Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 9 Top 7 Show: Inspirational Songs With Alicia Keys

American Idol Season 9 Top 7
This week, R & B artist, Alicia Keys, will mentor the seven remaining singers of American Idol Season 9

The theme this week is Inspirational Songs and you can find the list of available songs over at MJSBigBlog.Com.  The one song that flew out at me was Carole King’s, “You’ve Got A Friend”.

Maybe Crystal will go back to her keyboard and deliver a soulful, bluesy rendition of this number. I can’t see anyone else capable of performing this number and it just seems so logical in my mind.

Also, upon reading the list, it confirmed in my mind that Katie Stevens did indeed select “Over The Rainbow” as her Top 7 number. She performed this song so beautifully on the Ellen Show earlier today.

But let’s not be sad folks! Both Top 9 eliminated contestants, Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia, have tweeted that they will be part of the 2-hour Idol Gives Back extravaganza on Wednesday.

If anyone knows if  the entire Top 12 are coming back for an encore, give me shout here in the comments section and I will update this blog topic ASAP.

I am hoping that Alicia Keyes can inject some soulful inspiration into the remaining singers -Aaron Kelly, Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus and Tim Urban.  She is such a gifted artist and these singers are so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to learn from her.

Best of luck to the Top 7 Finalists and feel welcome to add your comments before, during and after the live telecast on Tuesday, April 20th.


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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

86 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 9 Top 7 Show: Inspirational Songs With Alicia Keys”

  1. I will take a stab at the song choices for Tuesday night.

    Aaron Kelly, My Wish – Rascal Flatts or Live Like You Were Dieing – Tim McGraw

    Casey James, People Get Ready ( Casey should start with a Jeff beck style guitar intro followed by singing a very stripped down version with a hand mike accompanied by a single instrument played by someone else, either upright bass, organ, piano or guitar.

    Crystal Bowersox, MCL’s choice of You’ve Got a friend is a good choice for Crystal, it’s just her style but I am a little afraid of the outcome that Katelyn had when she did a Carole King song. Crystal would probably do a better job of making it her own. She might also consider I Hope You’ll Dance – Leanne Womack.
    BTW, I have tickets to see Carole King and James Taylor May 22 in Nashville. I’m really looking forward to it.

    Lee Dewyze, If he can’t find an inspirational song on his first or second CD (!!!) he might try to make lightning strike twice with another Cocker song, Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warrens

    Michael Lynche, What a Wonderful World – Satchmo This would work well stripped down and slowed, no dancing or stunts of any sort, just sing! People Get Ready would work well for big Mike as well.

    Siobhan Magnus, The River of Dreams- Billy Joel or What The World Needs Now – Jackie DeShannon. I believe she could have a moment with either of theses songs. You have to think about the first one a little bit. People Get Ready might also work for her but I think it is best done by a voice with a little more weight to it.

    Tim Urban, You Raised Me Up – Josh Groban or I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor! I couldn’t help myself.

    What do you think?


  2. Gene,

    First, I am SO jealous of you getting to see Carole King and James Taylor. Lucky you!

    Now on to the songs –

    I love your choice of “My Wish” for Aaron. He has that country sound in his voice and this is a change from those big power ballads. Great idea!

    Casey doesn’t have the voice for “People Get Ready”, but someone HAS to do this song. Eva Cassidy’s version would be good for Crystal, but I have been thinking about how Siobhan could do this song. She has the pipes, but it has to be exactly right or it could spell disaster. I listened to Alicia Keys singing her version of “People Get Ready” and it’s terrific.

    I am listening to Eva Cassidy’s version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Unbelievable! I think Crystal could kill with this one. Risky song choice, because it has been done memorably before, but this version brings a whole new feeling to this song.

    I don’t know yet about Casey.

    Lee could sing “The Boxer” or “Rainbow”. I would stay away from something like “Up Where We Belong”. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warrens own this song.

    Mike would do great with “What a Wonderful World” the one and only Louis Armstrong. I agree that it should be stripped down and simple, no shtick! That seems to be my favorite word these days. He is another one who could do a great version of “People Get Ready”.

    I am going through a number of songs for Siobhan. “People Get Ready” is still a possibility, but I wonder if she should go for an uptempo power song. “Anyway” by Martina McBride has been suggested. If she changes it up a little, I think it could work for her. “I’ll Stand By You” by the Pretenders is another one that might work for her. I even thought of it for Casey, but I don’t know if he has the voice for it. I actually thought of “I Am Changing”, my personal favorite song from Dreamgirls. This could be a risky pick. Mike could do this song, too. I am also thinking about “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, sung full out all power blasting those vocals like she did on “Think”.

    I am not even going to make a guess for Tim. I will leave that to others. I have no idea.

    Nice job, Gene!


  3. This is a very, very interesting article for Siobhan fans especially . . .


  4. I can’t predict what the contestants will choose because I have little knowledge about some of the songs, but that would be really cool if Tim sings “I Will Survive”. I just hope he stays in tune. 😀

    Anyways, I dunno if you’ve seen this article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/americanidoltracker/2010/04/idol-re.html

    i do hope that Siobhan is one of the contestants doing a cappella as mentioned here.


  5. Thanks for posting the link louise.

    That guy is in my head from beginning to end except that I am not a Clay fan and I believe that Michael is a much more versatile singer than Ruben.

    He expressed my sentiments exactly about the rest of them.


  6. Thanks for that Louise. Call me shallow, but I need something to cheer me up after reading all the comments about Adam’s statement, and why he didn’t mention Siobhan… x_x


  7. Me gives up!!!


  8. louise,

    Thanks again for providing a great link! I am actually really seeing the competition pretty much the way this person sees it. But I would not write Mike off so easily. I know that it is a bit of an uphill climb for him, being an r&b singer, but he has the voice.


    You and I do seem to be thinking in the same way right now. I never could really embrace Clay, not because he wasn’t a great singer, rather it has to do with what J said about needing a certain tone or timbre in a voice. For some reason, Clay’s voice always grated on me. I just didn’t like the sound of it. I tried to warm up to him, but I never did. I adored Ruben. However, I tend to agree with you that Mike has more versatility.


    I want to cheer you up! Siobhan has not yet given us her best performance. I am hoping that we hear it tonight. She has the voice and we don’t need Adam to tell us that! Remember, he is an extraordinarily talented young man, but he is not God! We can think for ourselves and appreciate who we choose. So chin up!


  9. Hey Sis,

    Some of these were tough, particularly when it comes to old favorites on the list like the Boxer or Bridge Over Troubled Water. I felt like both of these were too long to have anything coherent left when reduced to 90 seconds and Bridge might be a death sentence for anyone who attempted it, so I left them off of my list. Just my gut feeling.

    People Get Ready is an old favorite of mine, as I know you have expressed as well. My guess is that the top five singers all wanted it. Aretha Franklin’s vocal arrangement for this song is tailor made for Crystal. It actually sounds like Crystal singing it in some parts of it and listening to it might give some insight to the source of Crystal’s groove in general.

    Dionne Warwick’s version of PGR would be a pretty good match for Siobhan, and considering her rendition of Think and Living in the City during Hollywood week, she might do well with an Aretha style arrangement as well. If you listen to the two of these, The Aretha version has way more heart and soul.

    Michael could pull off something along the lines of the Chambers Brothers version of PGR, accompanied by just a Hammond organ and take us to church. I don’t have any particular vision for what Lee might make of it. So many have done the song that I believe he could find a spot to jump in and hang on as well.

    So why did I pick it for Casey? I wanted a make or break song for him. He has only gotten close to showing what he is capable of once in this completion with his rendition of Jealous Guy. He could do it in a Curtis Mayfield arrangement accompanying himself on electric guitar and hiding behind his mic stand, but that would be a failure on many levels. First, as you rightly pointed out, he doesn’t have the voice for that and, second, I will throw a brick at my TV (figuratively speaking of course) if he performs one more song in that fashion. If he wants to play Holiday Inn lounges then he should keep doing what he is doing. I see him doing more of a Jeff Beck type into followed by a Vanilla Fudge style vocal with his guitar down by his side. Or leave the guitar in the green room, sit on a stool with a hand mic accompanied by the bands excellent guitarist and sing for his life. It would be a challenge for sure, but I think he can pull it off. I won’t be happy if he gets that song and does his usual performance with it.

    I’m having a hard time with my choice for Siobhan too. Martina’s Anyway has a good message, particularly for Sio. I like Martina’s God’s Will, In My Daughter’s Eyes (neither of which are on the list) and her version of Rainbow. She needs another solid performance this week. I don’t care for guys singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, so Lee can’t have it on my list. I am steering away from the up tempo tunes because the band has gotten into sort of a jive Vegas groove on a lot of the up tempo songs this year. I can’t stand the “Vegas” sound. It makes me think of John Davidson and Wayne Newton. Davidson did / does have good mic technique though.

    Aaron was easy. Everything he does is reminiscent of Rascal Flatts for me.

    As for Tim, I simply linked that song to his faith and the story of his missionary work. That was a pretty easy choice, but I have no idea if he can sing it or…. I will give Tim credit for making an effort when it doesn’t really matter. The young girls like him and vote for him anyway. As irritating as that can be, the young girls in decades past brought us Elvis and the Beatles. Any comparison between them is purely coincidental.

    I will have to give more thought to some of your other choices when I have more time.

    You have an interesting list Mindy. Maybe we can figure out a song for Siobhan before she has to sign tonight.

    PS to all. No matter whom you support in this competition, they all want to finish first, to be the Idol with all that may entail. Each of them is working hard to reach that goal but they can’t do it without your votes. I’ll be voting.


  10. Gene, bro,

    You know that I will be voting my heart out tonight! You gave me that pep talk, so I am ready!

    I like your analysis of the song choices. I am hearing that Casey will be using an electric guitar, so I don’t think you are going to get your wish. I understand your reasoning for him doing PGR. I think he does need to step out of his comfort zone big time.

    From what I am hearing about rehearsals, a few of them are going to be singing acappella in parts of their songs. Crystal is supposedly going to be standing at the mike with no guitar, singing acappella in parts. That could mean she is doing PGR.

    I understand your concerns about the band. They have not done well when they accompany the singers. It does sound like Vegas lounge act.

    I still like “Hold on for a Hero” for Siobhan. But not with
    a lot of accompaniment. From the links posted about the rehearsals, it seems as though many of them are going for stripped down performances.

    I also agree about “The Boxer” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” being challenging in the short format. I was pretty much tossing out suggestions as I was listening on youtube. I am not the best when it comes to choosing songs.

    Someone said on one of those links that song choice is crucial for Siobhan. I think that’s true. I don’t know that she has gotten it totally right the last few weeks. When she connects with a song, her voice just soars.

    I think your choices for Tim were better than a lot of what I have heard on the blogosphere. He has done a good job in recent weeks with song choices. The only qualm I have about “You Raise Me Up”, is that I don’t think that Tim has the voice to pull it off. I am hearing that he is one of those who is opting for a stripped down performance with his guitar. Maybe if he sings the song in that way, it will work for him. You are right that his faith is important, so that should influence his choice. Your other choice was just for fun. That is one song that should never be performed again on this show. I just don’t feel comfortable choosing for Tim. As I said, I am also having trouble with Casey.

    In a few hours, we should have our answers. Here’s to a great night of singing.


  11. **I should have said sing instead of sign above. Not a typo, I just can’t spell! **

    If everyone does their best, the cream will rise to the top and it will be a great show.

    Siobhan’s Dad has a good head for the modern day classics, so maybe she was able to seek his advice on her song choice. She did House of the Rising Sun for him, so hold on to your hat missy, this could get good!

    Maybe they will all sing People Get Ready with Beck accompanying them on Wednesday night. If a few of them would be Pips and the rest take turns with the lead and actually perform live, it could be good. What if Melinda Doolittle was a surprise guest and they all wore choir robes?

    I’ll bet that I haven’t guessed a single song correctly.

    I hope everyone enjoys the night.


  12. Song spoilers (from MJ):

    Casey James – Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow – Fleetwood Mac

    Lee Dwyze – The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkle

    Tim Urban – Better Days – Goo Goo Dolls

    Aaron Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly – Ruben Studdard song

    Siobhan Magnus – When you Believe – Mariah and Whitney from the Prince of Egypt

    Michael Lynche – Hero – Alt version?

    Crystal – People Get Ready

    I’m liking Siobhan and Crystal’s choices. Let’s hope the top 7 knock their respective songs out of the park!


  13. When Crystal started crying, I was on the verge of tears. Wow. Unbelievable. I don’t even have words right now to describe what I just witnessed. “That was emotion“(!) comes close, but honestly… I’m speechless. Thank you, Crystal. You inspired me!


  14. I agree with J. Crystal was truly spectacular tonight. On that performance alone, she should win this competition.

    This doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on Siobhan, however, because I thought she did a beautiful job too. She just didn’t have a moment like Crystal had tonight. But again I thought the judges–except for Ellen–were off the mark. I voted many times for Siobhan tonight and had no trouble getting through. I’m afraid that’s not a good sign.

    I was underwhelmed tonight by Casey, Tim, Aaron, and Mike. And even though I really like Lee and thought most of what he did was good, I thought he hit some bad notes too, but none of the judges said anything about it. Oh, Mindy, with the pitch perfect ear, am I wrong about that?


  15. Oh, Louise – I am so happy to read your comment. I don’t have a pitch perfect ear, but Crystal and Siobhan are in a class by themselves. None of the other performances were exceptional. I bet the girls’ iTunes song will be better than imagined! GOOD FOR THE GIRLS!!


  16. Hi everyone. I guess I can weigh in. FIrst, I want to give a framework for my feelings. No surprise but I voted 700+ times for Siobhan tonight. I want her to at least make it to the top 3. I will always like her better than Crystal. I just find her voice more interesting and to me she is a more interesting, creative person. Regarding the emotional display from Crystal, I’m not sure how I feel about that so I’m not going to talk that much about it right now. I’ll probably say something tomorrow but I haven’t processed it.

    In terms of performances, for me, Siobhan & Crystal were the best tonight. Mike was 3rd – I liked what he did & I think it was a good song choice. I did not listen to the judges (God bless TiVO). Lee does hit bad notes but he was relatively good tonight, in my opinion. I actually really like Aaron but he was shaky. Tim was not singing – sorry to anyone who likes Tim – he was doing pitched speech. I like Casey but I think his guitar playing was better than his singing tonight. I know that MCL’s review will be more eloquent & balanced. But that’s my thumbnail assessment of what happened tonight. Aaron will probably be leaving after tonight. But you can never be sure.

    Thanks for listening.


  17. Darlene,

    Okay, I love you! I wasn’t even going to post any comments tonight, but you inspired me with your total honesty and commitment. I am voting for Siobhan like mad, because the show just ended out here in L.A. I saw it exactly the way you did. I think that I will follow your lead and hold off on commenting about Crystal emotionally breaking down at the end of the song.

    I am just really concerned for all the other contestants. They have been working their hearts out and, to hear some of the dismissive and off base comments from the judges, was quite unfortunate. Sorry, Darlene, I broke my promise and listened to the judges. If you want to listen, have a drink or something that will give you some fortitude, because it wasn’t pretty. Let’s be clear here, I am not just talking about the drubbing they once again gave Siobhan. Mike took quite a critical beating, too.

    Darlene, it’s like you are reading my mind, because I also had the thought that Casey’s guitar playing was so much better than his singing. I found myself saying – gosh, he should be a musician. Thank you for saying what needed to be said about Tim. I actually was going to just skip him, so as not to offend anyone. But I don’t need to say anything now, because you said it for me.


    You have a good ear! Yes, as Darlene said he went off in a few places, but this was one of his better performances as a whole. I thought he did connect with this song and show some feeling and animation in his performance.

    Aaron works so hard when he performs. This little guy has such heart! This song was too big for his voice, but he just kept staying in there and holding on. His voice gets kind of lost in these power ballads, which is why I preferred Gene’s choice for him of “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. He has that country little twang in his voice and this might have worked much better. I like Darlene’s word “shaky”, because Aaron really was just hanging on for dear life in parts of that song.

    I have no idea what on earth the judges were talking about in their comments to Mike. Let me be more specific – the two usual suspects, Kara and Simon, who should start their own tag team. Let’s call it the tin ears! Mike has the power to go for a song like “Hero”. He has never given a bad vocal performance in this competition. The only miss was “Eleanor Rigby” and that wasn’t poor vocals, it was the whole conception and performance, also not a good song choice. I tell you, it got ugly tonight with the judges. But I found myself laughing at times. I thought it made for good comedy. Many of the comments were so obviously pre-planned and rehearsed, that I just cannot even work up any anger at this point.


    Crytal sang a great song. It’s not easy, because this is an all time classic, one of the truly great, real, inspirational songs ever written. I have the original version by the Impressions. It’s a song that always moves me to tears. It has so much meaning for me in my life, that there is no way I can fully explain it. Crystal brought a ton of emotion to this performance. This is what it means to tell a story with a song.

    Siobhan gave a truly brilliant performance that was sadly not appreciated by anyone but Ellen. The girl hits notes that just stun me. She gave a beautiful interpretation of a great song and shows why she can hang with the big girls like Whitney and Maria. When I heard that she was going to do this song, I knew the judges would slam her for it. After all, this is sacred ground and no one can touch the legendary female singers – except Siobhan! It’s interesting that the judges didn’t have a problem when Siobhan took on “Think” by the great Aretha Franklin. But that was back before they decided to sabotage and criticize everything about her. In other words, when they were being honest and fair. Every single one of those judges knew that Siobhan just blew that song out of the park. Her high register just gives me chills when I hear it. Those “money notes”, as Alicia Keyes called them, are incomparable. I thought Siobhan handled herself so well with the judges. She didn’t complain, but just simply and with dignity, said that the fact that Whitney and Mariah sang the song, shouldn’t make her feel as though she shouldn’t even try. I love, love this girl! Keep on reaching, Siobhan!

    I think Aaron may be leaving, but who knows with this show.


  18. Mindy,

    Okay, I love you! 🙂 Your feelings about Siobhan are mirrored by my own thoughts. We have learned that in rehearsal she sang this song three times because she wanted to get it right. She asked the band to slow it down, and then apparently the crew was mesmerized by her voice. Alicia and Ellen recognized the beauty of the song and the singer. I am so disappointed Randy didn’t acknowledge how well she did. I won’t even comment on Kara and Simon, except to say the game playing needs to stop.

    Crystal’s emotional state was heightened with the first appearance of her father attending the show. Her performance was also outstanding, but in a different way. She is lucky to be feeling all this love from the judges. For this reason, I feel so sorry for Siobhan.

    Yes, I voted the entire two hours and hope she won’t be in the bottom three. I would be surprised if Aaron isn’t eliminated. Tonight’s show should be amazing. I cannot wait!

    At the last count, Siobhan’s fans have raised $4,700.00 for ‘Idol Gives Back.’ Woo Hoo!


  19. According to Dial Idol, Crystal, Lee, and Siobhan are not predicted to be voted off tonight. I think Casey was in last place.


  20. I only finished watching the performances now (Man, I was so nervous for Siobhan, that when the show started I opted not to watch at all! I’m going bonkers! LOL Thank God for the replays. heh.). For some reason I’m motivated to comment on the performances, so I hope you guys don’t mind if I share my opinion. 🙂

    Casey — I feel sad for this man, because I really really want him to go far in this competition (The perfect final three for me would be Bon Bon, Mamasox, and Casey :D) He has a nice voice, and he plays the guitar really well, but his songs were just ok. Except for the Jealous Guy, all his other performances always have a middle-of-the-pack feel for me. Not that it’s a bad thing; of course, singing ok is better than singing horribly, but then again, ok performances have a tendency to disappear from people’s minds like raindrops in the face of the sea; in the grand scheme of things, it counts for nothing.

    Lee — I liked it that I felt his passion in singing this song, though I don’t really like his voice. I disagree about him having a “moment” with that song, there were parts that sounded real bad to me.

    Tim — nevermind.

    Aaron — giving him credit for trying to sing a hard song sounded ridiculous to me. All these contestants try their darndest each week, right? So shouldn’t all of them get credit for that? *Sigh* He has a great voice; If only he joined like, 3 years later or something…

    Siobhan — The problem with Siobhan lies with the song choice. Her vocals were amazingly great, plus the falsetto (is this the right term?) sounded so sweet… But singing a big diva song with an old-fashioned (as Simon said) arrangement never sits well with the judges this season. So it wasn’t really surprising to see her get slammed again for her performance. I just find it disgusting that Simon seems to make it a point to berate her fashion choices.. Uh, memo to Simon: Siobhan is a weird, quirky person. She knows it and she embraces that personality, so maybe you could stop and think about it before criticizing what she’s wearing, because every time you say something bad about her dress choices it’s almost the same as criticizing who she is as a human being.

    I’ve stopped believing in conspiracy theories now. I think the judges just plain gave up on her three weeks ago, that they really can’t bring themselves to at least give her encouragement that they probably think is unnecessary at this point. (Typing this makes me wanna cry. 😦 I’ve never felt this attached to a contestant before.)

    Mike — eh, I didn’t know the song, so I dunno whether he sounded good or not.

    Crystal — It’s funny, hearing her sing the at start made me think “Uh oh, now you’re taking away the distinction of Siobhan being the only contestant this season to start a performance a cappella”. (I’m being silly again, LOL). But then it got to the middle, and it felt great to me. It was touching to see her breakdown at the end… Blatant over-pimping aside, this is the first time that I found myself thinking that she’s definitely miles away from the other contestants.

    So if I have to rank them tonight it would be:





    If only wishes could make Tim go home next… But then again, you can never tell who gets the boot this season, so a shock elimination might also be in store.


  21. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/americanidoltracker/2010/04/siobhans-butterflies-crystals-tears-an-idol-prom-for-aaron-your-burning-idol-questions-answered.html

    I liked Siobhan’s answer here, but I have a nasty feeling that her answering the judges week after week is starting to become a little bit on the negative side.

    Thanks to this article I finally understood what happened with the recap. Hmm, was it bad to show Crystal crying near the end that they had to replace that part with the rehearsal version? Tsk.


  22. I voted over 50 times for Crystal–the first time I’ve ever bothered to vote more than a couple of times for anybody. She was incredible. I have to say that this performance is one of the reasons that I love to I watch this show and I rank it up there with Fantasia’s first performance of Summertime, Bo’s a cappella performance of In a Dream, Adam’s Mad World and Cook’s Billie Jean (I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting).

    As for Siobhan, I kind of gave up on her three weeks back. She isn’t singing songs that fit her, imo and her voice just doesn’t do it for me (maybe it’s my Tinnitus). Perhaps I should read MCL’s previous impressions so I can try to understand what I am missing.


  23. Wow. This one’s for the girls!

    You know I’m a Siobhan fan to the core, but I’ll have to give Crystal her due, she delivered a heart felt rendition of a great classic that had to have touched all who heard it. I have seen and heard maybe 50 different versions of this song over the years and if I had to line them all up in some sort of order based on technical merit or pure singing ability, Crystals’ version would probably slot in somewhere below the halfway mark. BUT, what her version did is what great music, especially inspirational music, is supposed to do and that is reach out and grab your heart. I was proud of her and glad I was present to witness it. I believe her show of emotion at the end was genuine. It reminded me of Kellie Pickler singing I Wonder at the CMA awards a few years back.

    (side note: I have no known qualifications to judge singing on technical merit and I know sentences shouldn’t start with but. “But” it seemed to work so I did it anyway)

    So why do I have the big dumb smile on my face this morning? Cause my Dawg had her day last night. As she said, she isn’t Mariah or Whitney, so instead of doing a poor imitation of those two great singers she wrapped this song up in the gentlest way and delivered it flawlessly. Alicia Keyes said after the mentoring session with Siobhan that “She’s doing things that I don’t think most people can do.’’ I am glad I was watching alone at the end of the song because this darn pollen really started to get to me at about that time! I did feel kind of funny giving her a standing “O” alone in my den.

    If you didn’t watch the judging you missed something good. You could see in the expression on Siobhan’s face that she has finally reached the point where she doesn’t care what they say. Good for you Siobhan. Contrary to Kara, I didn’t get the feeling that this performance was dramatic, in fact I get turned off pretty quickly when a singer starts going Ethel Merman or Bette Midler on me or wearing way too much eye make up. Maybe Kara has somehow become hyper sensitized to drama. Simon said the song had way too much happening too quickly. Note to Simon: They only have 90 seconds to perform their song.

    Both ladies were great in their respective ways, so I’m just going to let art be art and call it a tie for first place.

    I would rank Mike third on the evening. I wasn’t wild about the song but he delivered it well and held the cheese.

    Lee did manage to bring the Boxer to a conclusion in 90 seconds. I didn’t feel the moment and I prefer the original but he did a good job with it and that lands him in fourth spot.

    Casey is really irritating me. I know there is more to him than what he is showing but either he is playing the same game a s Tim or his dream gig is a lifetime contract at a Holiday Inn lounge doing classic rock covers, meeting women and hanging out by the pool all day. Come to think of it; Rock On Casey! You’re in fifth.

    I can give Aaron an A for effort and I always enjoy watching his session with the mentors for several reasons. You can see that he has a terrible case of stage freight by the dry mouth and shaking hands that he often displays but somehow this 16 year old stands fearlessly toe to toe with superstars and gives them everything he has got. It’s always better than the performance he delivers on stage. In my view, his bus ticket is stamped for next week. I find his singing style pretty limited. Most of his songs sound like a Rascal Flatts imitation to me. He’s a good kid and I hope to see him do well in the future but I don’t think he is in the same league as the rest, except for:


    You did a better job with your songs than I did, but it was fun to play with.

    Darlene, louise, Kariann, Mindy, Solidarity and anyone else that is working hard to


    I’m proud to be on your team!

    If you vote using redial on a touchtone phone as quickly as you can reasonably do, your total votes for two hours will be a little over 700. Many of us maxed out. I wouldn’t worry about the busy signal. I believe improvements in AT&T’s system account for that. They have installed a lot more fiber optics all over the country for their new U-Verse system and it will carry a lot more signal than the old copper pairs did. I haven’t received a busy signal all season. You can start voting a few minutes before Ryan says the lines are open and sometimes they are open for longer than two hours. Most of all, any predictions that you read about who is winning or who is loosing momentum are purely speculation. There is only one source of accurate information and they keep a tight lid on it. So Siobhan is winning and vote until your finger falls off.

    Great coments from everyone. I have enjoyed reading all of them.


  24. Solidarity… just thought you’d like to know that American Idol has always used the rehearsal performances for the recaps at the end of the show. That’s why sometimes they don’t match what you just saw. It’s confusing if you don’t already know this.


  25. Katillac,

    really? Er, thanks for explaining that to me. 🙂


  26. First, let me thank you ALL for helping me CALM DOWN! After reading everyone’s comments about the judging I realize that I shouldn’t take this show (or rather the judges comments) as seriously as I do – but MAN! my blood has been boiling since yesterday’s show! How can you praise a 17????year old, warbly boy for chosing a BIG song then SLAM Siobhan for doing the same thing (AND she sounded solid compared to Aaron). And how is the phrase “you’re not someone I’d listen to. You’re someone I’d hang out with…” an acceptable and meaningful critique? That alone tells me it was HARD for Kara to find something wrong with Siobhan tonight. OK OK…I’m startng to regress!
    Was it Siobhan’s best performance? No. Did she do some TRULY AMAZING things with that song? Yes! GENE you said it brilliantly – “she isn’t Mariah or Whitney, so instead of doing a poor imitation of those two great singers she wrapped this song up in the gentlest way and delivered it flawlessly”. Why couldn’t the judges see that? The judges (aside from Ellen) couldn not find 1 positive thing to say to her?!! The quality of her softer notes? I need to re read your responses because I need some calming once again.


  27. Ok. Solidarity, you make me laugh! Tim – never mind. Ha! Anyway, I agree with your entire post – other than the Mike thing because I do know the song and he did a pretty good job with it – made it kind of different. My ranking is the same as yours: Crystal, Siobhan, Lee, Mike (I keep going back in forth with my ordering for Lee and Mike), Casey, Aaron and then Tim. Crystal was remarkable last night. I loved the accapella – it really showed off her voice. She also seemed to smile a lot more without the guitar – she wasn’t busy looking at the guitar (which I find distracting) – she just SANG! Hit some stellar notes!
    Kariann – I found your comment about Siobhan in rehersal fascinating. So maybe let’s send the crew out to the judges tables! Ha! Gene I hope you’re right about Siobhan not caring about what the judges say anymore. Wouldn’t want their comments to be her downfall. Tonight’s results will be interesting. I think there are too many teens out there that think Tim is HOT! (in their world you don’t have to know how to sing, you just have to be HOT!) So he may be safe. But do they considere Aaron HOT? And Casey…well he’s Hot too…Mike might be in trouble. (Of course I’m sort of being silly now, but I won’t be surprised to see Mike in the bottom : ( ) On the plus side, DAVID COOK will grace my tv screen tonight (He’s HOT ha! – but he can sing too) So, I am SUPER excited. xoxoxo


  28. Simon & Kara’s criticism of Siobhan is shameful. Something is up with those two because Siobhan (as most of us know) has a beautiful voice. What I fear is that the criticsm has gotten to her big time, and it is hurting her performances; however, not enough for her fan base not to vote for her. I spent 2 hours last night using 2 phones voting like crazy and I intend to do so till she leaves or wins.
    Hopefully, it’s the latter. No one on the show, no matter how much they praise Crystal, Lee or Mike comes close to Siobhan’s talent. She has the whole package.
    The worst remark came from Kara….”it was technically good, but I don’t know who you are…I wouldn’t buy your record….”
    In response to that remark, I will never buy a record Kara has anything to do with. Anyway, how many copies did “No Boundaries” sell? And Simon, I’ll be sure not to watch his new TV show. I am getting childlike about this, but the unfairness to Siobhan is ludicrous I feel protective of her, she is a pure soul.


  29. Hello Cookie Monster,

    Thank you for the kind compliment.

    I have a bone to pick with you though. My 3 year old grandson, who calls you Cookie Nonster BTW, thinks it’s cute to eat like you and it really makes a big mess. So it may be time for a table manors video to straighten out some of these bad habits that you have been encouraging.

    Every vote you cast for Siobhan is not only a vote for her, but a vote against bad judging. For the money they pay one of them I believe that you could pull together a panel of judges that have a nice mix of technical knowledge, a heart for the young performers, knowledge of the era of music that the themes come from and industry experience ranging from performers to production to record industry management. I also think that they could establish a system of judging based on a standard that is demonstrated for the contestant group and the judges just prior to the beginning of live performances each season. For example, a session could be led by American Idol’s vocal coaches with the assistance of the assistant music director (the guy who plays the piano during the mentoring sessions) and the back up singers. The vocal coach might ask a back up singer to sing a passage on key and then pitchy for the group and then say “if you sound like that the judges will describe your vocals as pitchy.” They could establish a dozen or so terms that both sides use and understand a s a basis for their comments. I wouldn’t want to remove the judge’s personalities from the program but simply provide a foundation so that everyone could feel like they were treated fairly. That is just one approach they might try, there are many others.

    The only way I know to object to their behavior at this time is to vote for your favorite regardless of the ridicules comments. In my view, a vote for Siobhan is a vote against poor judging.

    This song should be good on itunes where she can develop it a little longer. I wish she had told Simon very politely that the itunes version is full length and the pace of the song is more appropriate, and then go into a pitch about all of the proceeds from the sale of downloads going to charity. Another approach would be to look at Kara in a very sympathetic way and just give Simon a wink and a big smile in the middle of his cements and then turn to Ryan for the wrap up. I can’t complain about what she has said to the judges. She has used far more restraint than I could muster.


  30. I am watching the show again, and the judges were too generous to Aaron and Tim. If one of them goes home tonight, the other may benefit by getting his fans. Neither gave a good performance and Casey’s singing was quite sloppy. I believe he will have to leave the guitar behind if he gets through tonight.

    It is heartbreaking to listen to the judges comments on Siobhan performance. I found myself wishing Ellen had made more than the one comment. When you Believe was her high school graduation song, so it is quite meaningful for her.

    GENE you said it brilliantly – “she isn’t Mariah or Whitney, so instead of doing a poor imitation of those two great singers she wrapped this song up in the gentlest way and delivered it flawlessly”.

    Gene, this is such a wonderful description of her song. The crazy thing is when she explains how much she loves the song and no one can compare to Whitney and Mariah, the judges are nodding their heads like they thought she was giving a proper response.

    I just don’t get it.


  31. Good post Ren,
    Tell me about the two fisted phone dialing. How can I improve my effort?


  32. Thank you Karian. You are very kind.

    The crazy thing is when she explains how much she loves the song and no one can compare to Whitney and Mariah, the judges are nodding their heads like they thought she was giving a proper response.
    I just don’t get it.
    What I think is going on in that case is two fold. One there making sort of a “that’s what I’m saying” or “you’ve got that right” type of remark when the nod their head while Siobhan is saying that she isn’t the other two singers. The other thing that Simon has done in the past is to give a contestant that has the nerve to speak enough rope to hang their selves.

    There is a distinct difference between an appropriate disapproving remark from the judges and the abuse of young people. The remarks they made to Casey had substance to them. He isn’t doing what they have asked the performers to do. On the other hand, you may recall the remarks he made to Didi when she performed Your No Good. He said something to the effect of “the title of the song says it all.” He knows she is a sensitive girl, I think most people in the arts are but she was particularly so. Taking the opportunity to kick her while she was down showed a lot of class on his part.

    I actually like his frank style of commentary when it is factual and tempered with just the slightest amount compassion, but he has lost that fine line and Kara doesn’t have a clue. She must think that Siobhan, who is winning, is getting all of her votes just because people like her and not because of her singing ability. People like her for both reasons but I think it is the same people, not two different groups. I can’t see anyone wanting to hang out with Kara.


  33. Gene, wouldn’t it be something if Siobhan is the winner or runner-up and Kara figures out what kind of a singer she is AND then wants to write a song for her? Stranger things have happened!

    Have a good day!


  34. To Gene; When the show begins and I know the number Siobhan is given,
    I put that into my phones. As soon as the singers are singing off, the lines open — you don’t have to wait till the end fo the show.
    I keep pressing redial on my land line and cell phone. That’s it. My fingers hurt, but I won’t let Simon and Kara get away with their Siobhan bashing.
    BTW, I, too, have tickets to the Taylor/King concert on June 22.


  35. Gene, wouldn’t it be something if Siobhan is the winner

    She IS winning, she IS winning, she IS winning

    and Kara figures out what kind of a singer she is

    Wasn’t her song about miracles last night?

    You have a good day as well!


  36. Ren,

    I am really looking forward to seeing the two of them together. I will have to take my binoculars though because I will be hanging from the rafters.

    Where will they be June 22?

    I do the same thing that you do except with just my land line. I haven’t thought of using my cell phone as well. I have two problems with that. I don’t know if I am that coordinated and I have a limit on my cell minutes. I may give it a try near the end of the month if I have a lot of leftovers. Thanks for the tip.


  37. I have now listened to the performances again, with my eyes closed and just focusing on the singing. Here are my thoughts.

    I believe that Casey is a better guitar player than he is a singer. It hit me last night that he might do well as a band singer, not a solo singer. With the exception of “Jealous Guy”, Casey has been just getting by, playing it safe and underperforming. His voice sounded all over the place vocally and especially with his pitch.

    Lee captured more of the emotion of this song and that’s what made it work. He always slides off pitch at points and it happened here again. I am not loving him as much as I did. The big thing he has going for him is that husky, raspy sound in his voice, which is commercially appealing. I think that Lee has gotten a lot more confidence thanks to the mentors.

    I have no comment about Tim.

    Aaron really tried with this song, but it just overpowered his voice. He is still so young and needs a bit more time. He was battling all the way, but it shouldn’t be a struggle. He always goes for these big power ballads and his voice gets kind of swallowed up in them.

    Siobhan’s performance gave me chills all over when I heard it again. I cannot believe the notes this girl hits. How someone who just turned 20, can manage to take on such a difficult song and manage to just own it, well I don’t know. That note at the end, sheer genius! What control! I would love to know what note that was. Maybe some of our professional singers can let me know. I also loved her sincerity and pure honesty when she spoke to the judges. I wish Kara could just go away! She totally disgusts me. But she did a good job of delivering her canned, preplanned classless comments about Siobhan.

    Mike was so great. I love his silky, smooth vocals and all that control and technical brilliance he brings to every performance.

    Crystal sounded unbelievable! That acappella beginning also gave me chills! I thought she sang this from her heart and soul, with all of the emotion that this song deserves. It is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. It has been an anthem for me, when I needed some help to get through the heartaches and sadness in my life. I agree with Gene that there are better versions of this song, but Crystal managed to tap into the true spirit and feeling of the song. I sometimes hear her kind of shouting the notes, but I prefer to leave the technical aspects to MCL.

    Now, one last shot at the judges! Gene, I voted my heart out last night for Siobhan. I used the judges and their idiotic comments as motivation. I didn’t even feel my fingers hurting and getting sore and tired. I will continue to do this as long as Siobhan is on the show. It is the only power I have and my own personal way of expressing my own revulsion at their callous remarks.

    One last time I am going to say this loud and clear. It’s not only about Siobhan. I was hurting for Mike so much last night. It’s obvious to me what the judges are doing. Last week, they needed to prop him up to make sure he got through and justified their using the save. Now he’s cannon fodder. Listening to him again, his voice was glorious. This is a guy who delivers every single week. He is the best pure singer among the men. I hate the phoniness of the judges. I am preparing myself for anything tonight. I don’t want to be blindsided like I was last week, when Katie got sent home.

    All I could think about last night was how the other six contestants were feeling after hearing the judges all but crown Crystal the winner. They are working their hearts out every week. I don’t know how the five who will be left after tonight’s elimination, will be able to carry on next week. I feel for them. The blatant and gratuitous pimping by the judges when it comes to Crystal, is embarrassing and unnecessary. Why can’t they let this girl shine on her own? I also do not believe that the story about her breaking down was leaked by accident. It came out two weeks after it happened, durint the week leading up to her emotional performance. Shame on you, judges! If some think I should get used to it or not be surprised because it happens every season, my answer is that I will never get used to this kind of garbage. No, Kara, I don’t want to hang around with you. I would be too ashamed.


  38. Gene:
    I’m seeing Carole King with James Taylor Tuesday, 06/22/10 — Wachovia Center in Philly. This is a 2nd show they added — first one is 6/10.

    Back to Siobhan:
    I do think Siobhan is getting massive amounts of votes from what I read on the internet.
    I’ve been to Cape Cod off season; they call themselves “Codders” and for a Codder she isn’t weird. Off season, it’s a small town with many arty people.
    It saddens me that the Judges are so cruel to such a good soul. I fear they are breaking her spirit. Let’s all pray she’s strong enough to endure their attacks.


  39. I thouoght that Siobhan didn’t seem quite so shocked or hurt by the judges’ ridiculous comments last night. Hopefully she realizes that they’re being jerks and she should just keep doing the best she can and not take them too seriously.


  40. Louise,
    I hope you’re right. Yes, the judges (Kara, Simon) Stupid Jerks who need Ear Drum Implants.


  41. Me_Myself_end_Eye April 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    are you anywhere?
    let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – at least make it your strongest ally and whatever battles you and your family are facing… and again, don’t forget to smile – it’s like sunshine 7 definitely aids in healing (and yes so do, butterflies 🙂


  42. Me_Myself_and_Eye April 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    [below post much later than typed as for some reason it did not take the first time around…?]

    fully agreed on everything!

    wht me hopes is tht Siobhan Magnus does wht she did all her life:
    utilize adversity to grow and become even stronger…
    because, if she has total ownership of her artistry in even this crazy environment,
    and get’s to the point of being above ’em judges crap (which I think she is well on her way)
    – well, then people, she may very well once more blow he roof off the building…

    and yes, loved her song last night (and very curious about studio version)
    as I have posted somewhere else somewht similarly:
    I listened to the original and hers a few times last night:
    Siobhan Magnus is real, true & authentic
    – no Hollywood sugar coating nor plastic pretense!
    (and this is exactly wht confuses people, as most are used to lots of artificiality and therefore the real thing tastes unfamiliar…)
    do I think last night was Siobhan’s best performance – no, because she was not 100% “in the zone” – was it vocally amazing? you bet!

    Crystal was touching and real, too, yes, but vocally – Queen Bon Bon FTW!!!

    no3/boys: not sure; noone really fascinating & daring; Big Mike sometimes, granted he holds the cheese, but am not really feeling him/ too much casing… Lee/Casey one in a while an interesting moment, followed by lost of total disappointment, so, naaah
    babyboys: enough already…


  43. Me_Myself_and_Eye April 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    hmm – my thread related comment for some reason does not take… 😦


  44. MCL, don’t you think Siobhan is being treated very unfairly by the judges? I thought she was the 2nd best to Crystal yesterday. They seriously need to stop praising Lee when he’s pitchy almost all the time.


  45. I watched the show three times, and there is no doubt that Siobhan and Crystal had the performances of the night! These are truly talented young ladies and I wish them the best. I know Lee won’t be in the bottom three, but any of the other guys could, with Aaron or Tim going home.

    Erin, almost everyone here believes Siobhan was NOT treated fairly by the judges.

    One other observation… Ryan really does like Crystal.


  46. I watched pieces of each performance last night when I got home from rehearsal, then watched the full show this morning. I liked everybody better this morning! I guess I was too tired.

    I don’t look forward to Idol Gives Back week, because what we typically see is everyone singing sappy songs and trying earnestly to inspire the audience, which always backfires. I thought this year was more interesting than past years, and couldn’t for the life of me understand why Simon was criticizing the song choices as not being inspirational, since they had a set list to choose from.

    Having said that, I grew up with Simon & Garfunkel, which was and still is my oldest sister’s favorite group, and have never thought of The Boxer as an inspirational song (not one of the ones Simon criticized, though.) And yes, Lee did mess up the lyrics. Since lyrics have been such a big deal to the judges in the past, especially in Hollywood week, I do think they need to call contestants on it, no matter how good the performance is. Brooke losing her lyrics drove me bananas, personally. Just not acceptable on a repeat basis when you’re a professional.

    Anyway, while I’ve agreed with many things I’ve read on line today, I really didn’t hate the show as a whole. My take:

    Casey: Been there, done that. When Crystal sang without the guitar tonight, I really got why it is important for everyone to do that at least a few times each season. You just can’t stand behind a guitar all night if you’re a headliner. And it tells us something about who you are, as well.

    Anyway, while Casey has done better than most pretty boys, I am bored with the good but not great performances, and I do think the smiling affects his vocal quality. He could leave tonight and I wouldn’t miss him. Hoped for better from him, but I don’t think we’ll ever see it.

    Lee: Some missed notes (and lyrics.) Because I know this song so well (I could sing the entire S&G songbook. album by album, right now), it has been hard for me to judge it fairly, but I suppose the melody alterations are fine. And in a lot of ways, the vocals are fine. But I have a real problem with his performance skills. He just seems absent. Some songs, he seems like he has gotten the trick of performing, and then he comes out with a performance like this the week after. Overrated by the judges; definitely not his best work. But okay. I’m just tired of waiting for performing consistency.

    Tim: Tim has probably done the most current music and/or interpretations that are most current. I don’t happen to like the musical style, so that’s one strike down for starters. However, even eliminating that, this was not a good performance. Although it was better this morning.

    Aaron: Last night, it seemed to me there were a lot of nervous tics — rocking back and forth, for instance. Today, it didn’t seem so bad. I thought the vocals were decent. On the web, he mostly seems to have been hit for song choice. All in all, I think he did okay and I think AI has been a terrific experience for him, and I’m glad he’s had it. But whatever, there is no way he will win.

    Siobhan: Very good vocals overall, superb vocals in her upper range. Am wondering why she is working so hard at smiling when she performs. Seems a little forced to me, although in principle, I do think people should smile more. Or maybe, Lee and Aaron should smile more. Tim and Siobhan don’t need to work at it.

    I didn’t actually know this song beforehand (okay, shoot me), so I am not comparing her to Whitney or Mariah. But I sort of thought, great vocal, mediocre song. Hard to get excited about it because of the song choice. And I liked the dress, Simon.

    Michael: I’ve been thinking about Michael since Vonnie said he is her first choice right now. Really hard for me to argue with. Steady voice, best performing chops in the competition, hands down. I know sometimes he’s criticized for being over the top, but you know what? He’s interesting to watch, and while he may not always wow you, he also doesn’t screw up. And I liked Eleanor Rigby. Actually thought it was a kind of cool arrangement. Sort of like Adam’s Ring of Fire. So unexpected, but it worked in some strange way for me.

    Crystal: Really surprised about the crying. Even more surprised that NOT ONE JUDGE ACKNOWLEDGED IT. Very peculiar. Thank goodness Ryan didn’t ignore the elephant in the room. I always thought she had this voice in her, J, so i wasn’t surprised by that. A little worried when she went high that she was out of her range, but I thought she got away with it. All in all, pretty darned good and very affecting. Liked that she started a cappella and seemed to be in key when the music kicked in. (I know it was only 16 bars, but still . . .)

    Here’s what I’d like to say about Crystal. I’ve thought this before, but it really hit me again last night:

    I’m trying to think of another performer who seems so completely themselves onstage. I’m sure I’ve seen some, and they just aren’t jumping to mind. But Crystal is more natural and relaxed in her conversations with Ryan than anyone I’ve seen on Idol, as if she isn’t on the Idol stage. And while I would like to see her stretch herself with an unusual song choice, I cut her some slack because I know she writes music and I don’t know what kind of music that is. Perhaps it would address what I am feeling I am missing from her, although I still think that going further out of her comfort zone in terms of song choice would be a wise strategy. Still, the fact that she performed without an instrument last night tells me that she is taking this competition seriously.

    The one thing that I know about Crystal is that singing and performing is like breathing for her. I can’t imagine her doing ANYTHING ELSE with her life. Whether she makes it big or spends her life in small local clubs, that woman was meant to stand or sit in front of a microphone as much as any other human being has ever been meant to. And just as I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen any other performer be as completely natural when being herself on stage, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen any other performer who needs to sing to survive as much as she does. Would I choose her to win this thing? I’m not sure yet, although I like her a lot. Do I think she will win? I think it’s too early to tell, no matter what you hear in the press. But I hope that whatever happens, that she finds a way to support herself and her son in this business, because that is what she is meant to do.

    Which is, of course, precisely why I think she will find a way to support herself in this business. God has a sense of humor, but not about gifts like this.

    So all in all, I think it was a pretty cool night. Tim should go home based on last night’s performance alone, but there’s always more to it than that on Idol. We shall see!


  47. Random thought, but did anyone else think the moments in Lee‘s where we could hear his pure voice were just beautiful? There were a few “lie” notes (including the last one, and the top note of several of the “lie la lie” segments) that were so pure and beautiful. I know he likes his growl-based aesthetic, but I’m really curious as to what Lee sounds like without it (the smooth side of the sandpaper, so to speak! ;)).


  48. *Lee’s performance


  49. J. May —

    Just started going through everyone else’s posts, and agree with you — one or two spectacular performances a year is, for me, worth tuning in for. And I agree with your assessment on past ones. I’m happy to sit through a lot of mediocre stuff for those truly special moments (although I still prefer ‘Tracks of My Tears’ to ‘Mad Mad World’, but that’s just me!)


  50. J — I think I agree with you, although I have to go back and listen to be sure. I remember that he changed up the “lie lie lie” part, but that’s all I remember. (I was doing dishes at the time.) The idea that he lets loose some pure notes without the growl is intriguing, so I’ll have to check it out, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, as I’ve got lines to learn and then bed!


  51. Jeanne – I’ve always known Crystal’s had this voice in her as well. 😀 It was one of the things that drew me to her despite the fact that she has folksier musical leanings than I do and encounters some occasional imbalances in her vocal production. She’s capable of some of the coordinations I find most beautiful. I remember Mindy mentioned that she also heard that “powerhouse” potential in Crystal’s voice. 😉

    What was unbelievable to me was how much emotion she wrenched out of that song. I love Crystal’s phrasing. She really humbles me as an artist when I watch her because she reminds me that moving people is much more important than being technically perfect. I’m really proud of how much vocal control she displayed during the a cappella segment because she really showed people she could hold her own. Yes, there were some notes in the middle that could be nitpicked technically, but with a performance that’s so profoundly moving, the overall impression is so much more important. And those overall impressions of songs, in the end, are really what stay with us much more than nitpicky details.


  52. J —

    I couldn’t remember if you felt she had this voice or just went as far as suspecting she had it in her. And while I suspected it, I admit to deferring to your greater expertise and being afraid to say so without being sure where you stand! (This isn’t a criticism, please don’t take it as such; on the contrary, it says how much I trust that you know what you’re talking about!)

    You know, one thing I really have to give Crystal is this: the only thing that works in any performance art is being yourself within that art and not trying to imitate anyone on any level. Which is also one of the hardest things to do. But I must say, when I hear Crystal’s interpretations of songs — albeit oldies — I truly have to say: I can’t imagine anyone else singing it quite that way. She seems to be blessed with the ability to be exactly who God created her to be. Which blows me away, in and of itself. I’m still working toward that!


  53. J,

    I think Crystal’s performance was one time when artistry really did trump the technical aspects. MCL clarified a few things, but honestly, even my picky ears were enthralled by the sheer emotion and power of her singing. She digs deep inside her and brings out so much feeling and truth. I have to applaud that. I do think that she was born to sing and is very natural on stage. From the beginning, I said that Crystal seemed to have a quiet confidence and a sense of being comfortable in her own skin. That’s one reason why I didn’t get into any little technical things. They really were not important and didn’t interfere with her passionate delivery.

    As far as your question about Lee, I think that I know what you are talking about. I heard it when I listened again today with my eyes closed. I think maybe Lee feels that his husky vocals are his “money” notes, like Alicia Keys said about Siobhan. Maybe that’s where he is most comfortable. But you might have heard something that should be explored. I will go back and give it another listen to pick up that sound. I think Lee has been overpraised by the judges. He has been quite inconsistent with the vocals. I actually noticed what MCL mentioned about how he moves his head up and then down. That is part of his problem.

    Jeanne knows the lyrics of this song better than I do. I have always loved S&G, but this one song is not one that I know by heart. It’s disconcerting that the judges didn’t pick up on this. He has done it before. But the judges seem to let certain things slide in favor of pimping their favorites. Again, this isn’t the first time it’s happened, but it’s always been something that has annoyed me to no end.

    I was surprised that MJ said that the judges were too hard on Siobhan. She admitted that she hasn’t been a fan, but thought she did very well with an extremely difficult song. Listening to her again, I heard a few things, but honestly I was so enchanted with some of those pure high notes, that it didn’t affect my enjoyment. MCL did clear up some of what I was hearing. I did hear her breathing more than I ever have in any of her performances. I wonder if she was really nervous as to how the judges would receive it.

    Even though the votes have skewed towards the guys in recent years, I think this is Crystal’s to lose. This performance was a real breakthrough for someone who hasn’t seemed to connect emotionally. I think this was a real “moment” and will give her a lot of momentum moving forward.


  54. Jeanne – Awww, I was very touched by your comment! Thank you for your wonderful vote of confidence; it really means a lot to me. I didn’t take your comment as a criticism at all; I’ll be the first to admit that I’m clear in my technical analysis but purposely vague in terms of where I stand otherwise (and especially when the topic of “favorites” rolls around). I admit that I have been slightly measured in my praise of Crystal because I know that many fans think Crystal is “over-pimped” as is, but I love her. I think she really is as talented as she’s being given credit for. For me, her tone is pure, clear, and beautiful. Her phrasing is effortless and conversational. And even though she does encounter some imbalances in vocal production, I think she has a better grip on technique than one might think.

    One of the techniques I study thinks of coordinations in terms of “modes,” rather than in terms of head voice, chest voice, and mix, and these four distinct modes can be used in any part of the voice. I know that may not sound that different on paper, but the implications are profound. That means some very brassy sounds—i.e. ones that may be categorized as “chesty”—may actually be done healthily in the high part of the voice if the right conditions are met (mainly, adequate diaphragmatic support, correct vowels, correct tongue position, necessary twang, mouth shape, and so on).

    Therefore, I’m actually not opposed to really brassy sounds in the upper register; that aspect of Crystal’s voice doesn’t bother me. What worries me is that Crystal is sometimes in the “grey area” between two modes. Let me explain. The idea of distinct modes was created to organize the types of sounds that constitute healthy vocal production; being in between modes is not optimal. Right now, some of the conditions in her vocal tract are leaning towards that brassy sound, but she’s still partway in the door of the more traditionally acceptable “mix.” I really don’t have a preference as to which way she leans, but I don’t think she’s too far off. MCL is completely right that if Crystal were to try to be closer to the traditionally acceptable mix, she’d need to modify her vowels and use a more circular mouth shape. If she were to lean more towards the brassy sound, not all these conditions would have to change (shocking, I know!). Either sound (the brassy one or the traditionally acceptable one) can be done healthily. The fact that she’s in between the two is what’s worrisome.

    That said, even though she worries me a little bit sometimes, her artistry and tone are stunning, and the ingredients are there. I definitely would love to have someone help refine her technique so that she could take measures to protect her voice, but I don’t think she’s that far off.

    [P.S. Someone who does the brassy sound really well is Yolanda Adams. Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyMrtj2HuRA. If you listen, you can hear that the note at 1:28 is very brassy, but she’s so skilled at coloring her voice, controlling her volume, and using the right vowels that she doesn’t sound “yelly.” The brassy sound can potentially sound yelly, especially depending on tone color and volume.]


  55. Great, great comments everyone. Mindy, I definitely love you too. I am wondering if I can text more efficiently if I am in a 3G area vs. an “E” area. I will probably sit in my office on the night of the finale to vote IF Siobhan makes it to the finale. If not, I will sit at home & vote for the person I like more. Probably about 50 times & call it a night. I switched to unlimited texting today (it only cost $5 more) because I used up 700+ texts last night. I know that has absolutely NOTHING to do with singing.

    Regarding singing, I think Siobhan’s studio versions have always been better than the performances, & not just because she gets to sing for longer, although that’s a huge difference in & of itself. And I think when she is outside Idol & can sing longer (full-length) songs, that she will be better too.

    From a purely technical standpoint, I thought the a capella portion of Crystal’s performance was truly amazing. I think she could benefit from some minor work in the upper range of her voice for when she wants to stretch her voice because that doesn’t work as well. But it wouldn’t take much work. She’s definitely talented & definitely comfortable with performing.

    Someone said that in the chorus parts of “The Boxer” that Lee sounded really good & I agree with that. There is potential there. But he needs help with his performance skills & sustaining notes on-pitch.

    I love Mike. I think he was great last night. I’m glad I didn’t listen to the judging comments because I would have gotten mad.

    But for me…as you know, the true excitement, the skating on thin ice on the blade edges (I don’t skate but I’ve watched a lot of skating), the triple axles & toe loops – it’s all Siobhan. For me.



  56. Dearest Mindy,

    I loved your post! I didn’t see it before I replied to Jeanne’s, but I think we really overlap in where we stand in many ways. 😉

    I also completely agree with you in terms of the “emotional breakthrough.” I remember MCL mentioned a sense of emotional distance from Crystal earlier in the season, and even some Crystal fans mentioned that as well. And I really liked that Crystal bared her soul last night; I truly felt it.

    And I was also going to mention MJ’s comment about Siobhan! I think it’s definitely a good sign that even people who aren’t fans of Siobhan can acknowledge her talent and think outside of the judges’ comments.

    [On that note, I don’t want to give the judges too much credit by humoring their comments at length, but I completely disagreed with Kara’s comment. It completely missed the mark, and I don’t think it made much sense at all. Simon actually made a good point about the arrangement (although I disagreed with some of his other points). I happened to think Siobhan looked beautiful. I must say, even though I disagreed with Simon about how “distracting” Siobhan’s outfit was, his mistaking butterflies for leaves gave me a good laugh!]

    Also, since you wanted to know, the high note in this song was an F5. =)


  57. One other comment: someone (I think it was j or Jeanne) said they preferred “Tracks of My Tears” to “Mad World” & I agree – “Tracks of My Tears” was stunning. Adam had so much control of his voice in that song. It was amazing.


  58. Darlene – I love your comment above mine! Very classy. 😀


  59. And one more comment for the night – let’s remember that Simon was the one who told Adam Lambert that parts of “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” were terrible. Hmmm….gives one pause.


  60. Dearest J and wonderful Darlene,

    First to Darlene – you said on the Siobhan blot that she hit an “F” on that last note in “Suspicious Minds”. J said that the last note in this week’s performance was F5. What is the difference? Forgive my ignorance, but the notes are always when I get lost. It’s not my area of expertise at all.

    To Darlene – I love the fact that you are knowledgeable, upfront and strong in your comments and no beating around the bush! I wish I was better at that, but sometimes I don’t want to come on too strong, although maybe I was pushing the envelope in the discussion on the Siobhan blog.

    To J – I agree about not spoiling the discussion by giving the judges more credit than they deserve. But Kara’s comments about Siobhan’s performance were positively bizarre! She told her that it was technically great, but then skipped past it so quickly and then launched into that old cliche “it sounded like a musical”. Gosh, musicals are sure getting a bad rap these days. Then she said that Siobhan was someone with whom she would rather hang out as a friend than someone whose album she would buy. God please save me from critiques like this! It just boggles the mind. But I actually did laugh out loud, so at least I got some comic relief.


  61. Typos – Siobhan BLOG!


  62. Hi Mindy. It was F5 – 5 is the octave. To a mezzo such as myself, F5 is the note that we like to have solidly within our grasp so to me it is an “F”. G’s & A’s are nice too, but F’s are essential. But I can’t hit an F5 the way Siobhan hits it, with that wonderful soft, floaty timbre. Which makes her a true soprano. I suspect the high note last night was also F5 but I’ll confirm that once I have the performance video.

    My tendency to be pretty straightforward either earns me kudos in some corners & gets me into trouble in others. For instance, you would probably not like to hear some of the conversations I have with representatives of the health insurance industry (I am a psychiatrist in solo private practice who accepts insurance). Or maybe you would – some of them are quite funny.

    And I have to say for the record – I truly do admire all of these kids for doing what they do – but I’m glad Tim was the one to go. At least one more week for Aaron. He deserves it. And here’s hoping for at least one more “Jealous Guy” performance from Casey.


  63. Dearest Mindy,

    Darlene explained it, but if you want more information, the system that I’m using to denote pitches is called “scientific pitch notation.” 😀

    I don’t know if you play the piano, but looking at how the octaves are numbered on a keyboard is very useful, I feel! Here’s a picture:

    If you don’t play the piano, you can still understand the way the numbering works as long as you know that C4 = Middle C and A4 = the A above middle C. The octaves are grouped with C being the first note and B being the last. (I hope this explanation wasn’t totally confusing.) Here’s a Wikipedia article on the topic:


    And as for Kara’s critique, seriously! I’m with you. I have nothing against Kara. I even understand her “two voices” comment. Her comment this week was verging on nonsensical, though. First of all, what is so bad about musicals anyway? Some Broadway stars are incredibly talented and entertaining. Second, even if Kara meant to connote the amateur-ish nature of some high school musicals, I still think her comment made little sense. Siobhan’s performance and vocal style didn’t give me any musical theater vibes at all, and I found Siobhan very sincere and tasteful in terms of her interpretation and onstage movements, not “dramatic” or “over-the-top” at all.

    I think Kara cornered herself by saying that Siobhan was “technically” good “but…” I understand technical reservations about the performance (and I have some), but the set-up for Kara’s critique really left her at a dead end, it seems. It is good to get some comic relief, though! 😉


    Darlene – I admit, I’m probably a little jaded because I’m a soprano myself, and I have a particularly high tessitura. (I was hitting A5s before I received training.) Still, one can’t deny that there’s a certain skill level there that not everyone has. Siobhan’s pure head voice is definitely one of her strengths. Her control over it in “Wicked Game” was really what made me take notice of her.

    And I completely agree with your last paragraph. Casey really had a breakthrough with “Jealous Guy,” and now that side of him has retreated again (as MCL noted). I hope that that glimmer of potential can be realized again in the future, but he seems to be going back to more of what he did before.


  64. Lucky you – A5’s are what Alicia referred to as money notes. But I have a wicked D5 & E5 :). But there is always that part of me that yearns for higher notes & singing second soprano in my church choir is a thrill for me.

    Thanks for explaining the octave system. Interestingly, I recently acquired an iPhone app for pitch (Cleartone) & it’s wrong – it’s misidentified the octaves (for instance, F5 is being labeled F4). But it’s good otherwise.

    I’m so glad you like Siobhan. I hope she’s getting the message that a lot of people like her more than Simon & Kara do.


  65. Darlene – I’m sure your low notes are exquisite, though! 😀 Two of my favorite YouTube singers are mezzos, and I love the richness they’re able to achieve in the low notes and the soaring high notes they can reach. Some mezzos really give sopranos a run for their money!

    I really try to remind myself that the only reason why I really love being a soprano is because I am one, and if I were a mezzo, I think I’d be perfectly content with being a mezzo too. No voice type is inherently better than any other voice type, and I love the voice types that are able to transcend supposed “limits.” I really am a firm believer that technique, more than anything else, is what limits range. And lower voice types, theoretically, have a greater range they can explore. The difference is really in tessitura. 😉

    Interesting about the iPhone app! Are the octaves mislabeled in the display in general, or did the app misidentify an actual note that was picked up by a microphone? Audacity (a free audio recorder) detects pitches as well, but sometimes, the octaves get skewed for very resonant notes. Audacity sometimes mistakes F#5s for F#6s, for example!

    At least you know you can mentally correct for the octaves and use common sense if notes are misidentified. 😉 I’m reading the description of the app online, and it sounds very nifty, indeed!


  66. Dearest J,

    Thank you so much for the links. It’s been decades since I played the piano and I am very rusty. That’s obvious! My piano teacher would not be happy! When I did my audition for the chorus in high school, I was told that I was a second soprano. There were first sopranos and they were the ones who had the highest range. Is second the same as “mezzo”?

    Believe me, I would no longer be considered any kind of soprano. That upper range is pretty much gone, not that it matters. I am not a singer and it’s not as though I lost a career!

    The other thing I wanted to say is that I read your post to Jeanne, in which you spoke about brassiness. I think this is what I am hearing in Crystal’s voice that I described as “shouting”. That is the quality that I don’t like in her voice. I listened to that great youtube like of Yolanda Adams, focusing on that moment at 1:28. I heard exactly what you were describing! Yes, she did it without making that harsh kind of shouting sound that my ears don’t like. I have to say that it can’t be easy to do that. I would think a lot of control is required. Again, there are probably many who would not even hear the difference, but to my ears there is a world of difference.

    Many thanks again for helping me to learn and understand what I am hearing and why.


  67. Typos! Meant to say LINK!


  68. Yes, Siobhan is feeling the love. She posted this on Twitter:

    Siobhan Magnus: special thanks to the Sio-Bons-Bons for all the beautiful flowers and balloons. Sorry I forgot to give a peace sign last night! Thanks to everyone who voted and who is contributing to Idol Gives Back as well! Much Love to you all!

    I have seen both Carole King and James Taylor in concert, but not together! There is such a relaxed atmosphere and warmth. However, their appearances were in smaller venues. I am afraid the intimacy of their performances will get lost in larger arenas. Two Idols come to mind when thinking about these two: Jason Castro and Brooke White. Of course, there vocals aren’t the same.

    Enjoy the concert!


  69. Dearest Mindy,

    The voice classifications in choral music don’t necessarily map onto “voice type,” also known as fach, but singers who sing the second soprano line usually are sopranos or mezzo sopranos. The main classifications for female singers from highest to lowest are: soprano, mezzo soprano, and contralto. True contraltos are very rare, so many singers who sing the alto lines are really mezzo sopranos. Mezzo sopranos are colloquially referred to as “mezzos” for short, but mezzo soprano = mezzo. Same thing. Hope that helps! 😉

    And yes, exactly! I’m almost positive that what I’m referring to as “brassiness” is what you’re describing as that “shouting” character in Crystal’s voice, and indeed, that brassy sound can sound shouty if it’s not modified or tweaked. You have such a great ear, so I love our discussions because you hear exactly what I’m referring to. 😀 You are right that many people would not hear the difference. (I get many blank stares in real life, lol!) This ability that Yolanda has to employ this brassy sound without sounding “harsh” is one of the things that impresses me the most about her, and she’s very technically skilled. As you pointed out, a lot of control is needed to do this coordination as well as she does!

    (If you’re interested, I could also send you links to other videos where singers employ this brassy coordination in a skilled way!)

    And you are very welcome. 😀 Thanks so much for your open ears and warm words! You truly have a gift, and it’s a blessing to be able to converse with someone who is so eager to learn and also so capable to truly discern these minor differences in sound that can really make a difference in enjoyment. 😉


  70. Reading all of your wisdom on Mezzos, Sopranos, etc. What is a F5 a G5?
    I think I’m just too DUH for this website.
    You’re all brilliant!


  71. Dearest J,

    Thank you so much for such a wonderfully detailed explanation. I still don’t understand why I was born with ears that hear things so differently from others. I am not entirely sure that it’s a blessing and a privilege, but I am coming to terms with it. At least now I understand the “why” of it!

    I would love to have the links to other singers who can do brassy in a skilled way! I feel like so many windows have been opened to me with all this knowledge. It helps me when I listen to music and singers. I am not confused or puzzled anymore. I now trust what my ears are hearing. I am glad you like my open ears! That makes me feel good. I guess it’s a good thing, but it helps when I have some understanding. I would bet that I am the only one who even thinks Crystal is shouting, rather than just singing. I told you that it’s a lonely road when I am the only one hearing these things. If it wasn’t for this site and MCL and you, I would still be in the dark.

    You have helped me find the light with your generous, patient explanation of everything I hear. I am just grateful for connecting with someone like you. What a huge heart you have.

    I am running out of words to tell both you and MCL how much I appreciate what you have done for me. Most of all, you have given me a sense of peace and comfort. I know that I’m not crazy or weird. I just have ears that hear things that most people cannot. It may be kind of late in life, but one is never too old to learn.


  72. Reading all of your wisdom on Mezzos, Sopranos, etc. What is a F5 a G5? I think I’m just too DUH for this website.
    You’re all brilliant!

    Ren, I totally understand how you feel. I have been posting with some of these great people for a few years, and enjoy the conversations. However, sometimes I feel I am not contributing much since my posts are often simplistic. Your term DUH is how I sometimes feel. Please post when you can.

    One example is that I do not like Mariah Carrey’s voice – I mean on most of her songs. Yet, I have been told she has a 5 octave range. In turn, I feel Karen Carpenter has one of the most beautiful voices in music. Her range is more limited. My ears or interpretation of notes is the opposite of Mindy’s – very limited.


  73. Grammie Kari,

    There is nothing wrong with your ears! I have never been a huge fan of Mariah Carey’s. I don’t love the sound of her voice. Also, she has lost some of her high range, so I doubt that she has a five octave range anymore. I don’t think she is nearly as good as she used to be. But you are right about Karen Carpenter! Never doubt what you love! She was one of my all time favorites. I was devastated when we lost her far too soon. She was not sufficiently appreciated while she was alive, which was a shame. She had quite a nice range, too.

    I may have the ear, but I don’t have the technical knowledge that others have here. That’s why you will see me asking questions all the time. What I have learned from J and Darlene is that F5 means that the octave is 5 and the note is F. I think G5 is even higher. Siobhan hit an F5 in either this week’s performance or last week’s, I don’t remember. The discussion is in the posts above. I wanted to have some idea of how high Siobhan can go with some of her notes. There are links provided by J in her posts on this blog. You can see illustrations of a piano with all the octaves and notes. It’s very interesting.

    My problem is that my ears are smarter than I am. I hear things but can’t always identify it. I have learned so much from J and MCL.


  74. I may have the ear, but I don’t have the technical knowledge that others have here.

    Thank you for your kindness, Mindy! I have virtually no technical knowledge, but do enjoy the conversations!


  75. Dearest Mindy,

    No problem! It is always a pleasure. =) I can think of a few singers who do this brassy sound very well, but one of the most “centered” examples is actually from a singer on YouTube named Loren Allred. She’s incredibly talented! I’m obsessed with her version of “Listen.” She uses both the brassy sound and the more traditionally accepted mix, but my favorite instances of the brassy sound have to be all the instances of “own” after 2:14: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex940B6GIYY

    And also an example from Whitney (when she was incomparable) @ 4:13-4:24: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_UnGxm3OPs

    I think WordPress puts comments under moderation when there are too many links, but one other example I can think of is Kerry Ellis (the first British Elphaba on Broadway) in her version of “Defying Gravity.” Search on YouTube: Kerry Ellis Defying Gravity Royal Variety Performance 2008. (Trivia fact: Brian May is playing the electric guitar in this version!) Some examples are @ 0:49 (“try”),1:34 (“sooner buy”), 1:47 (“up”; this is a really good example!), 2:23 (“high”), and 3:21 (“down”). [There are other spots, such as many of the “ing” endings of “defying. Kerry is incredibly skilled! This is not a “perfect” vocal, but it’s a very impressive one.]

    [Also, in case you were wondering, the amount of twang is the main condition that affects how laser-like this brassy sound is. Kerry’s “up” note is a good example of one with lots of twang (and so was Loren’s first “own” note). Some of the other examples have less twang, but if you listen very intently, you’ll notice the same intensity underlies the sound.]

    I’ll try to brainstorm more instances. 😉 There are a lot of singers who use some variation of that brassy sound, but since this sound requires tremendous levels of support to do correctly, many singers blend it with the more traditional mix, which requires less support. Doing so results in a slight grey area in itself, but with adequate support levels, it can be done healthily. My guess with Crystal is that she needs more support when she does the brassy sound. (That’s not only the condition that needs to change, but that’s one. The tweaks she needs are relatively minor, though.)

    Awww, and I have to say that I am very, incredibly touched by your comment. The Internet is a funny place and technology a funny thing, but I’m thankful that this wonderful website by the lovely MCL allowed us to be able to connect in this way. I really think it’s amazing to consider how the Internet allows real-life strangers to become friends and connect online, and I dare say that even if we never meet (but I sure hope someday, we might! I’d never say never…), this friendship is one of the ones I cherish the most, for all the joy it has given me and the opportunities it has given me to grow.

    I admit that I have my moments in real life when I feel like an oddball too, hearing things that no one else does (although I had to train myself to hear those differences, and you have the gift of hearing them instinctively ;)). That’s actually one of the reasons why I’ve researched so many different singing methods—to able to develop a vocabulary and a system that could put names to and identify all the different sounds I hear. Back when I was in the dark as well, I would hear subtle differences that couldn’t be explained by some of the simpler methods, and it confused me. It confused me that people could call two different things by the same name and not seem to hear the difference that I could. So, knowing that I am able to find someone else who was in the same boat and help them find the light… that is truly amazing and humbling. I really feel my experience is coming full-circle. It’s wonderful being able to talk to someone who’s equally as passionate about music and equally able to hear the things I do. You have a huge heart as well, and I feel that my heart has grown bigger by knowing you!

    And yes, no one is ever too old to learn. And you are neither crazy nor weird. (And if loving music makes me crazy, I don’t want to be sane! =P ♥)


  76. Ren – As Mindy noted, F5 and G5 are names for different pitches or notes. For people who read music, another way to think of it is this: G5 is the G that sits right on top of the staff for the treble clef. F5 is the F directly below it. Hope this helps somewhat! 😉


    Also, in terms of Mariah Carey, it’s weird, but I honestly almost think of recent Mariah Carey and early Mariah Carey as two different people. The level of vocal technique is drastically different. If I only listened to recent Mariah Carey, I definitely would not be a fan. Much of her recent stuff, especially in her high range, is very, very constricted. Not healthy at all. I can’t listen to it at all, to be honest. It just saddens me too much, knowing where she used to be and where she is now.

    Early Mariah Carey (1990-1996), however, is stunning. Almost everything in that era (if not all of it) is just spot on. I’d suggest doing a YouTube search for: Mariah Carey Anytime You Need a Friend. There’s a lovely live version that’s the fourth result or so (from 1993). I also suggest looking up “Love Takes Time” from the Thanksgiving Special, “I Don’t Wanna Cry” from the Daydream Tour Tokyo Dome, and “If It’s Over” (at the Grammy Awards 1992, but if you search, it should be the first live performance that comes up). I could go on and on, but those are a few examples.

    I am certainly thankful for YouTube! I definitely missed Mariah and Whitney in both of their primes, but thanks to YouTube, I can relieve their early careers when both of their voices were stunning. I find both of their vocal declines so tragic. Whitney’s due to drug abuse… Mariah’s, I don’t even know. Some speculate that her divorce with Tommy Mottola in 1997 may have been the trigger point. Between 1996 and 1997, the change is so unbelievably drastic! The gorgeous tone is still there (nowadays, she doesn’t even have that), but the high notes are dodged, the constriction is starting to appear… I don’t know, but I do thank both of them for the music they gave us in their primes.

    A whole generation of female singers has been inspired by Whitney and Mariah (who in turn were inspired by greats like Aretha Franklin), so all these singers are interconnected in a way. In a way, people who are great fans of one of these younger singers (Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, my personal favorite Kelly Clarkson, and so on) implicitly acknowledge the greatness of Mariah and Whitney (and I suppose also Aretha and so on!). I’ll be the first to say it: there would be no Kelly Clarkson without Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston. (And there definitely would be no Kelly Clarkson without Aretha Franklin! Kelly sang so many Aretha covers on Idol, lol!) Whitney and Mariah really “pioneered” and refined this particular sound in the realm of pop music.

    So, I’ll always be grateful to Mariah for that. She’s had her career up and downs, but I respect her. Even though I don’t find her voice listenable anymore, I respect her for conquering all the personal demons she’s had in her life (divorce, nervous breakdowns, etc.), and actually writing most of her music. (Many people don’t realize this, but she has writing credits on nearly all of her songs, even on her debut. The main exceptions are covers.)


    And I love Karen Carpenter as well, and I know she is one of MCL’s favorites. She’s also one of my father’s favorites; he shared with me how tragic her death was at the time. She had such a beautiful, pure tone—it evokes such wonderful emotion when one hears it!—and we lost her much too early. I love her version of “California Dreamin’.” Gorgeous!


  77. Addendum to Mindy: For the Whitney Houston performance (“A Song for You”), I wanted to say that another example of the brassy sound is the “now” note @ 3:56. I always wanted to point out that for the “life” (4:13-4:24) note I highlighted earlier, I think she actually backs off of it partway, and then moves back into the brassy sound without taking a breath. Wow. That takes a lot of skill!

    And as a general note, I didn’t point out all the instances of the brassy sound in the videos I mentioned, but I pointed out some of the clearer ones. But once you know what to look for, you’ll probably hear it all over the place. 😉


  78. * always = also

    [Return of the typos! Also, regrettably, I didn’t close my italics tag properly two posts above, so more than half of the comment is italicized. I hope that isn’t too distracting!]


  79. I’m back to my multiple posting ways! lol.

    Another addendum to Mindy: The Kerry Ellis example is probably the most subtle of all the ones I picked. And there are parts where I think she is blending the brassy sound and a traditional mix, but I tried not to pick those parts. (The “er” in the “sooner buy” example @ 1:34 is vague. As far as I can say, the “buy” note is in the brassy coordination, and the “soon” note is in a traditional mix. The “er,” on the other hand, might be argued either way. It certainly has a lot of twang no matter what. Also, the rock-oriented accompaniment makes it more difficult to tell. It’s easiest to analyze notes that are sung a cappella or with acoustic accompaniment.)

    Now you have an idea of how closely I listen to everything in daily life, lol! 😉 The “brassy coordination” and the “traditional mix” are two distinct entities, but they can sound similar on the surface depending on the amount of twang. The “brassy coordination” with less twang (but still enough to be healthy) doesn’t sound as aggressive. And a traditional mix with a lot of twang can have a similar brassy quality on the surface, but the underlying character of the sound is more pillowy and light. The true brassy coordination* I’m talking about, no matter how much twang is being used, has an underlying sound that is “thicker” and more intense. Thus, a general tip for doing auditory analysis is to listen for the underlying sound as the sound on the “surface” can be very deceptive.

    For example, Siobhan’s high rock wails in “Paint It Black” may sound brassy on the surface because she’s using LOADS of twang (as I mentioned), but if you listen to the underlying sound, it sounds extremely thin, and that’s because the underlying coordination is head voice.

    Hopefully, since you have great ears, there will be less confusion. I hope I haven’t made things more confusing! (Sometimes, I fear I do. Making explanations more thorough seems to make more room for confusion as well.) The subtle differences will probably sound much more drastic to you.

    * P.S. There is a name for this “brassy sound/coordination” that I’m referring to, but I’m not sure if it’d be confusing for me to bring in a different system of terminology on the site. Hopefully, as long as I use this term in a consistent way, it won’t be confusing. And hopefully, your ears will be able to pinpoint the specific coordination I’m referring to and not be confused by all the other (similarly sounding and possibly distracting) sounds on the periphery.


  80. J, thank you for addressing my comments about Mariah Carey. I don’t own any recordings of hers, but I have learned a few things from you, Mindy, Darlene, and others. Thank you!

    In the mean time, I will embrace the music of Karen Carpenter.

    I am unable to record anything off iTunes but after the Finale each year, someone records me a CD of my favorite Idol’s music. This year, that will be Siobhan’s – although I love Crystal’s work as well. Without these two ladies, it would be a very boring season!


  81. Dearest J,

    Thanks for the links! I wanted to write my thoughts as soon as I listened, so I wouldn’t forget them. With Loren Allred, when she sings “own” and then repeats it, the second time sounds much better to me. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, maybe saying it’s fuller, more pure, just a more pleasing sound to my ear. I noticed the slight difference in the repetition of these words immediately.

    For Whitney, that little section that you identified was utterly gorgeous! My goodness, to hear her again when she was young and in full voice, is simply astounding. I did not hear any part of that as shouting at all! It sounded beautiful and full and lovely to my ears. I could listen to that all day and be happy. What a sad thing for someone to damage their voice with drug use. Thank God she is clean and sober and experiencing joy and happiness in her life, but honestly, her voice is a shadow of what it was and that is sad.

    I listened to the part at 3:56 and that does not sound anything like shouting to me at all. I didn’t hear it as shouting in the other part from 4:13 – 4:34. Is this because of her use of twang? She gets an incredible sound in her voice when she hits these notes. I know that my ears are very happy! I have listened to these parts a few times now, and in that one section from 4:13 to 4:34, I hear when she does back off just a little and then goes back into it! That is quite extraordinary. I cannot even get my mind around the control required to do that.

    I always have more questions after I listen to these links. Do you think that Crystal needs to work on technique to adjust that shouting sound I hear or should she leave it alone. I am probably among only a few who would hear that as shouting. This is what I find so frustrating. When Adam would sing those high power notes and people would say he was shouting, it made me crazy. I didn’t hear it as shouting at all. I loved the sound it! That’s why I am always the odd man out. I hear things so differently from everyone else.

    I haven’t yet gone on youtube to check out that last singer you mentioned, but I plan to listen to it. It’s times like these that I wish that I had stayed with singing, not as a career, but a part time avocation or even hobby. I wish that I had learned more about the technical aspects of singing, the sounds and how they are produced. Then I wouldn’t have felt so lost all these years. I am naturally shy, but having the ability to hear what others did not, only seemed to punctuate it. I just never told anyone what I heard. I kept it to myself. More musical background and study would have helped me greatly.

    Maybe there was a reason I came here and met you. I just don’t like taking too much of your time. You have a life and career and things to do. With the information you have given me, I can also continue to explore all of this on my own. You make me feel good when you say nice things about my ears and how much they hear. Now I don’t feel that it is as much of a burden.

    The “brassy coordination” and “traditional mix” are two separate kinds of sound? Is that correct? Which one does Whitney Houston use in that song? I absolutely love the sound that she achieves. It is miles away from what I always hear as shouting. I also liked the sound that Siobhan made in those high notes in Paint it Black. It was kind of brassy, but didn’t come across as shouting to me. Many people hear that as shouting and that’s when I get upset and frustrated. The sound that Crystal makes is quite bothersome to me. I was kind of unsure if I should even mention it, because everyone loves her singing. But it has been on my mind for a while now and it helps to know why I hear it as shouting. I have this problem a lot with rock voices. I always hear them as raw and shouting. Many people love that sound. It makes my ears crazy. I cannot listen to that kind of sound at all.

    Do you think Siobhan should use less twang in her head voice to make the high notes sound better? Is this something you can control? Gosh, these are too many questions all at once!

    I appreciate the links very much. Now I have a better idea of what I like to hear with those high power notes. I have always loved Whitney, but now I know why. She was simply magnificent.


  82. You know, I am a Moderator on a Parenting forum (ladies only) and have met five of the gals I have posted with for nearly 10 years. The largest Christmas store in the world is located in Frankenmuth, Michigan. It is just fabulous! We chose that as a place to meet and have dinner. It is amazing to actually socialize in person. Some of us had exchanged photos, and we all knew the babies/children in each others lives. But meeting in person is special!

    I mention this because you never know when you might get to meet someone you actually post with.

    We had a real close group in Jason Castro’s fan base. Some actually met at the Concert tour arenas. These realtionships are less personal, but it is always nice to connect the person with the posts. There are several really nice people I communicate with who are Siobhan’s fans. So you just never know…

    It’s nice to see several here who have so much in common with one another. 🙂


  83. Grammie Kari — You are most welcome! 😀 Thank you for your lovely remarks. Your account of your opportunities to meet other forum members in person is so encouraging; it certainly gives me hope that I might meet some of the people who, for all intents and purposes, have played a huge role in my life! (I’m a moderator on an American Idol message board, and I’ve made friends from all over the world through it!)

    It really is amazing how special a bond one can form with others online. I love how a site like this allows all of us to explore and discuss our common interests. 😉

    (I also agree that this season would be very different without Crystal and Siobhan!)


    Dearest Mindy,

    I will write a longer post later, but I had an epiphany of sorts while relistening to some of Crystal’s performances!

    I’d like to try an experiment. Could you listen to the following video and tell me if any of this singer’s notes sound like “shouting” to you? Particularly, the segment starting at 3:00 till the end.

    I will explain more later, but there is actually a second brassy coordination that is similar but slightly more aggressive in certain ways than the first one I showed you. Jonalyn uses it all over the place, but the best example is probably the note at 3:37. The “oh” @ 3:50 is another example.

    I’d love to hear what you think about these particular notes. 😉


  84. Dearest J,

    I listened to those parts of the song and it was quite interesting. I hear it sounding different from Whitney’s high notes, the ones you asked me to check out. It’s a harsher sound, if that makes sense, but I still do not hear it as shouting.

    I don’t think she sounds like Crystal when she shouts. It’s not as pure and pleasant to me as Whitney, but it also doesn’t sound like Crystal. The sound that Crystal makes is very harsh on my ears. I find it very unpleasant, but didn’t want to sound too critical of her. Is that from too much chest voice?

    I also noticed that comment about the note this singer hits in the song. She hits F5, but it says that when Celine sings the song live she hits an E5, which would be lower. I am surprised, because I thought Celine had some great high notes in her range.

    To sum up, this sound is a little harsher to my ears, close to what I would consider shouting, but still listenable. I liked Whitney best. Whatever she was doing in her singing is what sounds best to my ear.

    This is fun! But please promise me that you will not spend too much of your valuable time on this. I respect you too much to let you do that.


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