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Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 11 Results Show


I am adding this blog topic quickly so you can begin your speculation about tonight’s Results Show. It’s not looking too good for our little Stefano, is it?  And it looks that either Paul or Thia will join them. Just when Thia and Stefano were improving.  I don’t get it, but, that’s Idol for ya!

The Top 11 Vocal Masterclass is up for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

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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

132 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 11 Results Show”

  1. The double elimination makes me nervous! This is the first year I’ve been really emotionally invested in a contestant since the judges’ save was implemented, so I’m not sure what to expect! All I know is that worrying won’t change the results (or get them revealed faster), so I’m just going to stay calm, sit tight, and hope for the best. ;)

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  2. I think Naima and either Stefano or Thia will be leaving us. Naima has been the most creative contestant thus far, so it would be a shame to lose her so soon. I think she has quite a bit of potential when she knows what she’s doing. This week I would’ve preferred her performance sans the accent, which I think sealed her fate. Stefano has amazing technical prowess, but I don’t think the voters are “getting” him at the moment. I think it’s his very unique enunciation. Thia has a lovely voice and wonderful talent at her age, but she hasn’t been very dynamic over the course of the competition, and thus may not survive.

    I think Jacob, Scotty, and Paul all need a wake-up call with Bottom Three appearances, but I doubt it will happen this week. Jacob is not resonating with me, and I don’t know if he’ll ever perform to my liking. Last week was the closest he came to a fine performance, but I’m afraid I don’t see him lasting much longer. Scotty is beginning to bore me, quite frankly. He needs to sing uptempo and show more range. I’d say the same for Pia, but she probably will switch things up for next week, whereas who knows what Scotty will do. I wish the judges would say something. As for Paul, his lack of technique is the reason he sings the way he does – so that won’t change. But he needs to find a song that suits him. Last week he nearly succeeded, but I think he’s just one of those performers who’s more appealing in the studio rather than live.

    Casey will be safe for a while, if he continues to perform the way he did last night. I’m not saying he should sing ballads, but if he keeps the eccentric facial expressions and growling to a minimum, he could go a long way. Lauren was pretty solid, although I have yet to see a frontrunner performance from her. Every week she’s near the middle of the pack, and that will spell trouble as the competition wears on. Haley has been growing on me, and last night she delivered her best performance to date. Perhaps she needs polish to her performances, but her voice is one that I won’t tire of. I liked James last night, but I wasn’t crazy about his performance. He’s definitely rocker material, but I loved him best when he sang “Maybe I’m Amazed.” He would benefit from a ballad, because his voice is certainly built for one. As I said, Pia needs a bit of a change from her string of ballads (not that I’m bothered much, since I’m fine with ballads). She has an amazing voice, and has pretty much nailed everything she’s sung so far. If she goes uptempo, then it’ll show the voters that she’s capable of singing anything she pleases successfully.

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  3. Well, after that duet, does anyone else here doubt that Lauren and Scotty won’t be the Final 2 standing? Can this show be more obvious? Why do they even bother to have a competition? Haha

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  4. I am not a country fan, but I did think the duet between Lauren and Scotty was cute. I thought Lauren was better than Scotty. I recently went to a local high school musical, and there were some amazing duets in that musical by these high schoolers. Lauren and Scotty were average compared to these kids.

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  5. Very happy for Stefano. The Dial Idol results did not look promising for him. He deserves to stay for a a long time.

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  6. I loved the duets…Scotty and Lauren were definitely stand outs! This was a great way to do the results.

    I was sad to see Thia eliminated, I think she has a lovely voice!

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  7. Two more female contestants eliminated; wow! Ever since we hit the top 13, only females have been eliminated. That’s brutal. I guess we’ll see which girls go the distance! ;)

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  8. The rumour mill is saying that next week’s theme is Songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I think it’s true, since Pia promised us “River Deep – Mountain High” by Ike & Tina Turner.

    I am sad to see Naima go, of course. Not so much Thia, but I’m certain both will find future success. The best of luck to both of them!

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  9. I am so happy for Stefano! He will be receiving a scrap book sort of a thing next week and we were afraid he wasn’t going to be there! He’s such a sweetheart! (Please understand, it is Anthony Fedorov and Jason Castro who have my heart. But I really do like Stefano.)

    Here I was sticking up for Naima and I just didn’t like her attitude. This will probably land her a job with a bigger band than what she has now. But it is Thia that I felt sorry for. We hardly got to know her.

    Watch, next week Paul’s fans are gonna go crazy with the votes! LOL!

    My hubby did ask me how did Fantasia win? MCL, you didn’t have your blog back then. Did you? What could I say?

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  10. I was glad that Naima went..Personally, I think she was there a bit too long. I would have liked Thia to stay around a bit longer, but alas, all good things must come to an end. She was/is very young and will only grow from here.

    Good luck to both of them. :-)

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  11. Oh my goodness! I lose my entire post! I must be doing something wrong?

    Stefano is safe! YAY! I am so happy for him! What a sweetheart! Getting through this week was very important because he will be receiving a special gift from his fans – and we were worried he wouldn’t be there to get it!

    Poor Thia, I felt so sorry for her! Naima could have had less of an attitude, but she was fun while she lasted!

    My husband asked me a question. How did Fantasia win? I didn’t know what to say except that she has a hit album.

    WOW! What a show!

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  12. I didn’t lose my post this time!

    Tom, I love the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame theme! I am a Founding Member of the RRHOF and have actually been there 51 times since it opened in 1995. No, I don’t live in Ohio! Right now, they are working on a major renovation of the building to make it even better than it already is! That will be completed in 2012.

    MCL, there will be a major exhibit dedicated to the most influential Female Artists in the History of Rock. “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” will be opening in May 13, 2011. Well, I better let ya’ll return to your regularly scheduled programming as I am beginning to sound like a television commercial! LOL!

    If that’s the theme, it will be outstanding!

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  13. First time commenting at this site. Really enjoying AE this year. So many great singers and performers…making it very hard to predict who will be eliminated. I am not surprised Thia and Naomi are eliminated. Thia’s voice is just too beautiful to be a AE winner, and Naomi is just not midstream enough. My prediction is Pia will make the top three (assuming she starts to move around and show she can rock it), along with James and Lauren……….but we’ll just have to wait and see!

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  14. Grammie Kari- Did you mention this before? I had forgotten that you were a Founding Member. What a legacy you created. This sounds like a great show next week. Everyone should do very well.

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  15. Dual eliminations lead to unusual and uncharacteristic results. I would have preferred that the will of the voters had been honored and Casey had been sent home last week. Instead, he benefited from at least ten minutes of prime time pimping, the likes of which haven’t been seen since, well, Lauren Alaino.

    The themes that Idol uses year after year would suggest that the majority of the audience members are “grownups” rather than the “tweeners” that the voting outcomes are usually attributed to. If we want to see women succeed on Idol, it’s up to us to vote for them. I’m doing my part; how about you?

    MCL,
    If the season continues on its present course, I would expect Scotty and Paul to be in the finale. Someone let me know how that comes out.

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  16. Grammie Kari

    I asked myself that same question when Fantasia won. Personally, I was not a fan of her at all – I find her voice extremely annoying….to me it sounds like she is singing through her nose. :-)

    But good job to her on her success and hits! She has done very well for herself.

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  17. Gene – the powers that be want a Lauren/Scotty finale. It was blatantly obvious tonight. They were highlighted in the opening duet, the judges gave them and only them a standing ovation and both have been pimped to death from Day One. I agree that the Judges Save was misused. I don’t blame Casey at all. AI is all about ratings.

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  18. I’m so happy Stephano escaped the bottom three! I voted last night only for Pia and Stephano. I voted quite a few more times for Stephano, bacause I was fearful he might be leaving.

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  19. MCL,

    There is no disputing that Scotty and especially Lauren have been pimped to the point that I have no interest in Lauren and only like Scotty because he seems like a good boy. My difference of opinion lies with who I believe will get the votes. It could easily go as you suggest.

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  20. Jessica Turner April 1, 2011 at 1:36 am

    While it wasn’t perfect, I enjoyed the boys’ band rendition of “Band on the Run.” Paul McCartney performed this on SNL this year (I think), and they were far better. Their harmonies were well done. I liked Paul’s 12-string acoustic guitar in the key change – very authentic. He does sing softly though. I like the groups and duets better than the group number. I hope they keep doing this.

    I have to leave to teach a night class at 7:45 so I didn’t see the final elimination (or Jamie Foxx and will.I.am, thank god). Naima and Thia, huh? I’m not really surprised, but I’m sort of bummed about Naima. She is interesting and I always look forward to what she’s going to do.

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  21. All I can say after tonight’s eliminations, is that I hope it’s a guy who goes next or we will run out of girls! What is going on with the voting? I think it was about time that Paul found himself in the bottom. He has gotten by with subpar performances while others have brought it.

    I feared that it might be Naima and Thia. I really liked Naima because she was unique and different and extremely talented. I think that accent may have been the nail in her coffin. Thia has a really lovely voice, but just didn’t seem to know what song would work or how to really relax and just feel the words. I always felt that she was overly concerned about getting the notes right. She is extremely talented and hope that she finds the right path.

    I am not yet ready to predict a final two or three. I think Scotty, James and Pia are the three strongest contenders. I don’t know about Lauren. It may well be that TPTB want her in the finals, but I don’t know that she has what it takes to get there. She has shown some good vocals, but the immaturity and lack of poise is really glaring.

    I think it’s time for Scotty to step it up. I don’t know that he will, because he may feel that things are going so well right now. If Pia has to step out of her comfort zone, then so does Scotty. James needs to go back to something like “Maybe I’m Amazed”, before we all forget that he has great raw talent.

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  22. I seldom call the bottom three correctly, but I got it right this week. I also thought it was about time Paul made it there. I like a raspy voice, but his voice just seems too weak to compete with the other contestants. And I was happy that Stefano did not make it to the bottom three.

    As for the discussion about girls being eliminated over guys, I’m one of those people who really doesn’t care if it’s a guy or a girl–I just like to see the person who appeals to me most be there in the end. I work at a job where we’ve done two new hires recently and even though only 1/3 of the applicants were female, they hired two females because they’ve been roundly criticized for not having many females on staff. Maybe they were the best, but maybe not. As a woman, I think a woman’s talent should be the reason to be hired (or voted for), not because of her sex. I think there were obvious reasons for Thia and Naima being eliminated. Sure, they were both talented, but neither of them could have made it very far in this competition. In addition to raw talent, the contestants have to have a very strong likeability factor–PLUS as MCL said, pimping by TPTB. I’m not ready to agree just yet that they want a finale with Scotty and Lauren. As I’ve said many times, I’m not a fan of country music and I’m not a particular fan of Lauren either, but I did think they did a really good job with their duet last night. Personally I wouldn’t want to see Lauren in the finals.

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  23. Tom, I agree with your comments across the board. Couldn’t have put it better (certainly not more succinctly, being me!)

    Gene, I’m inclined to agree with you about the double eliminations, but I think we’re in the minority. As for the final three, I don’t think Paul or Jacob have a chance, and as much as I like his voice, I don’t think Stefano does either. While he has a bigger fan base, I don’t think Casey is going the distance; you don’t get voted off and then win the thing. My thought a week or two ago was James and Scotty were the ones to beat, but I am not solid on Scotty right now. Yes, I know he’s got a huge fan base, but I am concerned about what Tom has brought up — that he is becoming a one-trick pony. Doing the same thing week after week has its downside, even if you do it well. We hear it in the complaints about Pia doing the ballads (although honestly, I don’t think she really had a choice this week), and the only reason we haven’t heard it yet about Scotty is because he’s so charming, his presence on stage at such a young age is impressive, and country music is more “fun” than ballads are. But this comment is starting to be raised on the boards. If he continues this strategy, he runs the risk of fading down the stretch if someone else starts stepping up their game. Not that it really matters; he’s got a record contract waiting for him even if he gets voted off next week. If I had to bet right now, I’d bet for him to finish 3rd or 4th.

    I fully expect Pia to wow everyone when she sings an uptempo number, based on what I’ve seen of her in the group singing throughout the season, and that could well solidify her for the second spot in the finale.

    Which means that the only two who seem, at this point, to have dark horse spoiler potential are Lauren and Haley. Lauren is simply not reaching the potential we thought we saw in her early, and whoever said it’s a matter of confidence has it right, I think. If she finds that confidence, then she can run by Pia, because Idol voters like singers who grow during the course of the competition. And if someone can get Haley to change her body movements, which seems to be one of things that people are complaining about, and limit her growling just a bit, she could sneak in the side door. I think she will finish as the one who grows the most during the season.

    Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind, because a lot can happen in the next four weeks . . . It’s interesting to watch!

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  24. Just read your post, Louise. Ditto.

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  25. In my previous post, I mentioned that there were “obvious reasons” that Thia and Naima were eliminated. I think I need to clarify what I meant, lest someone think I’m a bigot, because I definitely am not. I loved Thia’s voice–I just think she should have waited a few years to try out for Idol. Right now she just didn’t show much personality as a performer, and as I said above, that is very important. Maybe if she had matured a little, her personality could have matched her voice. I think she seems like a really sweet girl, but she needs to develop a stage presence.

    As for Naima, I think she is a really good all around performer, but she wasn’t always the best singer. So inconsistency was the reason I thought she would be voted off early. But I also think that Naima probably put the nail in her coffin by singing in the Jamaican accent just as Karen most likely did by singing in Spanish. I just think the general American audience probably didn’t like that and she probably didn’t pick up many votes.

    I hope both Thia and Naima continue to pursue musical careers.

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  26. Too bad about Thia – I thought that Paul had the weakest performance this week.

    I was also sorry to see Naima go as she takes chances. I look forward to seeing Naima on the tour because I think she will be one of the performers that add to the show this year. I have to admit that I am more interested in trying to see who might make good concert material, but that is so hard to predict. Last year, Casey James, Katie Stevens, and Aaron Kelly proved that they could command the BIG stage and hold the audience — that was not so obvious on the small screen.

    I am not so sure about a Lauren and Scotty finale — they are inexperienced performers and have some competition. Of the remaining nine, when I shut my eyes and try to recall the singers, I can see and hear James, Pia, Stefano, Jacob, Casey, and Haley first – I think that Simon would have used the term “memorable”.

    However, from the start, Scotty has displayed one of those natural personalities that will take him far — we just WANT Scotty to do well.

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  27. I’m a little stumped over the Scotty comments; but first let me say, win or lose this kid has a career waiting for him, if he wants it!

    One-trick-pony is all that I am hearing; why? I’m not sure what is expected of him, how can he do anything different other than what he does?

    I’m not saying this to be snarky, I truly do not understand! I’m really confused over this, does he need to sing in higher keys, or faster, or different kinds of music?

    I’m more confused because with Haley, everyone was saying they didn’t know what kind of artist she was, but with Scotty we know; he is a Country singer.

    Please don’t think I am being defensive because of Scotty…I really do not understand what he could do any different.

    I really do not think TPTB are looking for a Scotty ~ Lauren finale; I actually think they are looking for a Pia ~ James, finale!

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  28. Vonnie –

    I feel the same way you do about Scotty. Let Scotty be Scotty. He just needs a good vocal coach like MCL to sharpen his performances. If he tries to be something he is NOT, he come across as disingenuous.

    He IS a COUNTRY boy.

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  29. Oops – If he tries to be something he is NOT, he WILL come across as disingenuous.

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  30. Vonnie,

    I agree with you about Scotty–I don’t think he should be forced to be something he’s not. But then again, why should Pia be forced to sing something other than a ballad?

    At this point, I’d have to agree with you about TPTB wanting a Pia and James finale. But ANYTHING can happen between now and then so it’s definitely too early to predict.

    I also agree with the person who said that they don’t think Casey will go too far. I love Casey and think he might be in it until about week 5 or 6, but I don’t see him being the American Idol. But even though I made this prediction, I should have listened to my comment in the previous paragraph!!! It’s too early to predict!

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  31. I’m not criticizing Scotty’s desire to be a country singer, Vonnie; on the contrary, that is who he is, who he should be, and he is going to make a ton of money doing it and have a long and illustrious career (although I think he would be well-advised to follow MCL’s advice and get some technical knowledge about singing so that his voice can hold up to the rigors of a singing career. Look at poor Paul, whose inability to use his diaphragm properly is playing hell with his voice. Even Pia, whom they say has iron lungs, is experiencing vocal fatigue.)

    I don’t for a moment suggest that he stray from his country roots or who he should be as a singer; I trust that he will do whatever feels right to him, and I fully support that. I am simply suggesting that not doing so MAY mean – and only MAY – that he doesn’t win this competition. I don’t think, in the grand scheme of things, that winning American Idol matters for him, other than the nice ego kick from beating everyone else. The day he made the finals, he could have quit the competition and the record labels would have been lining up to sign him. People audition for American Idol mostly because they want a professional singing career, and his appearance on the show will give that to him, win or lose.

    I am a fan of Scotty and expect to buy his albums; my choosing potential winners has nothing to do with my personal likes. Stefano is one of my favorites, but I’m not picking him to win, either. (He could prove me wrong, the folks at AI say he works his tail off.)

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  32. Louise and Jeanne,

    I may not have been clear earlier. I’m not saying that the wrong “named individuals” were eliminated this week, or that it was because they were female, or that Casey may not be better than one or both of them. The point that I’m trying to make is that the judges save, and the double elimination perverts the system and you end up with results, at this point in the competition, that are different than was the will of the voting public only one week before.

    If Casey had been cut from the 11th spot as the voters intended there would have only been one elimination this week. Assuming that you are correct and Thia and Naima were the two most likely to have been eliminated, one of them would have lived on to perform another week. Let’s assume Thia was eliminated leaving Naima. Naima delivered a pretty good R&B performance with Jacob last night, and she has shown herself to be smart and ready to adapt in the past weeks, so maybe she decides to go back to where she started the competition and do some nice updates of classic R&B songs. Like Haley, her stock begins to rise and she’s a hero. Instead of going home, she’s made herself a contender and done so without all of the pimping that Casey received since the time that the public declared him their least favorite. That’s my point.

    I wasn’t suggesting affirmative action for less qualified females. To be blunt, I was suggesting that the people who complain the loudest about females being eliminated early every year are the same people who have the power to stop it. Adult females.

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  33. Thanks, Gene, but I think you are confusing Louise and me with two other women. :-) Neither of us care what the sex is of the person voted off is. We just want whoever is weakest to be whittled away each week, regardless of sex.

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  34. Here’s what I think the difference between Pia and Scotty is. Scotty sings a certain type of music: a genre, so to speak….he is a country singer through and through. If he tried to change his ways, I’m sure it would backfire and cause him to get elminated.

    As for Pia…what genre of singer is she? Even the top ballad singers of today: Celine, Whitney have their uptempo, fast songs. When I think of the two aforementioned, I think of Pop music. I think this what the judges mean when they what PIa to sing other type of songs….they want her to stay within the Pop music category, but not just sing ballads. Actually Randy and company mentioned yesterday that he never meant to say that she shouldn’t sing ballads, but that she should switch it up a bit…but still staying with her style.

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  35. Thanks, Jeanne! You’re absolutely right–“Neither of us care what the sex is of the person voted off is. We just want whoever is weakest to be whittled away each week, regardless of sex.”

    And, Gene, I definitely understand your point that the voting should be left to the public. It definitely makes sense, which is why I think they should eliminate the judges’ save in future years. From what I’ve read here, it seems that most people do not agree with having a judges save.

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  36. Jeanne and Louise,

    Addressing comments is a PITA. Blogs are typically open discussions or have a means to insert your comment in the thread in a way that makes sense. My comment was really a general one regarding women not voting for women and then complaining that women go home early but Louise had responded to my previous remarks (see below) and Jeanne had agreed with Louise, so, “You’ve got mail.” Louise drew an analogy to hiring, possibly less qualified females, in her place of work, and that is what I was referring to at the end. She said she was opposed to the practice. I assumed she thought I was for it and that was why she referred to it, but actually I was agreeing with her. I don’t vote for women just because they are women, but in that age group of singer there are very few males that appeal to me, so it just ends up that way. Sorry to be so confused. See what happens when I use too many words Louise?

    Louise said,
    …As for the discussion about girls being eliminated over guys, I’m one of those people who really doesn’t care if it’s a guy or a girl–I just like to see the person who appeals to me most be there in the end. I work at a job where we’ve done two new hires recently and even though only 1/3 of the applicants were female, they hired two females because they’ve been roundly criticized for not having many females on staff. Maybe they were the best, but maybe not. As a woman, I think a woman’s talent should be the reason to be hired (or voted for), not because of her sex…

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  37. Vonnie,

    Let me join the chorus in saying that Scotty should sing in the country style. However, this week he could have used more imagination and shown some artistry and ability to make songs his own by choosing a less obvious song and giving it a country makeover. As I said, I don’t care for Lauren, but I have to give her credit for putting a very creditable country spin on an Elton John classic. It is one of those songs that the judges could have easily said should be left alone. Scotty’s stock would have gone up for me if he had done the same thing.

    I’m mixed on whether or not Scotty walks away from Idol with a readymade country career. There are valid points to be made on both sides of that argument. The best, but by no means the only, argument against his instant success is Josh Turner. He has all of the same attributes as Scotty, nice guy, Christian, good character, and I’m pretty sure the ladies would find him attractive. Frankly, he’s a much better singer than Scotty and he has the benefit of being established with a label, and more importantly, with good song writers who will pitch their best songs written for that style of voice to him before they will to a new comer. Singers like Randy Travis are still out there and if you compare Scotty and Lauren’s “I Told You So” duet to the original duet version performed on the Idol stage a few years ago by Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood, well, there is no comparison, even though Randy wasn’t in very good voice that night.

    On the other hand, Carrie Underwood faced the same dilemma. There were many female vocalists on the pop side of country who were established and were, frankly, better singers at the time she came along. Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, among others, were well established and still young enough to be on the uphill side of their careers, yet somehow Carrie managed to get her nose under the tent and the other ladies are still eating her dust. She did have the Idol win in her favor rather than just being an also ran. The Country genre is a big tent, so he may walk right in.

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  38. Ahhhhh! Jeanne, you know I love you! :-)

    Actually, I think Gene W. answered my question;

    “However, this week he could have used more imagination and shown some artistry and ability to make songs his own by choosing a less obvious song and giving it a country makeover. As I said, I don’t care for Lauren, but I have to give her credit for putting a very creditable country spin on an Elton John classic. It is one of those songs that the judges could have easily said should be left alone. Scotty’s stock would have gone up for me if he had done the same thing.”

    Thank you Gene, this is more what I was fishing for; I just couldn’t figure out what Scotty needed to change. But now I know, thank you!

    Like I had said sometime ago; I would not know a musical technique if it jumped up and slapped me in the face!

    So for my; recliner-relaxing-iced tea drinking-casual watcher-self…didn’t see nuttin’ wrong wit my boy Scotty!

    But I’m good now, I have wrapped my gray headed head around the fact that Scotty needs technical help…tantrum over; movin’ on!

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  39. You’re right, Gene, Scotty’s voice does not, at this point, match up favorably against Josh Turner’s or Randy Travis’. I thought it did initially, but I see now that he has some learning to do. On the other hand, Josh Gracin and Bucky Covington? I would think Scotty has to fare better, because he has a certain something that I hesitate to call star quality with one so young, but whatever it is, the other two don’t have it.

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  40. Vonnie,
    Don’t confuse me with anyone with technical knowledge of singing, but from my perspective, Scotty has a gift of nice tone, good pitch, that great baritone voice and it’s all packaged in a very nice young man. I don’t think his skills are as developed or refined as Pia’s for example, but as far as I know, he is a pure amateur and she is a young professional singer, AKA in Idol speak, makeup artist. I think he would benefit a lot from good polishing by MCL or one of the many lesser vocal coaches out there.

    You have good instincts and have picked at least one past winner so there is nothing wrong with being a Scotty fan. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leading the pack in votes on most weeks. He’s just not what I’m looking for.

    BTW, after about a dozen tries, I finally got my post for your son to “stick” to the board this morning and I ended up posting it on the thread where your original question was. I’m sorry it took so long, I don’t know what the problem was.

    You must be prematurely grey?

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  41. Jeanne,

    Country has become such a large tent that poppers and rockers are getting into the act too. As far as I know, Darius Rucker has gone country full time, Jewel and Jon Bon Jovie dabble and even Robert Plant did an album with Alison Krause! Josh Gracin and Bucky Covington and Phil Stacey have found a home as well as Randy Gokey, and on a larger scale, Kellie Pickler. Country music has been pretty good to Kellie; the last time I looked her record sales were equal to Adam Lamberts. Scotty has a good image and is very likeable, which fits the mold for the modern country artist and I think there’s a home for Scotty too but at what level he makes his entry will depend on how much progress he makes refining his gifts while he is in this competition and how far he ends up going.

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  42. This is also my first time posting, although I’ve come to this site for years (Season 6 I think). I was also really glad that Stephano made it through this week. I think he is one of the best male vocalist there this year. However, I worry about him every week because even though he is good vocally, there is something oddly generic about him. I can’t place my finger on it, but there is something missing that keeps him colorless to me, rather than say Mario Vasquez from season 4.

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  43. Hi…Susan McAllister-Bee ~and~ Kiyani, Welcome! Glad to have you here posting with us!

    Gene W,

    Nope! I’m a Tweener…not gray enough to color; but gray enough to make me mad!!! :-)

    Also, thanks for the info for my son, I will pass it on to him!

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  44. Actually; I would like to go on record for saying that it really doesn’t matter to me if Scotty wins or not. This is such a great year, with so many talented kids, that I’m just glad I get to hear him each week and will love on him till he gets voted off, then patiently wait for the tour to be over so that I can purchase his CD.

    I like so many of these kids this year…I think each one of them is deserving of the idol title.

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  45. Kiyani, I have the same feeling about Stefano. I’m hoping he can overcome it. Someone here had reminded me that he plays the piano; I’ll echo their refrain from last week that I hope he plays it this coming week.

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  46. i think that a lauren and scotty finale would be booooooorrrrrrrrrrrinnggggggg. lauren has not had ANY frontrunner performances and scotty is good but not what i picture an idol to be. isn’t there a country singer contest somewhere that produces country idols?

    when i saw the bottom 3 i really thought it would be paul and naima(she was an automatic given) who would go. paul has been absolutely terrible for several weeks in a row and i don’t see him lasting much longer. he’s not growing, he’s not getting any better. and i was interested to see where thia’s potential could take her. i know that she, like pia, needed to choose an uptempo song this week but really? elton john week? im not sure there were too many uptempos they could choose from. even casey was relegated to sing a ballad. i don’t understand why it’s bad for pia (who’s is a DIVA in waiting. and what do divas sing? BALLADS.. ask Celine, Mariah, and Whitney) and thia to sing ballads over and over again when all scotty sings is country. they sing ballads. he sings country. whats the diff? it’s their niche.. don’t try to make them something they’re not.

    i think a BIG clue that it was thia though was when they had her hayley and pia sing together she didnt get a solo part and i was really disappointed in that.

    i predict the finale should be james and pia. i dont get why people like jacob. when he sings its like there’s peanut butter in his mouth.. you can’t understand the words coming out of his mouth and he just sounds whiny most of the time.

    id rank the remaining 9: james, pia, scotty, casey, jacob, lauren, stefano, hayley, paul.

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  47. Welcome Susan McAllister-Bee. Nice to see you stop by and share your thoughts. You are a voice teacher so I am sure your opinions will be very valuable to the readers if you decide to come back and visit. Thank you!

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  48. I have been reading this discussion and have some additional thoughts. I want to make it clear that I am not in favor of anyone staying in this competition by virtue of their gender. I made an observation that so far it’s been all girls voted off. Does that mean that these young women really deserved it or were that lacking? Also, for the record I am an adult woman who votes for female singers that I like on this show.

    As a matter of face, there were two guys in the bottom last week. That was the first time it happened. Thia was the one girl to be in the bottom. Casey was the one who was voted off by America. We will never know for sure what would have happened this week if he had not been saved. We do know that only one person would have gone home. So it is accurate to say that either Naima or Thia would still be in the competition. That is the price for messing with the system and creating an artificial means of changing the result.

    I merely was observing that we haven’t lost a single guy and it’s been all girls. This has been a familiar pattern in recent years with the voting. My point was that Paul has been mediocre at best, yet he is still in the competition. He finally wound up in the bottom this week, but was still safe in the end. I don’t think either Thia or Naima deserved to go before Paul. However, that’s the way it goes on this show because there are other factors besides the actual singing and performances that determine who stays and who goes.

    I don’t think it’s sacrilege to suggest that Scotty might want to do a bit more. That doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with him. I thought this competition was about growth, development, learning vocal technical skill to maximize potential, discovering which songs work, how to perform and connect with the words of song. All of these things are components of the Idol journey. The greatest singers have always worked to improve themselves. They have never been content to stay static. That is all I am saying about Scotty. I think that some vocal technical skill could measurably enhance his already impressive voice.

    I don’t know that TPTB have already decided that it should be Lauren and Scotty in the finale. I am not sure that Lauren is ready. I also think that the competition is strong enough to make for a very interesting road to the finale this year. You never know what can happen on this show.

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  49. Welcome Kiyani

    I have a feeling that Stefano will remain for a bit and will surprise us next week. He seems to work so very hard. Also, I am sure there is still some vote-splitting happening. I know that many people who love Pia also love Stefano, so they are voting for both. It’s time to stay loyal to one singer or they will not move very far off the ladder.

    Thank you for stopping by and adding you thoughts. Hope to see you visit again soon. :)

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  50. Sorry, typo again! It should be as a matter of FACT!

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  51. bizzee247 — I think you’re right that Pia’s style is pop music (or pop/R&B). I’ve listened to her pre-Idol performances and demos, and she sounds very current in those recordings. That’s why I agree with the judges that Pia should switch it up because I am fully confident that she is capable of doing so, and I believe there’s a whole side of her that America hasn’t seen yet because she’s only sung older ballads thus far.

    Jeanne — I agree with you that Pia’s group singing (and other indicators) strongly suggests she can wow people with an uptempo number. Just wanted to give a shout-out. :D

    *

    One last thought: My original comment was actually meant to point out something different altogether, and this is it: I find it ironic that in a season initially deemed “a girls year,” the first four contestants eliminated were all female. This is a very different narrative from what the judges were proclaiming earlier, isn’t it? That is all I wanted to get at—for us to think about how early expectations can be so removed from later realities and how sharp a contrast can be heard when America speaks (through voting results) and when the judges or TPTB speak (in their comments or interviews).

    In fact, even Casey’s brush with elimination is a testament to this. Several early rankings projected Casey as the winner, and the judges have been giving him nothing but praise, but America sent a very different message to Casey last week.

    Really, what I’m saying is that I find the narrative arc of this season very interesting: America speaks, and the message sometimes differs wildly from the judges’ or the TPTB’s. Of course, in the case of the eliminated female contestants, it’s not as though the judges were giving these particular ladies unequivocal praise every week, and the public went out of its way to contradict them, but nonetheless, I still find this season’s developments intriguing when viewed through the lens of early promise.

    All righty, I hope that makes more sense! I love to think in terms of narrative and theme and, especially, official narratives versus folk narratives (fiction writing is a hobby, and sociocultural anthropology was my college major!), but I’m also a nonlinear thinker, so I sometimes forget to leave enough breadcrumbs for other people to follow my train of thought.

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  52. Sorry…I’m going back to the whole Scotty thing again…gotta stand up for my favourite. ;-)

    Remember that there are different types of country music now: there is the pure country (and what we all think of when we hear the term “country music”) there is also the whole pop country (which Shania Twain was/is known for). Scotty voice is of the the former….he is pure country. These type of country singers are rare nowadays and I think we should embrace them when we find them. I just cant’ see Scotty singing anything else or even venturing into the pop country. I think if would be way too risky for him to do it. Think Reba McIntyre – she has such a distinct voice that when she sings out of her comfort zone and ventures into the area of pop country, it is very noticeable. She has harnessed this though and does it with ease. I think Scotty’s time will come and eventually he will be able to do this, it’s just going to take practice. Perhaps if he stays around longer, we will see this side of Scotty.

    I really think that he will do well in the singing business; and especially in the Country music…even if he does not win AI.

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  53. Hey Gene W,

    My son says to say thank you for the info…so; Thankyou!!! :-)

    So next weeks theme is “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”??? Hmmm, this gives me a week to come up with songs that I think they should sing…I’m no good a this, but, it’s fun to try!

    Okay, Scotty likes Elvis, so maybe he will bring some Elvis to the stage next week! That would be a blast! This theme should also give Pia the opportunity to go more up-tempo too! I’m excited for this next theme…only hoping there are more than 9 songs on the song list!!! Idol needs to step up their game and add more songs to the catalog if they expect these kids to up their game!

    J,

    Why is it that girls are voted off before the guys…I had never really paid attention before, I am usually more inclined to like the male voices compared to the girls!

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  54. bizzee247,

    Awesome! Well said! :-) You are so right, I am not a country music fan at all, but I love Scotty’s voice; if he is only a one trick pony, well, I’d like to have that trick and take it to Nashville, and I’m sure alot of other singers out there would too!

    Same goes with Pia…if ballads are her thing and that’s what she loves to sing, I’m sure there are alot of singers who would like her gift too!

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  55. Hi, Mindy,

    I just read an interview today where Thia said that they were worried because most of the audience for Idol is female and they mostly vote for the guys. I’m sure there is some truth to that but certainly not everyone votes that way. When I saw the shows which were separated by gender–12 guys and then 12 girls–in general I liked the guys a lot better than the girls. This isn’t always true for me though because I’m remembering the year that Melinda Doolittle and LaKeisha were on, as well as the year when Jennifer Hudson, Latoya London, and Fantasia were contestants. I don’t think I prefer guys to girls but instead prefer the contestants whose talent appeals to me most.

    This year so far I just happen to prefer Scotty, James, Casey, and Stefano over Thia, Naima, Ashthon. I’m on the fence about Lauren and Haley and, to a certain extent, even Pia. I’ve liked them sometimes, but not always. And even though I thought I was going to like Paul, he hasn’t lived up to my expectations. And I just can’t get into Jacob either. Gender has nothing to do with my likes or dislikes.

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  56. Louise, I totally understand what you are saying.

    Personally, I do prefer the male contestants…there is something sexy (yes, I said it) about a male’s voice that is rich and pure (for the record, I’m female). However, I dislike Jacob, Paul, Casey and James…don’t know what it is, they just have not grown on me. However, I LOVE Scotty (as evident in my many posts.. :-) ) and Stefano. In my opinion, they are two fantastic artists (two completely different artists), but good in their own way and own style.

    As for the females, I don’t really have favourite. I do like Pia though. I’m not sure how I feel about Lauren and I’m definitely not a fan of Haley at all. For me, a female’s voice needs to be solid, pure and rich sounding. If there is even a slight hint of “forcing out notes and really struggling to reach them”, then the chances of them not hitting the notes and the girls sounding “screachy” are extremely high – not sure if I’m making sense…but I do know what I’m trying to say…haha. :-) Pia’s voice is just this: rich, pure and when goes into her upper register, it’s beyond describable.

    Hard to say who is going to be in the final two….obviously, with only 2 girls left….odds say that it will be two guys. But, hey, it’s Idol and we just never know! :-)

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  57. I was wondering if there are technical reasons why Jimmy Iovine is SO hard on Stefano in the sessions (the one’s they show right before he sings). Stefano always seems so “tight” on stage – and I can’t help but wonder whether or not Jimmy’s demands, attitude and “abuse” are part of it. Any thoughts or ideas?

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  58. Yes, J, it makes perfect sense. Thanks for the clarification.

    It’s an interesting question. Certainly AI seems to identify certain contestants early and promote them more than others. This is a marketing ploy, and I don’t hold it against them; I’d do the same thing were I in their shoes. One can assume that they are making choices based on who seems to be more marketable, as well as who seems to exhibit the most talent during the course of the audition phase. Of course, we see so little, really, of anyone during auditions, that we can’t make the same judgments that they do, but based on what we did see, I am not at all surprised that the “favorites” once we got to the top 13 were Casey, Paul, James, Scotty, Lauren, and Naima (actually, I think Ashthon was a favorite, too, but I refuse to go there.) Yes, I know they dumped Naima early, but she was colorful, interesting, different, and had a great backstory, so that means ratings. I don’t think they were really hyping Pia initially, but they did have the good sense to jump on that bandwagon. Perhaps they didn’t feel they HAD to hype her, that her talent would win out in the long run.

    Incidentally, while I know they talked about last year as being the year of the women, I didn’t realize that they did that this year. It has always seemed to me that the men were stronger this year.

    Quite frankly, I think I would have chosen to highlight the same singers that AI did. Where we part is in whether we choose to hang on to those original choices. AI is inclined to stick to their guns, perhaps because they have seen so much more of these singers than we have. The voters, however, come in with no such prejudice and so mostly vote from their gut and what’s happening now. (For someone, I think it was Paul, it was amusing to watch all three judges either last week or this week expend an extraordinary amount of words trying to avoid saying, “You were really bad”, and instead harping endlessly on how much they believe in him.)

    But the truth is that people who can do no wrong in the audition process can fall apart once the show starts in earnest. I was a huge Andrew Garcia fan, and still have trouble believing that what we saw in auditions was a fluke, but for whatever reason, he wasn’t able to keep the ball rolling once he made the finals. You just don’t know until you get there how anyone will handle the pressure. And in truth, there are so many things coming at them during the course of the season, that perhaps we should be surprised that anyone manages to thrive during it. But no one, not me and not the AI producers, can accurately predict who among the auditioners will shine when push comes to shove and who just isn’t up to the task.

    Lauren is a perfect example. I thought, as the AI producers undoubtedly did, that she was a shoe-in for the final coming into the Top 13 (which basically just means that it was her competition to lose, not that she actually would reach the final); what I’ve discovered is that she is far less mature both as an individual (which shouldn’t really be surprising, she is barely 16) and as a singer than I thought she was. I keep expecting her to blow me away, and instead she comes up with serviceable performances that I’ve forgotten in the morning. Perhaps AI is hanging on to the hope that one day it will all click for her, and perhaps it may — but I don’t know her personally and so I’m not as invested in her as they are. I’m happy to keep her around to see if things change, but I’m not going to be her cheerleader, either.

    So what is interesting is that AI, which must be heavily into marketing, doesn’t take advantage of the uncertainties of this thing, but picks the horses it wants to ride until the end. It will hang on to contestants until the public votes them off, and sometimes minimize the achievements of those who are coming from behind. Perhaps the season is so scripted and there is so much going on that there is no one with imagination there to say, “Hey, let’s switch gears, I think America is onto something different, let’s ride it for all it’s worth!” It wouldn’t be the first time anyone has said that about Hollywood producers . . . :-)

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  59. ladyhelix,

    I’m going to put the positive spin on the answer to your question, because that is my nature, but also because it makes sense to me given my own experience. I don’t know why the editors of the program have chosen to highlight Stefano in this way (I haven’t really paid attention, but I take your word for it), but it could range anywhere from being interesting to trying to highlight how hard he is working to trying to bash him to not having any other material to work with. Who knows?

    So I’m just going to address the question, “Why does Jimmy Iovine talk to Stefano this way?”

    I came across some articles on ew.com today that are post-show interviews with the arrangers/vocal coach/assistant musical director on AI, which are pretty frank, informative, and interesting. Apparently they do this every week. The first thing that comes through loud and clear is that these two people, who have worked with AI since the beginning, really care about helping each of these young singers do their best within the context of AI. The second is that they know their stuff.

    With regard to Stefano, I remember him saying before performing “Hello” that he was going to keep his eyes open, something he had clearly been talked to about. But he was completely unable to meet the challenge (although he did make sure he had them open on the last note!) This didn’t surprise me. As an actor and director, I know just how very hard it is to change old, very ingrained habits. But knowing that you are doing them is the first step.

    What shocked and surprised me was that he had conquered the problem this week. Not only that, but the vocal coach has been riding him about his “one step, two step, sing sing sing” pattern. And while I wasn’t paying attention to that this week, she says he conquered that, too. For him to have overcome both of these problems (it will take weeks to solidify these changes, but still!) in this brief time is nothing short of amazing. If you haven’t tried to make similar changes yourself, you must simply take my word for it. It is HARD. It is also the thing that gives me hope for Stefano. This kid wants it badly and will do whatever he can to get it.

    But back to Jimmy. I am guessing that he hears this wonderful instrument in Stefano’s voice and knows that it is failing to connect with the TV audience in the way that it should. And he sincerely thinks Stefano has more within him. So he pushes him. I’m not sure that it’s a good thing (not sure that it isn’t, either), but when you are helping someone who seems so close but just isn’t quite getting what he needs to do to push him over the edge, it is easy to get invested in what’s going on and to push hard. And especially when you are working against the clock, as all the contestants are on AI. If you can’t learn what you need to do NOW, you may not be here next week to get another chance. So rather than see Iovine’s comments in a negative light, I am inclined to see them as proof that he really believes in this kid and wants him to succeed.

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  60. I was wondering if there are technical reasons why Jimmy Iovine is SO hard on Stefano in the sessions (the one’s they show right before he sings). Stefano always seems so “tight” on stage – and I can’t help but wonder whether or not Jimmy’s demands, attitude and “abuse” are part of it. Any thoughts or ideas?

    LadyHelix -I was wondering about this myself. Either the producers are doing some creative aka manipulative editing or their personalities clash. Could be the latter, you know. Hard to know what is happening behind the scenes, but, quite honestly, Stefano seems to be working his butt off! Nothing wrong with that!

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  61. Just a note about Lauren and then I will zip my lips. A couple of weeks ago in one of the interviews before she performed, Jimmy Iovine sat her down and these words really resonated with me: “Lauren, we are expecting a great deal from you this season…..” It made me wonder – are they expecting a great deal from her because they can visualize a marketable commodity and AI is one way to expose her to millions of fans? Makes one wonder, though…..

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  62. ladyhelix….great question. I’m going to put a different spin on your answer…

    I used to play basketball in high school; I had a coach who was so hard on me….I swear I couldn’t do anything right! I remember asking her one day why she was so hard on me…she told me it was because she saw something in me. She said I was talented, but I wasn’t using all of my talents…basically she said that she wanted more out of me. The next year (which was my final year) all of her pushing, nagging, and my hardwork payed off…I had a great year.

    I think this is why Jimmy is so hard on Stefano. He see something in him and wants Stefano to harness his true potential. Sometimes we are are afraid to show our true talents because we don’t want to fail….but with the right person comes along and pushes us beyond what we ever thought possible, good things come.

    I hope Stefano continues to improve and work hard. He truly is talented. :-)

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  63. Jeanne, you make some good points about the AI marketing that support the idea that working with people is more of an ART than a science – people will surprise.

    Some of the success of past contestants seem to relate to the stamina that is required for the long haul and peaking at the right time. In that respect, perhaps Pia is correct in choosing carefully so she has the endurance to run the marathon. And it seems to me that the last few years have favored the slow and steady over the “flashier” contestants.

    I personally would like a few of the contestants to ROCK IT next week, but I hope the vocal coaches are working with them so they don’t “blow their chops”. Both Paul and Casey seem to be worse for wear this year so unless they can take some good advice from coaches [and MCL], they may not last.

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  64. Vonnie,

    I’ve never liked it when people refer a constestant as a one-trick pony. It just sounds kind of demeaning to me. Sure, I’d love to hear something uptempo from both Pia and Scotty, but I believe they both love singing ballads the most. They both keep delivering memorable performances week after week, so more power to them! People used to call David A. a one-trick pony as well, since he sang mostly ballads. He’s proven though, on his Pop albums that he can sing an uptempo, fun song extremely well also. But, even to this day, David’s biggest strength is in his interpretation of ballads. I believe this may be Pia’s and Scotty’s best strength as well.

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  65. Louise,

    I think that my comments may have been misinterpreted a bit or I didn’t express it as well as I would have liked. First, I support and vote for the singer that I like best. It’s that simple. It has nothing to do with gender. At times I have loved female singers like Jennifer Hudson, LaToya London, Melinda Doolittle and Lakeisha. At other times I have loved male singers like Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice, Elliott Yamin, David Archuleta and Adam Lambert. So I think it’s pretty evenly divided.

    I was referring to the advantage that the guys seem to have among the tween girls who text endlessly for their favorites. It is a fact that we haven’t had a female win this competition since Jordin Sparks. In recent years it has been dominated by the guys. Does that mean that they had more talent? Not necessarily.

    America did put two guys in the bottom last week. The judges changed the result. Casey would have been gone and who knows which one would have gone this week. So maybe this inherent advantage that the guys have in the voting is a myth. I hope so.

    As far as Scotty, I don’t think he needs defending. He is doing just fine. However, my comment that he could benefit from some basic vocal technical skills, is still relevant. It only comes from a desire to see him reach his fullest potential. He will need to stop standing to one side as a performer. No one can get away with that. It will compromise your vocals to such a degree and detract from the performance value. I would like to see him use better breathing so that he can hold those notes and make us appreciate their beauty even more. He has the likeability and charm thing going for him already. I see him being signed no matter what happens. He may not win, but he will get a record deal and have a great career in country music. I am aware of the more traditional country music and Scotty seems ideal for that. The only reason to acquire some basic vocal technique is to maximize your vocals and protect their health. Just listen to Paul and you will hear what he is doing to his voice right now.

    If the greatest singers who ever lived, always strived for more and tried to be the best they can be, then I think it’s reasonable to hope for the same with these young people. It all comes from a place of love and caring.

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  66. I just wanted to add one more thing regarding Jimmy Iovine’s attitude towards Stefano and how he has been pushing him very hard. It made me think back to my beloved music teacher and the director of our choir. She was an intense, passionate woman who was a fierce perfectionist. She was adamant about singing on key and accessing head voice and singing over the high notes and using the diaphragm to get better breath support. At times she drove me crazy. I didn’t always understand her zeal and attention to the tiniest detail of singing and voice.

    I sometimes felt that this woman was pushing me too hard, asking for too much, being unfair and harsh. As I look back on that experience with many years of living behind me, I think that I understand why she did what she did, why she asked so much of ourselves and of herself. She did it for the love of music and singing. She loved the human voice. She revered it, the beauty and power, the clarity and majesty of its sound when it was done well. She wanted me to appreciate the gift I possessed. I may not have been ready back then, but I am so glad that this woman was in my life because of the things she taught me and the desire to do well that she expected. I was lucky to have had her in my life.

    I hope that is a part of what Jimmy Iovine is doing with Stefano. I hope that he sees the possibilities with him and wants him to become the best singer and performer he can be. The voice is there, but it’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference.

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  67. I always read all of the posts, but jumping into the conversation is a bit of a challenge. I feel that I should respond to the posts that came before in the conversation, but it takes a lot of effort to figure out who said what!

    I wanted to say something about voting. The only candidate I’ve really invested time voting for is Adam. Once I realized that I had to power vote, that’s what I did every week. I put in the full FOUR hours of voting after the finale. I was that committed. I voted some for Siobhan, but not to the same extent, and I’m not voting this season.

    I have contestants whom I want to advance, but I’m a teacher and I can’t be up voting until midnight when I have to leave my home for school at seven the next morning! Voting those four hours straight for Adam just completely wiped me out, and I decided never again to do that. And, that was BEFORE the results came out.

    I enjoy watching AI, but the voting system is so time-consuming and manipulative. As Naima suggested, candidates not only need to build fan bases, but fan bases that are willing to power vote for hours on end.

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  68. Sue,

    I can totally understand where you are coming from. I voted for David Archuleta all the way through to the end. I know that I voted in earlier seasons, especially after what happened with LaToya London. I realized that I couldn’t be upset about the results if I didn’t do my part.

    I did the power voting for Adam Lambert right to the end. I did devote hours of time, because I believed in him passionately and wanted to help him get through each week. As you said, it can be draining and keep you from fulfilling your responsibilities in life. The whole controversy over the voting with Kris and Adam in the finale, really infuriated me. I felt cheated and believed that there were some very real problems exposed. That was when I began to get disillusioned. If there were going to be texting parties and young kids willing to text for hours on end, then I knew that I simply couldn’t keep up.

    Last season I became very emotionally invested in Siobhan. I voted my heart out for her, but to no avail. The way the judges trashed her and belittled her no matter what she did, for their own personal agenda and bias, was basically the last straw. I realized that being so emotionally invested just took too much out of me. I didn’t have that kind of energy to expend. I decided that if I came back here to post again for the new season of Idol, that I would try my best not to get so intensely involved with any of the contestants. It’s easy to become attached to these young people. They pour their heart and soul out for all of us week after week. There is the human drama of how they respond to the rigors and pressures of this competition.

    I have a few favorites this season. Pia would most likely be my favorite, but I am trying to keep some distance. I love her voice, think she’s immensely talented and sincerely hope that there is still room in the music business today for a great pure voice. I don’t necessarily need her to win, but it would be nice to see her get a recording contract and have her shot at success. I think there will be a few of these young people getting record deals. There is that much talent. I love the diversity and different genres of music that they all represent. I really like Scotty and this is coming from someone who doesn’t listen to country music. I also like Stefano quite a bit. James did win me over, but he is in danger of losing me if he doesn’t dial it back a little and show me more of his voice.

    I should love Jacob, because male r&b singers always appeal to me. He has so much voice, but the oversinging, the runs and the vibrato and the excess, has really turned me off. I wish he could have enough confidence in the quality of his voice to just pull back and let his vocals really shine.

    So this has been a season of riches. I won’t be voting for hours anymore, but will still participate. I am enjoying having several favorites. I am also happy to have more emotional energy for myself.

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  69. Hi, Mindy,

    I’m glad to hear that I just misinterpreted what you and Gene said about female Idol contestants. My apologies to both of you. I made an assumption about what you were both saying because it’s a sore spot with me in seeing either sex have an unfair advantage over the other. As I mentioned in one of my posts above, it looked to me like it may have happened at my place of employment recently so it was something that was fresh on my mind. I’m glad that’s not what you were referring to.

    Now to add more fuel to this discussion, I just read another article this morning where Naima mentions that girls on the show are at a disadvantage because of the female viewing audience developing crushes on some of the mail contestants. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42382429/ns/today-entertainment/
    I think there is some truth in what she is saying, but still that is not the only reason that Naima was eliminated.

    And changing gears here, I want to comment on the voting issue that Sue raised. I’m one of those viewers who usually can’t complain if one of my favorites gets voted off because the only time I vote is when I develop a real devotion to one of them over the others. I was one of those viewers who voted a couple of hours each show for Taylor Hicks. Taylor certainly wasn’t the best singer of that year because Elliot Yamin and Katherine McPhee were the second and third runners up, but he was a terrific performer and I loved him. I’m just sorry for him that things didn’t work out better for his career. Unfortunately, he became more or less a joke. I went to see him in a show once, and I was thoroughly entertained. I voted for Siobhan last year and I have often wondered how things would have turned out for her if she had waited and tried out for AI this year. With the more positive tone from the judges as well as the help each contestant seems to be receiving from Jimmy Iovine, perhaps things would have gone much better for her.

    So far I like so many of the contestants, that I haven’t gotten to the point of wanting to vote for any one of them.

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  70. I too would like to respond on the the topic of voting and fanbases!

    I have voted for hours for Taylor and Adam and have vowed to not do that again…it is so emotionally draining. I do vote this year, but am the moment splitting my votes; I know, my bad! I like several of the kids and want them to stick around, I wish that I had voted more for Thia than I did!

    Alot of these kids are cheated out of fanbases because we don’t see or hear them until top 24…Lauren Turner, Kendra, and several of the kids who have gotten voted off already!

    I would like to see idol: do away with the audition shows, or else only show the one’s that were put through, after Hollywood week, let us start voting, let the american public help get a top 12, they could still have the same amount of shows, but instead it would be more productive, because we would be getting to see all of the contestants instead of a handful…just a thought!

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  71. I just rewatched Stefano’s interview before his performance. He said, “The cool thing about Jimmy is, he wants to get the best out of you. He was cracking the whip, you know, ‘Do it again, do it again, do it again,’ He wouldn’t do that to me if he knew that I can’t take that work process. ‘Cause I like it.”

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  72. I wish I lived in the States, so I could vote! It should be open all of North America…after all, if Canada gets to watch, why can’t we vote? :-(

    Jeanne – yes, I remember that line from Stefano’s video clip. It stuck with me and is what reminded me of by basketball story. :-)

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  73. Well, bizzee247, then we’d have to call in “North American Idol” which just isn’t as catchy! And then England and everyone else who watches would want to get in on it. “Transatlantic Idol”? You see the problem. ;-)

    MCL, I’m sure the AI producers see dollar signs when they look at Lauren. I’m sure they also see them when they look at Scotty, James, and Pia, and are hoping that two of the four make the finale so they get a piece of the pie. But I think we also have to allow them (the folks who work at AI) be human, too. It would be naive to think that they are each able to put aside their own feelings and not have favorites. And I’m willing to be that there is the same sort of difference of opinion in that regard among the AI staffers that we find here on your website.

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  74. One thing I neglected to mention about Stefano. When I look at him, I see and feel a young Billy Joel vibe, especially when he sits at the piano and plays one of his beautiful original songs. Did anyone catch his final Hollywood performance – when they returned from Vegas? It’s on the AmericanIdol.Com site. It will blow your mind when you see and hear it.

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  75. Rosanne,

    I was Stephano’s performance of “Come Home”, right? Talk about a stallar performance!!! I think the case with Jimmy is that he realizes Stephano is one of the finest singers of the bunch, and the he has alot of potential. He wants to get that very best out of him. I’ve really enjoyed Jimmy working with all the contestants. It’s proven to be much better than having a different mentor each week for all of them.

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  76. Naima and Thia were both on Jay Leno last night. Thia especially sounded wonderful. He voice has gorgeous! They are both such talented women and I hope the best for both of them.

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  77. Jeanne….too funny. Thanks for the laugh! Yes, I can see your point and yes, that would be a problem! But all I wanna do is vote for my favourite!! :-)

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  78. Wasn’t it amazing, Anita? I am so glad you enjoyed it and I hope the comments are more complimentary toward him this week. I know Jimmy wants the best, but it would be nice to hear a more positive set-up before he performs.

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  79. MCL,

    I hope Stephano builds on all the advice that the judges and Jimmy have given him, and delivers an incredible performance next week. I also hope Jimmy is more positive with him. I’ve noticed that my typing has been bad today, Ha, Ha!!!!

    Like

  80. Wow, so many interesting comments!! I couldn’t read them all right now, but I will come back later. Mindy, you & I like the same people more often than can be accounted for by change :). I really loved Thia’s voice & I also liked Naima a lot – she was “outside the box”. I sat in on the “text chat” yesterday with them (actually, to be completely accurate, I was driving to Rock Hill, SC – 3-hour drive – to hear the Screaming Orphans – please check them out on YouTube and/or iTunes, they’re fabulous). They both seemed very upbeat about their experience on AI & also very classy. I hope they will be able to profit from their experience & go on to have careers in music. I haven’t watched this week’s performances yet but hope to tonight. Just been too busy. Anyway, as always, MCL, thanks for all your do to make such an positive discussion possible!!

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  81. Sorry, Mindy – accounted for by CHANCE not change.

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  82. Addendum to Mindy: Also resonate about being overly invested in one contestant. As you know, I quit watching last year when Siobhan was voted off. However, I did go to the Tour & I agree with Julia that what you see on TV doesn’t always translate to what happens on the big stage. I was extremely impressed with both Casey James & Katie Stevens. And Aaron was quite good too. This year I’m fairly level-headed about everyone & I don’t have a strong, clear favorite, at least not yet. I think they’re all very good. I’m a bit disappointed to hear about the pimping because I don’t think either Scotty or Lauren really need it. OK, enough said at this point, need more caffeine :). The 6 hours of driving yesterday wore me out.

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  83. Gene W,

    Was in my car today listening to a flashback weekend, and Hootie and the Blowfish came on…That’s who Darius Rucker is!!!!!!! When you posted him earlier, I couldn’t pin-point the name. Hootie and the Blowfish, played alot of venues at Virginia Beach, before becoming famous! I love to hear him sing!

    Didn’t know that he went country; how’s he doing?

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  84. Hi Vonnie,

    Darrius has done pretty well since he crossed over to country several years ago. He’s earned a New Artist of the Year at the CMA’s and had two or three number ones from his debut country album. The audience for him in country is pretty much the same as it was for Hootie and the Blowfish. His crossover is unusual in that he actually left the pop field and became a country artist. Most crossovers simply have appeal in another genre and some of their songs or albums will run on more than one chart at one time.

    The best new artist award is kind of funny in a way. Even though he is new to the country music genre, as you know, he’s been on the scene for maybe 25 years or so. A similar thing happened to Shelby Lynn several years ago. She had a run as a country artist in Nashville, then eased into a pop / jazz sort of thing for a while, then returned to country but from the left coast this time, during which time she picked up the Best New Artist award at the CMA, before releasing a short string of pop albums! The next to last one, “Just A Little Lovin’” is pure genius with many covers of the great Dusty Springfield’s song book. You might say that she actually changed genres in the same manner as Darius Rucker because some of the newer albums have the “Pop” genre assignment, but I believe her heart is still country.

    The CMA’s are on tonight, BTW, so you will have a good chance of seeing Darius. I don’t know if he is on the list of performers or not, but they usually feature the “new” artist.

    More than you wanted to know?

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  85. Vonnie,

    Correction, it’s the ACMs, tommorrow night, 8:00 PM Eastern, CBS. It’s your lucky day. I copied the following from the ACM website.

    DARIUS RUCKER AND ACM LIFTING LIVES® MUSIC CAMPERS TO PERFORM ON 46TH ACM AWARDS

    Chart-topping country music star Darius Rucker and ACM Lifting Lives® are partnering for a once-in-a-lifetime musical event to benefit the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC). For the first time performing together, twenty-five ACM Lifting Lives music campers with developmental disabilities will join Rucker on the ACM Awards stage to perform “Music from the Heart,” ….

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  86. bizzee247 —

    According to http://www.votefair.org (which correctly picked the bottom three this week, as well as the two being voted off), you may be able to vote online. Apparently some Philippine voters were managing to do so. Foreign voters who get stymied this way can vote “by proxy”, but they don’t explain how the proxy system works. Anyway, you try it online and see what happens!

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  87. Gene W,

    Thank you for the info…I had no idea that Darius had Gone Country!!! So this was great information; sounds like he is doing very well.

    I will try and watch the ACM’s tomorrow night. Also, you were talking in an earlier post about Josh Turner? Who is he? Does he and Scotty sound alike? I really do not listen to any of the new country music, I like the old country music, but couldn’t tell you who’s who past Carrie Underwood.

    Thank you for being so willing to share your musical knowledge with me!

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  88. Hi, Vonnie! Josh Turner is the original artist of “Your Man” (the song Scotty auditioned with) and “Long Black Train” (Scotty’s final Hollywood performance), and yes, Scotty’s voice is reminiscent of Josh’s. Josh is also a deep bass-baritone, and he sings traditional country.

    You should check out some of his songs on YouTube. In addition to the ones mentioned earlier, I also like “Would You Go with Me”; it just makes me feel good. ;) I’m a big fan of Josh; he’s a classy gentleman and family guy. I remember being so thrilled for him when he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry; I can’t think of a nicer, more deserving person than Josh.

    (By the way, the woman in his “Your Man” video is his real-life wife! How sweet is that? :D)

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  89. Vonnie,

    Here are some links for your convenience! I think WordPress complains if there are too many links in one post, so I limited myself to three, but I hope you look into other ones too! :D

    Josh Turner’s invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry

    Josh Turner – Would You Go with Me [the first Josh Turner song I ever heard; love at first sight, for sure! =P]

    Josh Turner – Long Black Train

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  90. Vonnie,

    Josh Turner does songs like “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” “I wouldn’t Be a Man,” Your Man” and two that Scotty has performed this year, “Long Black Train” and the infamous “Baby Lock Them Doors,” or whatever the actual title is. You may have heard a few of those. Josh is one of the newer crop of traditional country singers that seems to have some staying power and seems like a real gentleman. He has a very nice, smooth baritone voice.

    As I said before, country is only a small part of the music that I like and in that genre I lean more to traditional country, bluegrass, what has been called outlaw country like Waylon Willie and the boys, plus a smattering of newer artist that I like with just a few of the pop country artist in the mix.

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  91. Wow! Wow! I never heard of Josh Turner! Why? Because I don’t listen to country music! What a voice!!!

    Dearest J,

    On the song “Would You Go With Me”, which is to die for, Josh hits a few notes that are absolutely unbelievable! At about :48 in the song, he sings the word “down” and I am dying to know what that note is! Also, at about 3:12 in the song he sings “with me” and that is LOWWWW!

    Also, do you know what key he is singing in on “Long Black Train”? My goodness, that low bass is just mindblowing! Oh, what I am missing in not listening to this music. For Josh Turner, I just might make an exception! :) He sounds like Scotty all grown up! Now this is how I see Scotty singing when he gets some vocal technical skills and more polish as a performer. I cannot tell you how much I love this kind of bass/baritone voice. They are really hard to find. Oh, my ears are happy now! I am going off to youtube to check out some more! Thanks!

    Darlene,

    We must be musical soulmates! I am dying to hear your thoughts about the performances from this past week!

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  92. Jeanne – just a quick explanation about proxy – keeping it short and simple (I hope).

    When you connect to the internet, your (general) location is known, as the information is taken from your internet provider who is usually (but not always) in the same local area.

    To appear to be somewhere else, you can connect to the internet by a ‘proxy server’ based in the country you want to appear to be from. This ‘fools’ the web pages by providing your location as where the proxy server sits, rather than where your internet provider is based.

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  93. Gene W, and J,

    Thank you both so much for the info on Josh Turner…getting ready to run to church but will listen to these this afternoon.

    I have heard Long Black Train; my first cousins husband sings in a local band and that is a song he does quite often. Wow! I never knew!!! Also have heard Scotty’s audition song in bits and pieces before, but never knew who sang it.

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  94. I have been enjoying your articles since AI season 8. I am fascinated by the vocal technique and all that it takes to make those sounds. Sometimes one of the judges would make a comment that Adam Lambert was doing some “crazy things” with his voice, but it was nice to be able to read about how he does it and what it is that he was doing. All we know is that it sounded awesome but don’t fully understand why.

    I have a thread for “American Idol this season” on Adamofficial.com and have a link to your site. My husband and I saw Elton John the week before last. He sang and played for 3 solid hours. So I was prepared for AI to be a let down. Having only 20 songs to pick from kind of sucks, but at least the judges couldn’t complain about song choice since there weren’t any choices. Wouldn’t it be a great test of “artistry” that when they got down to about the top 5 that they would all have to sing the same song?

    I agree with all your critiques this week except for one, James Durbin. I know he has a great voice because I saw a YouTube last week of him singing the “Star Spangled Banner”, of which I use to compare all vocalists. He sings so much better when he is forced to control his voice. When he gets out of control with his wail, I hear him going way out of tune. But this week he had way too many gimmicks. It lost any shred of authenticity and looked more like him “acting” like a rocker than bring one. When he was done I didn’t even remember what he sang. If there is a “one trick pony” in this competition it is James. I would really like for him to sing a rock ballad or try something outside of his tiny box. But since it’s “Rock Week”, I doubt that will happen. My suggestion is Adam Lambert’s “Time for Miracles”.

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  95. I finally read through all the comments for this week’s show. I love to discuss the “voting” system. It belongs in quotes just like the AI “judging” system. I wish they had a limit on votes and I wish the judges had some kind of power other than the “save”. Why not have us vote (Note: I have not called in a single vote since Adam didn’t get the title) and have the bottom two “sing for their life” and have the judges pick who stays? Or perhaps do like “Dancing With the D-List Stars” and actually have the “judges” give a score based on “vocal technique” and “performance”.

    What we have to realize is that even though this is a vocal competition, AI awards a recording contract. In order to be a commercial success, one has to sell records and tour. To have a successful tour, one needs to know how to “entertain”. This is what I loved about the week that Adam mentored. He really helped to bring about some changes on Idol to help the contestants with staging, lighting, back-up vocals, wardrobe, etc. Many people think that the show is scripted too much now, but I like the idea of showing us a complete “performance”.

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  96. Lauriellen

    I love your idea from DWTS! I like that system and then together with the public’s votes, that makes up the scores for the contestants. At least the judges are getting some say there and in AI they would still get their say…..kudos to you – great idea! :-)

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  97. Gene W. and J,

    Okay, I got to listen to Josh Turner this afternonn…WOWZA! Messa liked him alot: Scotty does sound alot like him!

    Listening to Josh makes me love Scotty all the more; what a talent both of these young men have! Scotty is just 17, with the right people around him, Wow! I cannot wait. I may have to start tuning in to some country stations, I’m liking what I am hearing!

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  98. Hi Lauriellen…Welcome!!! :-) :-) :-)

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  99. Hi Lauriellen – Welcome to the MCL Forum. Thank you for your comments and sorry we disagree about James Durbin. I know he can sing ballads very well, so I hope this happens sooner than later. Thanks for stopping by and come back again soon!

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  100. Hi Lauriellen,

    You might recognize me from Adam Official. I’m sue-in-la there though I don’t post much there anymore. I’m glad that you’re joining the conversation here. Welcome.

    About James, I’m enjoying seeing him grow this season. Adam came onto the AI stage quite polished as a performer. He blew us all away with “Satisfaction” and that was just to secure his spot in the Top 13. James has potential, but he’s still working on balancing his vocals with his movements on stage. He’s just getting started. He’s one of the contestants I most look forward to seeing perform every week.

    I love Adam’s “Time for Miracles,” but I very much hope that James stays away from any possible comparison to Adam. The Glambert Nation would rip James apart for even considering a song that Adam has performed. (And, I can say that from being involved in Adam’s fan base from the very beginning.)

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  101. Dearest Mindy,

    I am so glad you enjoy Josh! I truly believe your ears are a gift (even though I know they’ve been a mixed blessing for you), and to be able to help you discover singers whose voices make your ears happy is such a joy and privilege for me. :D

    Country is not one of my primary genres either, but I actually remember the exact moment I discovered Josh’s voice because a voice like that is unforgettable. I was flipping through the channels and stopped on CMT, and my ears immediately perked up when I heard this rich bass-baritone voice coming out of my TV speakers. I was blown away! I admit that I have difficulty identifying most male country singers by ear, but Josh’s voice was so immediately distinctive and gripping that I knew I wouldn’t forget it.

    Like you, when I heard the “down” note at 0:48, I immediately had to figure out what it was; I couldn’t believe it! It turns out that note is an Eb2 (the second Eb below middle C, which is barely on my small keyboard), and I remember looking at my sister and telling her, “I’m not convinced I could even sing this note an octave higher!” The “with me” phrase at 3:12 is on an F#2, which is a little higher, but he has that booming timbre on it still.

    Believe it or not: Josh has sung even lower! In fact, his lowest note isn’t even on the keyboards I have in my apartment; it’s too low! I think you’ll like this video; Josh goes progressively lower and lower. :D His lowest note so far is a G1 (three Gs below middle C), which you can hear at 3:07 in this video:

    Love the clarity and the accuracy of his pitch. Scotty doesn’t have this level of technical skill yet, but oh how exciting his voice could be when he does! I think you said it best. ;)

    Also, to answer your last question, I believe “Long Black Train” is in the key of B-flat Major. =)

    *

    Vonnie,

    You are very welcome. :D I love your comment and Mindy’s because I can totally relate; Josh makes me wish I listened to more country music! A rare voice type indeed but so beautiful. I was talking to a friend about Scotty, and she said, “A voice like that is a gift from God. You’re just born with it.” And you know what? I agree with her. The natural beauty of any voice type can be cultivated and enhanced through vocal training, but training does not change a singer’s instrument, only how he or she uses it. And some are just born with this instrument.

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  102. Dearest J,

    Thanks so much for letting me know about those notes! Yes, Josh has perfect pitch!! That’s why my ears are happy! I actually get kind of an endorphin rush when I hear this kind of perfection in voice. The pitch, the clarity, the tone, all of it. I really do miss out on some great voices because I don’t listen to country music.

    I also totally agree that Josh Turner has the vocal technical skill to make the most out of that God given voice. That’s why I want Scotty to get some basic vocal technique under his belt. That will make his voice even more extraordinary. It’s amazing how some knowledge of vocal technique can make such a difference. Scotty can become as good as Josh if he applies himself and learns how to use that amazing voice.

    I was wondering if those low notes even exist on the keyboards. That’s why I asked. Thanks so much this latest link. I noticed “you don’t mess around with SLIM”, and that last word is sung so low that I think he made up a new note. Aslo, the words “come home” and “way down south”. I see from that clip that people are discussing his vocal range and those low notes. I also meant to ask you what his range is, because he seems to have several octaves. I was surprised that he could sing so high given that he is a true bass/baritone. The comments under that youtube clip say that he has more than a three octave range and it’s B1 – G4. Does that make sense to you?

    His the key B-flat major really low? Maybe you can give me some comparisons of average singing keys as a reference point.

    My Mom was telling me how much I loved music from the time I was very young. My parents bought me my own little record player and I played the records so much that I wore them out. They noticed that music made me happy. My Mom said that I would sing along and mimic the notes exactly. I was a very energetic child and quite a handful, so my Mom was grateful that I would sit and listen to my record player! Music was in my soul from a very young age. I used to listen to all the movie musicals and recordings of Broadway shows all the time.

    My babysitter would always watch American Bandstand, so I would sit there and listen to all of the singers. I started collecting my little 45 records when I was about ten years old. I was collecting records long before all my friends. I still have them! That’s how I caught some of the late 50’s music, the doo wop and then the early 60’s. That’s why I already knew Sam Cooke so well when he was killed in 1964.

    Music has been such a huge part of my life.

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  103. Vonnie,
    You should have a pretty decent country wing on your music library before long. Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, and now Josh Turner. Oh yeah, that new kid, Scotty McCreery.
    I don’t know how much luck you will have with country radio these days. The trend has been toward the pop side of country, which you may or may not like, and what I refer to as redneck rock. There isn’t a great deal of traditional country on the radio any more. It may be different in your area but there is so much national programming and packaging of playlist in all genres of radio broadcast today that you will probably find the same thing. I frequently tune the TV to the various video channels in the mornings Like CMT, VH1, GAC and even MTV to keep up more recent music.
    I’m glad you like Josh Turner. He is about a half generation before Scotty. If you want to go back a generation before Josh to someone with some similarities to Josh, you might like Randy Travis.

    Here he is singing a song he made popular as a single artist that he and Carrie Underwood have re-released as a duet. Performed on the Idol stage on the occasion of Carries induction into the Grand Old Opry, and on results night this week by Scotty and Lauren, “I Told You So.” When you hear Carrie sing this song you will see why Lauren had a hard time with it.

    Randy wasn’t in good voice for this performance. He has a distinct style that he uses in many of his songs that is a direct throw back to a man who is still performing today but represents the generation prior to Randy’s, the paterfamilias himself, George Jones. When Josh Turner sings the lyrics “black train” the last time at the end of “Long Black Train,” you can hear his homage to George Jones. Many other country singers, both male and female, use George’s licks. Patty Loveless is an example of a female that mimics his style occasionally.

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  104. So I was watchin’ the Country music award show…and whadya know; our own little Stevie Tyler was on there singin’ with Carrie Underwood!

    I gotta say; the ole’ boy’s still got it…he sounded great! I didn’t get to watch for very long though; the hubby don’t like country music!!!

    But we did both agree that we really like the girls voice who sings in the group Sugar Land!

    I’m intrigued enough to start tuning in a little to some country stations…gotta hear Josh Turner again very soon!

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  105. Vonnie,

    It’s about par for an awards show. You either have to record it a skip past most of it or endure a lot of abuse for a few minutes of entertainment. Remember my category of redneck rock? That’s what most of this stuff tonight is.

    Steven Tyler and Carrie were pretty good together. Atlanta’s own Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland) actually has a very good voice, but I don’t care for what she chooses to do with it most of the time. They are very popular though, so I’m in the minority opinion. She sang a duet with Rihanna that was pretty good and the first half of her own new song was pretty decent before she began adding her characteristic twang.

    Sarah Evens has been the highlight of the show for me so far. James Taylor is coming up with Zac Brown Band who is usually good.

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  106. Dearest Mindy,

    You are most welcome; anytime! :D And I know exactly what you mean about the endorphin rush; I also get it when I hear beautiful voices (and when I read beautiful passages of literature, for that matter!). It’s a real physiological and emotional process; it’s amazing! I love that feeling; with such natural highs, I don’t need anything else! ;)

    It’s amazing how some knowledge of vocal technique can make such a difference.

    Amen to that! I don’t know if you’ve read Josh Turner’s biography, but years before he was famous, he developed a lesion on his right vocal fold. No surgery was required, but because of that experience, he underwent a classical training program that equipped him with the technique that he has now. I really admire that kind of diligence and bravery because an experience of vocal trouble is not easy, but Josh turned that into a positive opportunity to learn how to better utilize and preserve his instrument. I hope Scotty doesn’t have to face similar vocal troubles to cultivate his technique, but for some singers, that experience provides the incentive and urgency they need.

    I think you meant to type that Josh’s range is from G1-B4, but yes, that is a little over three octaves, and it’s the real deal! I found some live videos for you of him singing “So Not My Baby” where he nails a whole bunch of D4s (which is impressive for his voice type) and the big G4 at the end (which I know gives even tenors a hard time if they’re not well-trained). He does a country slide into the G4, but he’s spot on. I am very impressed!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEopWTydTR4 @ 2:52
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9lVf44i7ZQ @ 3:04

    I also found this live version of “Firecracker” where he nails the head-voice B4 at the end. Pure and beautiful! I actually think I prefer this live version of the note to the studio version (which was included in the video I sent you earlier about his vocal range). He sounds more confident in his vibrato.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw1tyTnAZVA @ 3:25

    This is my favorite type of vocalist, one who can replicate his or her studio vocals in a live setting. It’s a sad commentary on today’s music industry that you can’t always assume that if someone sings a note in the studio that he or she can sing it live, but Josh reminds me in these videos that I have nothing to worry about with him!

    Yes, on one hand, it is surprising that Josh can sing as high as he does, but on the other hand, it’s not too surprising because that skill is truly a testament to Josh’s solid technique. I’ve alluded to this before, but Josh is a good example of why I argue that lower voice types actually have an advantage over higher ones in their potential octave range. This is because the upper limit of a singer’s voice is much more easily stretched through training and technique than the lower limit of a singer’s voice; the latter is much more genetically determined.

    I am a soprano, for example, but no matter how good my technique is, I will eventually hit a bottom limit with my low notes. I can sing lower notes than most other sopranos I know, but I’ll never be able to sing as low as a contralto like Toni Braxton. My instrument just isn’t built that way. On the other hand, well-trained singers with lower voice types like Toni Braxton or Josh Turner can learn to reach notes that near high notes of other voice types. For example, there are studio recordings of Toni Braxton hitting an F5 in full/mixed voice. I don’t know if she’s sung that note live, but that’s very impressive for her voice type! (On a related note, this is also why I say that voice types are not excuses! If true contraltos can hit these notes, no one else can blame genetics!)

    That is why I firmly believe that technique is the number-one factor determining the upper limit of a singer’s voice. Genetics do play some role (one can’t deny that); singers with lower voice types are not going to prefer or be as comfortable singing notes in that high range for extended periods of time (although some develop the stamina to do so!). And in general, even as high as they are able to sing, they don’t usually achieve the same heights as the highest-voiced sopranos or tenors, but the important point I’d like to emphasize is that (1) regardless, these singers are able to surpass expectations of how high they can sing and (2) they are able to sing as high as they need to and don’t feel that their instrument limits them, and that is what matters. That’s what technique allows.

    On the topic of singing keys, to be honest, I am not sure how to rank singing keys on an absolute scale either because songs with drastically different ranges can be written in the same key. I think it’s more useful to look at keys while using a specific reference point; for example, comparing renditions of the same song sung in different keys. In that case, it’s easier to say that a particular key is low or high for a specific song. Does that make sense?

    Lastly, I wanted to thank you for sharing pieces of your life with us about the role of music in your childhood. I feel incredibly honored to be able to glimpse these early recollections of your love of music. For me, it speaks so loudly of the power of music—that it is able to move people and connect us because of this shared emotional experience that transcends generational barriers, international barriers, and so many other kinds of superficial differences. I’m of a different generation, so maybe it looked a little different for me (listening to cassette tapes, rather than records), but the emotional heart of it is very much the same, and I feel blessed whenever I encounter other people who clearly love music as much as I do. Some of us are just wired to receive music in that way, and it’s so special. Thank you for sharing; I feel you! :D

    On a related side note, I sometimes think I was born in the wrong decade! I love music from the ’50s and ’60s as well. I’ve always been an old soul, but in reality, I am younger than most expect from reading my comments (although I’m also older than most expect from looking at my picture, lol!).

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  107. Dearest J,

    Do you remember Paul Robeson? He was probably the greatest bass/baritone singer in history. He did “Old Man River” and was in the original movie of Showboat in 1936. I found it on youtube. What a voice! Talk about low notes! There is that one line in the song that goes – you get a little drunk and you land in ja-il – the last word is two notes and they are the lowest notes I have heard. I wonder if they are as low or lower than Josh Turner’s notes. I also listened to him sing “Amazing Grace” and I got chills just hearing it. This is on recordings that weren’t the best sound quality because they go back to the 1930’s and 1940’s. He also did “Summertime” and “Let My People Go”. I have never heard anything like that.

    I know that he had a terrible time because of all the prejudice against African American singers. He was very committed to the cause of equality. His voice was so good that even the crappy sound quality can’t take away from it.

    Also, I have been thinking about Jacob and his problems with oversinging and too much of this and that. I went back and listened to my idol, Sam Cooke. I knew that he had his roots in gospel music like Jacob, but I didn’t realize that he was part of this group called the Soul Stirrers and toured extensively as a gospel singer before he took a huge risk by switching over to what they called “secular” music. It was like turning your back against God to the Gospel singers. But Sam knew what he was doing and his first record was a little ditty called “You Send Me”, and the rest as they say, was history. Jacob needs to listen to the man himself and see how it’s done. Sam understood how to pull back and let his voice shine through. He fused some of gospel music with popular music to create a new sound called soul or r&b. He never oversang, never. He understood that less is more. He was the most naturally charismatic performer and always, always connected with his audience.

    Jacob – if you are out there, do yourself a favor and look up Sam Cooke, check out his history and musical background. He understood how to fuse gospel with soul/r&b and reach out and touch everyone with the silky smooth sound of his voice. Please learn from the master and change it up, be restrained and let the tone and timbre of your voice soar.

    Just some thoughts I had while listening to the man who started it all.

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  108. Dearest Mindy,

    Just so you know, I wrote you a long comment that is awaiting moderation (because of the video links, I’m pretty sure, which is understandable), so look for that post to appear above this comment once it’s approved.

    Also, you can’t see the comment yet, but I realized I sent you the wrong link for “Firecracker.” I sent you the studio version instead of the live version. Here is the live version. The time stamp of 3:25 applies to this live version (although if you want to hear the corresponding note in the studio version, the note is at 3:07 in that video).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27-lMnzayso :D

    I know you don’t have context, but I sent you the link for you to hear that Josh is able to hit his high note of a B4 (head voice) in live performances too, which is very nice!

    *

    Vonnie,

    Yes, I read on MJ’s Big Blog the rumor that Steven and Carrie would be performing together, so I’m excited to see that was true! Having a judge who is actually a singer is so refreshing! I’ve enjoyed the little snippets of him singing on American Idol this year. (I do agree with others that Steven could be bringing more constructive techniques, but still, the general point applies: I love having successful singers/entertainers as judges! I feel they understand what the contestants are going through in a way that is more nuanced than non-singers do.)

    Like Gene W mentioned, Sugarland is actually very popular, and I know that Jennifer Nettles’ voice is well-respected. I haven’t heard enough of Sugarland’s music to respond to the other part of Gene’s comment, but I completely relate to the sentiment that some singers have great natural instruments but don’t always use them to my taste. I can think of one singer off the top of my head who overdoes the “characteristic twang,” and she doesn’t need to. Her voice is beautiful when it’s pure. Christina Aguilera is another example of a singer with a beautiful natural instrument, but it’s a shame that she’s going through vocal decline at such a young age. Underneath the oversinging and the overly darkened timbre is a lovely voice.

    *

    Gene W,

    Awards shows can be difficult to watch. I often end up watching individual performances online after the fact because there’s too much filler, and when it’s over, I wonder where my last few hours went! That’s probably why I don’t usually watch American Idol live either! ;)

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  109. Dearest J,

    I wrote you a long post that somehow disappeared! I can’t rewrite the whole thing, but part of it was about Paul Robeson. I was listening to him sing “Old Man River” from the earlier version of Showboat in 1936. Even with the poor sound quality, that voice just resonates so powerfully. There is that one line in the song – you get a little drunk and you land in ja-il – that last word is two of the lowest notes I have ever heard. I was wondering if it’s as low as Josh Turner’s lowest note or even lower. I also listened to his version of “Amazing Grace”, “Let My People Go, “Shenandoah” and “Joe Hill”. I got chills from that voice!

    Also, I have been listening to Sam Cooke on youtube and there was a documentary about his life. I knew that he had a gospel background, but I didn’t know that he originally was part of a gospel group called the Soul Stirrers in the 1950’s. He left gospel to sing what they called “secular” music, which was a very controversial thing to do back then. However, Sam knew what he was doing and came out with his first hit record, a little ditty called “You Send Me”. And the rest as they say, is history.

    Listening to Sam Cooke made me think about Jacob. I dearly wish he would check out the great man himself and see how it’s done. Sam Cooke fused gospel with popular music and created what we know today at soul or r&b music. He was a superb performer and had this uncanny ability to connect with his audience. He recorded a few gospel songs, but he never made the mistake of oversinging. He intuitively understood the “less is more” approach. He was a natural performer who always let his voice shine through. He let the words and the voice stand on their own. No fancy vibratos, runs or crazy over the top histrionics.

    Jacob – listen and watch the man who invented the kind of music you sing. You will learn a lot!

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  110. Fantastic to see and hear Fantasia live again. For me, she is far and away the best thing to come out of Idol.

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  111. J,

    I inadvertently posted this in MCL’s newest thread and have ask her to take it down if she can so please disregard that posting.

    I recall you talking about “twang” in the past, I believe it was in reference to Siobhan’s lack of it being responsible for the sort of dull, nasal tone that she produces sometime. I hope I have misstated your case, but that is the way I recall it. In the case of Jennifer Nettles, I’m using the vernacular version of the word twang, which might also be described as “countryfication.” Are we talking about the same characteristic of the voice, but maybe used for a different purpose or is yours a technical term and mine is a common term?

    Jennifer Nettles has an incredibly rich powerful voice. She came closer to singing in her full, natural voice last night than I have ever heard before. The only song that they have recorded that I like is “Stay.” The video version is particularly good. It’s striped down to the bare bones with just a light accompaniment from Christian’s guitar and Jennifer’s unmade face filling the screen. It features more of her natural voice than their usual efforts, has a powerful message and is delivered in a clever lyrical twist, which is a hallmark of a good country song.

    I was glad that Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” was successful last night. I discovered it on a 2009 album of hers that I have had since it came out and always thought that House was the best song on it. The songs that I feel that way about usually don’t make it to market as singles. I also caught a few brief glimpses of my favorite country singers, Joey and Rory (the only guy wearing overalls last night) who were nominated in the best duo category but, of course, beaten out by Sugarland.

    You have a good method for cutting the fat from awards shows; I may give it a try. Idol may be a little different for me though. I watch everything on the show with close scrutiny. I would have no idea why Siobhan ultimately failed had I not watched the judges’ comments. The reaction of one contestant to another’s performance is interesting to me as well or to see this panel of high powered celebrity performers react like little kids when they saw Stevie Wonder appear on stage. James earned a few brownie points from me during Motown week. The legendary Bob Babbitt, one of the two bass players for Motown’s house band “The Funk Brothers,” played on stage during James performance and while the crowd was going wild for James, he shared his spotlight by walking over to Bob, shaking his hand and thanking him. I have always loved that comradely among musicians and it was good to see it being carried on by young James. I also noted that Jacob totally ignored Babbitt’s efforts on his behalf. We are getting a sneak peek into the recording studio this year which has always been one of my favorite ways to watch a singer perform. Just them, the big studio mic and headphones, standing still and delivering incredible renderings of the songs as we come to love them on the radio or other media. No diversions, no excuses. Even though Idol can be torturous at times, I get a lot out of watching the full show. I have noticed this season that my opinion of most performances changes, usually becoming more moderate, after watching them a second time.

    Your story about your friend who was inspired by Pia to watch Idol was very touching. The most beautiful song I have listened to in the last two weeks is the full length studio version of Pia’s “All in Love is Fair.” Vocally it is pretty much identical to her stage version, but the micing and the mix is so much better on the studio version and it’s full length. WOW. You Tube isn’t good enough for this. I recommend springing for the $1.29 and listening to it on a decent stereo, or at least with your iPod with your best ear buds, and your undivided attention. If your friend liked “Where do Broken Hearts go?” she should sit down before pressing the play button for this song. I highly recommend it.

    BTW, I look forward to your replay to my question that you referenced in the previous thread (or maybe the one before that) when you have time. I was afraid no response meant I had committed another faux pas.

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  112. Gene,

    I love Jennifer Nettles both alone and as part of Sugarland. She has a huge voice, even if she does manage to put more vowels into a syllable than Reba does (to quote Reba from several CMAs ago), and I think Sugarland makes interesting and challenging creative choices. One thing I love about them is that they always perform something new on these award shows, whereas (given the timing of the show, in terms of what month it is in) other artists may perform what they are nominated for, even if it is 9 to 12 months old.

    One of the things that attracts me to country music (and Christian music, for that matter) is that they are the only places I can hear these days what I consider to be pop music: catchy melodies I like to sing along to, along with intelligent lyrics that I can hear, due to good diction. I like southern rock, outlaw country, some bluegrass, and traditional country (as long as it doesn’t go back to the 1940s, where it is a little too traditional for my tastes) as well, but I am grateful to country music for going a bit pop so that I can have something to listen to on the radio. And because melody is so important, there are some fabulous voices there as well. One of my favorites is Joe Nichols, who is sort of a cross between Josh Turner and Randy Travis.

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  113. Dearest J,

    Thanks so much for your reply! Yes, I did make a typo when I mentioned Josh Turner’s range. I listened to those links you provided and find myself in awe of that high note that Josh Turner was able to hit. I heard that country slide, as you said, into that high note. Is that kind of cheating to get to that high note or just a different technique? Eithe way, it’s phenomenal that a guy with such a low voice can sing that high. Unbelievable!

    i also appreciated the background info about Josh Turner’s vocal problems and how that motivated him to get classical training. No wonder he sounds the way he does. I was also interested to read that a singer with a low voice can more easily extend their higher range. Josh Turner’s range is simply astounding. Also, the way he jumps an octave or more while he is singing is another thing that just blows me away! I could swear that there is a low note that he hits that can’t be a real note. I think I heard it at the beginning of Firecracker or another song. It doesn’t even sound humanly possible

    He is a testament to how some quality vocal training can help you to maximize your voice, but also to keep this precious instrument healthy. That’s why I would love to see Scooty get some training to reach his true potential and keep that beautiful gift healthy. You just don’t hear a lot of bass/baritone voices. What I also love about Josh Turner is how he can sing so fast and not lose the words or the notes. That takes discipline and skill. I guess that I do need to start listening to some country music. There are some great voices that I missing out on.

    Thanks also for your kind words about my childhood experience. I never feel entirely comfortable sharing my private life, but you made me feel so much better. Even my Mom told me that she realized there was some kind of special connection to music for me when I was still a very young child. She could see that I loved singing and was happiest when I could listen to music. It’s been a great source of support when I have had to go through tough times in my life.

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  114. Sorry, typo again. Of course, I meant SCOTTY!

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  115. Jeanne,
    I remember Reba saying that about Jennifer now that you mention it. That’s pretty funny and so true. Reba can certainly wrap a vowel arooooound a fence post as well. I would love to hear Jennifer explore something a little more serious or even grittier than what she normally does. A lot of singers come and go and some get the tittles of the next Janis Joplin, but very few deserve it. I have listened to her with the thought of her doing Joplin and found it a very intriguing proposition. She might be interesting doing American Pop classics much like Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon and now Rod Stewart have done. She would have to leave some of those extra vowels at home though.

    You make a good point about country music being today’s Pop sing along music. Pop has abandoned much of its audience and I get the feeling that country music is heading in the same direction. Kid Rock has hosted the last few CMA’s if I’m not mistaken and the atmosphere becomes less and less family friendly with each show, which whittles away at one of its more compelling attractions. That said, I enjoyed seeing Steven Tyler perform with Carrie last night.

    You mentioned Southern rock on your list of likes. I love Southern rock like Skynard and especially the Allmon Brothers. The group Alabama became nationally famous as a country band but I remember them playing the sock hops around here as a rock band known as the “Gentrys.” I’m not wild about most of the rocking country types that I see today. Those are the ones that I refer to are “red neck rock.” It’s also interesting that country music is perceived by many as a Southern regional music. All of the outlaw Country and a lot of the poppy side of country and the country side of pop came out of Bakersfield California. Even though Bluegrass originated in the Appalachians, it migrated westward in the ‘20s and ’30.

    I agree with you about Joe Nichols. He’s a good guy and has a nice voice. His latest song, The Shape I’m In, “particularly when you see the video, will rip your heart out.

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  116. Gene W,

    You’re right that when I discussed twang in the past, I meant it in a more technical sense, describing a physiological process that happens in the vocal tract. Your recall of the technical term is pretty accurate, actually. In this case, however, since I was using your comment as a springboard, I decided to use the vernarcular definition of “twang” just as you did. The singer (who I did not name) is in fact a country singer who I believe exaggerates that aspect in her voice at times. In other words, yes, right now, we are talking about the same characteristic of “countryfication” as you called it. ;)

    What we perceive as countrified twang also factors in things like pronunciation (vowels) and certain types of note bends (or yodeling), but actually, when exaggerated, this countrified twang tends to include among its ingredients nasality and an added dose of twang in the technical sense, so these two definitions are not completely unrelated.

    I listened to “California King Bed” (Jennifer’s performance on the ACMs), then “Stay,” and then “Stuck Like Glue” and “All I Want to Do.” And I definitely hear the difference you were talking about; there’s a progression of increasing twang and nasality, and Jennifer doesn’t need it! Her natural voice, as you said, is rich and powerful; it doesn’t need to be dressed up with anything else.

    I love your commentary. :D There’s a real affection for music in the way you describe your favorite songs and singers, and it’s such a joy to read! I’m with you; my favorite singers’ songs usually end up as non-singles, deemed not marketable or radio-friendly enough, so I find it refreshing when one of those songs is not only released as a single but also succeeds (flying in the face of the record label!).

    On watching American Idol performance shows in their entirety, you make a very good point. The complete viewing experience is notably different from listening performances in isolation, and that difference may help explain voting outcomes. In fact, that’s probably why, even after watching the individual performances (sometimes with or without the intro packages and the judges’ comments), I often find myself going back to watch the full show (or most of it) from my DVR just to get the full experience. For example, as bloated as the Hollywood episodes were, I didn’t feel that I’d get the proper idea from only watching excerpts. I do think that we get more personality cues from non-performance clips than from the performances themselves. Pia’s humility and grace, for example, has stood out from the beginning for me in the way she conducts herself in interviews and judges’ critiques.

    I’m glad you got to see my other comments; I wasn’t sure if you did! ;) I will definitely pass along your comment to my friend; I know Michael Slezak loves Pia’s version of “All in Love Is Fair.” This discussion reminds me of an article I read a few years back about how it’s a shame that the work of sound engineers nowadays is a labor of love that often goes unappreciated or unrecognized since most listeners end up only hearing songs through poor radio speakers or computer speakers (compressed to death on YouTube!) anyway. All that effort spent on mixing and fine-tuning levels gets lost.

    I was really touched by my friend’s story as well; it was such a validation for Pia that my friend latched onto her independently of my opinion or anyone else’s. That is a genuine reaction there.

    And no faux pas was committed at all! ;) I loved your question and was excited to begin my reply. The only reason I haven’t responded yet is because of the backlog I’ve created for myself, but be assured, I will get there very soon! :D

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  117. Dearest Mindy,

    I was listening to Paul Robeson, and I believe I pinpointed the notes you were asking about. For the “jail” note, I hear him on a C3 and then briefly on a Bb2 when he transitions down. He does sing many F2s (which are lower) in this song; for example, the note right after that phrase (“I get weary”). These particular notes are not as low as Josh’s lowest notes, but Paul’s tonal quality suggests to me that he’s probably closer to a true bass than Josh is, so he likely had the potential to sing lower than we see here.

    Thank you for mentioning Paul; he truly has such a resonant voice! There are operatic qualities to his voice, and it reminded me just how diverse your musical tastes are, which I can completely relate to!

    Wow, Sam Cooke, what a voice! I fell asleep listening to him last night after reading your comment. ;) He is such a good example of how expression in singing comes from purity and variation in tone, ease, and phrasing (sustaining certain notes, breathing in certain spots). He always had this presence in his tone and melodic sensibility. It’s so refreshing to hear music from this era because it reminds us that artful singing doesn’t require melisma and runs all over the place. A little subtlety goes a long way. I love soul music! :D

    About Josh’s country slide, I think some might say that sliding into a note is easier, but I’ve heard plenty of singers go flat even after sliding, so I say that hitting that note spot on still takes vocal chops regardless! ;)

    I loved learning Josh’s background information as well; it makes total sense! And I am equally impressed with his large octave jumps; I like how Josh doesn’t show any hesitation in hitting those notes. That confidence really elevates his vocals (eliminating tension), and it’s very important for any singer!

    You and Jeanne both mentioned how good diction makes a huge difference in impact and intelligibility of lyrics. Being able to sound laidback while singing fast is an indication of good breath management, focus, attention to phrasing, and, again, confidence. Love it!

    On that last point, you are most welcome. I think we are all private people in some ways, and it takes some special circumstances to open up. I know that in my life music has gotten me through some of the darkest times; when I hear the beauty possible in the human voice, it makes me believe that there is still hope and beauty in the world, that life is worth living, and that even the toughest of times will pass. I could not imagine my life without music, and I see that you share that sentiment, and that is so very precious indeed.

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  118. Gene, I grew up listening to all three of those bands (although I don’t quite classify Alabama as Southern rock. I classify them as — well, Alabama. Unto themselves.) Anyway, they define for me what Southern rock is; Carrie Underwood’s “Undo it” is neither Southern rock nor country, if you ask me.

    Yes, there does seem an element of country music that is veering away from what we think of as country. I just watched some of the CMAs, and between Steven Tyler, Rihanna, and Jason Aldean singing rap (what the??), it’s not your father’s country music. But I think that I’m going to assume that this is just a passing fancy and that most of country will stay identifiably country.

    I have to say that Steven Tyler is in remarkably good voice for a 63-year-old rock singer. Remarkably! I may be wrong, but it seemed to me that “Walk This Way” was done in the original key, too, and at his age, most singers’ ranges have dropped a bit.

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  119. Jeanne,

    I agree with you about Alabama being hard to classify, but I wasn’t saying they were a Southern Rock band. I remember Jeff Cook playing in a local band that I mistakenly identified as the Gentrys. I’m not sure of the name of his earlier band but he isn’t old enough to have been in the Gentrys, who were a regional band that had some national success and also played around here when I was growing up. In those days there were numerous places where under aged kids could go and see pretty good bands. It’s a shame that sort of live music doesn’t exist anymore for younger people.

    I would classify Carrie’s “Undo it” as a pop song. My guess would be that the album it appears on, as well as the individual track, would have the country genre assignment though.

    Most guys Steven’s age have young female backup singers to fill in the gaps in their range that they are unable to cover anymore. He is pretty remarkable. I have been surprised at what a gentle soul he seems to be in the judges roll this year. I expected him to be much more rowdy. Hopefully he will grow in the role as Jennifer has or get the better set of notes like she does, as the case may be. I think he has more to offer.

    Jason Aldean’ rappin’ was a little unsettling. Have you heard his duet with Kelly Clarkson? Reba’s husband is her manager so I would expect her to continue to dabble in country music now and then. I hope that you are right about the future of country music.

    There were a remarkable number of bad performances or poor song choices from several good artists. Must have been something in the water.

    I don’t know if you have heard of Joey and Rory but they are husband and wife duet partners with a few links to this conversation. They were nominated last night for Duet of the Year and also did a nice slow acoustic cover of Skynard’s “Free Bird” on their first album that is pretty cool.

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  120. Dearest J,

    Your latest response had me literally jumping up and down saying – I knew it! My sense after listening to all those Paul Robeson songs was that he really was more of a true bass. You confirmed what I was too hesitant to say. I should know better by now. Even if I am wrong, I know that you will just gently clarify it without making me feel embarrassed in any way. I am not sure how much range Paul Robeson had, but I don’t know that he could go as high as Josh Turner.

    Can I just say thank you for listening to my wonderful Sam Cooke! I have talked about my feelings for him in the past on this site. Sometimes I feel so happy that he was with us as long as he was, though it was far too brief, but then there are times like yesterday where I feel such a deep heartache and loss that I cannot even put in into words. When he was killed, it shattered me. I was young and couldn’t understand it. People may not realize that in those days we didn’t have all of this communication, cable news 24/7, the internet, the paparazzi, the tabloid magazines. When scandals happened, there was a tendency not to talk about it. I was doing some research into his death and there have been so many theories and so much written about what happened to him. I don’t want to go into it, because it’s not about his singing. I prefer to remember what he did when he was alive. He had simply the most gorgeous and distinctive tone and timbre in his voice that I had ever heard. I adored him with all my heart.

    On youtube there were some live recordings without video from his performances at the Copa in 1964 and the Appolo theater in Harlem. There is some film footage of him, but it’s poor visual quality, even thought that voice comes through loud and clear. I heard a live performance of him at the Copa and he started singing a song acappella in the beginning. I couldn’t help it and the tears just started to flow without a stop. Hearing his voice without accompaniment was staggeringly beautiful. I can’t remember the song, but I will go back and find it again. He sounded just as good live as he did on recordings. That is the thing that I miss so much today.

    I was thinking of posting a link and trying to decide if I should just put up one of the live recordings without video or one of the few videos of him singing. I didn’t know that he wrote his own songs. I just found that out watching a documentary about him on youtube. He also produced and arranged his songs, got a deal when he signed with RCA in which he bought the publishing rights to his songs, the masters, which was unheard of back then and had complete creative freedom. He started his own record label and signed some artists. He had everything to live for, the world was his, so much to do, so many more songs to write and sing. I have never stopped missing him and never will.

    I truly wish that Jacob would watch Sam Cooke. He was the originator of soul music, the blueprint. Such an effortless performer, an easy charisma and charm and just somehow took the audience into his hands and held them. I read that Rod Stewart used to listen to his records endlessly to try and copy his phrasing. He influenced and inspired so many great artists who came after him. His phrasing was out of this world, he couldn’t hit a wrong note if he tried, he could sing anything and make it his own, he could go up or down an octave or more without missing a beat and had probably the most distinctive sound, instantly recognizable.

    Thank you so much for paying tribute to him. The fact that you can appreciate him the way I do, means the world to me. Yes, he inspired so many who came after him, but there was never and will never be anyone who can ever come close to him again.

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  121. I found a link to one of Sam Cooke’s performances at the Copa in 1964. This is a medley of Try a Little Tenderness, For Sentimental Reasons and You Send Me.

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  122. This is another link to Sam Cooke again at the Copa in 1964. In the beginning he starts off acappella. This is the one that made me cry.

    This is another one from the Copa in 1964. Sam Cooke’s incomparable version a great pop standard – When I Fall in Love – complete with the intro.

    Even though you are gone, you will live in my heart and the hearts of so many others who were blessed to hear you sing like nobody else ever sang before. Five months after this concert Sam Cooke was shot dead in the Hacienda Motal in Southcentral Los Angeles. A senseless and still mysterious death that robbed us all of a true original, a genius who changed music forever. I still miss you and will until the day I die. I love you forever.

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  123. Gene,

    Yes, I know both Joey and Rory and Sweet Magnolia from “Can You Duet?”, and it has been nice to see both of them having success. Joey has such a pure voice, and Joshua has star quality up the ying-yang. I like that Sweet Magnolia tends to feature both of their singers, which I think is part of what won it for them (I don’t think Meghan has the personality to do it on her own), and it also makes them different from the usual duets where one partner is the featured singer.

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  124. Dearest Mindy,

    I honestly cannot get enough of Sam Cooke’s voice. Even his speaking voice and his laugh are musical! I mentioned the expressiveness of his phrasing before, but with every new song I hear from him, my appreciation for his phrasing grows deeper and deeper. Rod Stewart definitely had the right idea! I find myself replaying each song over and over again after hearing it to try and pinpoint why his phrasing excels so wonderfully, and I have to say that I think what makes his phrasing stand out is precisely how unassuming it is. The way he sings is so organic and genuine, not show-offish or attention-seeking. It’s so refreshing how conversational and sincere his voice sounds; you hear the words when he sings them. I don’t remember the last time I heard a voice express so much feeling with so few vocal acrobatics or gimmicks. That takes true artistry and musicality: to paint a picture with fewer brush strokes and not lose any color or vividness (and, in fact, to evoke even more intensity and shading!).

    I found Sam’s recording of “Only Sixteen” on YouTube, and I am in love with it! I’m wearing out the replay button. ;) Not to mention that “You Send Me” makes me smile every time I hear it, and “When I Fall in Love” makes me teary-eyed. I also love hearing Sam talk at the beginning of the medley and during his recording of “This Little Light of Mine” you shared. I only wish these recordings could last even longer; the average length of 2-3 minutes is much too short! (Although it’s amazing how he makes the most of that time frame, isn’t it?)

    I don’t think I knew what stripped-down singing was capable of until I heard these recordings; I can’t get over it! This is singing how singing should be. Thank you, Sam, you inspire me! And thank you, Mindy, for sending me on this wonderful journey through Sam’s music.

    This is very special, for us to be united in a common affection for an amazing talent. Sam’s life may have ended in tragedy, but his legacy of hope lives on in his music. I feel blessed to be able to share in that experience with you. <3

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  125. Dearest J,

    I am writing this response with tears in my eyes. I didn’t know if it was okay to put three links up of Sam’s performances, but I just discovered these myself. It was the first time I had ever heard him at the Copa.

    Aah, you listened to “Only Sixteen”! Just beautiful! Sam Cooke was smart, because he understood what he needed to do to be a crossover artist. He somehow managed to fuse gospel, r&b and pop together in a way that appealed to white audiences. This was not an easy feat back in those days. When he wrote “Chain Gang”, it was considered to be a kind of coded message to the black community. He was trying to be true to his own sensibilities, yet still be commercially successful in those times. He walked a fine line and it wasn’t easy.

    There was another great live performance Save gave and it was at the Harlem Square Club in Miami, Florida in 1963. This was a much different performance than the one he gave at the Copa. The audiences were quite different and Sam was able to take more risks and give a full-out soul rendition of his songs at the Harlem Square Club. The result is considered to be one of the greatest live soul performances ever. The live recording entitled “One Night Stand – Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club” wasn’t released until 1985 by RCA. This is a much different Sam Cooke, the one we would have seen more of had he lived. He did many of the same songs that he did at the Copa, but in a much more intense, raw, visceral and gut-wrenching soul style that had only been hinted at in his recordings. It was where he was going with his singing.

    Even on the itunes review of his albums, they said about one of them that it can be a hard listen, because they are a reminder that at the time of his death Sam Cooke was working on his best music yet. That’s why I sometimes break down and cry when I listen to him. There was so much more music in him, so much more for him to sing.

    You should listen to some of his gospel recordings. That’s why I wanted Jacob to listen to him. He came from the same background, but somehow he has this absolute genius for knowing how to strip it all down and keep it simple. That’s not easy for a man who spent his early years singing with the Soul Stirrers on the gospel road, as they called it. This is really what Jacob needs to try to do. He has an amazing voice. If he would just have the belief to dial it back and let the words come through loud and clear and keep his voice simple and true, it would make such a difference.

    You will never know how much your words mean to me. Sometimes I think that people don’t want to be bothered with hearing about him. Maybe they think I am obsessed and should forget about him and live in the present. I don’t want to ever do that, because then it would be like he never lived at all. Collecting all his records, cassette tapes, cd’s over the years has been my way of keeping him alive. Now I have these live recordings which I intend to download to complete my collection.

    It’s important to realize that the world had never heard anyone sing like this until he came along. He truly invented a new kind of singing. You should listen to his version of “Summertime” and many of the great pop classic songs. He did them his way and made them his own. The likes of Ben E. King, James Brown and Lou Rawls paid the highest tribute to him. Artists like them and Steve Perry from Journey, Jimi Hendrix who played guitar for him when he was just starting out, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin who paid tribute to him in a concert by singing You Send Me, Rod Stewart, Bono, Steven Tyler, they all got it from him.

    This is a link from his live performance at the Harlem Square Club in Miami in 1963, the song is “Nothing Can Change This Love”. This was the beginning of real soul music.

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  126. Sorry, another typo in my previous post. In the third paragraph I meant to say this is another live performance from SAM!

    I think that I downloaded the wrong link. This should be “Nothing Can Change This Love”. The other one is “Having a Party” from the same live performance.

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  127. Too late for anyone to read this, it’s next week showday already, BUT, I have been thinking exclusively about that great lower tone, almost a groan, in Stefano. It really comes out in his rehearsal clips. Sounds like a deep voiced female gospel singer. Aretha at times. Only certain phrases or words. But it is so endearingly listenable. This is exactly what “only the glossy hits” Jimmy I. is producing OUT OF Stefano. He is making him sound vanilla. So sad. Go Stefano.

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  128. EdmondWayne,

    There has been a good deal of discussion about whether Jimmy Iovine is trying to help Stefano or hurt him. Obviously you feel that it’s the latter. I am just wondering why Jimmy would want to take away a good quality in his voice. Is it that he isn’t invested in this young man?

    I made a comment on another blog where this discussion originally started, to the effect that I wanted to believe that Jimmy was acting in Stefano’s best interests by being tough on him. Now I am not sure. However, I do have to say that some of the arrangements have not done a few of the contestants any favors, so I don’t know that it’s just about Stefano.

    I think that Jacob is being especially ill-served by these over the top arrangements of his songs. People like Jimmy and the producer assigned to Jacob should be urging him to scale it back. In these links I posted, you can see how the originator of this style of music and singing did it. It was simple, restrained, with the focus always on the words and emotion of the song and impeccable phrasing. Less is more and Sam Cooke knew it.

    So the bottom line is that I think that there have been some miscues involving other contestants, too.

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  129. Mindy,
    Wouldn’t argue with that. Jacob does not possess the constraining powers and self control that Stefano has. Jacob I feel will never tone it down. I have wanted him to simply sing a song. I wanted so terribly bad for Stefano to sing Lately at his piano. I believe that would have shot him to the front of the class, but enter Jimmy I. I was a disco dj in the early days.
    EARLY DAYS. I liked the arrangement on Lately, BUT it could have been the MOMENT that Stefano needed. The voters need to see him perform with his piano.

    I am gonna rant now. James is talented but only to a degree. Nothing really that special. Scotty is Randy Travis’ son incarnate. Period. Nothing new. Nothing really special. Paul is just another version of James Blunt mixed with Bryan Adams on helium.
    Casey is not endearing enough to be long term, and this IS still a vocal contest. Pia is a poor man’s Celine. Haley is a poor man’s Aquilera. Laura would do herself a favor and sing some Linda Ronstadt.
    When I lay it out like this while listening to Stefano’s iTunes songs–HE has the best voice to appear on this show in years. That new show The Voice will be interesting because they choose the contestants to work with, blindly. I like that. Listen to Stefano. Just listen. Thanks.

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  130. EdmondWayne – I am amused that you viewed a different program from the one I experienced and I appreciate that you have a strong point of view. I would like to say that all of these contestants are experiencing issues that we have seen in earlier years at this stage and LUCK, timing, and hard work will have a lot to do with their success or failure. We get a chance to experience vicariously a bit of their growth over a few months of their lives.

    I agree that Stefano gets extra doses of criticism while Scotty gets a pass because he is so affable. I DO like James this year though — but I am afraid that I have NEVER favored the winner of the year — my tastes are for the edgier personalities and so often the middle-of the-pack generic contestants win in any voting system.

    Lastly, I agree with many of the bloggers here that Paul is the weakest of a strong field, but he (a la Tim Urban last year) has a strong following and a big SMILE.

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  131. J,

    Thank you so much for helping me understand what is properly meant by “twang” and its differences, and similarities, to the way I normally use it. I’m not opposed to making up a new word now and then when there doesn’t seem to be one in the standard inventory to express a thought. I believed I was making up a new word with “countryfication” to both express the thought as well as add a little humor, but before I took credit for a new word, I thought I better Google it to see if it was already out in the ether somewhere. You won’t believe what I found.

    http://new.music.yahoo.com/twang/albums/countryfication–40008081

    The band’s name is Twang, their album is called Countryfication and they are from Birmingham, albeit England and not Alabama. I love coincidences, but three in one shot is more than I could have wished for. There may actually be a parallel universe.

    I had forgotten about this one but Jennifer gets dangerously close to her natural voice in “Keep You.” (The haircut song) If you haven’t heard it, you can see and hear it hear.

    Thanks again for the kind words. I do have a love of music that, to be fair, I would have to thank others for. My Mom and Dad were WWII generation so I good a good dose of the wonderful Big Band era and the singers that fronted some of those bands doing swing style music. I really enjoy the harmonies of acts like the Andrews or Maguire sisters. You have probably seen the somewhat naughty Christina Aguilera video of “Candy man” that is a direct throwback to that era. Over the years they moved through the pop singers of the day, who are too numerous to mention, and slowly transitioned into the classier side of country. I didn’t fully appreciate most of the music that they liked the time and even made fun of a lot of it, as young fools are want to do. I also have two older and one younger brother which have increased my personal time span of musical interest. My oldest brother picked up where my parents left off with early rock and roll, R&B, soul and pop. We ventured out into the big world with him through his very early transistor radio. I can’t begin to explain what a liberating device that little radio of his was without sounding like an old fool lost in another time. I think it may have been one of the most pivotal advancements in technology of all time. My next brother, the one closest to me, shares most of the same musical taste although his interest in some areas runs deeper where mine runs wider. We happened along in what may well have been the greatest era of music of all time and loved every minute of it. More and more music wasn’t just good entertainment, but it had something to say and there were such a broad array of voices saying it. My younger brother kept me up to date during his day, but that day came and went a long time ago so now I look to my daughters and their husbands. One of my little granddaughters has “the music in her” and we have a special bond because of it even though she is only 16 months old. I’m very excited to see where it leads her.

    Some of the music that I was exposed to by others left an indelible impression on me, even though I didn’t know it at the time. All along the way I rediscover the great music of my past. One example is country music, which I used to mimic and make fun of when I was younger and it was in the mix of music my parents listened to. It seemed so much cooler when the Beatles covered “Act Naturally” than when Buck Owens did it. Willie Nelson seemed so much more like me as the Red Headed Stranger than he did when he hosted a TV show in the early sixties and looked much more like Porter Wagoner than the Willie that everyone knows and loves today. Anyway, I know you will thank me for just skimming the surface.

    I see the same love of music in you. You have obviously studied very hard in pursuing mastery of your craft. Whether that was a personal endeavor or a guided one, doesn’t really matter, it the fact that you took your God given gift and continue to develop it. I’ve enjoyed reading your other conversations about great music or performance with other posters because I believe you will digest that information and it will end up as part of the music that is YOU.

    I admire, and very much envy the ability that you, MCL and many of the posters here have to find the sunny side in performances from vocalist that you hear. I pondered the story that you related the other day about the reactions of your friends that you coerced into watching Idol with you trying to see it as you had. You said they listened to some of the contestants perform and said “Yuk” or words to the effect, and that they had picked Pia and Stefano as the best singers and just loved Scotty “even though they don’t like country.” That’s the way I recall it anyway. My thoughts were, “what’s wrong with that?’ That’s pretty much life in the real world; we scan the band on the radio and say Yuk….Yuk…Yuk so we pop in a CD and skip ahead to our favorite song and say AHH. Plus, I thought they were very perceptive to pick Pia, Stefano and Scotty as favorites, BUT, you want believe how much it nagged at me to understand why you seemed to be taken aback by their reaction. I finally realized that as a singer, you had a better appreciation of the difficulty of their circumstances, and perhaps noticed more of the good things that they accomplished than the bad. The instincts and training I have had to depend on during my career required me to quickly spot the bad, or the what’s wrong with this picture aspects of what I observed so sometimes it can be challenging for me to recognize the “good” as the first course of action.

    So did you watch the whole show this week? I think a large portion of the popularity of American Idol lies in watching the whole show. It’s the common experience aspect of it that is missing from our modern world. We have many new things today that are wonderful, like the ability for two strangers from different generations to have a conversation about a common interest but if the Beatles had been on TV last night, as they were when tey appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, only 5 or 10% of America would have seen them and they may have never become the world changers that they were. The internet helps to fill in what we didn’t see for ourselves but the result is that we substitute someone elses observations and opinions for our own. AI brings back some of that common experience from the past and even though our water cooler has grown to the size of the continent, and a lot of the show can be cheesy and even boring; it’s good for people to have shared experiences. Time will tell which system was better.

    Pia is a lovely person. It’s a shame that seems to not be conveyed so easily to everyone. It may have been when she performed “Grenade” in Hollywood that I first noticed her. She and the two young girls with her did a great job with the whole performance. They could polish that act into a pretty good girl band. More than that, she seems to be a fine young woman. She had my heartstrings when she talked about the influence her grandfather had on her and, even though he has passed, she dedicated her performances to him. I believe her strategy is to be a diva slayer. It has gone virtually without notice that she continues week after week to choose the artist and the songs that for years the judges have said can’t be done. She didn’t quite kill Tina but she… well, considering Tina’s past with Ike, I’m not going to continue that analogy, but you get the idea. To me, most of the criticism she receives fails to take into account the themes they have been given, the limited number of songs available, and what type of song she needs to sing to make the most of her 90 seconds of fame. Crocodile Rock just wouldn’t do her justice. Bring on the untouchable Kelly Clarkson. I don’t see J-Lo’s critiques of her as being particularly useful and it could be the beginning of targeting her for elimination the way Siobhan and Melinda Doolittle, and for the same reasons. The targeted individuals posed a threat to the chosen one(s).

    And that’s all I know.

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  132. Jeanne,
    Sorry to be so long responding to your post. I really enjoy Joey and Rory and particularly like their first album. Her solo album is very good as well and I think they have a second one out now. I don’t know if I have ever seen a debut album with so many good songs that are not only enjoyable to listen to musically but the lyrics are excellent as well. I got to visit their little restaurant that is featured in some of the videos and the Overstocked dot com commercial they did Christmas before last. It was a real treat to talk with Rory’s mom and sister and then to get to see them perform on the Opry which was back in the Ryman Auditorium due to the flood at that time. I get a kick out of the message that Rory wrote with White Out on his guitar that says “we miss country music.”

    I agree with you about Steel Magnolia as well. I like the more traditional duet style they incorporate but I have not heard their album in its entirety yet, only the previews.

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