American Idol Masterclass Overhaul


American Idol Survey

Since American Idol is offering the viewers an opportunity to suggest changes to the format, I thought I would start a blog topic so we could discuss this new – and not a moment too soon-  development.

After reading your comments on other threads, I noticed that many of you have already “hippety-hopped” over to  AmericanIdol.Com to voice your opinions. 

I did as well!   It felt wonderful!  What a timely and therapeutic remedy for the frustration I am now experiencing with this show!

So, feel free to add your opinions and suggestions here. Who knows?  Maybe the big guys will delurk and join in the fun or, at the very least, read your ideas here on this site.

And, if you haven’t done so, please fill in the American Idol survey. You’ll have to create a user name to do so, but I can guarantee that, once you access this survey, the questions will give you a window into the Idol honchos’ thinking process about the future direction of this show.

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About Masterclass Lady

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

47 Responses to “American Idol Masterclass Overhaul”

  1. Terrific! What a great opportunity.

  2. GREAT idea, MCL!!!! I’ve already filled out the survey and I hope all of your readers will as well.

  3. I love this idea, especially since my interest in the current season has definitely waned a bit. We can certainly discuss changes that we would like to see in the program as well as to predict what changes might be in store for us based on the survey questions. I was, for example, very surprised at how many times Paula’s name came up.

  4. Thanks everyone. And re Paula – sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder. However, that being said, I thought Ellen gave positive and supportive feedback to the singers. I think her contibution has been under-estimated across the blogosphere.

    If the ratings are down, they should look at other aspects of the show and not show disappointement that Ellen didn’t heighten the ratings. All of a sudden it’s her fault? Ridiculous.

  5. MCL,

    It would be interesting to actually post and examine some of the specific questions from the survey. I, too, was surprised by the questions regarding Ellen that seemed to suggest that she’s partially to blame for the falling ratings. I didn’t realize, for example, that she’s merely considered a “guest” judge of sorts. I think that Ellen would shine more if there were only three judges and she were not trying to limit her comments to make time for Kara and Simon. This is only her first season, and I believe that Ellen is growing into the role of judge. Like you, I appreciate her positivity and concern for the contestants.

  6. Too bad these so-called changes can’t be made before next week’s show. The list of approved songs for Movie Idol is absolutely abominable.

  7. J. May – could you copy and paste the list of songs here? I am curious. And, Sue, I may just do that at some point. In the meantime, let’s see how this topic fares.

    Have to run, but will check back later. Thanks everyone!

  8. If TPTB are reading this blog, I think they should strongly consider hiring MCL as a judge for next season’s Idol. She certainly wouldn’t give comments like the performance was “wet” or “you confuse me; you’re two people.” And she would never tell someone they were “a funny little thing.” She would be very professional and helpful to the contestants. I’d like to see Randy, MCL, and Harry Connick as the judging panel next year! Now that would be a HUGE improvement!!! I do love Ellen, but I think it’s better with only three judges–having four takes up too much time.

  9. Your wish, my command :)

    #(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams

    # (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

    # A Whole New World – Brad Kane & Lea Salonga

    # Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension

    # Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) – Christopher Cross

    # Beauty and the Beast – Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson

    # Can I Have This Dance – Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron & the Cast of HS Musical

    # Can You Feel the Love Tonight – Elton John & London Community Gospel Choir

    # Can’t Fight the Moonlight – LeAnn Rimes

    # Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

    # Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

    # Endless Love – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross

    # Evergreen – Barbra Streisand

    # Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

    # Flashdance (What a Feeling) – Irene Cara

    # Footloose – Kenny Loggins

    # Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman – Bryan Adams

    # I’m Alright (Theme from Caddyshack) – Kenny Loggins

    # Into the West – Howard Shore and Annie Lennox

    # Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

    # It Might Be You (from Tootsie) – Stephen Bishop

    # Kiss From a Rose – Seal

    # Let the Riverrun – Carly Simon

    # Moon River (from Moon River) – Audrey Hepburn & Henry Mancini

    # Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkle

    # My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

    # One Night Only – Jennifer Hudson, Deena Jones & The Dreams

    # Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland

    # Separate Lives – Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin

    # Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

    # Take My Breath Away (Love Theme from Top Gun) – Berlin

    # Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes

    # We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) – Tina Turner

    # You’ll Be in My Heart – Glenn Close & Phil Collins

  10. There are way too many maudlin songs in that list. At least half of them – unless you can really mix it up. Anything with Phil Collins, Joe Cocker, or Bryan Adams, Kenny Loggins or a Disney film is just too cheezie or too overdone.

    So glad they have Into the West, but that would’ve been for Siobhan.

    Would be interesting to hear a guy do We Don’t Need … with a different arrangement.

    Would it be possible to redo Arthur’s Theme? It’s so … so … uh 70s/early 80s.

    I wish they had something from The Wall.

    A note on the survey. I thought it was very in depth. My wishlist for mentors: Paul McCartney and Bono. Yeah, right.

  11. The rest of the judges could just go away as far as I am concerned…but please keep Ellen! She really does bring compassion to the table as well as point on humor!

    Please don’t bring Paula back!

    Harry Connick Jr and Ellen would be a blast to watch and then add Adam Lambert to the table and you would have magic!

  12. For who I’d like to see as a mentor, I wrote “any professional more interested in actively guiding the contestants than yapping aimlessly”. (Heaven knows they’ve ended up with more of the latter than the former.)

    They desperately need to go back to 3 judges, and to curtail their time severely–until last year they had time for more songs (Top 5 and Top 4 used to have the contestants singing 2 songs; Top 3 had them singing 3 each) and longer clips from songs, and that’s what we are there to hear, not to hear the judges blether on interminably.

    (Can you tell I’ve gotten really tired of the so-called professionals filling up the time with out contributing to either enlightenment or entertainment?)

  13. Jessica T. – RJ Helton actually did a version of “Arthur’s Theme” during season one, and as far as I remember, he’s the only one who’s ever done so. I remember enjoying his performance very much (but I’ve never heard the original, so I have no frame of reference).

  14. I would definitely prefer Paula over Kara, if that is where they are going. If it’s Paula over Ellen, then I don’t agree. Ellen has provided some much needed humor during the finals. She is usually brief, makes her point and that’s it. I think she may well do better with a three judge format.

    I still cannot get over the fact that Ellen was the only judge to mention Crystal’s enunciation problem. She is not technically knowledgeable, so all she could observe was that it sounded like the works were being swallowed, but she was absolutely correct! The fact that neither Kara or Simon picked up on that comment and elaborated, is simply inexcusable. I think the other judges confused Crystal, letting her think that she needed to sing stronger or louder. Simon was basically just pleading with her to step up her performances, because he knows that Lee is coming on strong and still wants Crystal in the finale. She may well have peaked with “People Get Ready”. It’s hard to top a performance like that. But I really dislike the mixed bag of comments that clutter up the critiques all too frequently.

    My sense of Crystal’s performance was that she did lose the beginning of the song with poor enunciation. I also didn’t get the sense that she was entirely comfortable when she was singing, just a gut feeling. The biggest problem was that I didn’t feel the intense personal connection that she gave as the reason for choosing this song. She didn’t tell me a story. That’s what was wrong, not this business of “sleepy” or that she wasn’t singing loud enough or not trying hard enough. I honestly wish the word “sleepy” would be confined to the dust bin of irrelevant and useless judge’s comments. Every great singer has done a song in a quiet, soft, restrained way, just sitting on a stool with a spotlight and a mic. Some of the most memorable performances came from just keeping it all simple. Enough with these extraneous comments!

    I would love to see someone like Harry Connick Jr. or even one of the other mentors, join the show as a judge next season. I also want to see the mentors become more involved, as Harry Connick Jr. did. I am not saying that they have to write the arrangements, but more time should be spent with each contestant to work on better vocal technique, artistry and connecting with the song.

    Seeing the song “Into the West”, which was sung by the great Annie Lennox, on that list made me think of Siobhan all over again. I am really trying hard to let it go, but what a choice that would have been for her. This list is chock full of banal, cliched song choices. Are they deliberately trying to make this even harder for these young people? How about a decent list of songs for once!

  15. Someone will need to explain what they mean by her enunciation problem. To me it looked as if she was over-enunciating certain parts. She definitely sounded the word “sea” in the phrase “from across the sea” to completion, chopping it off at the end. Is that what is meant by swallowing the words? Sort of like biting it off?

  16. J. May — When people talk about enunciation problems, they generally mean that the consonants are not pronounced clearly enough. Consonants give definition to the vowels, which otherwise blend together.

    I noticed that the start of Crystal’s song was “fuzzy”, and have just replayed it so I can give you specifics. I know this song, although I haven’t heard it in ages, and when she got to the phrase AFTER “we sang all summer long”, I couldn’t hear it clearly enough to tell you what it was. I’ve replayed it a couple of times, and it still isn’t clear to me.

    The first verse, where the enunciation problems were most (pardon the expression!) distinct, has a lot of what I will call “soft” consonants (I’m sure linguists have another word for them.) “W”, for instance (as in “walk” adds definition to the “a” vowel, but it isn’t plosive, for instance, like a “d” or “t” or “p” would be, so if you don’t hit it hard enough, it really disappears. The “t” at the end of Crystal’s “sweetheart” is almost non-existent, and given that it is a plosive consonant — which means that it tends to have more breath and more sound associated with it (again, I am intentionally NOT going to the web to find the correct lingual words) — you would expect to hear it more strongly, so the fact that it isn’t there AT ALL is a problem.

    Let’s take the first line in the song: “The summer wind came blowing in from across the sea”. The initial “the” is almost non-existent. The “wind” becomes “win”. You know the word is really “wind” only by context. I had to go to the web to figure out if the next work was “came” or “kept”.

    Yes, “sea” is distinct, but the long “e” sound is easy to make distinct, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. For one thing, to make it, your mouth has to be spread, rather than the rounded shape that MCL and all good singing instructors insist upon. The word is typically pronounced by a singer as a modified “say”, which allows you to keep the rounded mouth shape and yet get close enough to the long “e” sound so that people understand what you’re saying. It feels and seems weird initially, when you’re the singer, but it really doesn’t sound half bad to the audience.

    J — I do remember the original Christopher Cross version of “Arthur’s Theme” and always despised it. Cross, who was a nice enough guy, had a very thin tenor voice and must have been related to someone in the music industry. Why he had more than one hit, I don’t know. Perhaps it was just that he brought a different sound to the airwaves at the time, and after a few hits, he disappeared. The R.J. Helton version is much better and I really don’t mind it at all, although the runs are a little self-indulgent.

    Overall, I think the movie song list is, to be blunt, crap. Please, there are better movie songs out there than the sappy and yes, maudlin, ones that predominate. It’s hard to find four that are worthy of an AI performance (and the idea that we spend one hour hearing four 90 second songs is appalling.)

    Can ANYONE sound good singing these songs?

  17. Oh, darn. I posted this and it didn’t come through, for some reason. And it’s a hard post to recreate:

    J. May: When people talk about enunciation problems, they generally mean that the consonants weren’t pronounced clearly enough, because they are what gives definition to the vowels, which would otherwise run together. Crystal has always had some enunciation problems, and in “Summer Wind”, it was most obvious in the first verse. Yes, the “sea” comes across clearly enough, but that is because the “e” is an easy sound to make. However, singers typically try to NOT make this sound, but to turn it into more of a long “a” sound (“say” instead of “sea”), because the long “e” requires a spread mouth position, and singers, as MCL repeatedly says, need to retain a rounded mouth position at all costs. If you’re a singer, it sounds and feels really weird initially, but it really does produce a better sound for the audience, who hears it as “sea”, not “say”.

    Some consonants have a stronger sound than others do. “Plosive” consonants, which have a lot of breath and “pop” and a “hard” sound to them (I am trying to stay away from true lingual rhetoric as much as possible), are typically most easily understood, so when
    “the summer wind” becomes “the summer win”, it’s a problem. (“T”, “d” and “p” are all plosive consonants.) The “the” in this phrase is almost non-existent in Crystal’s version. So instead of “the summer wind”, we have “summer win”.

    I’ve replayed the first line a few times. In my first (and lost) posting, I said that I couldn’t tell whether the summer wind “came” blowing in or “kept” blowing in, despite repeated listenings. (“Came is the correct answer.) On relistening to it once just now, in rewriting the post, I would almost say that the word completely disappeared, which is how it probably sounded to me the first time I heard it.

    I love Crystal, but I also love lyrics, and singers need to enunciate well to effectively communicate the song. (Anyone heard a Bob Dylan song where he loses the ability to enunciate? I dare you to identify THOSE lyrics!)

    J — I remember the Christopher Cross version of “Arthur’s Theme”, as well as his other hits, and I could not understand at the time why he was so popular or won actual awards for his music. Nice enough guy, but a very thin, mediocre tenor voice. RJ Helton’s version is actually palatable, altthough the runs are self-indulgent.

    The movie song list is appallingly bad. Sappy and/or maudlin, you’re right, Jessica. Someone didn’t try hard enough to get decent songs approved. How can you choose even four good songs out of this list? And how can you justify an hour singing program with 6 minutes of singing?

  18. Grammie Kari May 7, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I completed the survey and would love to see the results when it is closed. I know I am in a minority, but I love themed weeks with mentors. Some of the very best shows fall in this category. There definitely should be a focus on the conestants and much less on the judges. I suggested Carole King and James Taylor as mentors.

    Idol may be surprised to see some negative feedback on Randy Jackson. I don’t know if he would do a good job, but I have often thought Lionnel Richie could easily replace Randy. I remember when he was a mentor and he told it like it was.

    Most of all, I want them to get rid of the Judges’ Save. It is one of the greatest flaws in the show because it takes away our power. For one week the past two seasons, our vote didn’t count. All the time voting was wasted. If American Idol really pays attention to the fans, the show could possibly improve.

    They desperately need to go back to 3 judges, and to curtail their time severely–until last year they had time for more songs (Top 5 and Top 4 used to have the contestants singing 2 songs; Top 3 had them singing 3 each) and longer clips from songs, and that’s what we are there to hear, not to hear the judges blether on interminably.

    ReReader, you are right on target here! Not only are we getting cheated of some great performances, but so are the contestants. I wish Idol would go back to live Group Performances. Those could be so much fun. However, there was no question regarding that concept.

    This Season is really bad, probably worse than Season 3 and Season 6.

  19. J. May – I am going to take an amateur’s view, but will say I’ve taken a communications/English course that did go over pronunciation, plus my son gets speech therapy twice a week.

    Letters are initiated in different parts of the oral cavity, from the glottis to the lips. “G” is a glottal (back). p/b are bilabial (both lips closed). Another way they categorize sounds is voiced and unvoiced. Put your hand on your Adam’s apple. Pronounce [p] and [b]. You’ll notice the [b] vibrates your larynx/voice box, while [p] does not. Other voiced/unvoiced pairs are [d]/[t], [g]/[k], [v]/[f] (there are more). Another thing that affects how a letter is formed is the airflow. There are many categories, but a couple of the main ones are [b]stops[/b], like /p t k/ ([i]voiceless[/i]) and /b d g/ ([i]voiced[/i]). In a stop, the airflow is completely occluded then released. [b]Nasals[/b] logically have the air coming out the nose because the mouth is completely closed [m, n]. [b]Fricatives[/b] (from the same root word as friction) have semi-restricted airflow and depend on turbulence in the mouth: /f, s/ (voiceless), /v, z/ (voiced). [b]Affricatives[/b] are combos, beginning like a plosive, but releasing into a fricative; [ch and j].

    Vowels are classified as to wear the tongue is in the mouth and whether it formed with a tense mouth or lax mouth. A soft [e] (like wet) is lax whereas [ee] (like wheat) is tense. Here is a great diagram of where the vowels occur in the mouth:
    http://www.thedialectcoach.com/images/content/vowel_comp2.jpg

    I’m sure MCL and other musical voice people here can write about how these factors contribute to singing.

    I remember in choir that we were taught to use stops to help pronounce the vowel and propel us in to a high note. I would think that the farther back a letter starts in the back of the mouth, the harder to sing. And the tenser the vowel, the harder to sing as you want the face relaxed. I remember in a piece I had to prepare for auditions for All State was from Handel’s Messiah. The first line was “Come unto him, all ye that labor,” a soprano piece. The first note “Come” is an F and it was always hard for this not natural talent to really focus the vocal stream as the [k] is so far back in the throat. “Him” was hard not to get breathy and so harder to stay on pitch. “Labor” was hard because it was high and went higher on the dipthong [ay].

    Ellen’s metaphor of swallowing Crystal swallowing her words is spot on because I bet that Crystal is getting caught up on letters that are pronounced in the back of the oral cavity. It is also easier for your tongue to get too tense and pulled back in the mouth in tense vowels.

    Let’s look at the lyrics of “Summer Wind” and identify “swallowable” letters: (anyone?)

    The summer wind came blowin’ in
    From across the sea (probably a reason Frank Sinatra holds out the [a] in “across?)
    It lingered there to touched your hair (“linger” seems like tar pit of a word)
    And walked with me

    All summer long we sang a song ( guh, guh, guh – the “er” can get tense)
    Then we strolled on golden sand
    Two sweethearts and the summer wind

    Like painted kites
    Those days and nights went flying by
    The world was new beneath
    The blue umbrella sky

    Then softer than a piper man
    One day it called to you
    I lost you to the summer wind

    The autumn wind and the winter wind
    They have come and gone
    But still the days those lonely days
    Go on and on

    But guess who sighs his lullabies
    Through nights that never end?
    My fickle friend, the summer wind

    I hope you folks don’t think I’m too forward writing this. I used my old textbook and some wiki info to help. I’m not a speech pathologist or a vocal coach (nor do I play one on TV).

  20. I’m in no position to comment on the explanations given since I don’t have the musical training. It occurs to me from what I little I do know, and having listened to Crystal’s original music on youtube and elsewhere over and over for a while now, that the phrasing of the song was all her. I had absolutely no trouble understanding her. Also, hmm, Bob Dylan and enunciation. My favorite singers could probably be classified as technically lazy in their enunciation (since they don’t have the best voices in the world–not like Whitney, for example), but brilliant songwriters nonetheless serving up the song like a poet. So, I guess what I’m talking about is the difference between what is technically good and what IS good, to me anyway. If you’re wondering, I love Dylan, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, etc. I’d hate to read what MCL would have to say about them! :)

    Also, an update about the song choices. Entertainment Weekly writer, Michael Slezak, wrote that he personally called execs at Idol and 19 to ask about the repugnant song choices. He was told, quote contestants are by no means limited to the 34 tracks on iTunes unquote. So perhaps a major auditory disaster has been averted.

  21. As a mentor, Adam observed that it is the contestants who create the buzz for the show. If AI goes back to a three-judge panel, then the extra time could be given to showing more of how the Idols prepare for each performance. I’d to see how they go about selecting their songs, working with the band, shopping for clothes, learning the choreography of the group numbers, getting their hair and make up done, hanging out before the show, and everything else that goes on behind the scenes. Right now, all we are really getting are the snippets of working with the mentors. That’s not really enough for us to get to know the Idols as individuals.

  22. Grammie Kari May 8, 2010 at 5:22 am

    This was posted on the Idol Forum regarding the survey:

    Sadly, from some of the questions they ask, it looks like they might be leaning toward turning Idol into another type of reality show…one where they show the contestants living day to day like America’s Next Top Model or something. Now THAT is a turnoff to me. I don’t CARE about the idols personal interactions…I want more performance time from them…not more *Big Mike likes burritos…Crystal goes shopping…Casey combs his hair…Lee gets a tattoo* time.

    I do not want the show to go that melodramatic route. When I was filling out the survey, I had no idea that this could be a possibility. Now thinking about some of the questions – it is possible! They are trying to save the show. All I want is for the contestants to sing more than 90 seconds and sing more songs each week! This could become a diaster.

  23. Grammie Kari – well, that is a real disappointment – and turn-off! Which is what I will do if they change the show’s format into a generic reality show. The producers just don’t “get it”, do they?

  24. J. May – thank you for the movie list! Ugh to the majority of these songs, although I do love Moon River and Evergreen. However, I can’t imagine anyone singing the latter. This is such a ridiculous set of songs from which to choose. Horrible!

  25. Grammie Keri,

    I hadn’t thought about that possibility. While the Idols were all living together in the Idol Mansion in seasons past, we got a little bit of that at-home interaction but I’d definitely NOT want to see more of their interpersonal relationships. What I was thinking of was more of a behind-the-scenes look of what goes into each show. I’ve been watching Siobhan’s interview with Michael Slezak on Idolatry, in which she’s talked about the thinking behind each performance. I would have enjoyed more glimpses of that throughout the season.

  26. Sue – I echo your thoughts!

  27. I completed the American Idol survey and at the end a box popped up asking me if I wanted to participate further and asked for my full name and email address and that I would be contacted in a few weeks for further input. Did this happen to everyone? They stated the name of the person who would be contacting me but I can’t remember it, Ionis or something like that. They must be very concerned about where their show is heading and sure hope they listen to all the feedback.

  28. Yes, I received the same message, AuntieAudie. They are really undergoing major renovations to the format and, hopefully, leaving no stone unturned.

  29. Hi Guys
    Our girl Siobhan is home
    this great interview tells a lot about how the judges disrespect contestants

    http://www.youtube.com/user/capecast?feature=chclk

  30. Oh and about the fear of another reality show
    there are two options in the survey

    if you wanna know about preparation of the contestants and other if you wanna know more about daily struggles

  31. Grazi,

    Thanks for the link to the interview. Siobhan is really a cutie!!!

  32. I agree that Ellen gave constructive feedback, but she was overshadowed by Kara’s blather.

  33. Does anyone know if they have selected who will be paired for the duets?

  34. Grammie Keri, Sue and others, As curious as I am about what goes on behind the scenes to prepare for an Idol performance night as Sue describes, I would not like to give TPTB another route to manipulate what we see and learn about the Idol contestants. The editing for those clips are in the hands of TPTB and sometimes those are not reliable hands. More performance time for the contestants would be much better IMO.
    I also agree that Ellen is not the problem. The judging has become to me a speedbump to the flow of the show but not because of Randy and Ellen’s end of the table.

  35. I certainly agree that the time set aside for performances should definitely be increased. The songs could easily be extended to at least two minutes long, and the Idols should ideally start performing two songs each at Week 5.

    On another note, I was very disappointed that the survey had no questions about voting. We’ve talked about voting issues before, but my displeasure with the whole voting system really dampens my desire to invest myself in the program. At this point, I’d like to see Crystal go forward, but I’m not going to spend a couple of hours of precious time during the work week to vote for her when my votes probably wouldn’t make any difference.

  36. Sue,

    I share your disappointment that there were no questions about the voting process. However, I can’t say that I was surprised. That seems to be one area that the Idol producers simply refuse to address. Any change at this point would be helpful. Even if they limited the amount of phone calls per phone line that would at least be something. I do not see them addressing the thorny issue of power text voting, due to their lucrative sponsorship deal with AT&T. As long as that is a part of the voting, then we can expect more bizarre results.

    I don’t want to be sidetracked with behind the scenes footage of the contestants. I would much rather see longer songs performed and have them perform two songs each earlier in the competition. This is supposed to be about the singing. Let’s make that a reality. The judges are there for a purpose, but should not take valuable time from the contestants. This show is about the young people we watch every season.

    I still think that Gene got it right when he said that Kara is auditioning to take over Simon’s spot next season. God help us! I think Randy and Ellen are okay, but Kara and Simon have been horrific. We know that Simon will not be back, so there’s not much point discussing him. The question is who should replace him. Kara has signed a contract for a few years, so I don’t know how we get rid of her. I don’t how they do it, but she is the one that has to go as far as I am concerned. I want a three judge panel, hopefully with one person with singing experience, someone familiar with performing, vocal technique, musicality, a person who can actually provide some intelligent, well grounded, constructive critiques that will help guide the contestants.

  37. SurelyBSerious May 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I wish they would vote who is the worst contestants instead who the voters like the best. I have a feeling that is a hair between the ones who are the best, and rather than that, we can easily decide who is the worst. I wouldnt’ think that would be a hair difference but rather a ponytail difference.

    I like it the way it is. I would think most people do not like change. The producers are just up in arms because the ratings are behind Dancing with the Stars.

    I agree MCL would be great but there wouldn’t be a enough airtime for her to give as much of a depth than she does in here.

    My 2 little cents.

  38. SurelyBSerious May 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Oh, and by the way, Crystal has her tongue pierced and that may makes a difference in her enounciation. You think?

  39. SurelyBSerious May 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    *enunciation

  40. I’m curious how you all feel about the emphasis on the contestants’ backstories early in the season. When this season started, a lot of my fellow AI friends commented on how each contestant seemed to have a “sob story,” and they felt that more emphasis was being placed on passing through contestants whose stories pulled the heartstrings than on contestants who had exceptional voices.

  41. There are two huge turn offs this year for me. The first issue is the lack of contestants that are qualified to be on the show. I think Slezak compared season 8 at this point in time vs this year’s contestants. The same could be said for season 7. The quality/experience just isn’t there. There needs to be someone that you can look up to, want to listen to, be an ambassador. Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, David Cook and Kris Allen exemplify this. In order to create the dynamics of the season, it is up to the judges to find these contestants. What happened this year. It was a 3 person show for most of the season until whatever happened to Siobahn happened. That event in itself was very suspect also. How in the world did Big Mike and Aaron surpass Siobahn. In years past we were excited to see who was going to win and represent us. This year it is a snooze. In years past, I wonder if Crystal would be considered for the top 3. Now this year we have Big Arrogant Mike that just might get passed through or Casey who is so inconsistant and really doesn’t want the crown. The second issue is that I have found throughout the season that Kara and Simon have been personally cruel to the contestants with a superior attitude and not much critique on how they could improve. I am very turned off by Kara and her stupid critiques. How many weeks in a row was it “I don’t know who you are”. She actually is revolting. There seems to be 3 things that must happen so that this nightmare of a season doesn’t repeat itself. 1. Careful screening with contestant choice. 2. Judges responses should be critical towards performance and not what they are wearing, sounds like a goat, all of the nasty things they say when they are trying to “pimp” another contestant. They make themselves so transparent now, it is embarrasing.
    3. Idol must clear more current songs. They complain on song choice, but as we know from Slezaks interviews, contestants gave up on the clearing issues because they couldn’t get their choice cleared in time. It is good to say that they can choose other songs, but can they really? It seems not.

    The judges seem to control the voting to a degree. That should not happen. Of course they want to try and get someone that would represent them and make money for them, but that should happen at the onset when they are passing them thru. JMO

  42. I am so happy. I just heard Kris Allen on the radio for the first time on my favorite local station. I don’t listen to country so I don’t know about Carrie Underwood, but I have never heard a former AI contestant on the radio before. I listen to mostly classic rock (aka best of the 60s, 70s, and even 80s) and pop alternative (“modern music” according to my fav 92.9 … everything from Pretenders to early U2 to late U2 to Jack Johnson).

    Go Kris!

  43. MCL,

    Maybe you’ve answered this question before, I’m curious which seasons you have most enjoyed and why.

  44. Sue – yes, I have mentioned that Season 7 was my all-time favorite. I loved pretty much everyone during that Season. Season 5 was excellent as well.

  45. I do not know if I can say I liked this article, but it did make a point.

    “American Idol’ may still be the largest platform an aspiring singer could ever dream for, but that doesn’t mean it’s a guaranteed path to stardom.”

    ‘American Idol’s’ Most Under-Appreciated Contestants

    http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/05/11/american-idols-most-under-appreciated-contestants-ready-to/

  46. Julia,

    You know what’s really depressing about that article – most of my favorites are on that list! Latoya London was my all time favorite, over both Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia. I still remember the shock of seeing Jennifer Hudson and Latoya London voted off way too early.

    Melinda Doolittle was another all time favorite for me. I think the article also pointed out how being the winner or runnerup and being signed by 19E, is not always a good thing. Bo Bice was handled so poorly and so was Taylor Hicks.

    I think the article is honest and gives some perspective as to how fleeting fame can be for those who go on Idol every season.

  47. Dear Mindy,

    Yes, I agree with you and I keep reminding myself – ‘this is just a TV show; this is just a TV show’

    While we are waxing nostalgic – the lyrics to Ms. Robinson got swallowed up tonight but they went something like this – “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson? Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away.” …

    For me, I can only say that that the AI9 implosion had one of the worst Top 4 shows that I can remember. It may not be fair, but I may just go look at Idol “Re-whine” to see how the previous contestants compare.

    I don’t know where they will be in the future, but any one of the TOP 8 from 2008/AI7 would have outclassed tonight’s lackluster performances:
    David Cook
    David Archuleta
    Syesha Mercado
    Jason Castro
    Brooke White
    Carly Smithson
    Kristy Lee Cook
    Michael Johns

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