The Mindless Conversation Topic For the Long Weekend


Since those of us who live in North America and the UK are celebrating a relaxing 3-day weekend, I thought I would start a blog topic for those of us who want to chatter on about music in a general fashion.

Is American Idol your passion? Then blab away! 

Want to share some insider news about the music biz? Even better!  

Add video about  and news-related links to your favorite artists and feel free to comment – but in a respectful, intelligent manner .

And a sense of humor helps as well!

Happy Victoria Day to the Canadians! Happy Memorial Day to the Americans! Happy Spring Bank Holiday to the UK!

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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

57 Responses to “The Mindless Conversation Topic For the Long Weekend”

  1. This thread is extremely timely. I have two comments that have absolutely nothing to do with American Idol. A friend of mine with whom I had coffee on Thursday turned me on to a website called http://www.ourstage.com. It appears to be a bit of a myspace.com but without as much of the social networking components. One of the things that is going on right now on that website are local talent searches for Lilith Fair. You can vote on the website by registering (which is an easy process – I am on that website as JRZGRL1). You then have to listen to at least 15 seconds of each of four songs by four different artists (the artist has to be female or a band that is fronted by a female to be in the local talent search) and then you rank the four tracks. I’m not sure exactly how this turns into rankings/wins for each local talent search but it’s a lot of fun & seems more meaningful to me than the voting I just went through on American Idol. The music is not genre-limited; there’s rock, alternative rock, country, rap, soul, you name it. I think most people are singing their own songs.

    Then, in addition to the Lilith Fair stuff, you can go to different genres & listen to artists you might otherwise never hear of. Which brings to me the find of last night, a band from Altoona, PA called Acalasia. You can find them on both ourstage.com & myspace.com at the following links:

    http://www.ourstage.com/profile/acalasia

    http://www.myspace.com/acalasia

    The lead singer, Krystal Shore, is amazing. I can’t believe these guys aren’t signed. They put out a CD in 2008. They are still performing in various small venues in Pennsylvania.

    So the message here is: The Internet is an incredible place to discover new music.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share these new discoveries with the masterclasslady.com community.

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  2. Second comment so that I get the follow-up comments. Thanks.

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  3. Thanks for adding this link, DArlene. I will check them out later on this evening! 🙂

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  4. MCL – would you comment on Glee, or at least the major actors and actresses? Obviously they are all professionally trained and have technique, but maybe you could tell us what they do so well.

    I’d love a critique of Morrison and NPH’s duet Dream On.

    Also, is Kurt/Chris a counter tenor?

    One other question, my son, 10, does drama classes and at the end they put on an abridged musical. If I lived closer to LA or NYC I might think about seeing if he could do a little acting. But as it stands, this is what he loves. He has an incredibly athletic body (he could do Abercrombie & Fitch ads), but not a competitive bone in his body. I’d like for him to do some voice lessons just so he can learn to read some music and a develop an ear/general awareness. How do I pick out vocal coach who is going to keep it fun because you know how ten year old boys are … if you tell him he’ll be able to sing something from Willy Wonka he’ll be fine. “Pure Imagination” seems like quite a difficult song to sing, but he loves it.

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  5. I LOVE GLEE!! I can definitely say I have become a “Gleek”. Ha! I would be curious to hear (or read) what you have to say, MCL!

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  6. I am off to bed soon, but had to check in! I see a couple of Glee fans raided my blog topic! haha. Only kidding! I haven’t watched it and know I should but I can’t get into the storyline. I will have to find clips on YouTube so I can view JUST the performances.

    Jessica – I heard that Kurt/Chris was a counter-tenor, but would have to see and hear for myself to confirm this fact.

    Thanks for stopping by Jessica and Bizzee!

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  7. MCL David Archuleta sang at the Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, Ca on the 21st he sang a full version of Imagine. Imagine was incredible here is a link to it:

    He also sang crush but no video has been posted 😦

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  8. Glee cast is on tour MCL, so you can hear/watch them live instead of pre-recorded numbers that are tweaked to perfection.

    Here is one bootleg video of their first stop in Phoenix (I didn’t know … 1 1/2 hrs away):

    Amber Riley doing “Beautiful”. The video can make you dizzy, but the audio isn’t bad for bootleg!

    “True Colors” – Jenna Ushkawitz and Co.

    “Sweet Caroline” – Mark Salling (a little off at the beginning, but fun)

    “Somebody to Love” (Queen)

    I thought you might want to see/hear some live stuff. A lot of the stuff from the show is around too.

    If you watch nothing else, see the sing off between Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris singing “Dream On.” The link is to hulu of the whole episode, but the song starts at about minute 20:30. I really would love to hear your opinion of it (and what they do right!!!)

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  9. Oh, the first link is to Chris and Lea doing “Defying Gravity.” He sounds wonderful.

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  10. MCL, I am also another Glee fan! The thing is you have to watch from the beginning to appreciate the irony of the plots and the growth of the characters. However, I do like your idea of viewing their performance of songs. I am anxious to see what you have to say!

    When it comes to favorite shows, I like the competitive factors in American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and now there is Glee and regionals. In fact, I even watched the casting for the Broadway production of Grease.

    Considering my age, I still believe the BEST music ever made was in the 1960s and 1970s. :o) I have never complained about the themes on Idol. Also, I like mentors and Group Performances!

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  11. Yes – Glee is easily the most watchable show now and I hope keeps getting better…

    And, for you diehard Idol Statistic Geeks – Here is a bit of trivia –

    http://www.whatnottosing.com/library/editorials.asp?id=69

    “(One final note: earlier this year, we complimented the producers on, if nothing else, freshening the music selection with newer songs and fewer repeats. We’d like to take half of those compliments back, please. While the repeat factor is still blessedly far lower than last season (39% vs. 57%), the average song age has been creeping up dangerously. At the moment, AI9 has featured the second-dustiest collection of songs ever, trailing only AI7 by 31.0 years to 27.7. And, with Frank Sinatra week on tap, the gap is almost certainly going to close substantially. We’re sure 19E has a reason for the geriatric themes year after year – and in fairness, older music has historically been rated far higher than newer fare – but we still have to wonder how they intend to identify the next great American vocal superstar by evaluating how well they sing the music of their parents.)”

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  12. Here’s an article from the L.A. Times that might be interesting to discuss. I’ll add my comments after others have had a chance to read and respond to it.

    ‘American Idol’s’ Christian connection

    Mega-churches across the country’s heartland have served as the training grounds for many of the Fox show’s contestants, with parishioners doing their part with prayers and text votes.

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv/la-ca-0523-idol-religion-20100523,0,7553848.story

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  13. Thanks for a very interesting article, Sue. Given this backdrop, it’s remarkable that Adam Lambert made it as far as he did. I could interpret his success as evidence that the voting system as it stood in Season 8 worked well enough to allow a different kind of contestant i.e. non-Christian and I’m sure in the opinion of many voters not consistent with “family values” to make it to the finale. But no one can deny that there are ways to manipulate the voting system i.e. power-texting and repetitive dialing software (that I will admit I looked at this season but it was not compatible with Macintosh operating systems which made it not viable for me) and that , in general, the contestants with affiliation in some fashion with Christian megachurches have an advantage. This all underscores the rightness of my decision to no longer vote. I will just listen to the singers for the sake of the singing.

    Regarding Glee, I am a recent convert but I have to admit I don’t watch it so much for the singing (which is very good but is also obviously manipulated – mikes are used, technique and dance skills are improbably good) as I do for the absolute genius of Jane Lynch. But I am looking forward to seeing the Lada Gaga routines this coming week. And yes, Kurt/Chris is a countertenor.

    Jessica, good luck with finding a good vocal coach/teacher for your son. I’ll be interested to hear what MCL says. I have been blessed with having an outstanding teacher for the last 8 years. I live in Charleston, SC where it was well-known that this individual is one of the best teachers in the area. But he is usually full & has a waiting list so I suspect you might run into the same obstacle in your area. 10 is probably not too young; my singing teacher recently said that it is worthwhile to get lessons around the age of 12 because that is when boys voices begin to change. Maybe you can ask the directors of church choirs in your area. Is there a college that has a music department with voice faculty? They might be a resource too. Again, good luck!

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  14. I find myself going back more and more to the music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I download those decades almost exclusively on itunes. I love creating my own individual cd’s, ordering the songs just for my preference. I really find most of the music today pretty much unlistenable for me. I love reliving those days when singers could really sing on key and sounded the same live as they did on their recordings.

    I love doo-wop! The only reason I even knew about it was because I started listening to music so young. This was a very interesting genre of music that didn’t last long, but filled the void from the late 50’s to early 60’s, when Motown, the Beatles, Rolling Stones and so many other groups changed music forever. I have been digging on itunes and have come up with some gems. They do a great job of remastering a lot of this music. The voices of these groups were truly extraordinary. I found the Valentines, a group that preceded Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. You can hear the birth of r&b in their songs.

    Frankie Lymon was the Michael Jackson of his day. Unfortunately, there was nobody to protect him from being exploited. His voice famously changed dramatically in his adolescence. I found myself wondering if he had been taken in hand by a vocal coach or somebody who knew voice, maybe things might have been different. The audience wouldn’t accept his lower voice after it changed and his career was pretty much over. Listening to some of his later recordings on youtube, I could hear a raspiness that probably came from his drug use. His tragic addiction to heroin doomed him to an early death. There really was no one else like him. What a voice! On youtube, I found his recording of “Over the Rainbow”. I never knew he did great standards like that. It was so beautiful that it brought me to tears. There were a few others that were simply unbelievable. He had a truly great natural vocal gift, but one that wasn’t developed and nurtured. When Michael Jackson came along, he at least had Motown to help protect him and guide his career.

    I immerse myself in the older music as my own personal protest against this whole autotune, digitally enhanced vocal phenomenon. I despise it. I also love remembering the birth of rock and roll and r&b. There is a treasure trove of music that I am continually discovering as I dig more and more into the past. I would hope that young people today might listen to this great music and have a sense of what it was like when a totally new form of music was created by courageous artists who braved scorn, ridicule and censorship to stay true to their dream. I am thinking of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Platters, of course Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and all the heroes who fought to keep the music alive.

    I haven’t watched Glee at all. If it’s about good singing, then maybe I should. There is precious little of it around today. When you go back and revisit the glory days of music from the 50’s and 60’s, you realize how much it has deteriorated today. There are a few good artists, but not nearly enough. I don’t want to lose the miracle of the human voice to technology.

    That’s what I have been pondering as we approach the long holiday weekend. I intend to enjoy listening to the great music of yesterday, wrap myself in nostalgia and celebrate the brilliance and soaring magic of great classic songs from the past.

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  15. Hi Mindy. Since this is a mindless conversation thread, I think I can away with a direct appeal. If you have a minute, please stop by http://www.siobhanmagnusnet.ning.com. We’ve added a lot of videos. I put out an invitation on Twitter – we’ll see what happens. We want to keep it on the small side but right now it’s basically just Mary Helen & me :). Depending on what happens with the Twitter invite, I will add Facebook.

    Now, I love your discussion of 50’s, 60’s & 70’s music. I am not familiar with Frankie Lymon so I will have to check that out on YouTube. In fact, I’m listening to it right now & it’s fabulous – thanks for the tip. I think there was still some decent music/singing into the 80’s (Pat Benatar comes to mind). I think you & I share the dismay that I felt when Adam Lambert’s first album turned out to be so heavily electronically manipulated. Someone with his voice has no need for that kind of artificialiality. I was happy to see that subsequently he went back to some acoustic performances.

    Wow, Frankie just stopped singing. What a great ending to that song – different, he just kind of drifts off in a minor key – I love it.

    Finally , regarding Glee – I don’t want to disparage the singing that occurs on the show & if it gets more people interesting in thinking, then it’s a wonderful phenomenon. But it’s consummately staged and produced. It makes you smile but for me it’s a smile twinged with some sense of being manipulated a bit. But as I said above, Jane Lynch is a force of nature.

    What I found in opera was an antidote to all of this. Opera is the ultimate experience in trained, amazing & unenhanced singing. And acting. Any YouTube performance of Joyce DiDonato, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, or the astounding rendition of “Batter My Heart Three Person’d God” from John Adams’ Doctor Atomic by Gerald Finley is so beautiful to me that I can barely breathe. I wanted to post the YouTube link to the Met performance but for some reason it is no longer available. Here is an audio version. John Adams’ music may not appeal to everyone. But the singing absolutely shines.

    Hope you are havng a good day.

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  16. Since this is a mindless thread, if you are not too angry with AI9 (or up for a tiny bit of parody), you might want to record the season finale of The Simpsons tonight…

    TONIGHT: On the season finale of “The Simpsons,” Moe discovers that he has a talent for judging contests, which leads to an invitation to appear on “American Idol.” Guest voices include the entire “Idol” posse: Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi. 8 p.m., Fox.

    Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/23/1964709/around-the-remote-television-picks.html#ixzz0omegOcQu

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  17. Mindy,

    I love do-wop too–do you ever watch the specials on PBS? I’m probably one of the oldest people posting here so I lived through the do-wop phase as a teenager. And you’re right about Frankie Lymon–he was terrific.

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  18. Darlene,

    I share some of your feelings about that L.A. Times. Clearly, many Idols have benefitted from the opportunities they’ve had to develop their talents at their churches, and I can understand why these communities would want to support their own.

    Sometimes, though, I wonder whether these votes are cast based on talent or the profession of religious beliefs. Think back, for example, to Danny making the Top 3 with his pigs-being-slaughtered scream from hell in “Dream On” last season. In contrast, Allison rocked it out with “Slo Ride” and should clearly have moved forward.

    And, really bothers me is the degree to which power texting is apparently going on in these megachurch settings. It’s actually quite amazing that Adam got as far as he did without the backing of any organized group. And, I wonder whether Siobhan’s lack of church affiliation hurt her as well.

    I was considering voting some for Crystal this week, but now I’m having second thoughts. I really don’t have time for this. I was thinking of an hour, but making calls with a landline really wouldn’t make any difference at all in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it’s better for the overall vote count to be low. Maybe that would catch the attention of the TPTB.

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  19. Hey everyone.! I am without Internet or TV due to a major debacle with our Hydro system. Six hours of staring at the wall in between reading, cleaning, practicing some music.

    Will chat more tomorrow once I have Internet connection. I am texting this comment via my cell phone.

    Thanks for stopping by! Look forward to accessing the links on this thread!

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  20. Louise,

    I only heard doo-wop because I started listening to music so young, way before any of my friends even bothered. That’s how I picked up on it, but now I go back and try to dig up more groups on itunes. It’s amazing what you can find. Some of them I remember, but many of them I don’t ever recall hearing. I was in heaven today, just driving in my car and listening to my latest personalized cd, filled with oodles of doo-wop, Frankie and the Teenagers, the Valentines, the Duprees, the Skyliners and the Castells! Such great singing!

    For good measure, on this cd I threw in some Fifth Dimension, Shirelles, Karen Carpenter, the Tymes, Dionne Warwick, then of course some Sammy Davis, Jr, and the man himself, Frank Sinatra. I was in pure bliss just driving along and listening to all these great songs. I will never get tired of them, they will never get old to me. Talk about aging like a fine wine.

    I haven’t seen the specials on PBS. When are they on? I would love to record them. Now that I think of it, I do remember seeing one or two specials showcasing some of the doo-wop groups who are still alive and performing. I remember that they sounded absolutely amazing! These were incredibly singers, every one of them. I so yearn for the simplicity of the beautiful harmonies, the lovely vocals, the sweet lyrics from a more innocent time. I think kids today should listen to this music and hear how it all started.

    Wonderful, Darlene,

    I didn’t mean to leave out opera! Now that I have discovered how blissful it is to my sensitive, pitch perfect ears, I am in heaven when I listen to it.

    What am I supposed to do after I click on the link for Siobhan? Do I sign in or post something? I don’t even have a picture of myself. I really have to get a friend to take one.

    Maybe I will go and download some more great songs from itunes and create another mindblowingly good cd! Thank God for doo-wop, the early pioneers of rock and roll, all the great singers like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Barbra Streisand and of course the brilliant divas of opera!

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  21. Hi Sue. I think it’s perfectly OK for a church community to support one of its own. What I don’t think is quite as OK is the apparent manipulation of Idol votes. Theoretically, advanced texting and power dialing technology should be just as accessible to individuals who don’t go to church as it is to regular church-goers. But I do think it’s likely that the mega-churches are better organized when it comes to using that technology. Is there really anything we can do about this? Probably not unless Idol completely revamped its voting system which I think is unlikely at this point. I also had thought about voting for Crystal this coming week because I think she is so much better than Lee. But I don’t think I will either – how much are my votes going to matter anyway?

    I just finished watching the last 3 episodes of this season of Project Runway. I have been watching Project Runway a lot longer than I have been watching Idol. There are many similarities between Project Runway & Idol. For the majority of the season the contestants are asked to design & make something within a framework/theme and they are asked to do it in virtually no time (usually one day); then at the end of the season they make a collection of 10 looks (sort of picking your own songs or even writing your own songs). But unlike Idol, Project Runway is decided by the judges. I feel a lot less cheated when my favorite contestant doesn’t win because the judges’ reasons for picking one contestant over another almost always makes total sense to me. They did tonight when they declared Seth Aaron the winner over Emilio. I liked Emilio a lot, but Seth Aaron clearly beat Emilio on the runway. But who knows what would have happened if it had been up to the voting public to make that decision.

    At this point, I think there is a lot more wrong with Idol than there is right. Which is sad, because these kids & all the contestants who never even made it to the top 24 deserve better.

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  22. Hi Mindy. I missed your comment while I was replying to Sue. As you have so eloquently pointed out, there are so many wonderful singers & they bring us such joy. I love the people that you’ve mentioned. And of course I love opera :).

    Regarding the Siobhan Mangus network, I hadn’t really thought about what you should do once you went there LOL. I think you would only need to sign in if you wanted to comment on the videos or if you wanted to use the chatroom feature. Right now, as I said, it’s a pretty small group. You don’t need a picture. Did you get a user name/password when you signed up? I really should be in bed so my brain isn’t working all that well right now. MaryHelen is actually online right now so I’ve asked her the same question.

    As always, great talking with you.

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  23. Except for a few sites to showcase some of my origami, I really haven’t been very internet savvy, well until this year….

    Darlene: I haven’t been to that site before (I’ll check it out now of course :)), but I did recently become a member here: http://siofan.com/forum. It’s really neat because Siobhan herself actually chose the banner! I don’t know if she visits the site though.

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  24. Darlene – I just want a coach to teach him to listen to the music and have some music memory – you know sing back skills – keeping in tune – – and of course some bel canto technique 😉 … they don’t learn much in school these days so maybe learn a little about reading music. These things more so than perfecting his vocal quality. And keeping it fun! He’s certainly no natural, but he really enjoys drama and if he wants to act in middle and high school, he’ll have a little more success if he keep a tune!

    Kurt/Chris – that character is so honest and wonderful. Yes, all the characters are a bit hyperbolic, but Kurt is just wonderful. I love that line in the last Glee – something about having the same range of medieval castrati someone … LOL

    And YES, Jane Lynch is hysterical. I first saw her in “Best in Show” – an ensemble comedy with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Parker Posey, Fred Willard – a satire on dog people and the Westminster Dog Show. She played the lesbian handler of “Butch” the poodle. She was also in “For Your Consideration,” “A Mighty Wind,” (all of that same Christopher Guest ensemble group), and “The 40-Year Old Virgin.” Her comic timing is priceless. She did a great job with “Vogue” too. She has quite a long resume with parts in movies, tv, and voice overs: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0528331/

    Yes, I know the singing on Glee is pre-recorded and produced, but I like the sort of surrealistic, mixed setting of the songs … moving in and out of reality to a metaphorical staging of the song. I like the honesty of the lives of artsy kids. Sometimes it’s inclusiveness is a little overdone (pregnant teenager, overweight black girl, Jewish girl with two dads, handicapped/wheelchair kid), but it’s done in good faith, and usually adds a twist, like Sue Sylvester when she hand picks minorities out of the Glee Club: “You Asian kid, Wheels – over here, other Asian kid, black girl, etc.” I have moments when I’m laughing my butt off and times when I’ve cried. I cried the first time Sue visited her older sister in the group home. She is an enigma, isn’t she. But she certainly will never let up on Mr. Shue’s hair product!

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  25. I have a love hate relationship with the show. On the one hand it has introduced me to some great singers, mesmerized me with some terrific performances (Summertime, Long as I can see the light, In a Dream, Mad World, Heartless), the judges and generally left me feeling good. On the other hand we have the sometimes bizarre contestant selection process, results night, coronation songs (the quality of which make no sense in context of what the idol winners would sing if it was up to them AND, more importantly, how the viewers/customers see them), and the judges.

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  26. J. May,
    You described my feelings about Idol too–it’s wonderful when you hear terrific performances or when you see contestants improve over the season, however, there’s a lot to dislike about it too. I’m ready for it to be over this year.

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  27. Thanks for links, Jessica. I’m such a fan of the show – I love the singing; even if it’s pre-recorded! A few weeks ago (I believe it was actually the season premiere) Idina Menzel appeared on the show – I’m such a huge fan of her; Rent, Wicked!

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  28. Did she play Rachel’s mom?

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  29. Yep – Time to move onto greater things than AI9 – looks like finale will be all about Simon.

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  30. I came across a fantastic suggestion over at MJ – that Crystal and Lee be allowed to sing an original piece in place of the coronation song. That could really be a way to showcase the direction in which both wish to take their careers.

    J May – My sentiments exactly.

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  31. I think mine is more of a hate relationship with the show right now. I have really had it up to here with everything. I have no intention of voting for anyone this time. The voting process is so flawed and compromised, that it would be a waste of time. However, I don’t think the producers of the show have the guts and integrity to overhaul the voting.

    If they do not go back to a three judge panel next season, then I will know that they are not serious about changing the show in any substantial sense. I read on mjs blog last week that no one is safe except Ryan Seacrest, meaning that any or all of the judges may not be back. I don’t know how seriously to take that, considering that Randy and Kara have multiple year contracts. I don’t know if Ellen was signed to one year or not. I think Ellen tried and her humor was a nice touch, but in the end I just don’t think she really brought anything really new and interesting to her critiques.

    I spoke on another blog about how Dancing With the Stars has made some great changes for this season. They finally got rid of that annoying Samantha person as co-host. They also went back to fewer celebrity contestants. They have included more dances and incorporated new themes, team dances, group dances and just generally improved the overall production value of the show. The one mistake they never made was to add another judge. They still have their original three judge panel. However, what is interesting to note is that all of these judges have ballroom and dance experience. They know the required elements of all the dances and can critique them with knowledge and intelligence. That is a key difference from Idol. I like the fact that Dancing With the Stars listened to its audience and revised the show accordingly. They are now having one of their most successful seasons, while Idol is sinking in the ratings and has been generally thrashed by reviewers and viewers alike.

    Tom Bergeron elaborated on the decision to revise the show for this season, when he was on Larry King Live last week with the three finalists. He said that they consciously tried to improve the show and address the concerns of their viewers. He also proudly pointed out that they have beaten Idol in the ratings a few times and they always end their show on time! This is how it’s done. If Idol isn’t able to realize that they cannot take their audience for granted anymore, then this show will sink like a stone next season.

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  32. This week on “Idolatry”, Michael Slezak began each segment of video with a great performance clip from a former Idol–just what Idol should have been doing all season on their exit shows. Really.

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  33. Jessica, she played the musical director for one of opposing schools; wow, I can’t remember the name of the school! I’m drawing a blank on names here: but it was the episode where the lead singer of the opposing school began dating Rachel and Schuester went over to try and persuade him to stop.

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  34. This is kind of off-topic but I would like MCL to answer this question for me. Is it true that if a woman is bigger in size, she’ll have a more powerful voice than a woman who is smaller in size? It seems to be the case in many female singers.

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  35. Great question, Erin! It seems to be that way, although I know many singers with large vocal instruments who have enormous voices.

    Sometimes, the extra weight adds more, well, weight, to the voice, which is not always a good thing.

    You do need a strong constitution to sing well, but excess weight is never a good thing in any profession. In the end, one’s health, stamina and flexibility is decreased and can only hamper the longevity of a person’s singing career.

    ReReader – great idea and thanks for the link! My Jason better be there!

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  36. IDK, it just seems like female singers who are heavier have more powerful voices (Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson to name a few). I don’t seem to know of any singers with smaller figures (like me) who have powerful voices so this makes me feel discouraged from developing a great voice. I’m also very small-chested which puts me at a disadvantage. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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  37. I hope everyone doesn’t take this as spamming….

    Buddy TV has a ranking of the top 25 performances of the season:
    http://www.buddytv.com/slideshows/american-idol/american-idol-the-25-best-performances-of-season-9-99539.aspx#comments

    First off, where the heck is Paint it Black!?!? This is outrageous!
    Anyway, here’s my personal top 10 list:

    1. Paint it Black, Siobhan
    2. Jealous Guy, Casey
    3. House of the Rising Sun, Siobhan
    4. Long As I Can See the Light, Crystal
    5. Change is Gonna Come, Lilly
    6. Treat Her Like a Lady, Lee
    7. The Scientist, Katelyn
    8. Bobby McGee, Crystal
    9.-10. Wicked Game/Give Me One Reason, Siobhan and Crystal

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  38. WARNING: Rambling adventure tale ahead.

    I had a great weekend of music. I mentioned before that I had tickets for the Nashville performance of the James Taylor & Carole King Troubadour Reunion Tour. The show was Saturday night so my wife and I left Friday morning for a 200 mile drive to Nashville and made a long weekend of it.

    On the way to Nashville we planned a stop at Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse because it is co-owned by the third place contestants from season one of CMT’s Idol spin off singing competition, “Can You Duet?” Joey Martin is half of the husband and wife singing and song writing duet known as Joey and Rory and is also the “Jo” in Marcy Jo’s Meal House. (Don’t quit your day job) Her husband Rory Feek, who has enjoyed some chart successes with songs he has written for other artist, is also a farmer. The duet and the restaurant have been featured in overstocked.com Christmas ad campaigns for the last few years. We had hoped to get a chance meeting with one or both of them but instead we met Marcy, Rory’s sister and his mother who prepared a wonderful lunch for us along with home made cinnamon sticky rolls. Marcy said that the reason that they were not there was that they were performing on the Grand Ole Opry that night and they had gone to Nashville for a sound check. I thought that there would be no chance of getting tickets to the Opry on the day of the show but after a few calls we were lucky enough to find a pair. What made it special was the show was at the Ryman Auditorium due to damage at the new Opry house caused by the record flooding that Nashville has experienced recently. The Ryman is the original home of the Opry and is consider the “mother church of country music.” Country music is the only genre that I am aware of that has a home base, a single stage, where every single artist who has ever lived and performed for a room full of music lovers has stood. Believe me, it is a powerful feeling that comes over you when you relies that right there, not twenty five feet in front of you artist such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Momma Maybell Carter, Jim Reeves, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Flatt and Scruggs, Patty Loveless, and Vince Gill, to name but a few. Even though the Ryman closed it’s doors as the home of the Opry in 1974, many of the newer artist such as Allison Krauss and our own Kerry Underwood and Kellie Pickler have performed there for special events. So to make a long story a little longer, we saw Joey and Rory on the Grand Ole Opry stage and the show was well worth the effort.

    So there’s your inside music story. Who knew that the winners of this year’s CMA award for best new duo ran a small country restaurant and a farm? Check them out on You Tube or at joey&rory.com and stop by the meal house if you are ever near Columbia,TN. The Mealhouse web site is http://web.mac.com/rlfeek/Joey+Rory_site/Marcy_Jos.html

    Saturday we walked around Nashville and took in many of the famous sites including Tootsies Orchid Lounge which is a famous dump of a bar whose back door shares an alley with the stage door of the Ryman. Legend has it that all of the big stars over the years have spent a lot of time in Tootsies. We also went to the Ernst Tubb record store, which I believe is the oldest record store in the world and is much like it was in 1955. The highlight for me was the Gruhn Guitar Shop. The stock there was a feast for the eyes. I didn’t consider myself worthy of touching any of the incredible instruments there but I could have spent the entire day just looking at them.

    On to the main event. I haven’t had the opportunity to see James Taylor or Carole King live before, but doing so has been on my list for a long time. Quite often when you see performers from their era you have to be kind and cut them a little slack when you notice that they are unable to hit all of the notes that they used to and the back up singers are actually carrying them through the performance. Those shows are more about the nostalgia of reliving a small piece of the past than hearing a great performance. That wasn’t the case for either of these consummate professionals. They are both very close to the top of their game. I won’t spoil the show for those of you who have tickets to a later date on the tour but I will say that it was among the very best concerts that I have ever been to. The stage was in the round and rotating and the expensive table seating surrounding the stage was actually part of the set. Huge screens surrounded the superstructure rigging and the sound system was perfect. They did an incredible job of shrinking this huge performance venue down to a nightclub setting, even for those of us hanging from the rafters. I will say that if you have tickets they are worth at least five times what you paid for them. What ever price you paid for the tickets will soon fade from memory but the performance that you will see from two of the top artist of the greatest era of music, as Mindy rightly pointed out, will last a lifetime.

    Was that mindless enough for you?

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  39. Celine Dion is rail-thin, and yet she has one of the biggest voices I’ve ever heard. Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston also have huge voices. Whitney is tall, but model thin when she first arrived on the scene. Mariah has gained some weight in recent years, but both she and Christina are otherwise very average in terms of size.

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  40. You can add Barbara Streisand and Martina McBride to your list of not so large ladies with powerful voices.

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  41. Mindy,
    I too like Doo Wop music. I have a brother that is seven years older than me and another that is seven years younger so that expands the range of my musical interest. There were a couple of Frankie Lymon songs that came to mind when I read your mention of him. Goodie Goodie, that I think may have been covered by a female artist, maybe Brenda Lee, and Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The later could probably be covered today by an imaginative artist. You might find some others you like from the Doo wop and early rock era on the American Graffiti soundtrack album.

    The appeal of Doo Wop is in its simplicity. It doesn’t ask anything from you, no need to join any causes lift any banners are become part of a political movement like many of the hits from the later 60’s and early seventies. The lyrics are easy to remember and fun to sing along with. The PBS specials are good and they re-run their programs during every fund raising season.

    I use iTunes a lot as well. I would suggest that you eliminate the CD from the process all together. You can do the same thing with an iPod or other MP3 player in the form of playlist. You may have explored that feature of the iTunes program already for playback on your computer and the same play list can be down loaded or “synced” to your iPod or iPhone. The pod can then be plugged into your home stereo, carried with you to a friend’s house for a party and plugged into their stereo, linked to your car stereo by one of several methods or simply listened to via your ear buds or a pod docking station. I run mine through the intercom speakers in my motorcycle helmet as well as the other ways mentioned above. It’s been a few years since I burned a CD but I can create a new playlist in a very short time. Put some Buddy Holly on your next CD or playlist.

    One thing I would caution you about that you may not have discovered yet about digital downloads is that downloading songs from some live albums doesn’t work well. Some live albums lack natural breaks so someone at Apple decides where one song ends and another begins. Albums like Mad Dogs and Englishmen or Briefcase Full of Blues do not work well as downloads or even as custom rips. You are better off to buy the CD and listen to it in tact than to down load it. I also believe that if you want to buy the entire album of any type, and if it is readily available, that you are far better of to buy the CD and then rip it to your iTunes or Window’s Media Player folder if you want it in a portable format than to download it. iTunes infringes on your rights of use more than I like. That said, I put up with it for the ability to pick and choose songs that I like or that are impossible to find anymore.

    The downside of digital downloads is that it is having some undesirable effects on the music industry. New albums consist of two hits and a lot of filler as compared to albums from the 60s and 70’s that had those great second sides that may not be commercially viable because they were to long or otherwise inappropriate for air play but they were the songs that the “cool” people knew and the good local bands covered. You could also stay up late at night to listen to the “full album sides” or the “deep cuts” on the good FM stations. You can forget about another theme album like the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper or Pet Sounds from the Beach Boys in the future. It just won’t happen.

    We also are seeing this same phenomenon having an effect on American Idol. The male judge who is dead to me is looking for someone with that two song potential and the female judge, that is dead to me, just wants to know what isle at Wal-Mart this “artist” will be displayed on. The future will probably be self publishing and self marketing, so I guess that means Lee is the future because he already has two CDs available for download from cdbaby.com.

    Like so many things, there is good to be found in the present and the past but I miss the days when we waited months for the next Beatles’ album to hit the racks and rushed down to Woolworth’s to get our copy only to spend the next several days examining every square inch of the album cover and sleeve for that little bit of info that real fans must know while playing the album over and over until it was burned into our memory. I think those days are forever gone.

    I like doo-wop.

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  42. Yes, Gene – that was mindless and free! That’s quite a weekend. Glad you had a blast!

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  43. PS
    This isn’t the cover that I had in mind but I like it.

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  44. “Yes, Gene – that was mindless and free! That’s quite a weekend. Glad you had a blast!”

    Thank you. It really was a blast and will be a great memory for years to come.

    Has your power been restored? I know it can be miserable without it.

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  45. I forgot how tiny Martina McBride is!! Yet she has a HUGE voice!! However, Mariah Carey doesn’t look all that thin to me, plus I don’t think her voice is all that great, lol!! So I guess there still is hope for me! : D

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  46. Gene,

    Wow! Lots of information from you! I think you were so lucky to see James Taylor and Carole King. They are true legends and have aged like fine wine! I was fortunate enough to see James Taylor when I was much younger, in my college days. That was the time of “Sweet Baby James”. He was just coming into his own and played a lot of small clubs on Long Island, a suburb of New York. It was incredible to see him live when he was young and having his initial success. I have never forgotten it.

    I also appreciate all of your advice about how to download and listen to music. I don’t have an ipod, but am looking to purchase one in the next few weeks. I have no idea which one to buy. I am clueless with this new technology, but am willing to learn. I already have a huge library of itunes music. I also have a lot of playlists. I actually do have some Buddy Holly on a few of my cd’s. It’s funny that I remember hearing the news when he died in that plane crash. I was only nine years old and had never heard of him. I didn’t fully understand what he meant at such a young age. I do remember my babysitter and her friends crying hysterically at the news of his death. I knew something bad happened, but it wouldn’t be until I was much older and discovered much of the great music of the 50’s, that I would truly understand the enormity of his loss. He was a true musical genius, one who had so much more to give. I was such a Beatles fan, and they talked endlessly about how Buddy Holly inspired their music. That was when I first became really curious about him. The only consolation from losing someone like him far too young, is that he inspired the Beatles and Rolling Stones and so many other talented musicians to continue what he started.

    I really want to have some Judy Garland songs for my collection. The obvious choice would be her 1961 Carnegie Hall triumphant concert. It’s on itunes, but I am concerned about downloading it for the reasons you gave about live performances. I am thinking that it might be better to just try to find the cd. This is a collector’s item for anyone who was a fan of this incomparable singer. She was my idol when I was growing up. There is really no way for me to express what she meant to me.

    I know every single song that Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers ever sang. Of course, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” is the most famous song, the one that is a classic, a truly great rock and roll song. I do know “Goody Goody”. I think Frankie was on his own as a solo artist when he did that one. I also love “Baby, Baby”, “The ABC’s of Love” and “Little Bitty Pretty One”. He was a young man who was born with an incredible voice, but sadly he got caught in the vicious cycle of heroin addiction. He had such a tragic end, dying at the age of 25, but he left us with some great songs and wonderful memories.

    I really do love doo-wop! I love it for the pure vocal brilliance of its artists, the harmonies, the wonderful, sweet lyrics that spoke to a more innocent time. I fear that we are losing the wonder of the human voice. These songs make me remember just how much power and majesty there is in just singing a simple song with heart and feeling and perfect vocals. They were great singers, all of them.

    As far as the music industry, I do understand the effect of digital downloads on the concept of albums. I don’t think that the male judge who is dead to you, is really all that great when it comes to real talent. It is true that for him it’s all about two great songs and that’s it. The female judge who is dead to both of us, is an industry hack who wouldn’t know real talent and a great voice if it hit her in the face. I do put up with itunes because, as you mentioned, it does allow me to find songs that are obscure.

    I don’t find much in the present to celebrate when it comes to music. That’s why I listen more and more to the older music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. There was some great music from the 80’s, too, but after that it’s all downhill as far as I am concerned. There is some good stuff, but not much of it. I pick out what is good for me and just leave the rest.

    I don’t think that the likes of Miley Cyrus, Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift are any reason to celebrate. They are wannabes when you listen to doo-wop, early rock and roll and r&b.

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  47. My Jason better be there!

    You know it! Right up top. 🙂

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  48. Mindy,
    In regard to the music of Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall that you mentioned wanting, I went to the LaLa download service site to look for it. I found several tracks from a CD entitled Judy at Carnegie Hall-2001. I don’t know if this is a new compilation or a re-master of the work that you were referring to but the reason I looked for it at LaLa is that you can listen to complete tracks there one time so I was able to see if a few songs had clean beginnings and endings. In the case of Rainbow and Stormy Weather, both were acceptable for individual download. There was no awkwardly cut off dialog or anything of that nature. Those two were the only ones that I had time to check right now. Unfortunately, LaLa had a very innovative business model that threatened iTunes, so Apple bought them and is shutting it down at the end of this month. You can only use it if you are already a member. If there are other songs that interest you, let me know before the end of the month and I will try to give them a listen.

    I like Little Bitty Pretty One Too but it didn’t come to mind when I thought of Frankie Lymon earlier. Thanks for reminding me of it.

    Linda Ronstadt should send a check every month to the estates of Buddy Holley and Roy Orbison. She is also a good example for some of these young artist that think all of their songs must be originals. Every great artist that I know of has done cover songs. Some have made careers of it. Ronstadt and Cocker come to mind. A few good covers would be a much nicer way to fill in some of that wasteland on these new kids’ albums than what they fill them with now. Neil Sadaka even had a hit covering his own song! Allison Krauss came to the public’s attention after over 10 years in the business by way of a cover. [End of Rant]

    I have a 3rd generation Nano 8gb and an iPhone 3Gs 16gb. The Nano is a nice little pod and you can still get the ones like mine for about $100 factory reconditioned. They look like new and have a new warranty. Long story short, if you can use an iPhone on your cell system (must be AT&T I think) you can’t beat it. It does every thing except make my smoothie in the morning. I love it. I would also recommend getting better ear bubs that fit down into your ear cannal. I have a set from Klipsch, the S4I that includes the special control for the iPhone and newer iPods. They sound really good. Etymotic (I believe it is the E6I model) are very good as well. You can get the patch cords to connect to your home stereo and for some car applications at Wal-Mart.

    I would agree about the new artist you mentioned with one caveat. While not much of a singer, Taylor Swift is a very special young woman. She takes the responsibility of being worshiped by several million eight year olds very seriously. She also managed her entire concert tour herself from auditioning every back up singer, dancer, band member and crew member, to designing all of the elaborate sets and even what would be painted on the outside of her bus and the trucks hauling all of the gear. She was nineteen at the time. She is also a pretty fair song writer. Who knows, she may make a singer one day!

    Check out the girl I linked with the Goody Goody cover, Sophie Madeleine. I had never heard of her before but our discussion of Lymon lead me to look for a female artist who had covered Goody Goody and I came across her. I liked her cover and began listening to her other songs and liked many of them as well. She is exactly the model of the artist of the future. Self produced, self recorded, self promoted. What would the female judge who is dead to both of us do with her?

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  49. I saw him, Rereader -he is so adorable and so good!

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  50. Julia, thanks for sharing that analysis of the American Idol finale. She’s so right (IMHO) about Lee. He has blue eyes & chicks dig blue eyes. He’s going to win. I broke down in the final moments though & started voting furiously for Crystal. Who knows – maybe I pushed her over the top. Sure would be nice.

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  51. Unfotunately, I missed the show due to another committment. I wish that I had taped it. After pursuing some reviews, I decided to cast some votes for Crystal after all. I put in maybe an hour. That was probably just a drop in the bucket, but she deserves the win.

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  52. Oh, I wish we could fix our mistakes. I mean “perusing” not “pursuing.”

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  53. Good article about “Glee” from Yahoo main page – analysis of why Glee appeals to so many and why it has sold more music than the four top Idol contestants from last year (including Adam Lambert).

    http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/chart_watch/53898/chart-watch-extra-im-turning-into-a-gleek/

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  54. No One, Siobhan Magnus, Katie Stevens, a bit of Andrew Garcia, Didi Benanmi, Justin Gaston
    from If I Can Dream House visit by the Top 10 (minus 1)
    Siobhan “wails” a high c (C6) (about 4 minutes in)

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  55. Am I going bonkers? I just posted on a NEW mindless conversation thread, but there seems to be activity here!

    I have been watching the Finale and feeling sad that my VCR died out on me right after Casey and Bret’s duet. However, I do have the Siobhan performances! Yep, no doubt the girls’ turn with Christina was much better than the guys and Hall & Oates. I absolutely love How Deep Is Your Love? with her and Aaron!

    As you all know I have the cheap Dial-Up service, so I cannot watch the rest of the show. My daughter thought she might be able to record off the computer at work, but she has no idea how or if she can do it. Any ideas, friends?

    Darlene, I had hoped we could get tickets to the Idol tour, but we are still waiting to see when my husband’s surgery is scheduled. I have received a surprise from my wonderful daughters – they are taking me to the Lilith Fair Concert! I’ll finally get to see Kelly Clarkson, Queen Latifa, Melinda Lambert, Sarah, and a few others I don’t know. We went in 1999, and it was a great concert! Of course seeing Sherly Crow, the Dixie Chicks, Queen Latifa, Sarah, etc. made it so worthwhile!

    BTW, the Lilith Fair Concert tickets were $90 for all day and 11 featured acts.

    MCL, I hope you will get to hear some of the Glee performances. I actually get excited over several of them! Yay!

    Darlene, you have stated wisely that voting from a landline or simple cell phone makes little sense with the other voting methods available to other.

    Julia, it’s so funny that I wrote the best music was made in the 1960s and 1970s, and then you posted your opinion of the older songs! I also love many of the music of the early influeneces of Rock and Roll, with ELVIS being my favorite! Hehehe… 😀

    I really find most of the music today pretty much unlistenable for me.

    Yes, Mindy there are gems out there and I have CDs of almost all the music I loved. I find Folk music to be enjoyable listening. Peter, Paul, & Mary, John Denver, Pete Seeger, etc.. You state, “I immerse myself in the older music as my own personal protest against this whole autotune, digitally enhanced vocal phenomenon. I despise it.” I also find the same joy you describe.

    Hi Shuki – we run into else other elsewhere, don’t we? I hope you like my idea of making a scrapbook for Siobhan! 🙂

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  56. Ok all. I posted a link to an opinion from another website that referred to music from other decades.

    I need to post my view. I LOVE music from all ages that I can find – even percussive music from known ancient ‘sources’ (and the lively arts, including dance, theater (drama and comedy). I just feel very strongly that we are in a transitional phase in that our technology has obviated some of our current delivery systems (LP, Tape, CD, DVD, Stage, TV, Radio). We have an extremely fragmented and diffuse culture that has not been reflected in the current vehicles. My view is that AI9 has been caught standing still and may get swept away in the changing currents.

    I think that AI producers have been milking this cash cow for so long that they neglected to feed it fresh fodder. My personal view of AI9 is that this year became redundant because the song lists contained choices so similar to the earlier seasons and that invited the inevitable comparisons to former contestants. At the same time, the judges were choosing candidates who had apparently not performed before television and large stages and had severe cases of ‘nerves’. Sorry about the cow metaphor, but nervous cows do not produce.

    So – if the producers and judges of AI10 REALLY want originality, currency, and FRESH talent, they need to update their selections – even if they have to PAY for the OTHER great material from OTHER greats from the past. We all draw on our past experiences, even if unconsciously; however, the producers seem to be so cheap and lazy that they keep drawing from the same stale well. I would like to see a classically influenced sets instrumentals and opera – baroque (Vivaldi), classical (Mozart), romantic (Beethoven), modern (Copland) – other POP artists have. They have used Broadway themes – why not Operatic themes.

    I like the idea of the mentors and mentees writing fresh material – I am not sure that this can be done in one week.

    I also think that if AI10 allows musicians to play onstage they should allow the ARTISTS to use their other talents in the lively arts – dancing, acting, singing, performing; however, the purists (those that protest that this IS a SINGING contest) will balk at this idea. However, I attest that this is a POPularity contest that has an emphasis on singing – but we know that the best vocalist (to name a few – Crystal, Adam, David A., Melinda, Clay) does not always win; therefor any talent that the artist can display that will add to the popularity factor should be allowed.

    On another note, I watched the Larry King Live shows (from Friday and Monday). At one point I thought I saw the LONGING on Siobhan Magnus’s face when the Top 5 were discussing how great Harry Connick, Jr. was as a mentor and it seemed so wrong that she had not had the opportunity of working with him that week. I just hope that the AI9 Idol Live! Tour provides the opportunity and enough financial security so she can blossom.

    Here is an interesting article:
    http://www.didibenamifansite.com/2010/06/531-larry-king-live-with-the-american-idol-9-top-10-monday-edition-photosvideos/

    ‘Didi, Crystal and Siobhan at least made some really good effort to be direct and frank.’

    ‘Best quote of the night: “He sure is clever. Those things he comes up with to say about your song, where does that come from? Instead of just saying that was really bad or that was really loud– he told me it sounded like I was giving birth…” -Siobhan Magnus without batting an eyelash on Simon Cowell. [wish everyone answered like that!]’

    You just gotta luv this gal…
    🙂

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