American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Finalists

Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Show.

And so tomorrow, the magic begins. And what a season it promises to be!

The majority of these Top 13 Finalists for American Idol Season 10 are enormously gifted, possessing exemplary talent the likes of which we have not seen since American Idol Season 7. 

At this pont in time, it really is very hard to discern which singers will be the last two standing. 

It is anybody’s game, although, there are some singers that I feel right now could have long, exciting and rewarding musical careers. 

 In fairness, I won’t name names; there is no sense in biasing the viewers and so many surprises can happen as this competition evolves. 

For now, I think we should all delight in the rejuvenation of American Idol, courtesy of producer Nigel Lythgoe, judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler and record producer, Jimmy Iovine

They have all done a splendid job in ensuring the credibility and longevity of this show.  

Congratulations to all! Enjoy the show everyone and please come back to add your informative and insightful comments.

About Masterclass Lady

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

81 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Show.”

  1. I found a “spoiler” article about tonight’s show which was actually taped last night.

    Sounds like it is going to be a very entertaining night!!!


  2. Louise

    Thanks for that. Makes me look forward to tonight’s show! 🙂


  3. Lookie!! Top 13 Promo shoot video (over at Idoloonies) – enjoy!


  4. Thank you Louise and ladyhelix! Those links were both very helpful!

    That latter link also “explains” what happened to Michael Slezak! I was wondering why he wasn’t writing the American Idol recaps anymore…


  5. I think the judges over praised Paul for his performance. His voice sounded aspecially weak during the beginning.


  6. Wow! Wow! Wow! Pea was amaaaaaazing!!!!!


  7. OMG. I died when Pia hit the high notes in her song! She nailed it. Wow, what an incredible vocalist! Color me very, very impressed.

    I just keep thinking, “Wow. WOW.”

    I don’t think people realize how difficult a song with this range is for someone of Pia’s voice type. She is clearly a mezzo soprano, as any I’ve ever seen. The places where her voice shifts resonance are very consistent with this; that’s why her Eb5s in “I’ll Stand by You” and “Doesn’t Mean Anything” have that particular color and tonal quality.

    That’s why she has a BIG, big voice; she’s a mezzo with the technical capability to sing heavier coordinations full-on. Some mezzos might be able to reach those notes by lightening up a lot, but Pia is able to hit those notes at full throttle. This is exactly the type of female contestant I’ve been waiting several seasons for. OMG. I loved it.


  8. Also, good job, James! I was a little preoccupied while listening, but James seemed to sing his song straight on without extra frills, and that was refreshing to hear. Good for him! 😀


  9. Hi everyone:

    Well, all in all, that was a great show. I will be submitting a VM article ASAP. It may be abbreviated because I am away on vacation, but I will make sure that the substance is accurate.

    J – I have a classical soul. This was how I started my career as a musician, so you never really lose it. Plus you relaize that it is so important in the grand scheme of things and can transcend genres.

    Anita – yes, Pia was truly brilliant. I do worry about some aspects of her voice, but, for now, I will leave it at that.

    James, Casey and Stefano delivered as well. Really strong performances.


  10. I was excited when I read that Karen was singing Selena’s song “I Could Fall In Love”. I love that song, and I’ve always loved Karen’s voice! No, it wasn’t a fantastic performance, but she did sound lovely. She’s definately got potential to do extremely well in this competition, and is one of my favorite girls. I believe the very best of Karen is around the corner.


  11. an enjoyable show tonight! Of course, I loved Scotty! He really is my favourite. His rendition of “River” by Garth Brooks gave me goosebumps…partly because I absolutely love that song and it has personal meaning for me. But also because he sang it so well!

    There were a few, tonight, that didn’t do justice for me:

    I was really not a fan of Hailey, tonight. I found her a bit whinny in her performance. Randy was right…it was boring.

    Ashton was great. But I wish she would have chosen a more recognizable song. It might have been better for her.

    Jacob – I don’t know what to think of him yet. I really did not like the version of this song. I felt he tried to do too much with it and it backfired on him. Also, someone wrote a comment (on another blog site) that R. Kelly is currently in jail for molestation. My question is: why would AI allow a contestant to do a song by him, then, if this information is accurate? Even if it’s his idol?

    But all that aside, tonight’s show was a good one. I loved Naima! She ended off the show so wonderfully!!

    Going back to Ashton for a moment…it was stated that this was the first time she sang out of her range and hit notes, she’s never hit before. Does doing this early on in the competition risk a contestant’s voice?


  12. J- Some mezzos have a lighter, more lyrical quality to their voices, making them lyric mezzo sopranos. I think thats what Pia is because her vocal quality isn’t that heavy like a dramatic mezzo (Jennifer Hudson is a good example). I think Barbra Streisand would also fall under the category of a lyric mezzo.


  13. nothingspecial March 10, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Isn’t it generally a bad idea to try to make fach classification of pop singers who sing with amplification and have access to a whole host of vocal ticks that operatic performers could not use without being booed off the stage?

    I personally don’t here any darker female voices this year, mabye Naima, but that may just be an issue of an inexperienced singer (note singer, not performer) carrying alot chesty weight as she ascends the scale.


  14. Here are my thoughts on tonight’s performances.

    Lauren – I thought this was pretty forgettable. She has a big voice and is capable of much more than this song allowed her to show us. Her performance skills and energy are terrific, but she should challenge herself and step it up vocally.

    Casey – his admiration for Joe Cocker really touched me. Nice to see from a young man! He really has it going on! He is so comfortable and confident on stage and connects with the audience extremely well. I heard hints of a softer, melodic voice that I hope to hear more of as we move on. He just pours his heart and soul into his performances and leaves it all out there. Great job!

    Ashthon – wrong song choice. I listened to Diana Ross on youtube. That’s why I realized that Ashthon used the same gestures as Diana, but there was no emotional connection for me. I do think that she was uncomfortable especially with the higher notes. She completely lost the low notes, breathy and barely audible. Also, she was fighting so hard to stay on pitch and hit those notes, that she lost the heart of the song. I do think they are working with her and opening up her voice more. Some of it didn’t have that tone that bothered me so much, but some of it was just a struggle to stay on pitch and hang with the song.

    Paul – I didn’t love this song. Also, Paul moved around more this time and even kind of slipped across the stage. Unfortunately, the vocals slipped right along with the movement. He went off key a number of times and didn’t seem all that comfortable with this song. He has a distinctive, easily recognizable vocal sound, but he must get the vocals down and then work on the movement. I am never in favor of sacrificing the vocals for the sake of movement.

    Pia – I loved the beginning with those soft, low notes. She has such a great command of her voice in moments like these. I think her voice is extraordinary, tremendous range and great tone, but I am hearing a few things that are bothering me. I have noticed that she keeps lifting her head up when she goes for those high notes and, to me, they come out a little screechy or harsh. I think the sound might be richer if she kept her head level and used more head voice, if that is the right term. However, she deserves a great deal of credit for pulling off a Celine song and doing it justice. I just hope she changes it up a little next week.

    James – Okay, I am officially amazed! Wow! Who knew? This young man has shown me that he is not a one-trick pony, just a heavy metal rocker. His falsetto notes were beautiful, his pitch is excellent and this was a great change of pace for this week. The guy’s got range and versatility! He has such charisma and presence on stage. Great job!

    Haley – I don’t want to be too harsh, but this was a blatant rip-off of Patsy Cline. Why would anyone even want to just imitate this great singer who can never be matched? The yodels, the growls, all just pure Patsy. This girl should be herself. Since she did an impersonation of Patsy Cline, I feel justified in comparing her and she is found wanting. This was just not a good idea. Anyone who has heard Patsy or is a fan, will hear the same thing. Haley said that this was the song that Patsy was going to record before she was killed in a plane crash. It only punctuates the sadness to hear it. Sorry, but I was turned off by this performance.

    Jacob – I love his voice, but this is what I did NOT want him to do. I thought her oversang it and there was that weird changeup in the chorus that seemed totally off key to me. The gospel singers were a bit much and the whole thing was just over the top. He doesn’t need to do that. You lose the beauty of his voice in all of this excess. This was quite disappointing.

    Thia – I have to say that the producers did this young girl no favors with their switched up arrangement of this song. If you are going to sing a great pop standard, then stay with the melody or don’t sing it at all. The beginning was amazing! If she had stayed with that, I think she would have brought the house down. This girl has the tone, the pitch, the pure voice to sing this as Michael Jackson did all the way through. They didn’t want it to sound old, but she clearly wasn’t comfortable with the jazzy, stylized changeup and the audience feels it, too. You just had to look at her face afterwards to see that she knew it was wrong, too. She even said that she felt better with the beginning. I hated to see her cry.

    Stefano – I don’t know what is up with the producers switching up these songs in the middle. The beginning was kind of shaky, but Stefano really brought it after that and just sang his heart out. I don’t know about the disco beat, but I loved his vocals.

    Karen – I think this song just didn’t work for her voice. She was off pitch on the lower notes and struggled to hit the higher ones. I thought she was very uncomfortable throughout the performance. This was one of the weaker performances for me. Not a good fit for her.

    Scotty – I am not a country music fan, but I just love this guy’s voice! That deep bass/baritone gives me chills. He is playing it safe and going for his strength with great country songs. His performance skills were much better and he played to the audience to great effect. It seems so effortless with him. He couldn’t sing off pitch if he tried! He may want to stick with the country songs, but at some point I would love to see what he might do with a different genre of music. That voice has even more in it.

    Naima – I think her stage presence is simply extraordinary! She is different, funky and did the song her way. Yes, she lost pitch because of all the dancing. Many may not care, but I do. However, I still loved her style and think her voice is great. Get the vocals down first, then work on the moves. She sounded contemporary and new and fresh.

    I don’t know who will go home. It’s hard with a group like this. I think that Casey James, Scotty and Pia did the best.


  15. Sorry, but I left out a comma in my last sentence. It’s Casey, James, Scotty and Pia!


  16. Lauren – The chorus was Ok, but she seemed (to me) quite breathy in some of the early verses.
    Casey – I really like Casey and enjoyed the song – but it could have done with less growling.
    Ashthon – Boring
    Paul – I find it really hard sometime to actually catch what he is singing, his voice sort of slips like the way he moves on stage – which was off-putting
    Pia – This was very good with a great contrast begining and end. She is very polished – has she any room to grow?
    James – This was so good, I really enjoyed this, I am warming to James now. If you like it, listen to “While my guitar gently weeps” on You tube
    Haley – I was surprised – I really liked her singing this.
    Jacob – Did not like this at all – one of the worst versions of this song ever.
    Thia – I liked the idea of the change up at the end, but she didn’t really swing with it. However I would listen to this again over many of the others.
    Stefano – It wasn’t all good, he tried to waver/warble (don’t know the technical term) his notes a few times, when they would have been much better held. He should get out of that habit (leave it to Jacob) and just sing the song beautifully as he did at times.
    Karen – Very forgettable is all I can say.
    Scotty – Loved it, what ever songs he sings he will stamp with that distinctive voice of his, wherever he gets in idol doesn’t matter, I think he can sell records.
    Naima – Really enjoyed, great energy – yes she lost it in a few places but held it when it matters.

    Top this week – Casey, Pia, James

    Predictions are difficult because there is no-one really bad, but I think Ashton, Karen may be in trouble with Ashton going home. It’s also possible that either Jacob/Paul may be the third bottom – but they have had a lot of good exposure so probably have a lot of fans to prevent it.


  17. Mindy, just a correction to your comment about Haley’s performance of Blue being a “ripoff” of Patsy Cline. Contrary to popular belief, Patsy never recorded the song. As explained on this Wikipedia page:

    it was written for her but she died before it could be recorded. It was recorded by several artists before LeAnn Rimes released the most popular version in 1996.

    There is a youtube video here

    that purports to be Pasty Cline singing it, but it’s actually LeAnn’s voice.

    LeAnn’s version

    is very much in the style of Patsy, so the confusion is understandable.


  18. Gene, I’m going to use an “economy of words” again for last night’s performances (well, actually Tuesday night! It was amusing when Steven mentioned that it was International Women’s Day which was on Tuesday! So much for not letting the public know that it was pre-recorded!)
    Favorites – Casey, James, Pia, Scotty
    Okay – Lauren, Paul, Stefano, Jacob, Haley, Thia, Naima
    Least Favorites – Asthon, Karen


  19. LeAnn also recorded this song at 14 (which began her career), which makes the Patsy Cline “imitation” understandable: a, she was young, and b, it was an intentional choice of the producers to show off what they were essentially claiming was as good a voice as Patsy Cline’s.


  20. Here’s my 2 cents worth…!!! 🙂

    My top three:

    1. Scotty – His lane is going to take him straight to the road to success! I loved it, I love him, I am a fan!

    2. James and Haley – These two are tied for me! I loved James’ song, I love Paul McCartney and I thought James did an outstanding version of this song! Haley, I LOVED IT, I thought she did an incredible job on that song…there is no one else in this competition who could pull off that song the way she did! I am a fan of Haley and James!

    3. Casey – I thought that he did a great job with this song…!

    4. Thia – I will agree the arrangement was kindof crazy, but her voice is stellar!

    5. Every one else!

    Bottom three…could be Ashton, Karen, Paul (sorry Paul, I didn’t get it)


  21. These are busy days now, but I watched the show on DVR – I am going to enjoy this season! [Not that I am overly superstitious, but I do not wish to jinx any of these performers by picking favorites.] Let’s just hope the show lives up to the promise of the best AI ever by focusing on how to provide a showcase for the talent exhibited so far this season.


  22. Paul is one of my favorites but I was disappointed with his performance tonite. I know he had been performing with a band for about 5 years. His dance movements probably work fine when confined to the small spaces in bars where he usually performs. But tonite he was alone on a big stage, and dancing all over the place seemed to throw off his vocals. Without his band beside him, maybe Paul felt the need to “fill up the stage” with his performance.

    I really like the distinctive sound of his voice, and his face is very photogenic with beautiful, expressive eyes. If I was his performance coach, I would advise him to focus on just giving strong vocals and forget the spastic dancing. And I would have the cameras spend plenty of time in close-ups of his face.


  23. Hello everyone!

    I won’t rank each contestant, but I will mention a few. Since this is only the second time I have seen/heard these contestants, my perspective is purely based on 2 week’s worth of performance.

    I am sorry Paul fans, but I think he is terrible. Just not my cup of tea. The only female I have any interest in is Niama, and that is due to her charisma and guts to try a song like Umbrella. That said, I hope she learned a lesson that she is not ready to dance and sing right now. I do hear the vocal strengths of other females, but they just bore me to death. I am hoping Pia will grow on me more, cause she is talented. She just reminds me too much of a pageant queen ballad singer.

    I stand behind my contention that Scotty may take this whole thing. Great tone, attractive, and you could put him on the Country stations today.

    Jacob, you must not over sing! I wish someone would talk to him and help him! James was good, and I am glad to see him tone down the rock wail.

    I want to like Casey, and I thought he did a good job last night, but he isn’t the type of artist that I get attached to.

    While many are happy with the new judges, I think they are going too easy on some of them. Simon was too mean, but I think Steven and Jennifer are too nice.

    I hope I can get more attached to this season! Some really good talent, but I don’t have a major fav like I did the year Adam L was on!


  24. Erin – I think you’re right about Pia; she is likely closer to the lyric end of the mezzo spectrum. I don’t see her voice quality as heavy enough to be a dramatic mezzo either.

    nothingspecial – This is an excellent question! In short, yes, it is generally a bad idea to do fach classification for pop singers, period. I wouldn’t recommend for most people to do so, but I think general voice classifications can be made for skilled singers who demonstrate a variety of vocal coordinations throughout their range.

    Let me start by saying I understand your hesitation. I have found that, many times, when laypeople try to classify pop singers’ voices; they are wildly off. I’ll explain some wrong approaches and then explain the approach I use.

    Wrong approach #1: To use very specialized operatic terminology in describing pop singers’ voices. I tend to make very broad classifications, simply “soprano” or maybe “lyric soprano.” I usually do not go beyond that. I definitely would NOT use terms such as: coloratura (this requires a very specific ability to achieve agile runs above soprano C; a skill gained through training and not at all equivalent to the ability to simply squeal in the whistle register; I’ve seen this mistake in classification before), heldentenor (the singer would have to sing operatic repertoire for us to determine this!), or even, at times, spinto (I like this term, but especially with pop voices, how do we determine where lyric voices transition to spinto voices and where spinto voices transition to dramatic voices? The line is simply not that clearly defined in pop music).

    Also, I do NOT believe in taking the voice quality description of a particular operatic fach wholesale and applying it to pop singers. Simply, NO. Fach in opera not only describes a voice type but a very specific set of expectations, demands, and roles a singer must be able to meet and perform, and the expected vocal qualities conform to a specific aesthetic achieved through operatic training. These qualities do not necessarily carry over to all styles of singing.

    Wrong approach #2: Mixing up classification systems, particularly using choral or musical theater classifications. The soprano line in choral music is simply the highest line written. It is a mistake to assume that singing the soprano line makes someone a soprano. (Also, singing the alto line definitely does NOT make someone a “contralto.” The terms “alto” and “contralto” are not synonymous!) Well-trained mezzos can often reach the same heights as sopranos, but their tessituras are different, and so are their vocal qualities.

    What’s confusing about these terms is that they’re used in so many ways to mean so many different things. I’ll explain later how I use these terms, but one example is in musical theater: soprano roles are usually ones that require a more “legit” head voice and classical sound. Roles that require “belting” are usually labeled “mezzo soprano” roles. Although there certainly are mezzo sopranos who sing these roles, I believe that at least some Elphabas (the starring role in Wicked), for example, are sopranos.

    Wrong approach #3: Attempting to classify singers’ voices before they’ve reached a certain level of vocal skill. A lack of vocal skill can drastically alter the color of a singer’s voice, limit his or her range, and otherwise obscure the sound we hear. There are individuals whose vocal cords indicate that they are sopranos but, through a lack of training, cannot sing particularly high at all. This lack of skill doesn’t change their vocal cords, and as such, I would still call these individuals sopranos. These singers will not sound like sopranos and exhibit the proper vocal qualities until they reach a certain skill level, and only at that moment would one be able to classify them properly. What I’m trying to get to the bottom of, then, is the reality of the vocal cords. That leads me to the next point…

    My approach: Okay, so what do I mean by fach? I use “fach” simply to describe the objective reality of a person’s vocal cords. From a scientific perspective, fach is determined by the length and thickness of the vocal cords and the size of the musculature that controls the voice (the length of the vocal tract and so on). Sopranos have the shortest vocal cords; basses have the longest. Within the same category, lyric voices have thinner vocal cords; dramatic voices have thicker vocal cords. Thus, when I describe someone as being a mezzo soprano, this can be interpreted as me saying: “This person has longer vocal cords than a soprano.” That is simply it. There’s not too much else I’m implying with that designation.

    Of course, we don’t have access to the inside of singers’ throats, so any vocal classifications we make are educated guesses, but an experienced is able to discern patterns and tendencies. In addition, I personally listen to many clips of a singer (the bigger the data set, the better!) before attempting to make a conclusion.

    Note that tone color is a bit deceptive. There are bright-colored mezzo sopranos and dark-colored sopranos; you can’t form a conclusion based purely on color. However, relative color shifts can be telling; skilled sopranos are often able to retain a more consistent tone color in their upper range compared to mezzos, for example.

    The main way to determine fach is through coordination. A soprano and a mezzo soprano singing identical coordinations on identical notes will NOT sound the same. That’s because their instruments are of different sizes. If a mezzo and a soprano both sing an F5 in a 50/50 mix, for example, the mezzo will be louder because she has to move more vocal fold mass (the longer vocal cords) to produce the same sound.

    Over time, you can train your ear to tell the difference—to negate studio trickery, differences in amplification, and so on. Even before tonight, I was leaning towards Pia being a mezzo because in her pre-Idol performances, one can hear how her mid-range shines; she powers through A4s and B4s! The key is that she does this properly, not through artificially pumping her voice to make it sound bigger. If you compare this to the identical coordination done by a lyric soprano, you would hear that there is a quantitative difference, if you want to call it that, in the underlying sound. The soprano’s underlying sound will not be as loud, intense, or aggressive. The relative volume spike will not be as great. This is simply physics. Since I have a lot of experience with ear training, I hear right through production: it’s true that high-quality, acoustic, and/or a cappella recordings are the best to make these types of conclusions (if an audio recording is very low quality, that might be problematic), but for the most part, one can learn to discern and isolate the underlying sound from all the other factors adding “noise.”

    Whew! Sorry for writing an essay. I just wanted to be thorough in my explanation. I definitely avoid making classifications without enough information. In fact, as a voice teacher, Rosanne probably relates to this: it’s just not helpful to classify a singer’s voice before he/she reaches a certain skill level because (1) misclassifying developing singers is unhelpful and possibly even detrimental, and (2) singers may see the classifications as limits (when they’re not) and use them as excuses (“I can’t reach this note because I’m a baritone”).

    The key is to make sure one is comparing identical coordinations (not apples and oranges!). There is a certain set of coordinations I need to sample from to make a fach classification I can stand behind. If a singer does not possess the skill to produce such coordinations or chooses not to use them, I try not to classify their voices because I don’t have the right data set to make reliable conclusions. (For a singer with a distinctly twanged aesthetic, like Kendra Chantelle, I’d have to hear her sing more full-out to judge. In her usual aesthetic, the vocal cords are thinned out considerably, and twang is used to fill out the rest of the sound, so the result is that her coordinations aren’t comparable to most singers who do not use distinct twang. As a result, I don’t like to jump to any conclusions about her voice type.)

    In the end, I don’t think voice classification is all that important in pop music. It can certainly be helpful if singers learn to modify songs to better suit their voice types (e.g. in terms of range, tessitura, or key selection). However, precisely because singers doing popular music can tailor songs to their own range and ability (in a way that opera singers are simply not allowed to do!), it doesn’t really matter if a singer picks a song in which the original singer has a completely different voice type, for example.

    I don’t believe that voice types are boxes. Realistically, fach may determine comfortable singing range and lower limits, yes, but technique sets the sky for range. I love singers who embrace their voice type and show us how thrilling it can be. I love being surprised by what certain types can do through diligent training (not by being pushed!). I don’t believe that any voice type is inherently more beautiful than any other type.

    Ultimately, it makes no difference to me whether Pia is a mezzo or not; I love her voice all the same. I just wanted to commend her diligent work in being able to achieve a technical feat that is made more difficult by being a mezzo. I am a soprano, and I love soprano voices (listen to Kelly Clarkson’s soaring upper range; soprano, for sure!), but I also really love well-trained mezzo voices because I appreciate how difficult it must be for them to reach soprano high notes. Great voices are great voices; we can agree to that, perhaps?

    (P.S. One last thought: Lyric mezzos often are difficult to tell apart from larger-sized sopranos. You’d be surprised by how bright lyric mezzo soprano voices can be (or how dark soprano voices can be); the color of these voice types can be very similar. The difference lies in the tessitura and amount of full-throttle power. If you want to hear a dark-colored soprano sing “All by Myself,” check out Jonalyn Viray’s version: It’s true that Pia’s using more brassy quality in her coordination, which will increase her volume, but I think this video is a pretty accurate representation of how powerful a good-sized soprano would sound singing this song. A non-dramatic soprano is just not going to have as much weight up there as Pia does (and Pia does not sound like a dramatic voice, which means she must be some kind of mezzo). This is also a good demonstration of tessitura differences; Jonalyn has notably more ease, not necessarily because she’s a better vocalist (I don’t intend to compare who’s better), but because her tessitura is higher. Note how she goes for the F5 three times; her voice is comfortable there!)


  25. Okay, if you’re not sick of me by now(!):

    I was watching American Idol with some friends yesterday, who pretty much never watch Idol (I needed my fix, so I asked to turn on their TV! =P), and I was really fascinated by their responses! I mostly agreed with their opinions, but I was surprised by how quickly they made snap judgments and decided whether they liked or disliked performances. Maybe because I am a singer, but I really try to give people the benefit of the doubt and try to see the up-sides in their performance before making a conclusion, but halfway into one of the performances, my friend said, “This is not that good. I mean I can’t do better, but this is top 12/13 material? Really?”

    I usually don’t try to make judgments off of recaps, but my friends decided very quickly from that the recap that they liked Pia, Stefano, and Scotty (although we also saw Scotty’s performance in full). My friend’s favorite was Scotty; she said she almost doesn’t want him to win because she doesn’t want fame to change him. (Yes, she got that attached that quickly!) She was amazed to see that deep voice coming from such an “adorable” young man who still has a bit of a “baby face” (her words, not mine!).

    Their comments for the other performances ranged from flat-out “ewww” (at least twice) to “no comment” (and/or comments on non-vocal aspects, such as fashion or make-up) to “isn’t this singer just yelling?”

    I won’t relay the comments (I don’t want to be hurtful, even if the comments aren’t mine!), but needless to say, outsider opinions are very interesting. Something to store in my memory bank. =P


  26. malden,

    I had to jump on here to tell you that I am fully aware that Patsy Cline never lived to record Blue. I even mentioned that Haley said it after her performance. My point is that I simply did not like the copycat nature of her performance. If you go on youtube and listen to Patsy Cline, then you will immediately recognize just how much Haley imitated her. While she sang well technically, I thought it was a pale imitation of the original.


  27. Louise,

    You are a shining example and an inspiration (and a hoot) to me.
    Thank you for your service.


  28. Found a Starbucks and that means ATT wireless. Thanks for your comments everyone. Much appreciated. I probably will miss the Results Show tonight. I will be dining with friends. Oh darn – I forgot to add a blog topic for the Results Show.


  29. Okay everyone – you will have to add your comments here after the Results Show. I am meeting friends for dinner and I’m late. So sorry!! Vacation=off schedule!


  30. I hope everyone has had a chance to check out the studio versions of these songs on iTunes. If you don’t use the service often you may not realize their free previews have grown in length in the last few months to 90 seconds for songs that are over 2 min and 30 seconds. Shorter songs retain the old 30 second preview format. I listened to all of the previews and purchased Pia’s. It is interesting to note that while every other contestant’s studio version sounds considerably better than their live performance, Pia’s sounds about the same. No, that’s not a criticism, it’s a compliment. She gave it all she had and didn’t require a lot of studio enhancement to puff her version up. All in all, no matter whom you like in this contest, this group of studio versions, more than any I have heard in past seasons, makes these kids sound like stars. I know MCL is fond of Stefano and I think she will be quite pleased with his studio version. I recommend that she make it the first download to her new iPad. (I’m not jealous, nooo) You can hear the distinctive sound of a Stevie song that was missing for me from his live performance. His song runs about four and a half minutes so you get a lot for your buck twenty nine. You could also tell where Paul was trying to go, something that was completely lost on me in his live performance. Aston sounds much better, and you can tell she is singing a Diana Ross song and Haley’s Blue isn’t half bad, with a few notable exceptions.

    Pia was an absolute delight last night. Did you notice that J-Lo was verclipsed after Pia’s performance? She couldn’t speak for several seconds when her turn came. I was concerned about Pia’s song choice when I first read it here from Mindy’s list. I knew from an interview that she is a wedding singer and takes inspiration from Celine Dion, so I assumed she had sung her material many times before. Still I was afraid that too much of this song would be too high for the most appealing part of her voice for my taste. Wrong. I hope that she will take a departure from the Diva song style and do something completely unexpected.

    As a side note, I think it’s pretty smart to be a combination makeup artist and wedding singer. She probably sings a few songs at the beginning of the service, after having done the wedding party’s makeup and then joins her band as entertainment for the reception. Three paychecks. I’ve never seen this combination before. Having worked as a wedding singer probably explains her stand and deliver style that MCL offered improvement suggestions for. I like her suggestions regarding arm movements and a simple move to the front of the mike stand. I wouldn’t like to see her adopt Paul’s style though.


  31. I am going to just make one more attempt to clarify what I objected to in Haley’s performance of Blue. I promised myself that if I came back here to participate in season 10, that I would not try to compare the contestants or take offense when they chose to perform songs done by my all time favorite artists.

    Maybe I can illustrate what my issue was with Haley by making a comparison to Casey and James’ performances. Both of these young men took on great songs from legendary singers. Casey did Joe Cocker’s With a Little Help From My Friends. What I loved about Casey, is that he was intuitive enough to realize that the greatness of Joe Cocker really came from the raw power and emotion that he put into his performances. He took that quality and brought it to his own performance, however he managed to put his own unique stamp on his version of this song. He did it his way and made it original.

    James also managed to take Maybe, I’m Amazed and make it his own with his distinctive singing style. He showed an amazing falsetto amidst some of the raw power in his voice. He took that song, reworked it completely and did it his way. That’s why no one heard me even mention any comparison to either Joe Cocker or Paul McCartney in my reviews of their performances.

    The difference between what they did and what Haley did is that they did it their way. Haley sounded as though she listened to Patsy Cline’s performances and copied every yodel and growl and note verbatim. I know that Patsy Cline never got to record this song, however Haley was doing her best to be a clone of this great singer. That’s not what I want to hear. I gave her props for singing well, but I want to see originality and creativity. Trying to be a modern version of Patsy Cline is not what I want to hear. It’s not about being insulted or anything like that. She didn’t sing a Patsy Cline song, because she never got to record it before she was tragically killed in a plane crash. Go to youtube and listen to any of the videos of Patsy Cline and you will see that this was a note for note copy of the way she sings. That’s why I reacted so negatively. I would very much like to know who this young lady is, what kind of artist she wants to be. I hope I find out next week.


    You and I are in agreement about Paul. I didn’t get it, either. He really dropped the ball with this performance. If he wants to slide across the stage, then he needs to make sure that the vocals don’t go down the drain. Nothing about this performance worked for me.


    I will have to check out the songs in itunes. I recently was pleased to discover that they now give a minute and a half previews for longer songs. Long overdue! I think Pia just needs to stop raising her head when she goes for the higher notes. MCL pointed that out in her critique and it’s an important issue. If she keeps her head level, then those high notes will sound much richer because her vocal cords won’t be compromised. I am not surprised to hear that she sounds just as good live as on her recording. She is a truly accomplished vocalist. Anyone who can pull off a Celine song, is worth watching! However, now I am ready to hear something different next week.

    I have a feeling that Ashthon will be in the bottom and maybe Karen or even Paul or Jacob. It all depends on whether or not they have a big enough fan base and who votes in the greatest numbers. There could be surprises. With this group, anything can happen. I think that Casey, James, Scotty and Pia delivered the goods and should be safe.

    I would really like to see Naima stay in this competition. Her performance of Umbrella showed some exceptional performance skills and real creativity and freshness. I hope she will remember to nail the vocals and then get the movements down. She has something so unique and compelling when she is on stage.


  32. That said, I hope she learned a lesson that she is not ready to dance and sing right now.

    Sara, many feel this way, but I really need to disagree. I researched her bio and she has an extensive background in dancing, including being a dance teacher. Naima also plays in a Reggae band and she doesn’t stand still at the mic!! Her background story failed to mention her Bachelor Degree in dancing. She has so much to offer, and I hope she will make the tour!

    I have also suggested that Nigel hire her to choreograph for “So You Think You Can Dance.” She specilaizes in Hip Hop, Stepping, and other unique dances. She knows how to breathe properly, but I think she was nervous! Did you see how excited the producers were to work with her.

    My Grandchildren like Casey, Scotty, and James. I can see these three in the TOP 5. Pia has a gorgeous voice but needs a fast tempo song more in the line of Carole King or Carly Simon. She could do Katy Perry or Sei$ka and blow them away. I loved Haley’s dress.

    I am wondering if Thia and Karen’s fan bases will be there for them? Nice performances, not great. Jacob had an off night, IMO. While James surprised many. Stefanio wins my heart with all that energy, but I would like a diffrent type song next time.

    It was an enjoyable show, but I think Ashthon should have her bags packed.


  33. bizzee247, Diana Rosee sang that song on Oprah’s show last week and did a lovely job. I really liked it, but Ashthon couldn’t seem to get control of it.

    Mindy and Vonnie, I was also disappointed in Paul’s performance. I commented that he really didn’t fit in tonight. It was almost like he was high. No offense to his fans, please. He is such a nice looking man, but Naima needs to give him some dance lessons! :o)

    Haley is a pretty girl, and as mentioned I loved her dress; however, something was missing in her performance. Mindy, I think you hit on what it is. Also, thank you for your extensive details on the performances. Lauren comes on a bit aggressive, but she may improve as the show goes on. I like the sweet nature of Thia and Karen, and see them as an asset on the tour.

    This is an exciting season thus far!


  34. I grew up on the MOTOWN SOUND and know it is Diana Ross!! Sorry! Looking forward to your review, MCL!


  35. Mindy,

    The great sadness is that Patsy Cline died so young and tragically and was not able to record this amazing song. It was wonderful that it could be utilized to introduce LeAnn Rimes to a new generation. I think that Haley’s version serves to pay homage to a legendary singer. And, I enjoyed this performance by Haley much more than what she did a week ago.


  36. MCL — Yay for coffee shops! Have a wonderful dinner with friends! 🙂 ❤


    As requested, my comments for the results show will go here! =P

    The bottom 3 is all girls tonight. Not too surprising, actually. All three of these women have been predicted by at least one commentator to be among the first to go.


  37. Mindy,

    Listening to the judges’ comments led me to reflect more on your observations about Haley. I didn’t mind at all that she sung in the style of Patsy Cline. I enjoyed her performance for what it was. However, she would do well to heed the judges’ comments tonight and begin to find her own style. One of Siobhan’s great downfalls last year is that she wanted to do any and everything until no one could figure out who she was as an artist. Siobhan and Haley both seem concerned about being “boxed” in, but as the judges pointed out, it’s more about finding their “lanes.”


  38. Sue,

    I understand where you are coming from and don’t see this as an insult or disrespectful to Patsy Cline. I had a number of issues with Haley’s performance. It’s ironic, since I am the one who gets called out at times for only liking perfect pitch and vocal technical skill. Haley had those qualities, but the performance didn’t work for me on a lot of levels.

    There will only be one Patsy Cline and Leann Rimes knows it, too. I don’t think she was trying to replace her and I can see your point about it being a sort of homage to her. Patsy was just born with this voice, a true gift from God, and she made it look so easy as she showed off a stunning range, beautifully realized lower register, amazing high notes, yodels, growls and more. She could do it all. If she had lived I think she would have become a legendary pop singer, although she could also do r&b soul, even some rock, just about anything.

    I thought about my first reaction to Haley in Hollywood week. She struck me as someone who was a very self-conscious singer with a lot of affectations. She seems to like showing all of the technical aspects of her voice, but forgets to connect with the words of the song. She likes to do some soulful runs and display her range and this week she showed off her yodeling, growls and country voice. The problem for me is that I feel nothing when she sings. Blue is not a happy song, yet she was smiling incongruously while she sang it. I wish that she would have listened to Patsy’s recordings and watched her performances on youtube. Then she would have realized that this woman not only had one of the greatest voices ever, but also knew how to tell a story with that voice and share the emotion and feeling like no one else.

    I am listening to Leann Rimes singing Blue on youtube as I write this. Haley basically did her version of the song, which as you said was like a homage to Patsy Cline.

    I can have strong opinions, but I always try to respect everyone else’s opinions, too. You liked Haley’s performance and I hear you. We can disagree and still enjoy chatting with each other!

    Right now I am listening to youtube and Blue Moon of Kentucky by the lady herself, Patsy Cline. Thank goodness she left us all these great performances in the short time she was with us.


  39. Sue,

    I didn’t see your last comment before I wrote my last response. I think America got confused with Haley going country this week. They see her as an r&b, soul singer. I think you hit on something by bringing up what happened to Siobhan last season. It is true that the viewers didn’t seem to know who Siobhan was or what kind of singer she wanted to be. It is so important to know who you are and have a real artistic sensibility or identity. It’s okay to show some versatility, but going too far from what is your true genre of music can sometimes be a problem.

    Also, the simple truth is that this is a really strong group of singers. The competition will be fierce and song choice and performance style and genre of music are all factors that will be important going forward.

    Grammie Keri,

    I don’t know if I should be posting such long comments. Gene was talking about brevity and that is something that I fear I do not have! Now I feel a little nervous when I write so much. It’s just that I enjoy the discussion so much. I always think of something else and can’t wait to come on here and share it again. If you read my most recent posts, then you will see that I thought more about Haley and realized that I have other issues with her singing. I am trying to keep an open mind and give all these young people enough time before I choose a favorite or favorites.

    James Durbin is a perfect example. I didn’t think he could impress me, but he sure did it this week! I hope that maybe my example of his performance and Casey’s helped to illustrate what I felt was missing in Haley’s performance. You have to be yourself, figure out who you are as a singer and then bring that to your performances. Take a great song from a legendary singer and then put your own unique stamp on it, give it your best interpretation, do it “your way, if you will! That’s what I am looking for.

    I was so surprised to learn that Naima has a dance background! Thanks so much for providing all of the information about this talented young woman. Now I know why she looked so good while she was dancing. I was thinking to myself – this girl is a natural! To address the issue of breathing and losing her pitch while dancing it could be nerves as you said, but it sounded like a breathing issue. It’s possible that the nerves made her forget to breathe properly. She seemed to know it as soon as the judges said it.

    I was really disappointed in Paul’s performance. Maybe he is more comfortable with a band. I think that I saw a tweet from him on MJ’s blog about missing his guitar. MCL also mentioned some vocal issues that she heard in his performances. While his voice is distinctive, I am beginning to wonder if he can hold his own in this talented group.

    I am with J in loving Pia. She has the kind of voice that I truly love, but I don’t want to get too emotionally invested this early in the process. I remember how hard I took it when Siobhan went out in the sixth spot last season. I am hoping that Pia can keep bringing it. I do think she should change it next week. She can do more than we have seen and it might be a good idea to dial it back a little.

    Your grandkids have good taste! Casey, Scotty and James are great! I almost think that Scotty can do no wrong, although MCL did discuss some vocal technical issues. There is always room for improvement. I think Scotty just was born with this incredible bass/baritone and probably doesn’t even know everything it can do yet! He has such a slight build, yet that voice has a depth of tone and beauty that gives me chills! And I don’t like country music! He has a good ole boy southern charm, a kind of “aw shucks” attitude that is sure to win over America. He is in this for the long haul.


  40. Mindy, I enjoy reading your long posts. I’m going to have to go back and listen to some of Patsy’s recordings. She was indeed an amazing singer.

    I think what’s happening now is that a lot of of the contestants are struggling to find their footing on the stage. There’s a lot of insecurity. JLo unfortunately called Ashston a “diva,” and so what did Ashston do? She picked Diana Ross as her “inspiration.” Randy told Jacob to “bring down the church,” and so what did Jacob do? He brought in a gospel choir. JLo told Karen that she brought “flavor,” and so what did Karen to? She went for the Selena song and look. Those who want to move forward in the competition need to find their own voices.


  41. In my mind at the moment, the top three are Casey, Scotty and James. The girls haven’t even come close – none of them have managed to put a stamp on what they do or are real stand-outs. That’s not to take away from Pia and and the stellar singing – but she is not yet really distinctive so I could say that was her if I just heard her voice.

    Haley – I really enjoyed this, but I also love Blue by Leann Rimes and I agree it was a copy – maybe that’s why I liked it so much. However I don’t get all the Patsy Cline imitation/karokee remarks as she never sung this song, even the ones on You-tube that say Patsy are actually Leann. It’s Leann she sounds like to me, not Patsy and I’d bet that it was Leann’s version of the song she listened to, not any other different songs by Patsy.

    A word for Thia – I love her voice but she is doing this far too young – a couple of years on with more performances under her belt and maturity she would hone her stage skills. I really hope she can benefit from the mentoring/coaching being offered and not just get steam rollered.

    There are always diverse messages about changing things, staying true to your self, staying in your lane, sticking to your genre,providing variety which can prove really confusing. Do you do a Scott and Pia have done and sing songs within a narrow range and get labelled as one trick ponies, or go with Niami, Haley and change it completely each time and get labelled as not knowing who they are.

    Personally I don’t see why a singer should be stuck in one genre (Country or Rock say) but they should take whatever is special for them from one to the other so they are still recognisably them.

    I think Siobhan did do this last year, but was sabotaged by the judges. James is doing this now with great results.

    Scott can stay in his (country) lane but needs to vary the songs a bit over the weeks. Perhaps in these early stages when there is no chance of him going he should try something a little difference. I know the judges didn’t agree but I loved him in the Las Vegas – I say no – it was entertainment.

    Oh and finally I agree with Sue – don’t believe Diana Ross was Ashton’s hero/idol – wrong age group/style but it was due to the Judges comparison she choose that song. And that might have gone for Thia as well.


  42. You can to listen to the full-length studio versions of the Idol songs on this page (although they can’t be downloaded):


  43. I like this group of contestants this year and I cannot help but wish that Ashton had chosen different material.

    Once again, the men seem to have a better chance this year so far. I read somewhere that Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and to a lesser extent Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson) have left such a large imprint on American Idol that recent women contestants have a difficult time standing out as voters tend to compare them to these icons. However, voters do not seem to have a problem with choosing male contestants with similar styles three years in a row.

    I am amazed how after a year we are reminded of what happened to Siobhan last year (and that the song that ended her run almost ended another young contestant’s run last night). Perhaps they should retire that song?


  44. Barbara,

    I agree with you 100% regarding singers being stuck with a genre as well as the mixed message that comes with the “one trick pony label.” That notion is based in one of Kara’s remarks to Siobhan after they decided to draw a target on her for elimination because she was a threat to Crystal. There was no serious flaw with her performance that night but she was targeted for elimination. The same targeting happened to Melinda Doolittle when she became a threat to the more marketable, but far less skilled, Jordan. I am thankful that Kara wasn’t around when Ray Charles decided to do a little country or we may have never heard “Georgia on my Mind.” There are so many more examples, but that one makes the point


  45. Mindy,

    I posted a message for you in the last blog topic to expire from the board but you may not have seen it. Long story short, regarding brevity, I was referring to myself, not you or anyone else and it’s a running joke between Louise and me. That’s all. No need to be self conscious.

    I find myself in the uncomfortable position of defending Haley. I haven’t found much to like about any of her Idol performances and I can’t believe that they keep encouraging her to do more of the same. I hope that this side of Haley will make an appearance on the Idol stage. This is a little video she made in her room, singing to her web cam in 2008. If you watch all of it, you will see some very appealing aspects to her singing voice. I don’t care for the whole bump and grind style she has adopted now.

    I’m not sure how else she could have performed Blue than the way it was arranged when Leanne Rimes did it originally. Not that it benefited the song, but it has quite a bit of Haley’s affectations applied to it. Frankly, I’m not sure I buy into the notion that Mr Mack wrote this song for Patsy Cline in the first place. His name doesn’t appear in the writing credits on Leanne’s “Blue” album. Leanne clearly did the song in Patsy’s style, which endeared her to Patsy’s fans rather than alienating her from them. This isn’t an unusual phenomenon that only applies to Leanne Rimes either. When Patsy had her car accident, Loretta Lynn performed Patsy’s songs on the radio in a tribute to her. Patsy and Loretta became best friends and toured together as part of the same show from then until her untimely death, at which time Loretta began singing some of Patsy’s songs in during her live performances. I had a chance to see her a few years ago and she was still doing it then. The fans still loved it.

    BTW, if you like Patsy Cline, you like country music.


  46. J

    Thank you for your very interesting composition regarding voice classification. I learned a lot from it and, as a recovering audiophile, can relate the sound production of the human voice to the reproduction of sounds by audio equipment. There are many parallels.

    I know you sing J, but if it’s not being too personal may I ask how you came by your obvious expertise, skills and knowledge of singing?


  47. Gene W,

    I have dial-up; can you give me a play-by-play commentary on the song you posted of Haley’s?

    I really like Haley, she is one of my favorite girls this year…I’m afraid the judges are going to run her out on the same pole they run so many of the singers out on who don’t fit the mold they want them to be! Randy!!!

    To All,

    I’m really confused about something, and this could akin to flat spots or whatever; but why is it important for singers to sing out of their lanes? Let’s take Scotty, we all know, he knows, the producers waiting on him to finish idol knows, this boy is going to sing country music…why should he have to sing pop or R&B? That would be like telling Casey, now next week let’s hear a little Randy Travis from you??? I am asking this bacause I really don’t know why it is important to have one sing something out of their genre! Does it show more technical aspects of one’s voice? I’m clueless!


  48. I didn’t know there were that many a’s in because! Spell check please!!!


  49. Now I am a little disconcerted by some of the comments in response to my take on Haley’s performance of Blue.


    I know that you are my big brother, however when I say that I don’t like country music, it means that I don’t like country music! I like Patsy Cline. It’s about the voice for me, as I have said countless times. Also, Patsy Cline did start crossing over more into pop ballads before her death. Patsy did covers of songs like Always, You Belong To Me and also did songs like Sweet Dreams, I Fall to Pieces and others. She was starting to move more into pop and even did a song that is one of my favorites called Strange. It’s a pop/soft rock song that showed off her versatility and what she might have done had she lived. Yes, she started off as a country singer and that was what made her famous but she was much more than that.

    The reason I didn’t know about Patsy Cline was because I never listened to country music as I was growing up. That’s because I never liked it. I discovered her decades after her death when I happened to see a documentary about her life. The moment I heard that unbelievable voice, I was blown away. Since then I have tried to read everthing I could about her and have listened to all of her songs. When she sings a country tune, I can listen to it because of the power and timeless beauty of her voice.

    Now, as far as this issue of Haley, Leann Rimes and Blue. I was going to come on here and let Sue know that I listened to Leann Rimes sing Blue on youtube. I was quite impressed by it. I feel the homage paid to Patsy, but I can also hear her own great voice. She is a natural country singer, which Haley is not. Apparently, America felt the same way and that’s why this popular girl found herself in the bottom three. I don’t think it’s who she is. I am not sure where this debate is going with a singer being forced into one genre or being labeled or the judges not knowing who a singer is and why Siobhan suffered the fate that she did. There’s been so much said that I hardly know to whom I should respond at this point.

    The bottom line is that I enjoyed hearing Leann Rimes singing Blue. I do think that Haley did her version of the song. It also happens to be a lot like Patsy Cline’s singing style when she did country songs. Her yodel and growls were her trademarks. It’s not sacrilege for anyone else to sing it like Patsy or Leann or whoever, but you are risking being compared to them. That’s not unreasonable. I wish people would not read more into what I am trying to say. I have mentioned other things that bothered me about Haley’s performance, so let’s please not make this all about Patsy Cline. If I feel that she has a lot of affectations and doesn’t come across as real to me, then that’s how I feel. It’s not as though I am accusing her of a capital offense.

    This is when I get frustrated. I read people saying things that are clearly meant for me, without addressing me directly. So now I will answer in kind. I did not say that Haley sang a karaoke version of Patsy Cline. Please do not put words in my mouth. If I have the belief that it was an imitation of Patsy/Leann, then that’s what I think.

    We should be able to disagree and still respect each other’s opinions. Now I will opt out of this particular discussion, because I don’t feel that there is anything more for me to say. I have made my point, explained it literally to death and don’t feel like defending myself any further.


  50. Hi Vonnie,
    The video is of teenage Haley in 2008 singing the song “Like a Star” by Corinne Bailey Rae. She is just sitting on the edge of her bed looking like a cute kid and singing to the web cam in her computer. The accompaniment sounds like maybe a karaoke track, or some sort of voiceless track of the original instrumentation of the song. I’m not sure I can describe her singing the song in a way that does it justice but I would say it is soft and sweet, more so than the original with several words and phrases that demonstrate a nice tonal quality to her voice. It’s not perfect by any means, but very nice. It may fall into the category that Mindy was displeased with in that the only element of the song that differs from the original is the singer. Sometimes that’s enough for me and this is a pretty stylized song that would be hard to sing another way, and it’s a kid in her room singing karaoke, so, taken in context I think it’s pretty good.

    I would like to see her tone down the vamp a little and just sing. I believe it would serve her well.

    If you have a library nearby you could go there once in a while to catch up on things that you need higher speed access for. Maybe carry some headphones or ear buds with you for private listening. The video is easy to find on You Tube. I hope you get a chance to watch it some time.

    The genre question is interesting. I think it can show versatility, which can be useful in a performer’s career, like when Carrie Underwood got to sing with Heart. It sometimes brings out great performances and even changes in appearance that may help a contestant apeal to a larger audience. One of my favorite Allison Iraheta performances was “Someone to Watch Over Me.” There are many renditions of this song but she brought a special, vulnerability to it that was very touching. She also wore a dress and had her hair toned down a bit which appealed to some of the older audience who had been put off by her beyond her years style, both in music and dress prior to that. Did you know that Scotty performed pop songs for his initial audition before the producers? One was by Frank Sinatra and the second escapes me now, but it was pop, not C&W. There is a point where Blues, Rock, Country, Gospel and R&B cross each other’s path. Most of what I like is near that point.

    How’s old Paint?


  51. Mindy,

    Please don’t feel disconcerted about Haley…jeepies, we can’t all like the same people, and plus it makes it more fun if we don’t. Look at how boring our conversations would be if we all liked one contestant; this show and these kids bring out passion in those of us who love this show!

    Oh Gosh, I wish I knew as much as MCL, you, Jeanne, J, Gene W, and many others on here about music, I don’t, so I am totally lost when it comes to be able to hear in tune.

    If you don’t like someone it is more than okay, don’t apologize for that, and if someone else likes the person that you don’t, well that is where compassion and understanding needs to come into play.

    For whatever reason Haley appeals to my ears…please don’t feel that you need to tip-toe around me! Heaven knows I wade right in when I don’t like a contestant!!! 🙂


  52. Gene W,

    Thank you so much for the answer to my question…I didn’t know that Scotty had auditioned with another genre of music; now you have sprked my interest, I would love to hear Scotty sing a Frank Sinatra song!

    I have always been puzzled by the idea of a contestant singing out of their lane, but now it makes perfect sense to me; thank you!

    Old paint is doing well, thanks for asking!


  53. Mindy and Vonnie,

    One reason that I enjoy the conversations so much here is that everyone here, including both of you, bring such interesting perspectives to them. It helps me to see the performances in a new, and often more informed light. I often find my own thoughts evolving as the conversations evolve. Unfortunately, a lot of nuance tends to get lost when we’re only dealing with words on a screen, but I want to reiterate that I enjoy reading everyone’s posts. 🙂


  54. Gene, just wanted to tell you that I’ve enjoyed reading your posts this year. Thanks for the link to Haley’s video. I have to admit that I liked her this week more than I have since her original audition, and I was prepared not to. It was nice to see that she could handle the country sound, which was an unexpected choice for me, and that she could do the yodel, which I don’t think the song would be really successful without. (I know I can’t do it! But of course, she’s probably been practicing it since she was a kid.)

    Obviously, she’s made it one of her trademarks to do some unusual things with her voice; but I hope that she comes to understand, along with Jacob and other “over-singers”, that a little bit goes a long way. The growl, etc., seems to be a part of who she is as a singer, and I’m okay with that, as long as she doesn’t come to rely on it but employs it for emphasis, etc. But she’s young (the YouTube video made me realize just how young, because that’s only 3 years ago! She actually seems younger than the 17 she must have been at the time.) Perhaps she will outgrow it in time, or perhaps she will have some good producers guiding her and we will find her developing more than I expected she would. (I was relieved to see her sing in a fully erect position throughout the song; her first few auditions had her leaning forward and sticking her butt out like a chicken, which was starting to drive me nuts! Nor can it be very good for vocal production.)

    There are still other singers I like better, but I think I’ve got to maintain a more open mind than I had about her. And of course, it’s sort of silly, sometimes, how we expect these very young kids to simply trust that who they are is good enough! I’m more than twice their ages and I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure it out! 🙂


  55. Mindy,
    It appears that I have upset you. It was completely unintentional and I offer my sincerest apology. We share many similar musical taste and even common experiences and I have always enjoyed talking with you. I hope that will continue long into the future, even if Mom always loved you more.

    If it ever gets really slow here, let’s talk about a production style known as “The Nashville Sound.”


  56. Vonnie,
    I was glad to offer an opinion; maybe some others will answer that question as well.
    Your remarks were very flattering but I don’t belong in the group of posters that you lumped me in with. I’m definitely unworthily of being grouped with MCL herself. I’m just an unsophisticated, high mileage music fan. Your instincts are as good as mine any day of the week and I always enjoy reading your post and hanging out with you under the “mirror ball” in the off season.


  57. Vonnie,

    I decided to take myself out of this discussion because it was getting to be a bit much. However, I feel that I should respond to your kind words. Yes, we should all respect our differences, but that is not happening with a few people. When I get misquoted and accused of saying something that I did not and no one even mentions the fact that I actually stated that Haley’s vocals were technically good, then I have a problem with that.

    Why are some deliberately focusing on my criticism of Haley without acknowledging the good things I said? I made a point to say that, in the spirit of MCL, I would offer some praise along with the criticism. Yet that has not even been mentioned. To read some of the comments here, one would think that I said that I hated Haley, hated her voice, hated everything about her and wanted her to fall off the face of the earth! There are a few people who seem to be overreacting to what I said and not allowing me to have my point of view.

    I did not come back to this site to get involved in this kind of thing. You know what happened last season and I promised myself that it would never happen to me again, that I would not be a party to it. So I came back with a real commitment to being as objective and fair as possible. I indicated in additional comments about Haley, that I would try to keep an open mind next week. So what on earth is the problem? That I criticized her at all? Well, that’s too bad for the people who think it’s not okay to have another opinion about her. I have not criticized or taken to task anyone who likes Haley and has enjoyed her performances. I have no problem with that. I just want the right to have myself heard.

    MCL has never felt insulted or upset when I happened to disagree with her. She has allowed me to have my own point of view. She has set the tone by allowing us the dignity of having our own opinions.


    The only thing I wanted to say to you is a simple thank you. Thank you for hearing me and allowing me to hear you. You are the reason that I decided to listen to Leann Rimes sing Blue. It gave me great insight and enabled me to understand how it might have influenced Haley’s performance. I also thought that Leann did a great job of interpreting this song, conveying the emotion of the song and also tipping her hat in a lovely way to the late Patsy Cline. You helped me to see where you were coming from and we were able to find common ground. No harsh words, no accusations.

    Finally, I think it’s a great idea for artists like Loretta Lynn to pay tribute to Patsy Cline by singing songs the way she did. The only problem is that I never got to see it or hear it, because as I have already said, I don’t like country music. When I watch this show, that’s the time when I watch country music because their are always one or two country singers each season. I try my best to not allow my bias to interfere with my feelings about their performances. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes less so. If anyone here looked through my extensive music collection, they would find no country music, with the singular exception of a few sung by Patsy Cline. There are a millions of fans of country music. I don’t happen to be one of them, but once in a while there is a great singer who makes me willing to listen. Scotty is a perfect example this season.

    All I want is to have an enjoyable discussion and even disagree, but always with respect for everyone’s right to have their own opinion. I would like to be heard and I would appreciate it if people would take the totality of my comments into consideration and not quote snippets or blatantly erroneous distortions of what I said.


  58. Gene,

    Thanks for your kind words. I like you very much and would not want to lose my brother. I never had a real brother, so you are the next best thing!

    I would love to discuss the “Nashville Sound”! I have a feeling that you are going to help me realize that maybe there is some country music that I like. That could very well be true. Overall I have never been a fan of country, but there are always exceptions. Also, there was a form of music that was called “rockabilly” in the 50’s. I was too young to know about it, but as I have said before, I did go back when I became an adult and researched a lot of the early rock and roll music. It’s interesting because country and rock were kind of combined in the beginning. Even Elvis did country very early on in his career.

    The one person I was remiss in leaving out was the great Johnny Cash. Now that man had me listening! I loved his voice so much and loved his songs. Scotty’s deep bass/baritone voice reminds me of him. The other thing I wanted to say to you is how much I regret not knowing about Patsy Cline earlier in my life. I heard about her over the years, but never listened to her music. I closed myself off from country music for the most part, but when I saw this documentary of her life story, I was just astounded when I heard that voice. One hard lesson I learned from that is never to close yourself off to any kind of music. When she died I would have been in my early teens, but I was listening to doo wop and the girl groups and teen idols and Sam Cooke.

    I think you may be hinting that there are some aspects of country music that I do like. You may be right! I still hear the most pure country when I watch Idol. That’s one reason why I was determined to give Scotty a fair shot at winning me over. In the end, it wasn’t really that hard at all! His voice gives me chills. And this is coming from the one with the pitch perfect ear! I actually didn’t hear any breathing issues when he sang. Interesting, because I usually will pick up anything that is off with the vocals. However, his voice just transports me to another place.

    I must be changing because sometimes I don’t notice the little things that are off in the vocals this season. I am glad, because I don’t want to be a slave to perfect pitch and perfect vocals all the time. I just want to be thrilled. There are several singers this season who have done just that.

    How do you know that Mom always loved me more? 🙂


  59. Thank you for your kind words. I enjoy your post as well!

    What did you think of her singing in the video? Maybe you can help me describe it for Vonnie. She does appear to be younger there than the math would suggest. Taken in context of her “Idol Journey” to date, I agree that she was better this week than she has been in previous rounds. You have to look at each of them in the context of their previous performances I guess. Hopefully the pros will help her to understand the less is more principle for its too late.

    To help me try to follow Louise’ fine example, just know that I’m nodding in agreement with you and the chicken butt imagery is both true and hilarious. If she and Paul made it to the finales, it could be billed as Chicken Butt Vs Chicken Wing.

    My general impression of the week was that the contestants were under served by the high powered industry pros

    How did you add the smiley emoticon to your post?


  60. I wish we could edit, but the above post should be addressed to Jeanne.


  61. Thank you for posting the links to studio versions. I really like Paul McDonald’s studio version. I’ve never heard the song before. I think the parts where he sounded flat in the performance were meant to sound wistful. I’m not sure what he does with his voice in the recording although it sounds marginally flat, it sounds purposeful. I think that technique failed live. I really do think something was up with the soundboard mix that night because Karen sounded drowned out too. It was mentioned he moved around too much. After hearing the recording, I agree. This is the type of song where I think playing a guitar and not moving around too much would’ve helped. Maybe moved to a fixed spot during choruses/crescendos?

    His performance is without doubt my biggest disappointment because I loved the recording.


  62. Well, I actually checked out that link of Haley that she made at home. All I can say is – where has this girl been? Now that’s the Haley that I want to see. She seems so unaffected and real and very sweet. Her voice is gorgeous and without the affectations and those mannerisms. She really does have a very good voice. I caught a few things, but considering this was recorded at home and she didn’t have the benefit of any professional sound or anything, I was quite impressed.

    It’s all about keeping an open mind. I did it with Sue and in listening to Leann sing Blue, I really learned something. I have no problem with being open to anyone. I still don’t know exactly why my comments seem to set some people off. I honestly don’t get what all the fuss was about.

    I hope that this is the Haley that I get to see next week. However, I don’t know that I will even bother to write a critique of her singing. Unless I can be positive, I will just leave it at a “no comment”. Not that it will change anything, because something else I say will probably create another argument.

    It was a pleasure seeing this video.


  63. I can certainly relate to those of you who say you aren’t fans of country music in general but like certain country artists anyway. I’ve never considered myself a fan of country music, but I do like Scotty a lot! And when I really think about it, there are several country singers who I have always enjoyed, namely Willie Nelson (my very favorite!), Johnny Cash, and Patsy Cline. There is also a lot of current country music that I enjoy hearing but probably won’t ever buy. I’ve even watched the Country Music Awards a number of times just to see Carrie Underwood perform, and I am always surprised by how much I enjoy some of the music.

    When I was a kid, there were a lot of musical groups in the area where I grew up that we called “hillbilly.” That’s what I always equated with country and I really disliked it. But now, that type of music is referred to as “bluegrass,” and I still don’t usually like it–with the exception of the soundtrack from “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?” I’m not sure why I like that except perhaps because I really enjoyed the movie. Every summer there is a large bluegrass festival where I live. I actually went to it one year and realized that I still dislike it as much as I did when I was a kid.

    I always said I didn’t like opera either, but now as an adult, I have found an appreciation for some opera as well. If the singer is really, really good, and it’s a beautifully written piece, it’s hard not to appreciate the kind of music being performed.

    With the Idol contestants this year, I’m trying to keep an open mind from week to week. When I mentioned in a previous post who my favorites and least favorites were, I was simply referring to the performances from this week. I expect that will change from week to week until I can see that someone is consistently a favorite. For now, I think all of them are extremely talented and hopefully it will be a very entertaining season (unless the producers continue to give them arrangements which the contestants aren’t comfortable with–like Thia).

    And speaking of Thia, someone posted something about Thia being a product of pushy parents because she doesn’t seem as “engaged” as the other young performers. Perhaps Thia’s personality is just more reserved than Lauren and Scotty. I’m the mother of twin daughters who have distinctly different personalities even though they were raised the same way and had the same experiences growing up. People can be naturally outgoing or reserved and it has nothing to do with parenting. I don’t think anyone should jump to conclusions about Thia’s parents.

    Sorry Gene. I didn’t have to go to work this morning! 🙂


  64. Gene and Vonnie,

    I think you captured Haley’s video performance well in saying that it’s a girl sitting on her bed and singing, and Mindy’s use of the word “unaffected” applies as well. I’ll add to it by saying that she appears to be 15 or 16, not the 17 she was, and it seems like it’s the first time she is using this technology and she is somewhat shy about it, despite the fact that she can, obviously, erase it if she doesn’t like it. She appears to have the lyrics on her computer screen, because she looks over every once in a while — not because she doesn’t have the lyrics memorized, but for reassurance. None of Haley’s present confidence and presence is apparent. In some ways, it isn’t a good performance — there are little moments where she falters, or at least doesn’t keep the song moving in a consistent way. And yet, underneath the shyness, is a simple and clear voice.

    You know, vocal pyrotechnics started becoming popular through R&B 20 years ago, and singers like Christina Aguilera seemed to make it de rigeur, which I’ve never quite gotten. If you can do them, singers feel, it’s evidence of how good you are, and so they bring them out at every opportunity. I think it may also make them feel like they are adding their own individuality to a performance, and don’t the Idol judges harp on making the song your own, and finding your own musical style. For young singers, I think it’s hard to make the distinction. And as many times as the stripped down performances have gotten extraordinary praise, I think it probably takes some courage to do just that. It’s got to be tough — you have the possibility of being voted off each wee, and so there is enormous pressure to “make the right choices” — and of course, no one knows just what those right choices are until it’s over.

    By the way, I just rewatched her original audition, and it says she’s 18, while the website has her at 20. I assume that the website is the correct one, but it’s an interesting difference, especially given how young she seems on the video. She may have had a birthday in between, but not two!

    The smiley face appears when you type it, as in hyphen-colon-closed parentheses. 🙂 You won’t see it when you type it, you’ll jut see the characters, but the website software will convert it when it posts it.


  65. Mindy,

    I think I missed something in the mix of conversations, I’m not sure what the argument is, but none-the-less; keep your critique coming, this is how I and many others here learn the different techniques.

    I know nothing about proper singing technique, so if MCL, you, J, Jeanne, Gene w, and others don’t point it out; I don’t here it. So when you guys say something about someone’s voice or singing technique I try and listen to see if I can hear it.

    Where Haley is concerned, I just think she is cute as a button, I don’t like her stage antics, but I do like the rasp in her voice, she really has a Stevie Nicks vibe for me that I like, cause I really like Stevie Nicks. Plus, I don’t usually like the female singers, I’m usually all about the guys, but her voice has a deeper tone(?) that I like.

    So don’t feel bad critique away…this is how I learn!

    Now you know I won’t let you off the hook without giving you a horse analogy!!! 🙂

    I can understand the desire for perfection in a singing voice…if you were to sit with me at a horse show, you would see the same desire for perfection coming from me for a rider to connect with their horse and to bring out the very best that horse has to offer. While you would be just sitting there enjoying the beauty of the animal with out the restrictions of knowledge. That is me watching idol with you, you have the knowledge of singing techniques while I am blissfully ignorant to technique, so I am unaware that they are doing wrong, I’m just enjoying the song…does this make sense? However if while sitting at that horse show, I were to tell you and describe to you the techniques that I wanted to see and where the rider was falling short, you would see the horse and rider in a different light and then you would appreciate when you saw a rider being correct in their position and the effect that they had on the forward impulsion of their horse.

    So you say; but does the knowledge of technique spoil the ignorant bliss that I have going? No, not at all, if I wanted to stay blissfully ignorant, I would not be participating in this site…I would read somewhere else where proper technique was not a concern, the only concern of the day was what a contestant was wearing and what they said or did!!!

    So please, critique away!

    Gene W,

    You sell yourself too short…you are a walking music library, and I appreciate you trying to play-by-play Haley’s video for me!

    I love this site and enjoy so much everyone who participates and brings their knowledge to the table…you guys are the filler and I am the fluff!


  66. Don’t sell yourself short, Vonnie! I think your response to the singers is much more visceral than ours may sometimes be. I think you are much more in tune with what America in general thinks, and that is a very valuable thing you bring here. We can sometimes get caught up in the technicalities, but you just love on Taylor Hicks and Scotty, et al, without reserve. I think it’s actually great to be able to say, “I don’t know why, I just like this singer!” The why, at the end of the day, doesn’t really matter; if they bring you joy, does.


  67. Jeanne,

    Yeah! It is really fun to be blissfully ignorant about the technical parts of singing…and I mean that in a wonderful kind of way! I can just sit an watch a song unfold from one of these kids and not feel the constraints of correctness.

    I wish that I could sing and that I knew the difference of cause and effect of techniques, but I don’t…I always feel like apologizing to the person who has the unfortunate misfortune of sitting in front of me on Sunday mornings at church; here I am blarring in their poor ears…it’s sad really! I think I understand why the pew in front of me has become hauntingly vacant over the last little while???

    I can see where sometimes the technical aspect of singing can be burdensome to the person who can hear all of the mistakes, I know with riding the technical does sometime take away the joy of just being in the moment and loving the ride and rider for what they are! But, in the same breath that knowledge can make you sit back in awe of someone who is perfectly demonstrating the very technique that causes one to be completely pulled in to the song or the rider!

    I love the commentary here, I only wish I knew half of what you all are talking about! Sometimes (all the time) it is like you all are speaking Chinese and I’m talking in my southern slang!!! (really am a southern girl, so no offense to southerners) we have a language barrier when it comes to technical vs Vonnie’s ears!

    So I guess, please look over me when I am gushing over a performance that you all felt was like finger nails on a chalk board, lol.


  68. I found this old performance of Haley singing “Night and Day” (a jazz piece).

    I am VERY surprised. I had no idea she was this talented! I particularly like the lighter coordinations she uses and her sustained vibrato-less notes. As Mindy said, where has this Haley been? It’s refreshing, for example, to see how Haley shapes her phrasing primarily through use of dynamics (rather than adding excessive runs or the like) and keeps the melody uncluttered; her singing is very tasteful here.

    Her voice sounds much more pure in these old videos. I completely agree with Mindy that she “seems so unaffected and real and very sweet.” That comment applies very much to this video as well. I vastly prefer her without the overdone growl and some of the affectations she sings with nowadays (as Jeanne also made note of). Also noted by Jeanne, I like seeing her sing while standing up straight! Her current performance tic is distracting, and I know in the case of “Fallin’,” it gave me a notably more negative impression of her singing than her vocals alone would’ve.

    As Gene W said: “I would like to see her tone down the vamp a little and just sing.”

    Michael Slezak put it this way: “Now if she could just stop believing that every song needs to be delivered with the come-hitherness of Michelle Pfeiffer writhing on a piano top in The Fabulous Baker Boys.”

    (Needless to say, I laughed at loud at that quote!)


    Gene W and Vonnie,

    I believe the other artist Scotty mentioned singing was John Mayer. If you watched the Hollywood episode carefully, one of the times when Scotty was asked to “audition” for the other groups and sing, he actually sang part of “The Way You Look Tonight.” It was a very short moment, so people have probably forgotten, but contrary to popular belief, even at that point, Scotty was singing more than just “Your Man.”

    I’d love to see Scotty take a shot at jazz standards. I never thought of this before, but many of the famous male singers are likely baritones (Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Bing Crosby), and I think his tone would lend itself well to crooner-type songs.

    I also agree with Gene W that versatility is a major reason why we like to see singers take on different genres. Those genres are opportunities to bring out different vocal qualities and sides to singers’ voices.

    Also, both of you are selling yourself short! Your opinions are much valued here (and so are your generous personalities!), and I agree with Jeanne that we don’t always need to know why we like certain singers. I am of the type who wants to know, to break things down, and to pick out patterns to what I hear, what I like and dislike. I’m very systematic in that way, but sometimes, singers defy me, and I find myself thinking: “You know what? I don’t usually like this type of music or this singing style, but this singer moves me.”

    And those moments are priceless. They remind me of what really matters: feeling emotionally connected to someone else and the words they’re singing. No one can take away how a singer makes you feel. Don’t forget that; embrace it! 😀


  69. Dearest J,

    I am currently listening to the video you posted of Haley singing Night and Day. What a revelation! This is the Haley that I want to see! Who knew? I am not sure why she developed some of those affectations in both her vocals and performance style, but she doesn’t need them.

    I have heard my lady Ella Fitzgerald’s version of Night and Day. Of course, I have heard her sing every great classic pop standard. Don’t worry, I am not going to compare Haley to Miss Ella. She did a really wonderful version of this song. I am quite impressed. It’s nice to see these two videos, to flesh out more about this young woman. I really wish she would just come out and sing! She’s got the voice. Now I am definitely going to watch her with interest next week.

    A special thanks to you for appreciating the things I said about Haley after I watched her little web cam song. Now I don’t feel like Attila the Hun! Also, I love how Michael Slezak put it in describing how Haley needs to tone down the performance affectations. He does have a way with words. I was wondering how to find him, now that he isn’t doing the recaps anymore for


    I love, love, love your horse analogies! Keep them coming! Yes, I get exactly what you are saying. I love watching horse races, but I never think about any of the technical aspects involved in riding because I don’t know a thing about it. I am just focused on the awesome beauty and power of seeing a horse pounding down a racetrack with its legs stretched full out and the ripples of its muscles shining in the brilliant sunlight.

    When the movie Secretariat came out last year, espn showed a documenatry about this champion of champions. Of course, they replayed Secretariat’s historic run for the triple crown at Belmont in 1973. Just watching it again, I was on the edge of my seat, cheering and just reveling in a performance for the ages. One of the sportswriters said that, on that day, it was like God whispered in Secretariat’s ears and he rode like the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology. It was described as sheer perfection. The woman who was his owner, said that no one ever thought they would see him run like this. She said simply, on that day he just felt like running. He was in impeccable form, brisk and brimming with energy before the race. I was blessed to see it on tv with my family and we were jumping up and down and screaming like crazy. It really leaves you searching for words to describe the sight of this big red horse pulling away from the pack and gaining steam like a freight train. His jockey spoke about how he felt it in the horse, so he just allowed him to run. The sports commentators and writers watching, feared that he had made a terrible, fatal mistake, that Secretariat would run out of gas and collapse before the finish line. Of course, that never happened. He ran the race of his life and ran right into the history books for all time.

    I get what you are saying about how I hear the performances on Idol and how you do. In some ways, I think you may be more fortunate. I hear so much, so intensely, every tiny little thing and sometimes it makes it hard to just enjoy the singing. That’s why I love reading your comments. You reveal the joy of listening to the singing without the technical issues getting in the way. That’s why I agree with others here that your comments are visceral and real. You just say what you feel and it’s so nice. Keep on keeping on! Thank you for reaching out and not letting go of me. When I am hurt, my instinct is to go and hide.


    This whole issue of vocal pyrotechnics is interesting. I know that Cristina Aguilera was harshly criticized for her performance of the nation anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. The phrase “over singing” was used a lot. She also messed up the words. She put in so many histrionic runs and extra vocal acrobatics, that the meaning of the song was lost. I wonder if some of these young contestants feel the need to put in more theatrics when they sing. Jacob certainly overdid it when he performed I Believe I Can Fly. Some of the problem was that ridiculous arrangement. I sincerely hope that the producers dial it back a little for this coming week’s performances.

    I would love to hear Scotty sing a Frank Sinatra song! I like his simplicity. I am still wondering how I didn’t hear the breathing issues that MCL pointed out. I like to think that his voice is so amazing, that I just focused on that and nothing else. It’s funny because I was listening on youtube to the song Old Man River from the music Showboat. I heard Judy Garland’s version, which gave me chills. Every young singer should watch her if they want to learn about performing and interpreting the words of a song. She is the blueprint. Then I listened to Paul Robeson sing it in the original movie version from 1936. There isn’t much video of him singing. What is available is not the greatest sound quality, but nothing can hide that formidable voice. Listening to him sing Old Man River brought me to tears. I am not sure, but I think it’s his voice in the later movie version of Showboat, made in the early 50’s. They had another actor lip-synch it, but you can tell that it’s his voice.

    I also agree that Gene W has a lot to contribute to this sight. If all we had were people who discussed the technical aspects of the performances, then we would lose a lot on this site. Everyone makes a contribution and there is always something to learn. I don’t consider myself in the same company as MCL and J. I do have a certain amount of vocal technical knowledge and of course, the perfect pitch, but both of these women have made careers out of singing. They are the real experts.


  70. Mindy,

    Yes, what makes this website special is that everyone comes with their own perspective and is an intelligent and respectful contributor. It makes it fun.

    Michael Slezak is now at He still does the video commentary as well, although I’m not sure that I like the format as much as the one he did at ew. But the articles are just the same!


  71. Jessica Turner March 13, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Horse metaphors! I like those. My dad likes racing, but it still surprises me when he doesn’t notice if a horse is petite, muscular, etc. The only time he said he notices height (even live) is if they are neck and neck at the finish line. It totally surprises me that someone couldn’t notice the difference between a tall, long and lanky filly like Rachel Alexandra and a big, muscular Curlin, for example. For me it’s like the different between a mastiff and a bulldog. Of course, in the paddock and the post parade, I’m looking for the horses acting up or if they look sore or lame. I’m no lameness specialist but I can tell when the horses are short or tight behind. It still befuddles me that this doesn’t seem to affect their running.

    Looking forward to this week’s schedule. It’s spring break so I don’t have to teach class at night. I can actually sit down and relax to watch my shows!


  72. So, What’s the kids sing this week?


  73. Vonnie,

    I checked out MJs blog and she revealed that Nigel has decided not to have a live audience for the dress rehearsals. So no more song spoilers! BOOOO!


  74. Mindy…Boo’s right!!! I liked having the song spoilers, gave us something to talk about before the show came on! Blah, Nigel is no fun!


  75. Are you people serious? They send Kendra home – who is vocally perfect – and now you’re ragging on Haley? Who is genuinely talented – although American Idol gushes over several who can’t even hold or hit a note. Very distressing


  76. Hi nancy,

    Nope! I like Haley, she is one of my favorite girls…I liked Kendra too, I really wish that she would have stayed and Ashton would have went home!


  77. nancy,

    It’s not called ragging, it’s called have a different opinion. By the way, I don’t recall anyone saying Haley isn’t talented.

    Meanwhile Haley is still in the competition, so I don’t see any reason to be unhappy.


  78. Vonnie,

    I do have some information from MJs blog. The theme for this week will be the birth year for each contestant.


  79. Hi Nancy,

    I’m sorry that you got such an unhappy impression of the comments made about Haley’s performance in this thread. I’m not sure that you’ve read the entire thread. What you’ll find are critiques of all of the contestants’ performances. We have indeed had quite a spirited discussion about Haley’s AI and pre-AI performances with a variety of opinions expressed. I think that the general consensus has been that she’s quite talented and has much potential. The questions that have been raised have mainly focused on the choices she’s made in selecting and interpreting songs, especially “Blue.” I think that everyone would want her, and all of the other contestants, to shine tomorrow. Please feel welcome to join in the discussion.


  80. nancy,

    Sorry if my initial response seemed kind of brusque, however I just didn’t want to get into the discussion all over again. I don’t think there is any question that Haley is quite talented. I just think her song choice hasn’t been that good and some of the stylistic elements and mannerisms in both vocals and performance have not been that great.

    After watching the clips of her earlier performances, I can see that this young lady is blessed with talent. She just needs to find the right song that will let her voice shine.

    Also, this site encourages lively discussion and different opinions, although always with respect for everyone. I might also add that there were a number of people here who really liked both Kendra and Lauren Turner and were disappointed that they did not make it into the top 13. This is an extremely talented group and the competition has been fierce.

    I also join in welcoming your participation in the discussion!


  81. Nancy,

    One of the things that makes Idol an interesting subject for a forum is that we discover new things about the singers each week, and our discussions are a way of putting the disparate pieces together. None of these talented singers are perfect, polished performers at this point, and certainly we may notice things we’d recommend they change to attain the kind of success they are looking for. Especially if we like them — we want them to have the best chance of success possible.

    Sometimes we may be disappointed that an early favorite, like Andrew Garcia last year, doesn’t seem to be able to keep us consistently interested; in Haley’s case, I think we are all discovering that there is more versatility and sheer talent in her than we initially supposed. She was probably an interesting topic to some of us this past week because we suddenly had more new information about her — the two very different videos from, as well as the unexpected and quite good performance (depending on your point of view!) of a country song in the first week of the season. I, for one, am glad the discussion occurred, because it made two of our posters go seek the videos in question, and I probably wouldn’t have found them on my own.

    It is unlikely that any contestant will receive uniform reviews from all the readers of any given site; our experience here at MCL’s fabulous site certainly reflects that. Previous seasons have shown us that one person’s favorite is not at all high on someone else’s list. However, what we’ve all learned from that, I think, is that in matters such as these, personal tastes may seem incomprehensible but are nevertheless legitimate and must be respected. Speaking for myself, participating here has made me (I hope!) more considerate and understanding of viewpoints that I don’t share. It has also made me try to view these performances with a constructive eye, a la MCL, and to try to avoid destructive comments about them.

    One of the things that I cherish about this site is that everyone here is good-willed. That doesn’t mean that we don’t sometimes write silly, stupid things that we might later think better of; we are all human, after all. But I know that everyone means well. I am proud to call these people friends and think that if I had the opportunity to know each of them outside this site, I would enjoy their company.

    I second (or third or fourth?) the invitation to you to continue to post your thoughts and to set us straight when you think we are going astray. New perspectives are always welcome!


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