by Rosanne Simunovic
So, I decided to write an abbreviated Vocal Masterclass article for the Top Nine ladies of Canadian Idol Season Five. I feel that, for the most part, they needed a wee bit more direction than their male counterparts.
However, the judging this week was very good and, although I didn’t agree 100% with all of the comments, I felt that, generally, our team of four judges gave constructive and timely critiques that many of these singers should take to the bank.
Next week, I will write a Vocal Masterclass article for both the Top Seven guys and the Top seven gals, but until then, here is my evaluation of last evening’s performances.
To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below.
Martha Joy: “To Where You Are”
Martha- your overall vocal sound was radiant and technically secure, especially when you navigated your upper range. Make absolutely certain, however, that you are consistently anchoring your lower register sound by using the support and power of your diaphragmatic muscles.
Additionally, your enunciation must be clear and concise when singing within your lower register and/or with a softer nuance. The emotional energy for the text must be evident throughout your performance. When you vocalized higher and louder, this problem disappeared, but, for really great singing, all the vocal components must be in place throughout the song performance.
I felt that you were more emotionally connected in the second half of the song; perhaps you were feeling more comfortable at this point in the number. However, try to establish the emotional connection with your song at the outset. Immerse yourself in the poetic content of your lyrics and sing the phrases of your melodic line as if they are scenes in a play.
Tara Oram: “Safe In The Arms Of Love”
Tara – you have a brilliant texture to your voice, which I love, and generally vocalize quite well. Your mouth is round and relaxed and this assists with the resonation process in your vocal masque.
However, do you realize that you are consciously or subconsciously imitating Carrie Underwood? Carrie tends to sing with little to no animation during her performances, taps her microphone and barely moves throughout the stage. Please don’t travel in this direction. Showcase your personality as well as your voice.
Additionally, this Michelle Wright song was a fantastic choice, but you would have been wise to adopt Ms. Wright’s interpretive approach. The second part of the song requires a rustic vocal timbre and, although you did move fairly energetically at this point in the song, your voice did not mirror your actions.
Work on expanding your dynamic range, adding speech like inflection in your singing style. This will heighten the communicative aspect of your future song performance.
Naomi-Joy Blackhall: “Judgment Day”
Naomi – at the beginning of this competition, you have been one of my favorite singers. You possess a truly remarkable vocal gift that has allowed you to gain a well-deserved position in this year’s crop of 22.
However, performance nerves and/or lack of adequate preparation has hindered the full extent of your vocal or performing ability over the last two weeks.
I just found that your entire performance this week was extremely tentative and you exhibited an artistic detachment that never relented.
My advice to you is this: judiciously prepare and rehearse your song material, allowing the technical process to remain central to your vocal performance. You need to make certain that the diaphragmatic breathing skills are being accessed in a consistent and secure manner. I felt that there was a breathy quality to your voice, signifying a lack of strong and consistent technical support.
Further to this, you must give yourself permission to immerse your heart and soul into the emotional core of your song. This week, you exhibited a lack of personal commitment, and, thus, were not be able to establish a strong communication with your audience. The result: the performance was, unfortunately, a less than memorable experience for the viewers.
You are capable of so much more, Naomi, and I am hoping that you do have another week to redeem your capabilities as a true performer.
Carly Rae Jepsen: Sweet Ones
Carly Rae – what can I say? This was the performance of the night for me.
You exhibited a high degree of artistry that has been honed and crafted through meticulous preparation. All the important aspects that are vital in achieving a credible artistic performance were indeed tangible: scrupulous and detailed preparation, cohesive balance between the vocal and choreographic elements, a strong rhythmic sense that heightened your inherent musicality, stellar vocals and a genuine, accommodating stage persona.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying “in the moment” when one performs and, Carly Rae, you showed the viewing public just what this concept is all about. You have a sparkling presence on the Idol stage that draws the audience in – what a special gift this is!
There was a wonderful forward momentum to your performance and your phrasing of the melodic line was impeccable. How I loved your “joie de vivre” during this performance. You not only strive to entertain, but also, understand that technical preparation is tantamount to achieving artistically believable and secure performances.
Brava Ms. Carly Rae of sunshine. You are a very extraordinary and gifted young lady.
Montana Martin Isles: Thanks For The Memories
Montana – you are presently being compared to Season 2 finalist, Jacob Hoggard. I tend to challenge this comparison. Jacob knew how to use his voice in his performances that reflected the positive aspects of his vocal ability. Plus, his performances were varied and artistically brilliant each and every week. He was a multi dimensional performer.
You need to stand on that stage and sing a ballad or something totally removed from the last two weeks. Then you will rise above the “gimmick” stage of your performances – where you are at right now.
And – the articulation of the “th” needs to be corrected. It’s just wrong. Do you think Celine would be caught dead with faulty articulation?
However, in the end, you embody huge potential as a singing artist, but the coaching and mentoring process to achieve this end will be crucial through the coming weeks.
Scarlett Burke: Proud Mary
Scarlett – you have a beautiful texture to your voice. Your vocal quality is absolutely rich and resonant throughout your vocal range, exhibiting a very seamless, cohesive quality throughout the melodic line.
However, I am on the fence with the judges’ comments that the song selection was a poor one. Yes, there are better songs that could have showcased your vocal abilities to greater effect; however, I thought you added a high degree creativity to the original melodic line that was actually refreshing and energizing.
Also, you moved quite well on the stage, although, at times, your face did not quite reflect a relaxed comfort level. I think that you were working extremely hard during this number to achieve an optimized performance, but what was missing was the natural spontaneity that this song required.
It is a delicate balance to achieve both a disciplined yet natural approach during a performance. This is something that you will have to work on, Scarlett, and you would be wise to make certain that a mirror is part of your rehearsal regime.
Mila Miller: Try A Little Tenderness
Mila – how I love this song and I thought the selection was perfect for your personal vocal style. I do indeed love your voice, but I suspect we were not enjoying your best performance of this song.
Somehow, your vocal quality sounded hindered, almost diminished through lack of technical preparation or nervous energy. I truly hope that you are allowing the diaphragm to resonate and place your voice in your vocal masque. I heard a glimmer of technical promise, but, periodically, your voice lost the brilliant timbre that I feel is inherent to your vocal texture.
Further to this, your pitch wavered at various points in the melodic line, indicating that you were having problems centering the “head tone” quality that is essential in achieving a pure and ringing vocal sound.
Also, I can’t say that I was in love with this arrangement. I have heard better renditions of this song and, given the abbreviated timeframe, I think that this arrangement did not allow you sufficient time to showcase your stylistic ability.
Annika Odegard: Super Duper Love
Annika – you are as cute as a button on that stage and I felt that, perhaps, the judging was a little harsh. Yes, I agree, you need to further develop a more inherently soulful sound to your voice, but I still thought the song showcased the special vocal and performing ability you bring to this competition.
Also, I rarely comment on fashion when writing these Masterclass articles, but I felt that you should be judiciously advised on your fashion makeover during these performances. You have blond hair and dark eyebrows and this creates a harsh look in front of the cameras. Also, your long blond hair lacks style and pizzazz – surely the hair stylists can do better than this.
It is all about presenting a package, Annika, and part of the package is the visual impact you create before you present the audible strength of your singing voice.
I think that, given another week of refining your song selection process and performing skills and creating a more exciting visual impact, you may just surprise us. I sense that there is a high degree of potential talent waiting to be discovered.
Good luck in your future performances, Annika.
Kahlila Glanville: I Can’t Help Myself
Kahlila – now you created a strong visual sense in front of the camera. You exhibited a natural charisma and radiance when you performed and your vocal timbre had rich, robust quality throughout your range.
Vocally, your voice sounded assured and confident; you possessed a wonderful vocal instrument that was resonant and well focused in your vocal masque.
However, I am with Zack: the song selection was less than inspired. It is a really simple, safe and melodically mundane song selection at this or any stage of the competition. This song lacked the necessary melodic substance to showcase your superior vocal ability.
It is hard to even critique this performance because, basically, the song never progressed. There was little creativity in your performance and before anyone knew what happened, the song was over. This performance was not sustained in our memory and that is never a good thing.
Make certain you research your song selection with more ingenuity and sense of purpose. Listen to your mentors and run a few songs by their collective eyes and ears. Music is all about entertaining and/or moving an audience and creating an impression that is both inspiring and real.
I will be commenting regularly throughout this competition and will be contributing Vocal Masterclass articles for the Top 10 performances.
Please feel free to comment and become part of the vocal masterclass process.
Top 22 performance episodes air Mondays/Tuesdays from 9 – 10 p.m. beginning June 25
Top 22 results episodes air Wednesdays from 7:30 – 8 p.m. beginning June 27
Top 10 week one airs Tuesday, July 17 from 8:30 – 10 p.m. and Wednesday, July 18 from 7:30 – 8 p.m.
Top 10 shows move to their regular timeslot on Mondays from 9 – 10 p.m. and Tuesdays from 8:30 – 9 p.m., beginning July 23
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