Well, this is it for another year. No more Vocal Masterclass articles until next season – unless I decide to critique the Glee and/or America’s Got Talent performances. We`ll see – it`s getting pretty warm outside and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay glued to a computer.
Overall, Crystal and Lee sang very well, but one singer really managed to capture the energy and force of this important night and incorporate these elements into the songs.
Read on to see!
Here are my evaluations and, remember, I am reviewing each singer in (first name) alphabetical order. Your comments are always welcome. To quickly access each singer, simply click on the singer’s link below.
Strengths: Crystal - this week, you came out of the gate fighting for this crown. Your energy and momentum for all three performances was palpable, even through the television airwaves. You were in the moment for the entire night and showcased many sides to your artistic style, thus highlighting the multifaceted dimension to your performing ability.
Your trio of performances this week was programmed in a very intelligent, very creative manner. It gave the viewers a strong concept of what to expect from you during a full-length performance. You are one clever, insightful young woman and the outcome of this competition is irrelevant. The important thing is this: you have strong sense of your artistic identity and will be able to bring your new and refreshing approach to the very tired, disenchanted music industry.
Your personal song selection, “Me And Bobby McGee” was a reprise from Billboard #1 Week and it was wonderful to hear it once again. Because it highlighted your bluesy performing style, your voice embraced the melodic line with ease.
The song started a little on the apprehensive side, possible from nerves; however, once you reached the refrain, you really kicked this song into high gear. It was at this point in the song that your vocals sounded liberated and fluid. The distinct artistry you bring to this song is impeccable – something that cannot be taught. It just is!
You are an extremely expressive singer, especially when the song is just right and, boy, was this the perfect song for you or what? However, although this number was a great first choice, it was only a teaser of what was about to come!
Your second song, chosen by Simon Fuller, was “Black Velvet”. Am I the only one left on the planet that loves this song? It’s a neat song with a great rhythmic foundation and a soulful melodic line. So, taking this into consideration, I thought this was a superb choice for you, Crystal, and, thankfully, you relinquished your guitar for this performance. You are one smart chickadee! Show them every side Crystal, show. them. every. side! MamaSox doesn’t need her guitar time she performs!
I loved the red ambience /the black dress combo – it perfectly established the fiery mood for this song.You were a vision of sultry elegance on the stage; you looked so confident and energized and, at one point in the song, I developed goosebumps that did not go into remission until the commercial break.
I also appreciated the new arrangement you brought to this song. It was a relaxed yet intense interpretation and your soulful artistry sent a significant message to the listeners through your novel approach.
Technically, your excellent bel canto approach was more obvious in this song than in your first number. Your mouth stayed consistently round on the majority of the vowels. This important element was most noticeable on that sustained “oh” midway through the song. Perfection!
Your final number, Patti Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain”, was extremely well done and the absolute perfect song choice for you. Cradling your guitar and backed by the gospel choir, you gave us a chilling, poignant performance. Your face was so expressive and your voice never sounded so radiant. That full voice, followed by that head voice toward the end of this song, was exceptional.
And, echoing Kara DioGuardi’s comments, I too felt that your personal walls came down while singing this song, your emotions bubbling up to the surface and moving forward toward the audience.
I also appreciated and applauded your decision to programme a meaningful song with an acoustic arrangement as your final number. If nothing else, you proved that all the smoke and mirrors in the world cannot replace a meaningful, tender performance, one where the vocals are front and center.
Your talent is the real deal and is here to stay. You are not a manufactured commodity for fast bucks and a quick turnaround. You are a genuine, unique and a classy, talented young woman.
Brava Crystal! This was an exceptional showcase!
Critique: Crystal- I have so little to critique in these performances this week, Once again, this was all about the artistry and less about the technical glitches. With time and practice, these problems will disappear. Artistry however will reign supreme!
However, I just want to add a few comments here before I send you on your way! Be careful that you continue to work on the crisp, precise articulation of your consonants, especially when singing through your lower range. During “Me and Bobby McGee”, your words were incoherent during the first half of the song, therefore, throwing off the focus of your voice in your vocal masque.
I have a feeling that you have performed this song numerous times pre-Idol and, as a result, muscle memory superseded the correct technical process. It’s hard to make technical changes to a song that you have performed many times – your muscles react in a familiar way and the manner in which you hear and deliver the song becomes a well-ingrained habit.
Therefore, your voice, although animated and expressive, lacked clarity. The complete resonance of your voice remianed locked in your extremely constricted throat muscles. And, when this happened, your pitch lost its core and focus.
Hopefully, once the competition is over, you can address these technical problems in your vocal delivery and correct them. That all-important circular mouth formation on the pure vowels, the relaxed, free jaw and strong diaphragmatic support are key to developing and taking your voice to the next level.
“Black Velvet” was brilliant, so I have no critique for this song, apart from the occasional areas of tension in your voice. However, this was not a huge factor in this song, so I am going to leave it at that! It was visually and aurally breathtaking!
And, “Up To The Mountain” was a work of vocal art! Just a memorable, meaningful and emotionally charged performance!
Brava, Crystal Bowersox! Standing “O” from Masterclass Lady! It has been a pleasure writing these Vocal Masterclass evaluations for you.