beer and listening to Casey play great covers of many of my old favorite rock songs, and when he takes the little “pause for the cause,” as they say, I might say “man what are you doing here?” (Billy Joel, Piano Man, sorry, I couldn’t help it) In reality he would be in the only place that an a singer can find work if they don’t push themselves beyond their comfort zone. I think the judges were fair with him this week. They said, without going over the top that his performance wasn’t enough for this level of the competition. I have to agree. I think he is more than a pretty face and it’s time to bring his A game. He should have watched the black leather Elvis concert where he was sitting around in chairs in a circle with his band members. Elvis was playing his acoustic guitar and his drummer was playing a drum case as I recall and they were just jamming.’ The King has never been biter and Casey could have aced Elvis night with a “cover” of many songs from that session. That was exactly what I expected when I saw that he was performing last. Can you imagine Elvis standing still on a four foot circle for an entire song? I think he missed the assignment last week. Better luck to him and his supporters next week. I hope that wasn’t offensive to anyone.

    I agree 100% with you about Melinda. Each season there are really only a few of the contestants that you get excited about seeing and as we both have said, she was the top of the list for me. She was great every week but I think the powers that be didn’t think they could market a straight up, old school good singer, so they bailed on her. I am not sure that I can go as far as conspiracy theories, but I do feel like the great performances kept coming but the praise stopped. I hope you have her CD. It took a while for it to grow on me but it’s a nice body of work, especially for a first album. Just the right mix of original music and her take on a nice Varity of classics. Even some Robert Johnson, which surprised me, given her faith and his legend. That made me think of a line from the funniest movie ever made, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Your challenge is to guess which line.

    MCL just added the story that Crystal had considered quitting the show. The story states family reasons but I have noticed how difficult the elimination nights are for her. She really seems to be a kind soul and may not be able to take the pressure of the competitive aspect of the show. I believe that your scenario is the most likely but who would have thought that Melinda or Adam wouldn’t wear the crown? They are not helping her grow to her potential, and I believe she has the potential for stardom as well. What is weird is that she is very much representative of many of the female artist I like and Siobhan is less so, but Sio is my Dawg. Go figure.

    I don’t think Siobhan is loosing momentum. I think she has weathered a powerful attack on her confidence by two adults that should be completely ashamed of their behavior. Let me go one step further, and I know this will not be popular here but I didn’t appreciate Ellen’s coments the night that Siobahn perfeormed Through The Fire. I think Randy was honest but didn’t like it, Ellen went off on a tangent being silly that came at Sio’s expense at a time when she was already about to cry because she felt like she had messed up the song and then the other two started. I like Ellen and for the most part I think she has been a good judge from the perspective of an ordinary music lover. I hope she realizes her mistake and grows in her job from it.

    I’m sure that you or I or any of those folks that have posted favorable comments about Siobhan here in the past, or those who took the time to speak out on her behalf in MCL’s special note to her today, would want her to fall victim to false praise. On the other hand, it may be to late for this season, but maybe they could try to turn over a new leaf and class this show up a little next year to the level that these young kids, I mean ALL of them, are performing at. This group is being cheated out of the mentoring sessions that they might have received in past years, They have to sit on their seats on judgment night and wait while the so called professional talent tape there performances and then have to endure some pathetic performances once they do get it down. The best performers that have appeared on the stage this year have been former idol contestants. I was moved last year when Smokey Robinson and Barry Gordy took the contestants on a tour of Motown’s historic studios. They were standing there looking through the plate glass window into the studio where the Funk Brothers, backing all of the great stars of Motown, gave birth to several hundred songs that are recognizable over a large part of the world by just a few opening notes. Lil was brought to tears and Allison was in awe as Barry told her that the song she was going to sing was recorded “right there, right there.” That is a large part of the enrichment that Idol contestants have come to expect when they give up a large part of their life on a gamble that they might be a star. I think they are being cheated.

    We were lucky to grow up in the time that we did, musically speaking. Our parents came from an era of great pop, swing and big band music that we were exposed to. If we had older and younger siblings, then our own years of musical awareness were expanded. The technology of national radio broadcasting and the need for businesses to make a profit took us a way from that era but technology is taking us back in the form of the internet. What is lacking in the new model is the common experiences of a generation. I know that you and I both watched Ed Sullivan and probably Bonanza or Andy Griffith and so on but now everyone is doing there on thing and not sharing the common experience anymore.

    That may be a lot of the appeal of American Idol.

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  50. Gene W: “…[Casey]should have watched the black leather Elvis concert where he was sitting around in chairs in a circle with his band members. Elvis was playing his acoustic guitar and his drummer was playing a drum case as I recall and they were just jamming.’ The King has never been biter and Casey could have aced Elvis night with a “cover” of many songs from that session. That was exactly what I expected when I saw that he was performing last…”

    Funny you should say this. Michael Slezak has an interview with Casey after Tuesday night’s performance in which Casey said he had planned to perform seated. But there was some problem with the angle of the chair – too low, and the technical folks said that would look weird so the suggested the pedestal in the pit. Casey being a Idol rookie may not have heard the ominous tales of performing in the pit, but I mention it because it sounds like Casey was thinking the same way you were, at least initially.

    I’m a Casey James fan, flaws and all. I agree that he has a lot of potential. I think his recording voice is great. But I agree that he’s been playing it too safe this season and needs to think bigger than roadhouse blues. Casey says he’s never watched Idol before trying out and it shows. If he hasn’t figured out by now that it’s not enough to do what you’ve done well previously if you want to win it, then he’ll probably go the way of Michael Johns or Jason Castro instead of driving to the finish like David Cook.

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  51. Hi Mary,
    Sorry to leave your comment hanging there so long but I was enjoying the weekend with my grandkids and riding my motorcycle so I have just now seen it.

    I haven’t seen the Slezak interview with Casey yet but I’m surprised that they couldn’t work out a way for him to perform seated. I just liked Elvis’ whole vibe that night. He seemed more like a real person than a Vegas Elvis impersonator.

    I think Casey could have a big hit this week if he will take a risk. People Get Ready is the song that several of them are probably fighting over. My first thought was that he could do a Vanilla Fudge type of arrangement of it but that wouldn’t work because it would take too long to develop and he would simply do what he usually does.

    On the other hand, he could kick it off with a Jeff Beck style guitar intro, performed standing in the shadow of a single down spot light that has a mike stand in the center of it. After the intro, he could swing his guitar down to his side, step up and take the mike from the stand and finish the song in a stripped down version, either a cappella or accompanied by only an upright base or Hammond B3, ala, Curtis Mayfield (no stinking synthesizers please!)

    I think that could work for him if he really brought his best game, but, Big Mike or Crystal have probably won the wrestling match for that song.

    I hope your guy has a good night.

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  52. An upright “bass” might even be better.

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