Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 9 Top 9: The Lennon-McCartney Songbook


John Lennon  and Paul McCartney

Last week, the lovely and talented Didi Benami was eliminated from American Idol. Based on her talent and her drive,  it seemed to me to be an untimely elimination but it certainly is not the first time that a gifted singer has been unfairly eliminated early on in the competition.    

However, we do wish her the very best in her singing career. I can envision only the greatest success for this very musical young lady.    

And so we move on to this week’s Top 9 Show where the remaining singers –Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia, Casey James, Crystal BowersoxKatie Stevens, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus and Tim Urban – will be performing numbers based on the wealth of music written by legendary Beatles’ members, John Lennon and Paul McCartney .    

The Lennon-McCartney music revolutionized pop/rock music.  Rooted in the classical genre, the unique harmonics of their music and the skillful poetic nature of their lyrics elevated this music to new and exciting  heights. Orchestras embraced the new “sound“, electing to perform innovative arrangements of their music, thus expanding their audience base in the process.    

I hope the singers choose their songs and arrangements wisely and, in doing so, not overstate the interpretive nature of these songs.  These songs stand-alone and over thinking the music will only result in pure disaster. Conveying the emotion of the lyrics is a must and all should do so in a genuine manner.    

 Best of luck to the Top 9 Finalists and feel welcome to add your comments before, during and after the live telecast on Tuesday, April 6th.    

SPOILERS FROM MJSBIGBLOG 

Aaron Kelly – Long and Winding Road
Katie – Let it Be
Andrew – Can’t Buy Me Love
Mike – Eleanor Rigby
Crystal – Come Together
Tim – All My Loving
Casey – Jealous Guy
Siobhan – Across the Universe
Lee – Hey Jude with Bagpipes! 

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

52 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 9 Top 9: The Lennon-McCartney Songbook”

  1. Am I first? Wow! I always like trying to guess …

    Going on my theory, it is always easier for the girls to cover “boy songs” because it doesn’t bear as much “karaoke” and direct comparison.

    Why are the Beatles hard? Their early stuff while more light in topic are not necessarily easy to sing. They are still complex in melody, harmony, chord progressions. Sometimes it seems the melody and harmony lines cross each other. It is also hard not to bear comparison. (See above.) I suggested “All My Loving” for Andrew, but there’s some odd resolution of melody.
    – “darling I’ll be true” – true is a hard note to sing well. Is it because it turns into a minor? But I have heard this note slaughtered (even by the Beatles themselves in concert without monitors, etc.) And “I will send to you-oo-oo.” They are not really grace notes on you. I don’t know what to call them, MCL. But you must have darn good control!

    NOT ALLOWED: Eleanor Rigby, Yellow Submarine, Let It Be, Hey Jude, Twist & Shout (not their anyhow), “Ticket to Ride, Yesterday, MIchelle,

    A Big Risk: Possibly Big Pay Off: Could someone do “A Day In The Life”? It would take a genius performance of David Cook proportions. Could Lee Dewyze pull it off? I think Crystal could do it

    -Aaron Kelly: “If I Fell”, “I’m a Loser” (can he hit the low notes and how much can you play with key?), “Norwegian Wood”,

    Andrew Garcia: All My Loving (but there are some vocal gymnastics, I’m looking Through You, “With a lIttle Help from My Friends”, “Back in the USSR”

    Casey James: a ballad has been suggested: “And I Love Her,” “Blackbird,” “Things We Said Today, In My Life (one of my favorites, but he can’t smile while he’s singing it, it’s a poignant song), “Here, There, and Everywhere,” “With a lIttle Help from My Friends”, “Dear Prudence”

    Crystal Bowersox: “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Drive My Car”, “Got to Get You Into My Life”, “Fixing a HOle”, “Back in the USSR” (rock out!)

    Katie Stevens: needs to do something fun and youthful, maybe from their first few albums: PS I Love You, Do You Want to Know a Secret? (nice change of rhythm and key), “Things We Said Today” (a lot of these earlier songs are about young love, maybe older than her, but still young love, “I’m Looking Through You”, I’m Only Sleeping

    Lee Dewyze: “Tell Me Why” (can he hit the high note?), “Paperback Writer,” “Another Girl” (this song has great stop and start rhythms, great use of pause, good guitar for him, he’ll be able to rock out to it. I love the musicality of the line “For I Have Got. Another Girl. (which is staccato then changes to legato in ) Who will love me to the end, through thick and thin she will always be my friend (minor note?), “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”

    Michael Lynche: “I”ll Be Back”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, “Nowhere Man” (again has nice changes of mood, rhythm, can use chest voice and head voice), “Got to Get You Into My Life” (pls Siobhan NO. I don’t want you to yell)

    Siobhan Magnus: “For Noone” – Beautiful, Pure, Showcases Voice (range beautiful high notes/lower notes with depth, purity of tone needed) Emotional No Yelling. “She’s Leaving Home” (beautiful vocal song again)

    In case you need a little reminder (I did) – here are the lyrics. Sing it. It is so beautiful.
    Your day breaks, your mind aches, you find that all her words of kindness linger on, when she no longer needs you

    She wakes up, she makes up, she takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry, she no longer needs you

    And in her eyes, you see nothing, no sign of love behind the tears, cried for no one, a love that should have lasted years

    You want her, you need her, and yet you don’t believe her, when she says her love is dead, you think she needs you

    And in her eyes, you see nothing, no sign of love behind the tears, cried for no one, a love that should have lasted years

    You stay home, she goes out, she says that long ago she knew someone but now he’s gone

    She doesn’t need him, your day breaks, your mind aches,

    There will be times when all the things she said,will fill your head, you won’t forget her

    And in her eyes, you see nothing, no sign of love behind the tears, cried for no one, a love that should have lasted years

    and Tim Urban: no clue – one of their mop-top shaking songs

    WEll, I didn’t get through all their albums

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  2. First of all, thank you to MCL for her sage advice about the Lennon/McCartney songbood. Yes, it’s dangerous to mess with greatness. For me the Beatles are precious memories of my teen years. Their music is dear to me, so I tend to be very protective of them

    I will pick up with songs that should NOT be sung –

    “A Day in the Life” – this song won’t work in the shorter format and time

    “Imagine” – this one belongs to David Archuleta

    “Come Together” – sung by Kris Allen last season

    “Blackbird” – sung by Carly Smithson with disastrous results

    “Yesterday” – it’s been done to death to the point of being a cliche

    “Eleanor Rigby” – I believe that David Cook did this brilliantly, cannot be done better

    “Let It Be” – sung by Brooke White memorably, also risks being done too much

    “Hey Jude” – also a song that has been done to death

    I guess I could go on, but it’s better to get to the songs I would like to here.

    I really wish someone who do one of the Beatles early songs. In season 7, I wanted someone to sing “If I Fell”, one of my favorite songs from the period. I agree with Jessica T that it might work for Aaron. Also, maybe “And I Love Her”. Katie might do well with either of these songs.

    Somebody really has to do “In My Life”. I don’t know if Casey is the best person to do that.

    As far as “For No One” for Siobhan, if she did this song she would have to slow it down. Also I don’t know that it has the range that I would like her to use to show off her voice. I like “She’s Leaving Home” much better for Siobhan. I think she could really soar with this one. Great suggestion!

    For Lee, I don’t know if he can hit the high note on “Tell Me Why”. I was thinking of “She’s a Woman” for either Lee or Casey.

    Actually, I think “Oh Darling” might work for Lee quite well.

    I am all out of ideas right now. The mind boggles with all the choices. I need a break and then maybe I can come back with more ideas.

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  3. Do y’all remember Chikezie performing “She’s a Woman”? That’s one of my favorite AI performances!

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  4. I would like to write a disclaimer that I am not a musician or music theorist. I have just enough exposure to be dangerous. So if I mention a key change or some other technical thing, it is always with a “?” even if I forget to type it. I have a decent dicerning ear, but don’t always have the right vocabulary. I am here to learn, so please always feel free to re-explain something I’ve written if I haven’t used the correct words.

    I would like to add something off my amazement of not just Lennon/McCartney, but George Harrison. He was several years younger as most of you know. My ex-husband is a good guitar player. He plays blues quite well and can move quite well around the fret board, but George Harrison, even in the early years, played some very complicated stuff. Very complex chord structures and progression. I don’t know if he went to music school or not, but I think he was 17 or 18 (19?) when he joined the Beatles. He really was an amazing piece of the puzzle – and such a gentle soul, really. So sad when he died. I was too young to take John Lennon’s death badly … 10 years old. But I knew enough of the Beatles to know it was a tragedy of epic proportions. No pun intended, but can you imagine if there were 24-hour news today?

    I used to own the complete scores (ex got that one in the divorce, alas). Just so interesting to read the orchestrations. They were just a modern miracle. Everything and everyone fell into place at the right time. Pete Best left. Ringo sat in. Brian Epstein found them. George Martin produced them. An America that was mourning the death of its young President and needed something to boost them. Compared to some rock groups today they had a short life, a brilliance that burnt out too fast. Too much fame, too much pressure, too little privacy.

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  5. Jessica T,

    You said some things that really resonated with me. George Harrison was my favorite Beatle. He was an extraordinary guitarist. He was called “the quiet Beatle”. I adored him completely. He was also a brilliant songwriter on his own. “Something” was called the greatest love song ever written by none other than the great Frank Sinatra.

    I was 30 years old when John Lennon died. It devastated me. I felt like a piece of my youth was taken from me forever. I was still married at the time and my husband and I cried together and tried to comfort each other. His death is one of a few from which I was never able to fully recover. The loss was staggering. John Lennon was 40 or 41, I believe, so he had a lot of great music still in him.

    I agree that the Beatles were a miracle. Their songs are extremely difficult to sing, but they made it look easy because they really were that talented. Every piece of the puzzle fit together perfectly. I will always be especially grateful that I finally was able to smile when the Beatles came along. They helped a young generation shattered by the assassination of President Kennedy, learn to laugh, love and have fun once more. Thank God for the Beatles!

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  6. Just dropping by to tell you that Rhianna, Jason Derulo and David Archuleta will be performing Wednesday night on the results show.

    From Idol Chatter this morning…David Archuleta, Rihanna and Jason Derulo will perform on Wednesday’s results show. David will reprise his version of John Lennon’s Imagine from Season 7. According to the Los Angeles Times, Rihanna will perform Te Amo and Derulo will sing his new single, In My Head.

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  7. Where is everyone? I am so excited about tonight!

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  8. MCL…I don’t know where to put this, but there is a rumor that Adam will be mentoring next week! Have you heard anything about this?

    Also, who is mentoring this week?

    Hey guys,

    I do not have any song picks for this week, I can’t seem to wrap my brain around anyone song that would fit the contestants. That said; Please, no Reggae versions of Twist and Shout!!! 😦

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  9. Hi everyone:

    I am here – just busy teaching. Glad to hear that David Archuleta will be performing on the Results show and that Adam may mentor next week. Really exciting! I wonder what Adam will say to Siobhan – wish I could be a fly on that wall!

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  10. This is the first I’ve heard about Adam mentoring. AWESOME news! I too would love to hear the advice he gives to Siobhan.

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  11. Hi All,

    According to Slezak on ew.com, Adam will definitely be a mentor next week! They have not revealed the theme, but 19Entertainment has confirmed that he will be mentoring. An excellent choice! As Slezak so wisely pointed out, Adam had the Idol experience and can help these young people get through this difficult process. He was brilliant and savvy with his song choices.

    MCL,

    I would also love to be a fly on the wall when Adam mentors Siobhan. Maybe he can help her to know when to tone it down and also correct some of her vocal technique. People may forget that he studied voice for years and should have a wealth of knowledge to share.

    vonnie,

    Please, dear me NO! I can’t even wrap my mind around a reggae version of Twist and Shout! But I am not sure that this song would even be allowed, because this is the Lennon/McCartney song book and that was a cover. Thank goodness!

    I have been enjoying my trip down memory lane be listening to many of the Beatles songs on youtube. Talk about nostalgia! Someone on another site posted a wonderful clip of Evan Rachel Wood singing a different version of “If I Fell” that was quite beautiful. I was thinking about Katie as I listened to her. But I was also reminded that even the simpler, less complicated early Beatles songs were unbelievably difficult to sing. This is one of them, even though it is one of my all time favorites.

    I also saw another clip of Rufus Wainwright singing “Across the Universe” with an arrangement that might suit Crystal.

    On Buddytv, their music critic posted their choices of songs for each contestant. They suggested “Dear Prudence” for Siobhan and posted a link to another group that I never heard of doing a different version of the song. But I don’t hear a lot of range in that song.

    Other suggestions are “You Won’t See Me” as done by Ann Murray for Crystal. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” for either Lee or Casey. I think “We Can Work it Out” may also work for either Lee or Casey.

    I am having trouble thinking about a song for Mike. There are a lot of good ones, but I can’t seem to find the right one. On Buddytv, they suggested “Get Back” so Mike could step out of his comfort zone. But I just don’t see that song working for him. I could be wrong.

    I think my brain is ready to explode with thoughts after listening to so many of the Beatles songs. But there is a wealth of material and more than enough for all the contestants. I have no idea who is mentoring this week.

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  12. Okay…I thought of only two songs;

    Lee – Lucy in the sky

    Crystal – Strawberry Fields

    That’s all I got!

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  13. I am really looking forward to hearing the contestants sing songs of REAL legends. I hope everyone of them does an outstanding job! I am sure Siobhan will give us a great performance.

    OK, so Adam Lambert is the mentor for next week? I had thought Kelly Clarkson would be the Idol to be the first mentor. After all, she is a winner! I guess us ‘old’ people won’t be getting a mentor who is a geniune legend. You know, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, winner of numerous Grammies; and several #1 songs.

    I wasn’t a super fan of Kris or of Adam, but this seems so unfair. Now, this may be a great intro to Glee at 9:38 PM, but it’s a lousy thing for American Idol.

    This season is getting to be one of the worse, even though there are some talented folks on the show.

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  14. Hi Kariann 1,

    Oh! Kariann 1, you know that I don’t like to disagree with you, but if I may, I do disagree, sorry! I’m actually really excited to see Adam as a mentor, who better than a previous idol to come back and mentor the kids! What a world of wisdom he has to offer.

    I love the idea of idols coming back and giving these kids some direction. If you think about it Adam has more years of experience than Miley, she has what four years of experience! Look at his vocal training! I would love for all of the mentors to be past idols.

    He is current, and has had to deal with the pressures of this show, I think he will be a wealth of information for these guys!

    I always use my horse illustrations to explain why I think a certain way; well this time will be no exception, Lol. I am an older rider, and have taken instruction from youngsters who have not been riding nearly as long as I have, for that matter who hasn’t even around for as long as I have been riding, but, they come with fresh new ways, and I love it…the old way was eh, the old way. I am learning some new ways to engauge my horse. I would not be learning near the things that I am if I stuck with the old school coaches and instructors. These kids are current, they are on the show scene now, they know the ropes.

    Much like Adam, he is current, he is in todays scene, he is up and coming, and he has the idol experience to back him up. The older mentors, yes the come with much wisdom and experience, but they lack the ability to connect to the fears and the frustrations that these kids are going through, I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to put yourself out there each week and hope that the judges like you and hope that you can build a fanbase so that you have a chance of winning, or just sticking around for a little while, Adam understands that! Then the pressure of being critiqued when you have worked so hard and feel so good about your song only to be crushed. Adam’s been there! I know he never was abused by the judges like some, but he knows the pressures.

    Sorry Kariann 1, I’m jus sayin”

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  15. I, too, am very excited Adam will mentor next week. Several of last season’s Idols have said Adam helped them with song selection, etc. Many of them said he was viewed as the camp counselor or teacher of the group. He’s a talented vocal technician, a skilled arranger and songwriter, and an engaging performer. (even if you dislike his style, it makes you pay attention). And, as vonnie said, he’s been through it and knows how to work the show. I think he’ll do a splendid job!

    I’d love to see other past Idols as mentors, as well, but I don’t think the selection of Adam takes anything away from the other talented former contestants. Kelly would be a great choice, but she’s no longer under 19’s management. Plus, she’s been vocal against Idol and has tried to distance herself from the show. Two of Idol’s other big success stories, Carrie and Daughtry, are currently on tour with demanding schedules.

    This season’s ratings are suffering. Dancing With the Stars beat out Idol in last week’s ratings for the first time ever in either series. The media continue to call this year Idol’s worst season (which is debatable, in my opinion). It makes a lot of sense to bring in a contestant with a current and large following to boost ratings. Like him or not, Adam brought in viewers each week last season. The announcement of his mentoring next week has quickly made all the major media outlets, including CNN. Idol’s trying to stay afloat, and the publicity they’re getting from this is huge.

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  16. mariah,

    Oh! how I love your post…you bring up some wonderful points! Well said! I agree, I don’t think this has anything to do with dissing other idols, I think Adam will be a huge drawing card…I know I’ll be watching. Kelly and Clay both have tried to distance themselves from idol. OMGosh, I would be beyond excited if Taylor was to mentor one week!

    I cannot wait til’ next week!!! 🙂

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  17. Plus, she’s been vocal against Idol and has tried to distance herself from the show.

    If I may chime in, I feel that Kelly’s never been vocal against Idol in itself, and in fact, she has expressed her gratitude towards the show as her platform to success (I’m paraphrasing, of course). Kelly is incredibly down-to-earth (it’s one of the things I love about her), and she knows that she will always be associated with the show because she was the show’s first winner, and she doesn’t mind. She’s not ashamed of it in any way.

    Kelly Clarkson is one of the most gracious, humble, and thankful celebrities I can think of today. I don’t think she consciously tried to distance herself from the show as much as time and her success have given her legitimacy in a way that’s completely unrelated to the show and thus, caused her to transcend the show.

    I actually think Kelly would really enjoy mentoring the contestants, actually. For one, she hasn’t turned down requests for her to appear at season finales, and for another, she has been a mentor on these types of shows before! She mentored on X-Factor Holland (and was super sweet, as she always is!), and viewers of Canadian Idol (such as MCL!) might remember that Kelly was a mentor on Canadian Idol back in 2007.

    I think Adam is a great choice for a mentor (for many previously stated reasons! ;)), but I think Kelly would be too. That’s just my two cents.

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  18. Okay to the show, now! =)

    I’m reading the MJ’s Big Blog recap! Sounds as though Katie and Tim have stepped it up this week. This should be an interesting show… 😉 MJ says the show’s been really good so far (up till Casey).

    A lot of the song choices are identical to those from Season 7, though!

    I’m really curious as to how Siobhan Magnus handles “Across the Universe.” I like that she picked a slower song—one that can be handled more delicately—this week. Chanel Cole sang a beautiful rendition of this song on Australian Idol. Chanel and Siobhan have very different voices, so we’ll see. 😉

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  19. Great show tonight – the best since this season began. All of the singers really impressed me in varying degrees.

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  20. Yes, MCL, I just told my husband that this was the best show so far this season. Really enjoyable. And I even thought that Katie was really good tonight–that’s the first time I was really impressed with her.

    I also thought Casey showed more talent tonight than in any of his earlier performances. Even Tim did a nice job with the song he chose to sing. Siobhan sounded and looked beautiful tonight. And I loved Lee’s “Hey Jude”–especially with the bagpiper! Hilarious!

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  21. cookie monster April 6, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Hey everyone! I agree MCL! Great show tonight. And J I was a bit nervous about some of these contestants repeating the songs from season 7, but most of them did alright! Unfortunately I don’t think Aaron pulled it off, simply because Archie’s version was so amazing (I even have it on my ipod – still). And Michael Lynch was only ok for me tonight and that’s because I absolutely loved David Cook’s Eleanor Rigby. But the rest were comparable or even better.
    My rankings this week:
    #1 for me was Casey. I was just so captivated by him tonight and for the first time I didn’t feel that there was a stiffness there. Voice wasn’t always perfect but that didn’t seem to matter to me because of his whole demeanour. And really, vocally, there were some stellar moments there. Dynamics – incredible!
    #2 Siobhan. Her voice is like butter! I loved the softness to her performance tonight. I couldn’t sit through an entire show like that because I did find it a bit slow but that change just makes me realize what an incredible artist / performer / singer she is.
    #3 Katie – she was very good tonight and I was scared she was going to sound karaoke, considering the song she chose but she was good. I actually liked Katie’s version better than Brooke White’s (and I love Brook!) Katie had a different quality to her voice this week and I really liked it. She also looked relaxed – I like how simon put it “not robotic”
    #4 Lee – I could put him higher because I think he was amazing tonight but those bag pipes…yikes. Didn’t work for me. (I loved Ellen’s joke – the piper lost his band!) But this week I found Lee totally at ease, having so much fun and singing well. I really enjoyed him tonight.
    #5 Crystal – she was good tonight, but the others simply impressed me more – maybe because I love seeing growth and improvement and Crystal just did her thing tonight – still good.
    #6 Michael – he’s just good. So comfortable as a performer and a singer. It puts me at ease. But like I said earlier, I just couldn’t shake DC’s version.
    #7 Tim – I really liked him tonight, too! I like what he did with the guitar!
    #8 Aaron – some good moments, but…Archie…
    #9 Andrew – some good moments here, too but I found Andrew to be Karaoke tonight – BUT he did have some neat moments on the guitar. The idols were saying how funny and crazy Andrew is. He SHOULD try and tranfer some of that energy to his stage performance.
    I’ll probably change my mind a few times about my ranking because everyone did something well, but for now, I’ll stick with this. I found Ellen’s comments tonight so insync with my thoughts! Love her.
    Can’t wait to see Adam next week!! Brilliant choice!!

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  22. J- I didn’t mean anything disparaging about Kelly, and I apologize for coming across that way. I love her and her music! I honestly don’t follow her career closely, so I was unaware of any past mentoring work she’s done. That’s very cool! I had read awhile ago that she preferred to not do Idol related promos. I actually think a show that had a group of past Idols as mentors would be interesting. I’d like to see that over Miley Cyrus any day! And, vonnie, thank you!

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  23. Hi everyone:

    I am off to bed but this should be a pretty easy VM article to write tomorrow. Glad you loved th show as I did. Cookie Monster – I agree with the majority of your listings – in fact – I would be hard-pressed to pick out a favorite except for ———–oops -can`t say! You`ll have to wait until tomorrow after the article is done. hahaha Just a teaser there!

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  24. Well, it seems everyone disagrees about my comments to have Adam mentor as being the wrong decision. I know Adam has so many fans here, but I really don’t think of him as a mentor when he didn’t win. But, I will drop the matter now. OK?

    Now, we all seem to agree it was an enjoyable show tonight! YAY! It was my favorite show for the season. The music was magical and the performances ranged from awesome to very good! Siobhan is still my favorite. She showed such vulnerability and talent. What a wonderful theme!

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  25. mariah – No need to apologize! 😉 I know you were trying to make a neutral statement, and you even said that you thought “Kelly would be a great choice,” so I’m sure you had the best of intentions. I should’ve been clearer about that. You didn’t do anything wrong. I just feared that someone else might try to make a negative spin on what you said (because I’ve seen that before), so I just wanted to be “safe” and clarify. I want to apologize: I didn’t acknowledge the purity of your intentions, and I didn’t make it clear that I knew you weren’t trying to be disparaging. So, really, no worries! 😀

    I like your suggestion a lot; a show with a group of past Idols as mentors would be interesting! For some reason, I think David Cook would be a particularly good mentor. Just a feeling! 😉

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  26. Well, the Idols, in general impressed me tonight, even with the “no-no” songs they chose. I have gotten to the point in the competition when I’ll be disappointed no matter who goes home.

    #1 Casey: My only problem was I had a problem understanding the lyrics. This is a norm for me though. For years I thought Steve Miller’s song “Jungle Love” was “Chuckle Up” and “Tangled Up in Blue” was “Tender Loving Blues.” Despite that I don’t remember hearing this song, I wasn’t turned off. It might as well have sounded like an original. He has such a great rock n roll/bluesy voice and it really came through. I think he might’ve had a couple off notes at the beginning, but in general he is right on. He definitely was into this number, heart and soul.

    #2 Crystal: Brilliant as usual. The only problem I had with her performance is that she kept looking down at the guitar in mid-phrase and we lost her vocals. I’ll have to look at the chord progressions, but I didn’t think that the song would be that complicated for her. Did she break a string? Did the guitar go out of tune? Maybe there’s just some complicated chords mid-phrase? Her change ups to the melody were fluid and unjarring. They felt like they belonged, or could’ve been original, or something the Beatles (John Lennon sang, yes?) would’ve done if they had ever done this on a tour. (Did they do it on the roof top?)

    #3 Siobhan. What a lovely performance! I agree it was a little sleepy. It might’ve benefited from a change of tempo and/or intensity somewhere. That being said. It was wonderful to hear the purity in her voice and the emotion coming through. Loved her outfit. She’s a ballsy girl.

    #3 Katie (tied): First time she’s sounded heartfelt and authentic. I have to agree with the judges here. She took a HUGE risk with “Let It Be”. I said, “Oh no, here we go.” I would like to hear what she did on iTunes. I could hear a tiny bit of the country twang to the arrangement – just a thread of saffron. She didn’t play with it too much. … What Ellen said about somebody – changed it up just enough to call it her own but not so much that it disrespected the song.

    #4 Lee – Could’ve done Hey Jude justice, but not in 1:30. It’s just not abridgeable. I found each section very good, but the transitions were awkward. If he had the whole song and 7 minutes and a bagpipe corps … yeah … it would’ve worked. My mom did not like it, but it seems he brought a lot of energy to the live crowd. Although it wasn’t a stellar performance, I could still see through the arrangement to his potential.

    #5 Michael – Did he do all the arranging? I liked it while listening to it, but looking back it wasn’t as good as I thought. I wouldn’t put it on my iPod. But I can see how it could be made contemporary R&B.

    #6 Tim – Did a great job. Adored him with the guitar. Loved the retro hollow-bodied Gibson. I wondered if it was his or whether they can request instruments. Too bad he didn’t just play a Rickenbacker. I don’t imagine this on the radio, but it was such an improvement. The vocals were well done and tweaked in a sophisticated, professional way. Showed his possibilities as an artist again.

    #7 Andrew – I think maybe he should’ve dropped the guitar and pushed the big band feel. Or kept the guitar and pushed the big band feel. I wonder if he plays stand up bass. That would’ve been fun to watch! It wasn’t the greatest, but it was fun, and what’s more his fun side came out in this.

    #8 Aaron – good, not impressive

    Who will be in the bottom three:
    1) Andrew
    2) Lee
    the surprise
    3) Siobhan

    Bottom two:
    1) Andrew
    2) Siobhan

    Going home:
    Andrew

    The only reason I say Siobhan is that I feel like it’s one of these weird weeks, like when Adam was in the Bottom 3. Her performance wasn’t a nationwide “wow moment” and I think it might get lost among the others. Pray that she doesn’t go home.

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  27. It was a very good night over all…my order has changed this week!

    1. Katie – She sounded very good! I agree with Simon, go country girl! Beautiful! She may be the Jordan Sparks of this season!!! A couple of times during her song, she sounded a bit like Carrie Underwood.

    2. Tim – I know I can’t believe I am putting these two first and second either. But they both stepped up and sounded good. Tim actually sounded very current, (Maybe I have fluid on my ears or something; I don’t know it sounded good!) LOl Now I would like to her him sing “Train’s” song “Hey, Soul Sister”, he had that vibe to his voice last night, call me crazy (others have,hehehe), but he could very relevant.

    3. Lee – Up until the bag pipe! That was kind of off, but I enjoyed his performance, not sure the vocals were as good, but, he was having fun and it showed. Ellen was hilarious! He is still one of my fav’s.

    4. Casey – I liked his choice of song, and I thought he did a good job presenting it. He gets a little goatie for me, but overall it was good.

    5. Crystal – I agree with Jessica T., she kept looking down at her guitar and she just seemed to not be very comfortable with the song, but vocals were pretty good. I think with Crystal, she came to the show already made, we are watching some of the others grow and they are kind of leaving her behind…I still love her and hope that she is still around for top three.

    6. Mike – I thought his song choice was pretty good; he always looks so comfortable on stage.

    7. Andrew – I like Andrew, I thought he sang really well.

    8. Siobhan – I tried! I just don’t care for her voice! J, I figured it out last night, will share more later. That said, I think she is adorable and I love her quirky personality, and for that I hope she goes a long way in this competition. I know a lot of people love her!

    9. Aaron – He just didn’t move me last night! He is cute as he can be, and there are songs that I think he sounds really good on, last night wasn’t one of them.

    I have no idea who may be bottom three tonight!

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  28. Thanks, J! I fully understand your concern. I’m truly amazed at the level of virtual fan warring where Idol is concerned. I’ve never seen anything like it.

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  29. katherinesmom April 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    My ears must have been off because I thought many of the idols sounded a bit out-of-tune. I look forward to MCL’s evalutations (and I always defer to her!).

    I agree with Simon that Katie should go the country music route- I think she’d be perfect. She’s got a beautiful voice and she could give Taylor Swift a run for her money. (I’m not dissing TS, just think that Katie could be the yin to her yang.)

    I feel like Siobhan is mentally struggling to stay in the game. Same with Crystal. Maybe they both feel like AI isn’t really what they thought it was. I really like them both and hope they can do well in the music industry when all is said and done.

    Adam is not my favorite but I am looking forward to hearing what advice he can give to this season’s contestants.

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  30. I have already listened to the performances twice. My computer broke down and I am on a loaner now. I didn’t even know the song choices beforehand. Here are my thoughts.

    Asron – this was the wrong song choice. David Archuleta did it in season 7 so well, but Aaron doesn’t have the voice to pull off these big ballads. I wanted him to go with early Beatles and pick up the tempo and do something different.

    Katie – When I heard it would be “Let It Be”, I wasn’t thrilled. But this was probably her best performance yet. The relative pitch in her voice will always give me trouble, but she really gave a beautiful interpretation and the vocals were quite good.

    Andrew – I thought his performance of “Can’t Buy Me Love” was pretty good, not great. He has a very limited vocal range and that gets him in trouble. He was sliding off pitch in parts, but overall it was a decent effort.

    Mike – I did not like this reworking of such a brilliant and iconic Beatles song. He brough back the excess, the schmaltz and shtick. The song was a little too over the top and became unrecognizable. Ellen said some Beatles fans wouldn’t like this version and I am one of them. He always delivers vocally, but this was my least favorite performance.

    Crystal – I know that she was sick, so her vocals suffered a bit. “Come Together” isn’t my favorite song and it’s kind of been overdone. I wish she had chosen something else. She gave it her own unique take and was very good, as usual, but I didn’t love it. I am really tired of the judges praising her to the heavens every week. I think she could come out and sing the phone book and scales and the judges would love it. I like Crystal, but she doesn’t need the overbearing pimping.

    Tim – This was exactly the right song for him. It’s a nice little early ditty from the Beatles that requires no emotional connection. When I listened a second time with my eyes closed, I could hear him slide off pitch at times with the changes in the song. Even early Beatles songs aren’t easy to sing. But for him this was decent. I like his attitude toward the judges. They are the ones who put him in the top 24, so they look like fools when they trash him. He handles it well and is having a good time.

    Casey – Bravo! Wow! I haven’t been on the Casey train, but he really showed me something this week. Good for him for picking an obscure song with which he connected. That’s what it’s all about! He showed originality and artistry. Even the few pitch problems didn’t detract from the emotion, power and feeling of his vocals. That is coming from Miss Pitch Perfect Ear, so that’s saying a lot. I give him all the credit in the world for giving a brilliant performance.

    Siobhan – I love this song choice! She really felt the words and conveyed it in her performance. She dialed it back and stripped it down, got back to basics and gave a hearfelt, beautiful interpretation. Such lovely restrained vocals and no shouting! YAY!!! When she told the judges her reason for singing this song, it brought me to tears. I have been feeling that the judges are throwing her under the bus sometimes. Kara saying that she didn’t get it, made me want to tell her to put a sock in it. Good for you, Siobhan! Stay true to yourself and the heck with the judges.

    Lee – I was so disappointed with his song choice. “Het Jude” is practically a cliche now. I thought it was wrong for his voice and there were so many songs that would have worked better. He was way off pitch when I listened with my eyes closed. He was straining and the whole thing was awkward. I did not like this at all and I am someone who really likes Lee. But I have to call it as I see it. Simon was the only one who even attempted to be honest in his critique.

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  31. Sorry for the typos. It’s the new loaner computer.

    It should be AARON!

    Also, it should be HEY JUDE!

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  32. By the way, I didn’t rank the performances. I did it in performance order. Maybe I will come back later and give my rankings.

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  33. Here are my rankings.

    1) Casey

    2) Katie

    3) Siobhan

    4) Crystal

    5) Mike

    6) Lee

    7) Tim

    8) Andrew

    9) Aaron

    I really am not sure who will be in the bottom three. I am thinking it could be Tim, Andrew and Aaron, but you just never know. There could be a surprise.

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  34. ketherinesmom,

    What you said about Siobhan mentally struggling right now, really struck a chord with me. I sense the same thing and it concerns me. I think part of her problem is that she has this incredible vocal instrument, but doesn’t fully understand how to use it. I also think that the judges have messed with her mind a bit of late. Simon doesn’t want anyone to mess with his pre-conceived idea of Crystal and two guys in the finals. I don’t think the judges have been helping Siobhan at all and may be undermining her own confidence. This was a girl who seemed to be fearless, gutsy and courageous in her performances during the semifinals. But since Paint it Black, she seems to have lost her way.

    I think Siobhan needs to figure out how to find the middle ground between going too far over the top with her singing and trying to do too much, and dialing it too far back and risking being lethargic and not energetic enough. I don’t know that she can get the right balance. I am hopeful that Adam may be able to give her some great advice that will help her navigate the treacherous waters of the Idol journey.

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  35. I agree with Katerinesmom about Siobhan. Yes, the judges; especially, Simon have played with Siobhan’s head and I hope she recovers. Somehow, I think she will.
    For me, Siobhan is the most talented singer this year, no one comes close. Personally, I think she may be the best contestant AI ever had on the show, and I loved many others: Adam, Kelly Clarkson, Allison Iraheta, Davids A. & C., Melinda and Bo.
    Siobhan has a quality to her voice like Barbara Streisland’s. I’m not an expert on the elements of Masterclass singing, but I love music so much that I know a gem when I hear one. Siobhan has qualities besides singing that are made for the entertainment world, she is a sensitive artist, and brings drama to her singing, which is reminiscent of Judy Garland too.
    I read a lot on the internet and she has numerous fans, however, some people hate her — this is the prize of great talent — she evokes strong emotions.
    I hope she take takes Katherines mom advice.
    She must get the critical comments of Simon out of her head, he hasn’t given her any constructive advice.

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  36. First, I want to make a change to my rankings for this week. I have to be fair to Tim, even though I still do not like his voice. I think he should be ranked #5, with Mike moving to #6 and Lee moving to #7.

    I did not really enjoy Mike’s rearrangement of “Eleanor Rigby”, however, he always delivers vocally. He is never off pitch, has great command of his instrument, transitions beautifully to head voice and commits to the performance.

    I think Lee sacrificed vocals for the sake of performance. He may have felt that it was necessary, but it’s never okay to perform well at the price of vocals. When I listened to it a third time, Lee was so off pitch and just lost the song. I like him, but want to be fair.

    Ren,

    I loved reading your thoughts about Siobhan. I feel exactly the way that you do. I said from the beginning that she was raw talent, a diamond in the rough. It is incredibly hard to sing a song softly and restrained. When I listened to it a third time, I was amazed at the control she had with her voice.

    Judy Garland was my idol growing up. She has a special place in my heart, one of the greatest female singers and performers who ever lived. I can see that Siobhan has a lot of her dramatic presence on stage. I also hear the similarity to Barbra Streisand, my other all time favorite female singer.

    I was quite disappointed that the judges weren’t able to fully appreciate what Siobhan accomplished in this performance. They just missed it totally. When Simon trashed her performance of “House of the Rising Sun”, that’s when I felt that he just didn’t get her or like her. I think Simon is intent on Crystal being in the final three with two guys. He knows that Siobhan is a real threat and that’s why I think he has been so mixed with his critiques, messing with her mind.

    I truly am looking forward to seeing Adam mentor Siobhan. I think he will recognize the greatness of her voice and could give her some advice to get through this perilous journey.

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  37. Dearest Mindy – I think Simon can be unnecessarily mean in his comments at times, but in his defense, I feel that he really does like Siobhan. (And really, I think, at the end of the day, he honestly likes all the contestants as people.) I thought he was very positive towards her this week. On paper, adjectives like “quirky,” “unpredictable,” and “confusing” might not look good to some people, but I really feel that Simon does intend them in a positive way. (And honestly, speaking for myself, I love being called “eccentric”! A lot of geniuses, like Einstein, were eccentric; that’s for sure. I count myself in good company. =P)

    His comments were, “Siobhan, we’re not going to take that away from you. […] I think you came back much, much stronger. […] What’s great about you is that you’re unpredictable. I think, standing there tonight, if it was the first time that somebody had seen you, they’d be a little bit confused, but that’s what I like about you.

    And Siobhan was smiling throughout his comments (big smile when he said “unpredictable”), so I think she was warmly receiving his remarks. I definitely think when Simon acknowledges how polarizing certain contestants can be, he’s also acknowledging their greatness… because it’s better to be polarizing than boring in his book, and as Ren beautifully said, singers with great talent will always elicit strong reactions.

    I think Simon was definitely making an effort to be softer and gentler on Tuesday. After battering Tim around for weeks, he was actually nice to him and acknowledged that Tim’s been taking the criticism well.

    Simon likes his “mean guy” image, but underneath it all, he’s a human being like the rest of us, and I don’t think one has to go very deep, actually, to notice this. There aren’t as many layers to Simon as he might want us to think.

    I don’t think I’ll ever see Simon the same way after watching the video of Simon discussing his father’s sudden death. I think Simon is capable of and has shown great compassion. The “mean guy” image is his on-camera persona, but off-camera, I’ve heard he’s very kind to the contestants.

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  38. I don’t think Simon intends to be malicious (although I’m not going to deny that he does have ulterior motives, sometimes, with his comments because it’s true), but he, like the rest of us, has his own fair share of personal demons. And it helps for me, anyway, to remember that he’s human too, and not take his mean behavior to an extreme in painting him as a villain. Because I really have seen him care about the artists that were under his label in a personal way—honest concern—so I really do feel that Simon isn’t really the bad guy we sometimes paint him out to be.

    On the other hand, I have to admit, I can’t say as much about the producers and <their manipulation of the Idol process, which arguably is much greater and more insidious since it’s behind-the-scenes. (Really, the producers have much more sway than people realize. They’re the ones who decide which contestants make it to TV, and they can reportedly overrule the judges’ decisions as to who makes the top 24. And Simon has definitely shown his disapproval at times, saying that if it were up to him, certain contestants would have made it to the top 24.)

    Then again, if I could put faces to the producers and actually think of them as real human beings, rather than some faceless, amorphous puppet master pulling all the strings, then I might say differently.

    We’re all works in progress, aren’t we? I’d really love to sympathize with the producers if I could, but I’m not quite there yet!

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  39. MindyM, when you say that the relative pitch in Katie’s voice will always give you trouble, I am confused. Why is relative pitch a problem for you? My understanding is that someone with relative pitch is always on pitch, they just arrive there by different means than someone with perfect pitch does (my father had relative pitch, and he was always spot on.)

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  40. First to J,

    I am not saying that Simon is a monster or inhuman. I have seen other sides of him that show him to be caring and generous. I watched that clip where he talks about the sudden death of his father and it’s very touching.

    I don’t want to let this get kind of confused or misunderstood. There are things I like about Simon and things I do not like about him. I know he has a job to do on the show. Sometimes I am okay with that and sometimes I am not okay. Yes, this week he was much kinder to Siobhan. But he really has been all over the place with her and that has to be hard for her to process. I will never understand why he was so harsh about her “House of the Rising Sun” performance. That was one time when I honestly don’t know what he was hearing. His bias towards Crystal is beyond obvious. He is entitled to have his biases and favorites, but I don’t necessarily have to like it. He has his opinions and I have mine.

    Simon is notoriously manipulative. He knows that a certain portion of the viewing audience listens to him and is influenced by him. Therefore, his comments come across as carefully calculated. He chooses his words carefully. It’s not just a question of meanness or being petty, it’s being sincere. Sometimes I think Simon is performing and saying things for effect. Again he is free to do that and I am free to see right through it.

    Simon doesn’t always get what he wants, but he does try. We will see how it all plays out as the season progresses. I do agree that the producers are at times the real villains of the piece. I think there is much more going on behind the scenes than we will ever know.

    Jeanne,

    MCL mentioned the difference between absolute or perfect pitch and relative pitch. This was last season and I don’t remember exactly how she phrased it. She was trying to explain to me why I hear what I hear the way that I do. She actually thinks that relative pitch is better for singers, especially when you are in a chorus or singing with others. It was her way of explaining why I sometimes hear a singer as being off pitch when they are not. She used Kris Allen as an example. She said that he has relative pitch. To me he seemed to be slightly off pitch when he was singing, which was quite distracting. My ear picks up every single sound and when it’s not right, then it affects my ability to enjoy a performance.

    Maybe you are right that they arrive there by different means, but for me I hear a difference between relative pitch and perfect pitch. I think either MCL or J would be much better qualified to explain the difference. They were trying to help me understand how and why I hear what I do, because sometimes it’s very frustrating when you hear differently than what most people hear. I used to feel like a bit of a freak, because I could pick up things that no one else did.

    I guess maybe I can sum it up by saying that what seems to be off pitch to me, really isn’t.

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  41. Hi, Jeanne! The main difference between individuals with relative pitch and those with perfect (also known as, absolute) pitch is that the first group of individuals determine the location of notes based on intervals (relative distance), while the second group of individuals knows intuitively where a note is located without an external reference point.

    Since singers with absolute pitch know the “absolute locations” of pitch, they are much more acutely aware of slight deviations in pitch, compared to singers with relative pitch

    Singers with excellent relative pitch can definitely reach a level where they are just as in tune as singers with “perfect pitch.” And in fact, most musicians have relative pitch and not absolute pitch.

    However, I agree with Mindy that singers with relative pitch are more likely to go off pitch because they don’t know absolutely where the “center” of a particular pitch is. Even excellent singers are sometimes slightly off the center of a pitch, and this wouldn’t bother many listeners, but since individuals with absolute pitch notice every and every single discrepancy in pitch, they wouldn’t be able enjoy performances that, practically speaking, were pretty much in tune but still contained slight off-pitch moments.

    For the record, singers with absolute pitch are not immune to being off pitch either, but being off pitch in their own singing would be very obvious to them (and they’d probably be really bothered by it! I know my friend Tim has absolute pitch, and he drives himself crazy when he’s off pitch).

    Lastly, I want to say that relative pitch is a skill that’s honed and developed over time, and individuals with relative pitch can become comparably sensitive to discrepancies in pitch as those with absolute pitch. Speaking for myself, as a singer with relative pitch, I certainly have to work harder at it to really hear the center of the pitches I’m singing, and I have become more acutely aware of slight deviations in pitch, but that realization is still based on relative distance. (I hear the tonal center in my head, sing the respective note in the melody, and determine how centered on pitch I am by assessing how correct the interval between those two notes is. For me, being perfectly on pitch produces this wonderful aural “sweet spot,” so I listen for this “sweet spot” and notice when I fall out of it.)

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  42. (Just kidding. Not quite done. =P)

    In contrast to my experience in the last paragraph above, individuals with absolute pitch, for the most part, are born with it. And they notice when singers, instruments, etc. are out of tune whether or not they want to!

    Absolute pitch can definitely be a mixed bag. I can’t even imagine never being able to ignore slightly off-pitch notes, for example! And from a musicians’ standpoint, as Mindy alluded to, singers with absolute pitch have a difficult time adjusting to situations where (1) the instrumental accompaniment is out of tune and (2) their fellow singers (e.g. chorus members) start deviating in pitch, especially in an a cappella piece (which happens very often!). In choral pieces, the most important thing is to keep all the relative intervals between the voice parts “correct” (as written); my director always told me, “If the basses (the root of the chord) go flat, you need to adjust to them [i.e. go flat as well!]. The ‘correct’ pitch is whatever pitch they’re singing.” Often, the moment when the slippage in pitch begins is difficult to pinpoint, but I’ve heard performances where, by the end of the performance, the song ends en entire half step lower than written. And really, as “bad” as that souds, for singers (and listeners) with relative pitch, all that really matters is whether the intervals stayed correct; it wouldn’t matter that song ended up in a different key. However, singers with absolute pitch would have a very hard time with this because they’d notice when the choir started going off pitch and hate being flat, just because other voice parts went flat! Remembering hitting the “right” absolute pitch when everyone else is basing his/her pitch off of some different relative pitch is going to make a singer sound off key. And if the piano accompaniment is out of tune (but in a way that’s not entirely obvious), the singer is going to sound out of tune if he or she sings the correct absolute pitches. So, being able to adjust to environments when off-pitch reference points exist is rather difficult for people with absolute pitch, and those types of situations are ones where relative pitch becomes more useful.

    Also, *every and every = each and every

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  43. *as “bad” as that souds = as “bad” as that sounds (on paper, that singers could end up being so flat)
    *en = an
    *that song = that the song
    *hate being flat, just because other voice parts went flat = have having to sing flat (if they could even so!), just because the other voice parts went flat (and forced them to be flat as well)

    (My point is that the song would still sound “good” to many people, as long as the intervals stayed correct.)

    *Remembering hitting = *Remember that hitting

    Okay, seriously, I’m an excellent speller, but typing at 2 a.m. is just a bad idea, lol! That was the worst proofreading job ever. This is a sign that I need to go to sleep NOW. I really should have taken the extra time to proofread; I hate looking at my typos! =P

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  44. *bangs head on keyboard* It’s so sad when my corrections to typos contain typos! My grammar nerd is dying inside. (Don’t worry; I’ll be fine, lol.)

    I almost don’t even want to correct myself anymore because I feel that all of you can guess what I mean. Let me try rephrasing one part differently. And then I’ll call it a night.

    *hate being flat, just because other voice parts went flat = they would resist being flat and dislike having to sing off-pitch to accommodate the other voice parts. (Part of me wonders if singers with absolute pitch can even allow themselves to purposely sing off-pitch—e.g. singing a note in between pitches or a half step below written. I would imagine that sounding very unpleasant, maybe even painful, to singers with absolute pitch!)

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  45. Dearest J,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to elaborate on the issue of relative versus perfect pitch. I asked my Mom if I was born with this and she said yes. You confirmed it last season. When I auditioned to be in the chorus in high school, afterwards the music director told me that I had perfect pitch. I had no idea what she meant. I was a nervous wreck because I had to sing acappella. I was very shy, so this was hard for me, but my friend got me the audition and I loved singing. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. I am surprised that I sounded good, because my hands were clammy and the nerves were getting to me.

    I have said that having perfect pitch is a blessing and a curse. It makes it very hard to listen to a lot of singers today. Sometimes I wish that I could shut it off. It’s not like I want to hear everything in such incredible detail. But it’s always been like this for me. I know that MCL said that it’s better to have relative pitch if you are singing in a chorus, but somehow I was able to manage. I can hold harmony without being distracted. I am one will immediately correct myself if I happen to go off key.

    Last year I discovered opera after some interesting discussions here. What I realized is that it made my pitch perfect ears really happy. I could appreciate the excellent vocal technique and enjoy it much more than a lot of what I listen to with popular music. Since I can’t change this supposed gift, I just try to live with it, celebrate it for what it is and listen to the kind of singing and music that will appeal to my very sensitive ears.

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  46. Dearest Mindy,

    I’m in the process of writing you another comment ;), but I just want to say that I love your attitude towards trials and difficulties—in general, not necessarily about anything specific. I feel that you’ve triumphed over so many negative circumstances, and you haven’t let them get the best of you, and you have a really big heart—so much passion and kindness! And you mean very, very much to me.

    Thank you for taking the time to give us glimpses into your life. I love the stories you tell about your own life experiences with music and singing. I really see your heart and your love for singing, and it makes me happy. I smile when you share these experiences because I relate in so many ways, and I feel that I can almost imagine being in your shoes. (I remember being a bundle of nerves when I auditioned for my chorus as well!) You have a beautiful heart. Don’t forget that! 😉

    Since I can’t change this supposed gift, I just try to live with it, celebrate it for what it is and listen to the kind of singing and music that will appeal to my very sensitive ears.

    This is a beautiful perspective to have. =)

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  47. Dearest Mindy,

    One of the qualities I truly admire about you is your ability to think for yourself, to form your own opinions, and to defend your right to have those opinions. I admit that I sometimes wish I could hold more steadfastly to my opinions, rather than trying to give into other people’s. I certainly have my own opinions, but at times, I realize I almost seem scared to have them, especially when they’re particularly strong. I often hesitate in putting my foot down and saying, “This is what I think,” even though I know my opinions are perfectly reasonable and well-informed, because I let that fear get in the way. And I see so much strength in you and in your refusal to assimilate your opinions into other people’s (and not in an unreasonable way either; I truly mean this as a good thing!). You know what you think, and you know you have a right to think it, and this awareness is so powerful!

    I don’t know the exact nature of all your life circumstances, but I do know that you’re a very strong woman, and I am very inspired by you! I just want you to know that whoever has made you feel small in the past or tried to silence your opinions… you’ve overcome their influence. You’ve triumphed. You’re your own person, and you’re stronger because of it. And I really want you to know that I’d never try to invalidate your opinions, and I always try to understand where you’re coming from. And if I ever make you feel otherwise, please forgive me; such an effect would be entirely unintentional, believe me.

    Life is full of shades of grey, and my aim is just to help people see the grey areas—the other angles, the other viewpoints, and the contradictions all over the place. As humans, we’re all a bundle of complexity and internal inconsistencies. And I don’t ever intentionally privilege one viewpoint over another; I just try to highlight other viewpoints that might not necessarily be visible. I hope that makes sense. I certainly do not condone all of Simon’s actions, and I do think, ultimately, he is responsible for his own behavior, no matter what complex issues may feed into it. At the same time, when I present a viewpoint, I try not to pass moral judgment as much as I try to understand it in itself, and I’ve learned that I don’t necessarily need to agree with all of a person’s actions in order to understand his/her motivations and vantage point.

    Thus is the journey of life for me! I know I make mistakes and take missteps, and I appreciate your patience as I learn. I know it’s confusing what I do sometimes—trying to flesh out other viewpoints whether or not I agree with them—but I hope I’ve made my intentions slightly clearer in this post. Thanks for always keeping me thinking about how I can grow in understanding, Mindy. I’ve really grown a lot through posting on this site and engaging with everyone’s thoughts, especially yours. =)

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  48. Thank you, both J and Mindy. Your explanation is so obvious that I probably ought to have understood it before, but since my father’s relative pitch was something he was born with, not something he developed (and I understand how it can be developed), his accuracy on pitches was greater than most peoples’ with relative pitch, and thus my confusion over the difference between absolute and relative. I do remember times as a young girl when he would correct my pitch and it was clear to me that he was hearing degrees of pitch that I didn’t easily distinguish between, although I could tell the difference when he pointed them out.

    I am a golfer, and I understand it as being similar to golf in this respect: the club manufacturers talk about the “sweet spot” on a golf club, meaning that if you hit the ball on this spot of the club, you will get a better result than if you hit outside the spot. Then they go on to talk about having a “larger” sweet spot than their competitors’ clubs, the idea being that the “larger” the sweet spot, the more “forgiving” the club is — that is, you don’t have to be that good to still get a pretty good result. However, in point of fact, the sweet spot is not the size of a dime or a nickel or a quarter, but is instead a “point”, probably even smaller than the head of a pin. Hitting the ball a quarter of an inch from that point may indeed produce a pretty good shot, but it still won’t be as good as it is if you hit the ball on that particular point on the club. The better a golfer you are, the more sensitive you are to how far from that “point.”

    So having perfect/absolute pitch is knowing exactly where that point is all the time, while having relative pitch can be, depending on how well developed the relative pitch is, like knowing exactly where the manufacturers’ “sweet spot” is. You’ve got a lot more room for error with relative pitch, which is another way of saying you can fool some of the people all of the time.

    I also understand why relative pitch is helpful in choirs, especially a cappella choirs, where everyone usually goes flat over the course of a song.

    While I think you’ve learned to deal with your perfect pitch admirably, Mindy, and I am grateful that you have helped me to understand why it doesn’t always seem like such a great thing to have, the fact that you refer to it as a “supposed” gift tells me that you still have a little ways to go to reconcile yourself to it. This occurs to me: you have, through your absolute pitch, the opportunity to see (or hear) a little glimpse of perfection. Most of us do not have that privilege. I’m a perfectionist by nature, but I’ve never experienced real perfection. I have learned many things about this aspect of myself over the years, and have learned a good deal about putting this dominant characteristic into perspective; listening to you talk about your experiences with perfect pitch, however, sheds a whole new light on the topic for me. Being perfect in any respect, it would seem, has a considerable downside that never occurs to those of us in pursuit of it!

    This all sort of reinforces my growing suspicion that God cares much less for perfection than we do . . .

    Thanks again. . .

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  49. Dearest J,

    I am fighting back tears as I write this reply. I don’t know how far I am going to be able to get with this, but I just wanted to say that your words touched my heart. I know that I have let out a little about my life on this forum, because it is a safe place with many loving people. I normally keep these things very private. But I have experienced some horrific things that have tested my will. The one thing that I take pride in, is that I have never given in to despair, self-pity or become filled with anger and meanness. It could have happened. But I worked really hard to triumph over unbearable heartache and become a better person.

    I am not perfect, far from it. I have made far too many mistakes and so many bad decisions in my life. But I am still trying to improve myself. It’s true that I was belittled and worse, that my true voice was silenced for a while. But today I am free and strong, even though life can still be a struggle in these difficult economic times. I am so happy that you are able to appreciate my ability to express my opinions and stand by them without ever disrespecting anyone else. It was a long journey to be able to get to that point. But it was a journey worth taking, that’s for sure.

    I am glad that you don’t take offense to my disagreement with you about Simon. I think we both know what we are trying to say. You are the gentle voice of reason when I let my emotions get a little too carried away. Simon has a job to do and maybe he does it well at times and sometimes not so well. But I have seen the human side of him. I always try to pay attention to his critiques since they can be a reality check. I don’t always agree with him. On the results show, I thought he gave some generous and wise advice to Aaron, who seems to be struggling. It came from a genuine sense of caring and concern. Maybe Simon uses that gruff exterior so that he can be tough when his emotions and sensitivity might get in the way. I do get it!

    Jeanne,

    What a beautiful comment from you! So thoughtful, intelligent and filled with remarkable perception. I do think that I am struggling with this so-called gift. I am not sure that I am comfortable with it and can accept it. I don’t know if I think that I am undeserving or unworthy or just do not understand why I have it if I also wasn’t blessed with a great voice. But you helped me see how extraordinary this gift can be. I never thought of it as being given the ability to hear perfection.

    I so loved your analogy to golf! Beautifully written! Now I have to think a bit about this innate ability that I have. I hope that I can get to a place where I can accept it and fully embrace it. For so long, I honestly did feel like an outcast. Why was I hearing things that everybody else didn’t? When you are younger, you want to fit in and belong. But I stood apart. I was afraid of what I was hearing. I think this site and the people here have helped me so much. I am now able to appreciate the simple truth that I am privileged to hear what many cannot – perfection in sound. I feel like a weight has been taken off my chest. I am not crazy! No wonder I now can embrace opera. My mother was stunned when I told her last year tht I was listening to opera and loved it. The vocal technical brilliance, the pitch perfect notes that soar and seem to rise to the heavens, all of it excites and thrills me no end. I lived in a kind of darkness for so many years, thinking that something was wrong with me. Now I know that I have been blessed.

    Thank you for helping me to come to terms with this special gift of hearing perfection in the human voice.

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  50. Mindy, I hope you know that if you have been given a gift — whether by God or by your next-door neighbor — by definition, you deserve it. The one who decides we deserve gifts is always the giver, not the receiver. So the fact that you have this gift means you are infinitely worthy and deserving of it.

    However, when it comes to gifts from God, his intentions don’t always match our perceptions. Yes, you may have longed for a pure voice to match your pure ear, but the fact that he didn’t give you both means that his intention was different from your assumption. The challenge is for you to discover why you have been blessed in this way.

    When I was younger, I wished I had perfect pitch — or even my father’s relative pitch — for the simple reason that I really thought that perfection was important. And I thought it would be cool to be able to sing a G above middle C without hearing a pitch pipe. I have a decent voice, but not one that would meet a professional singer’s standards, but I saw perfect pitch as something that wasn’t necessarily connected to a quality voice. Interesting how differently we looked at this — of course, the fact that we were on different sides of the equation may well be part of it!

    I’m so glad you have discovered opera and found pleasure in it. I don’t know much about opera, but it makes perfect sense to me that it should be especially pleasing to people who have a stronger sense of accurate pitch, if only because I think of opera singers as striving harder for perfection (in a way that has nothing to do with my own pursuit of perfection!)

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  51. Miley Cyrus is such a talented singer. I adore all of her songs.

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  52. MC is such a unbelieveable performer. I love all of her songs.

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