Carole King Week. Oh Dear, I Fear! Well, Maybe Not


I am a little nervous about the Carole King Theme for next week’s American Idol Top 6 show.

Depending what the approved song list looks like, this could be a great show or a hate show.

I love and adore Carole King. She is arguably one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

However, as memorable and catchy as her songs are, they are also layered with sophistication and depth within the hookie melodic line.

Below is a list of some of her songs, garnered from Wikipedia. Can you guess the selection of each singer?

Been to Canaan
Chains (song)
Child of Mine
Crying in the Rain
Don’t Bring Me Down (The Animals song)
Don’t Ever Change (song)
Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby)
Go Away Little Girl
Goin’ Back
Halfway to Paradise
He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)
Hey Girl (Freddie Scott song)
I Can’t Hear You No More
I Feel the Earth Move
I’m into Something Good
I cont.
If It’s Over
Is This What I Get For Loving You?
It Might As Well Rain Until September
It’s Going to Take Some Time
It’s Too Late (Carole King song)
Just Once in My Life
Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
The Loco-Motion
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
Nightingale (song)
Now and Forever (Carole King song)
Oh No Not My Baby
One Fine Day (song)
Only Love Is Real
Pleasant Valley Sunday
Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)
The Reason (Celine Dion song)
So Far Away (Carole King song)
So Much Love (song)
Some Kind of Wonderful
Sweet Young Thing
Take Good Care of My Baby
Time Don’t Run Out on Me
Up on the Roof (song)
Welcome to My Living Room
Where You Lead
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
You’ve Got a Friend

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

51 Responses to “Carole King Week. Oh Dear, I Fear! Well, Maybe Not”

  1. I can see Hailey doing (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman – unless she already did..for some reason that song is sticking out.

    Scotty – perhaps “Some Kind of Wonderful”……


  2. It’s sticking out because It has been done far too many times on this show. This is one song I could do without next week. 🙂


  3. I am a 70 year old lady and trying to remember words that went with the title is not as easy as it once was, with that being said here are my song suggestion based on the above titles:
    Jacob – Up on the Roof
    Lauren – One Fine Day
    Casey – I Can’t hear You No More
    Haley – Just Once in My Life
    Scotty – Go away Little Girl


  4. MCL the above was my first post. Just want to say I really enjoy you. I dicovered you the end of last year. This is only my seconed year with AI. My favorites are Casey and Haley. Yes I do vote, I can make about an hour then my hands say that is enough. Thanks for making AI special for me. Karen


  5. Jessica Turner April 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Lauren already did Natural Woman this year. I think Haley could do it better justice.

    Here is her website and complete discography:
    You can also look up her songs as covered by others.

    Scotty – “Take Good Care of My Baby” – This is an early Beatles recording: I can see it done country. It is sweet, like him, a little flirtatious, but the lyrics do have a sadness about them. If he could do both (the paradox of art), it could be really good.
    Casey – “Child of Mine” – might lend itself to his style if he can reach in and find his inner sensitive spot. He could definitely have a “moment.” “Up on the Roof” would be good too. James Taylor & Carole King acoustic recent Troubador tour:
    Jacob – the only song I could see him picking or doing is “Brother, Brother” – if doesn’t do it without restraint he will ruin it though.
    Haley – I personally think she can do justice to Carole King. “Brother, Brother” if Jacob doesn’t snatch it up. “It’s Too Late”
    Lauren – She can sing anything, but she has too break out of her teenage cage and try to touch her own soul so she can touch others’. If she can’t, maybe she should sing one of the songs Carole King wrote for the Monkees, like “Something Good” or “The Porpoise Song.” Even better yet, she can sing one of the songs CK wrote for the musical adaptation of some of Maurice Sendak’s stories. She could do “Chicken Soup with Rice” or “One Was Johnny.”

    There are so many good versions of her songs, I thought I’d post some:
    Natural Woman/How Sweet It Is :
    Will You Still Love Me Love Me Tomorrow?:
    Lykke Li:
    Amy Winehouse:
    Bryan Ferry:
    Elton John (live 1987):

    It’s Too Late
    Carole King w/ the Wallflowers:
    Carole King w/ Gloria Estefan:
    James (not Jim) Morrison:

    The Reason
    Celine Dion w/ Carole King:


  6. I think it’s wonderful that A.I is doing a Carole King Week. I remember listening to her songs alot on the radio when I was a little girl. James Taylor’s songs would be great for them to cover also. The lyrics to his songs are so meaningful. I know James and Carole have both performed and toured together many times over the years.


  7. Hi, Karen,

    Glad to hear there’s someone else who favors Casey and Haley. At the beginning, I wasn’t a fan of Haley but she has really grown on me lately.


  8. Haha….MCL! Yes, you are right. I think I could do without it too!


  9. Thank you so much Karen and welcome. Hope you enjoy the MCL Community.


  10. Welcome to Karen! It’s good to hear that you vote. I would recommend putting all of your effort into your top choice at this point. Haley is getting all of my votes now that Pia is gone.

    Carole King is one my favorites as well. Some of you may remember my boorishly long tale of going to see Carol and James Taylor’s concert last year. I still feel like I should send them some more money for my tickets for that incredible show.

    Here is my take on song choices.

    Haley- Chains

    Casey- Smackwater Jack

    James- Don’t Bring Me Down

    Lauren- So Far Away

    Jacob- Up On The Roof

    Scotty- Hey Girl

    “Way over Yonder” could work for Casey, Haley or Jacob although each singer’s rendition would differ considerably. The first song she wrote, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is still one of my favorites, but I can’t feature any of this bunch singing it.


  11. Wow – this could get real sleepy – real quickly!!

    But having to select from songs in such a unique/narrow style might finally force our contestants to do what has created Idol moments in other seasons – it might force them to change the songs up to match their own styles. Fingers crossed!!


  12. I had no idea that Carole King wrote “Take Good Care of My Baby”! That link of the early, early Beatles doing that song was priceless! I never heard that recording. I think that is a great suggestion for Casey. I am loving many of the suggestions here. So many great songs to choose from! I didn’t know that Carole King wrote “Hey Girl”, which I was hoping someone would sing on Motown week.

    There are a few that could work for Lauren. I actually like the suggestion of “One Fine Day”. She might slow it down and give it a whole new interpretation. It was done that way in the movie of the same name, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. I don’t know who sang that version for the movie, but it was great.

    I really hope someone does “Up On the Roof”, one of my personal favorites. I guess Jacob would be the logical choice for that one. He would be the only one who could do “Hey Girl”. “Brother, Brother” is another good one for Jacob, but definitely in a restrained way. I would love to hear Haley do Amy Winehouse’s version of ” Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. That was one of Gene’s suggestions for Motown week.

    I would like to know from Gene why he doesn’t think any of this group could do that great song justice. I think Haley needs a song with more range than “Chains”.

    I like the covers of “It’s Too Late”. The James Morrison version is wonderful and might be good for Casey. I think Haley might be able to do it that way.

    I don’t want to hear anyone sing “Natural Woman”. It’s been done literally to death on this show. There are so many other great songs that would be just as good.

    In the comments on MJ’s blog about what Carole King songs they should sing, someone posted a link to Lorrie Morgan singing “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” as a way for Scotty to sing it. I listened to it and loved it.

    I was having trouble with James and “Don’t Bring Me Down” sounds good to me.

    I am thinking that this could end up being great if they pick the right song. We will see.


  13. Sorry, I made a mistake in the beginning when I said that “Take Good Care of My Baby” would be a good song for Casey. I meant to say Scotty. I was agreeing with Jessica, who posted that great link to the Beatles doing the song.


  14. Thanks for the shout out, Mindy! I have fun with those songs. Just having checked wikipedia, CK was born in ’42 so she was only 18 or 19 when she wrote many of the early songs for Motown and other crooners.

    I forgot about James when I was looking through the songs. I think he could do something really creative flipping a song. He could also surprise doing a restrained version if works controlling his voice for some nice tone.


  15. Jessica,

    You deserve the shout out for putting up that great link to the Beatles covering “Take Good Care of My Baby”! That made my day. I think that it would be great if James could find a song and dial it back after last week. If I take the fact that he is a heavy metal rocker out of the equation and just remember that he has some great raw vocals and a lot of range, any of these songs might work for him.

    Carole King was a true genius. To think that she was still in her teens when she wrote many of these songs is amazing. Looking at the list of her songs, I realized that I didn’t know she had written so many hit songs that were hits for other artists. I didn’t know she wrote “Go Away Little Girl”. How about “The Loco-motion” and “Just Once In My Life” which Stevie Wonder did. Then there was “I’m into Something Good” which was done by Herman’s Hermits. She wrote songs that were a part of my life growing up. Reading that list is like having so many memories come flooding back to me again.


  16. Hi Mindy,
    When I try to pick songs for the contestants, I try to actually imagine them singing the song, sometimes straight up and sometimes with a change of style that better suits the singer that I have in mind. When I tried to “hear” any of these singers doing “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” I just couldn’t make it work. The song is very slow, almost to the point of dragging at the beginning, which doesn’t generally make a good song for Idol.

    I had forgotten about Lorrie Morgan doing this song. I like Lori Morgan for several reasons and hers is an honest, heartfelt version. She sings with that tear in her voice that Jennifer keeps telling Lauren she has. Lori earned hers, but with that in mind, I can see Lauren doing it but I’m not feeling it so much for Scotty.

    You are right that I was thinking of the Amy Winehouse version during Motown week, but I felt like it would be a good fit for Naima. You may be on to something with Haley doing it. I know this much, she has to use all the wisdom she can muster in her song choices and arrangements, plus continue to deliver top notch performances for the rest of the competition or she will be headed home. She will likely be on the stools no matter what she does.

    Let me sidetrack for a minute to say how much I appreciated Ryan cutting Haley a little slack last week by giving her a quick reprieve from the stools. He was also very kind and attentive to Pia when she was eliminated. So, Thanks Ryan.

    “Chains” can rock the house if done right. It would also accommodate the Haley growl and the new, more refined arm swing thing she has going on. The downside is that it requires a lot of input from the backup singers. Do you remember which girl group originally recorded “Chains”? I was thinking it was the Marvelettes but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I didn’t recall the Beatles doing it, but you might be surprised how many covers they did in those days.

    I think Scotty should be able to do “Hey Girl.” That’s a song that I go back a long way with and have heard a lot of people do. Among known singers, Michael McDonald, Billy Joel and Johnny Mathis all do nice covers of the Freddie Scott classic. The Michael McDonald version was the inspiration for choosing this song for Scotty.

    I think it’s a shame that “Natural Woman” is out of the running. I’m surprised that they allowed Lauren to do it during Motown week with a Carole King theme coming later in the year. If you have never heard Joss Stone do it, check her out singing it for Aretha Franklin at a tribute concert for her. One thing I like about Joss is you can tell she “gets it” when she is performing with, or in this case, for living legends. She thanks Aretha profusely at the end of the song and the unspoken word is that there would be no Joss without Aretha.

    I’m not holding my breath for a radical rearrangement of a song this year. I don’t know if this group lacks writing and arranging skills or if total domination of the pre production phase by the professional producers will continue for the rest of the season as it has so far. The focus seems to be on putting a complete “act” on the stage this year. You mentioned the over powering backup singers in previous post. I believe this is intentional to cover some of the weaknesses that the singers have. It’s easy enough to mix the band and the backing vocalist at any level you want them, yet they have chosen to over mix them on several occasions.


  17. Hi Mindy,
    I believe that the song “Just Once in my Life” that Carole king wrote is one done by the Righteous Brothers rather than “For Once in my Life” that was the Stevie Wonder song you were thinking of. Right?

    That reminded me that Bill Medley and “the other guy” as Bobby Hatfield was often referred to, also did “Hey Girl” which is another good one for Scotty to model.


  18. How about taking a chance?
    Back to California
    It’s Going to Take Some Time
    These could be challenging pieces – but they have not been sung to death on this show…


  19. Hi Julia,

    Judging by the shallow approach that they took with the Beatles, Motown and Elton John themes, I would be willing to bet that every song will come from the Tapestry album.

    Which singer are the song choices that you listed there for?


  20. Gene,

    First, thanks for the correction about “For Once in My Life” being the one that was sung by Stevie Wonder! I should have remembered that “Just Once in My Life” was done by the Righteous Brothers. I also forgot that they did “Hey Girl”. I have the original Freddie Scott version downloaded. I absolutely love it, along with many of the covers of this great song.

    Thanks for answering my question about anyone singing “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. I agree that song choice is crucial for Haley. She doesn’t have any wiggle room, as the saying goes. It’s not fair, but that’s just the way it is for her in this competition. If her performance this past week didn’t elicit some unqualified cheers from the judges, then what does she have to do? I don’t think she got the credit that she deserved for being the one to take the biggest risk of all. Daring to sing the #1 hit song by one of the biggest and best singers today, takes guts. The judges have given both James and Casey credit for taking risks, but how about Haley? She pulled it off and that is an amazing accomplishment. Too much like Adele and she risks being a copycat, too far away and she risks losing the song altogether.

    You made a great point about the Lorrie Morgan version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” being a better fit for Lauren. Good point! As far as Scotty, now that you mentioned the Michael McDonald cover of “Hey Girl”, I could actually see it as a great choice for him. I forgot how many people did that song.

    I have been checking out “Chains” on youtube. There was a girl group called the Cookies who did it. I had quite a time finding the actual recording. Someone put up the original 45 rpm recording. I do think that Haley could use the growl and maybe change it up. I have the same concern as you about the backup singers. It has been driving me crazy all season. At times they do almost drown out the contestants. I think you may have a point about the producers possibly trying to cover up any vocal flaws or weaknesses. It’s too bad because I feel that it detracts from the performance. It’s not like the judges are bothering to critique any vocal missteps this season.

    There has been a good deal of talk online about the lack of a “moment” for anyone so far this season. Maybe it is because of the production team overarranging the songs and trying to put across a complete package. We know that both James and Casey have stood up to Jimmy and done it their way. In Scotty’s case, I still wish they he listened to Jimmy about “Everybody’s Talking”. From what I heard in the studio, he sounded unbelievably good. That’s what I mean. Why back off from something that could be so great? Was it fear because of what happened to Pia?

    I was also glad to see Ryan give Haley a break and send her immediately back to safety. I am so pleased that I kept an open mind about her. She’s got something and when she gets the right song and does it the right way for her, then it’s magic.

    I love reading your comments, because you always make me think. Sometimes I change my mind after reading what you say. It’s a good thing!


  21. Sorry, in my fifth paragraph I meant to say, I still wished HE (Scotty) listened to Jimmy! There should be no THEY in that sentence.


  22. Welcome, Karen! You will find a few of us somtimes have “recall moments’ or “senior moments”. This group is very forgiving. :o) You mention “Go Away Little Girl” which was a #1 hit for both Steve Lawrence and Donny Osmond”. It would be nice for Scotty to break away. If he makes it to the TOP 3, I hope his Judge’s song will be “Everybody’s Talkin'”

    I knew Bobby Vee had a #1 hit with “Take Good Care of My Baby” and Bobby Vinton also recorded it. But I don’t remember the Beatles singing the song. I cannot access the link.

    I went to Carole’s Twitter page and she provideds information on her multiple hits. Indeed, “Locomotion” was a TOP 10 hit in three different decades. I loved to dance to that song. I have taught my Grandbabes how to do the “Train” dance – Locomotion. LOL!

    Gene, you may know this, but I just found out that BillBoard listed the TOP 25 concerts of 2011, and Carole & James “Troubadour Tour” made the list! I saw the special on the tour and it was great! Your story was NOT boring! I did see Carole’s “Living Room” tour in a fantastic, intimate setting with maybe 4.000 people. She was fanatstic! I am upset that Nigel didn’t listen to my request when we could have the GUEST Mentor on the show!

    Faith Hill performed “Where You Lead” on the Tribute album, and Amy Grant did “It’s Too Late.” I hope Haley does her homework.

    Jessica, do you think Jacob could pull off “Way Over Yonder”?

    There are so many genres in Carole’s music. They shold have no problems this week. I am waiting for a MOMENT! Everyone expects James to do “Don’t Bring Me Down” – I hope he surprises us! I do love FOLK ROCK the best!

    Maybe it is because of the production team overarranging the songs and trying to put across a complete package.

    Mindy, I agree with you! I think Jimmy messed up Stefano with his production of “Hello”, knowing people would compare it with David Cook’s version. Plus, they didn’t get permission for him to do his chosen number, so he had very little practice time. I also feel Stefano made a major mistake in not playing the piano as his fans requested. He would still be on the show to do the wonderful Carole King music. I am sad he’s gone. I will be sending along votes to James this week – but not two hours worth!


  23. For those of you who were here for Season 7, you may remember that I absolutely adored Jason Castro! I bet MCL remembers! LOL! I felt he had such charisma. Actually, he reminde me of a Greek God. My husband laughs when I say that. What I felt towards Stefano wasn’t quite up to that level, but he did such a fantastic job on Thursday. I was very proud for him. So, you see – I will survive!

    I am so honest when I tell you I have written Idol every season since Season 1 requesting CAROLE KING. Finally, this year I have learned how to Twitter, and every week I have written Nigel about it. LOL! Maybe they didn’t know they were going to have this theme early on.

    Where is Vonnie?

    Please forgive me for my typos. It’s great reading everyone’s suggestions!


  24. Dear Gene W –

    I think that Jacob, Haley, and Casey all need to take a chance – I don’t know their ranges and how they would do with the rapid pacing and phrasing of these pieces, but they need to break out of the pack now.

    I think Haley is underrated and could surprise us this week if she tried Jazzman.

    Jacob needs to prove he can JUST SING well and It’s Going to Take Some Time will force him to reach down and lose the flourishes (plus its humility could overcome what appears to be his arrogant edge). I don’t think that he is arrogant but I have sensed that others find him to be so.

    Casey could handle a bluesy riff on the California piece — tricky but — he’s stuck his neck out before with other material.

    Scotty and Lauren could get away with a familiar ballad — they have such a strong fan base now I don’t see how they can lose even if they play it safe.

    As for James, — he has been so fine with his choices — so I just say — trust your own instincts James!

    I am going to risk it all and come out for James (my favorite this year), but I have a long history of my favorite performers not getting to the finale.

    Siobhan Magnus, Allison Iraheta, and Melinda Doolittle were three gals that I looked forward to seeing each week — they made me smile.

    Carly Smithson, Lakisha Jones, and Syesha Mercado all amazed me at times but they never found their fan base.

    At least, Adam Lambert, David Archuleta and Clay Aiken all made it to the finale, and even if they came in second – they still have talents that should last.


  25. Mindy,
    If you want to have a shot at guessing the songs correctly, forget all of my choices. Had it not been for Scotty doing “Long Black Train” on the green mile as I thought he would, I would have a perfect record this season.

    I think with Scotty there is more than a passing resemblance to Alfred E. Newman. He seems to have adopted Alfred’s philosophy as well; “What, me worry?” He is really irritating me in his approach to the season. Hey Girl could really be a moment for him if he is willing to work hard enough to do it justice and to show the appropriate emotion for such a sad song. I to have several versions of hey girl and I could go on and on but…
    As you said, Haley bit off a big chunk when she took on Adele’s #1 song. Not only for its chart placement but it’s singing difficulty. You rightly point out the fine line she was on between copy cat and loosing the flavor of the song. She is really much better, to be able to pull that off, than I had given her credit for in the past. Had it not been for the great little bedroom video that I had come across and then the big band set that J posted a little later I probably would have blown her off completely and possibly quit watching after Pia’s exit. She is sort of in the Siobhan position this year as if nothing she does is good enough or worthy of more than faint praise. I got close to the correct song choice for Haley last week. I had her narrowed to three choices;

    Make Me Feel Your Love – Adele

    Mercy – Duffy

    Syrup and Honey – also by Duffy

    I call Duffy “a Lulu for a new generation.” As much as I like these three songs I think Haley made a better choice and gave the performance of the night. The kids a fighter and she has more residual cool than the rest combined. All I can do is vote, buy her iTunes and log on to her Idol sight. I can’t help but believe the last two items help the contestants in the eyes of the producers.

    I just re-read your comment about Haley not having any “wiggle” room and couldn’t help laughing. Haley with no wiggle room is a Haley in serious trouble!

    Regarding the backup singers. I have seen a few other tricks this year but I didn’t make note of whose performance they took place during. I have heard backing singers other than the ones who are present on the stage and I have also heard tracks of what I believe is the contestant’s own voice being played during their performance. In the first case, the young pair of backup singers was on the stage but you could hear not only them, but the older trio of backup singers as well. The two groups are distinctly different with the younger pair have lighter and higher vocals and the older ones are more R&B oriented. That’s odd but not that big of a deal. I have noticed a few examples of the second case this year where you can see that the singer’s mouth has stopped moving but you continue to hear their voice. Apparently they are using tracks of the singer’s own voice that has been previously recorded and adding them back in to the mix as reinforcing vocals. Neither of these techniques would be unusual in the studio or for a professional’s stage appearance but it’s over the top for a contest. The other side of the coin is that the viewers are enjoying this season a lot and I can’t help wondering if some of the tricks of the pros aren’t a major factor in that enjoyment. Watch closely and see if you see the same things happening.

    The Cookies! Yes THE COOKIES. The “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby” Cookies! Good stuff. Thanks Mindy. That was driving me crazy.


  26. Grammie,

    Thanks for the information about the concert. That’s pretty good for a couple of fossils, huh? I have never enjoyed a concert more than that one and I have seen some good ones. I really feel like I under paid for my ticket. The TV special was pretty good but it didn’t compare to the live show. The TV special was made during their first trial run of the show at the Troubadour and they had polished it considerably, but without removing the authenticity of it, by time it made its way to the big stage. The genius of it was that the show had the intimacy of a nightclub performance even in a hugh arena. The Living Room concert looked to be a good one as well. I bet that was a real treat to see her in such an interment environment.

    Thank you for your persistence on bringing the music of Carole King to Idol. They may well have done it in response to your request. One of the things that you can’t help noticing about this season is that they have been very responsive to what people are saying on the web. You pick it up from the judges and especially from the things Jimmy says to the kids when they are preparing for their performances. Maybe you could get Carly Simon or Linda Ronstadt if you stay on their case.

    I’m hoping they will do more than just pedestrian or serviceable performances. I think Haley’s Dad is a performer which has been a valuable asset for contestants from the past. The kids of performers seem to be more into the music that their parents like. It should be a great show at any rate.


  27. I made a nice long post earlier, but it was lost. I posted a song from the Maurice Sendak musical – Really Rosie. Even though it is a kid’s story, the melody is rather jazzy/bluesy and quite sophisticated.

    Wondering what you all think of it. I would be a wonderful song to do if it weren’t so unknown and a child’s story.


  28. Hi Julia,
    I think those three are at risk of being on the stools this week. Jacob is probably confused between toning down his performance or running over the audience at full throttle like Randy keeps suggesting. I think Jacob has a gift but it is in a pretty unrefined state at this point and he probably won’t survive on Idol long enough to iron out all of his rough spots. His best performances in the R&B realm were when he was singing with someone else that tended to moderate him. Examples of this were his duet with Naima of the Ashford and Simpson song and the portion of “Man in the Mirror” when the woman who co-wrote the song was actually singing a duet with him. It was as if they kept him under control.

    Usually it is easy to pick songs for Casey but this theme seemed more difficult for me to find a fit for him.
    I don’t think I know “California” so I can’t really say how it would be for him. It may be just the ticket. It has struck me that he doesn’t get the usual criticism about “not knowing who he is as an artist” when he shifts from Jazz to Rock, like Haley received for shifting from R&B to a bluesy country song.

    I haven’t seen Haley sing anything similar to “Jazzman” before but the problem I saw with it is that the central element of the song that gives it a little bit of a jazz flavor is the long saxaphone solo in the middle of it. So I don’t know if they could preserve the flavor of the song in within the time constraints and leave enough time for a decent vocal.

    Your list of lost Idol favorites looks a lot like mine. Siobhan, Melinda, Allison and Carly for sure. Maybe we shouldn’t pull for anyone so they will stand half a chance. I can’t do it. Haley needs my help.


  29. Grammie Keri,

    Thank you for fighting the good fight for Carole King! Maybe all those tweets got Nigel thinking! Great work! I don’t know why you can’t access the link that Jessica posted. I am able to get it. You have to listen to it. It’s from a Decca audition tape and was recorded on January 1, 1962. Early Beatles indeed! I am wondering if they had Ringo back then. The Beatles did a lot of covers of some great artists when they were just starting out. When the Beatles music was finally available on itunes, I went crazy downloading some songs that have been unavailable for decades and other early covers they did. So charming!

    I appreciate the credit for my comments about the arrangements, but I was pretty much agreeing with Gene. He made some excellent observations about how they may be sucking the originality and life out of the performances this season. I am going to listen for the things he pointed out about the backup singers and the backing tracks this coming week.


    I laughed out loud when you mentioned my comment about Haley not having any “wiggle” room! Now that I read it back, I can see that it has a double meaning! LOL! It’s true that she can’t wiggle or do the weird movements, but as I am sure you realized, I also meant that she has little if any room for error. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is in this competition.

    So you know the Cookies! The funny thing is that I don’t remember a girl group by that name, but the minute I heard ‘”Chains” and then saw on youtube that they also did “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby”, I knew who they were! No thanks needed! You have given me some good little nuggets of info! My goodness, we are like dinosaurs on this site. Can you imagine going on any other blog and trying to tell people that the Cookies recorded Carole King’s “Chains”? There are many people on MJ’s blog who admitted that they don’t even know who Carole King is! Ouch!

    So Duffy is Lulu for a new generation? I will have to check this out! I want to believe that there is hope for us with current music. Listening to Adele has really given me some reason to be happy. A real voice!

    I have been careful to go easy with Scotty because I like him, however I do have issues with the way he seems almost too laid back about the performances. I think he has coasted the last two weeks. There! I said it! Does it mean that he hasn’t still given good performances? No, but he is definitely capable of a lot more. Before I hear that old refrain, I do not mean that he has to necessarily go out of his country zone, however there are many songs that may have a little of that flavor without being specifically in that genre. I thought that “Everybody’s Talking” was one of them. The more I think about “Hey Girl”, the more I think that he could do it in his own way. That’s how he should approach the theme this week.

    I am usually pretty bad at picking songs for the contestants. I only do it when I know the theme really well, as I did with Motown. I agree with the essential problem in Haley singing “Jazzman”. It’s a great song, but that sax solo wouldn’t work when you only have 1:30 for the whole performance. It’s great to pick out lesser known songs, but these kids have to be able to make them work with their voices and style.

    I do agree with your take on Jacob. He is very unrefined, uncontrolled and undisciplined. He has this great big voice, but doesn’t really know how to use it. Left to his own devices, his instinct is to go for the heavens even at the risk of bursting our eardrums. I am hoping that Jimmy helps him to stick with what they have been doing.


  30. Jessica,

    I just wanted to jump back on here to tell you that I listened to that song. I have never heard it before and it was just lovely. I do think that it is too obscure and being a child’s song, may not work on this show. However, it was wonderful of you to provide the link so that we can hear it. This woman’s talent knew no bounds.


  31. Hey Gene W. —

    I see what you mean about Jazzman needing that sax solo. Carole King’s music is wonderful but subtle. it is too bad they can’t work the time factor because so much of her music requires strong instrumentals, interludes, and bridges for piano, sax, guitar — modern-day Chopin Etudes…

    My pet peeve about AI, IPOD, MP3, and other “short” music formats is that with all the digitizing, auto-tuning, and compression much of the “analog” component of music (that is, subtle timing — even “flaws” — for me — character) gets stripped out – MUZAK’ed.

    About Jacob – Siobhan received similar comments last year about her undisciplined instrument. I cannot say that Jacob has not grated on me some of the time, but that is because I see such potential in him. What I dislike in life are wasted and missed opportunities.


  32. Beverly Sills once commented on Madonna lip syncing at concerts …
    … but lip syncing at a supposed CONTEST?

    “Apparently they are using tracks of the singer’s own voice that has been previously recorded and adding them back in to the mix as reinforcing vocals.”

    If this is true, I don’t think I will ever be able to “vote” again.


  33. Mindy – thanks for taking a listen. Any Carole King fan ought to take a gander. Is there someone musical here who can comment on the key and the melody? The intervals can be quite hard to sing. And the rising scale near the end?


  34. Mindy,

    Yeah, I knew what you meant, but it WAS funny! Actually, Haley’s more refined movements are growing on me. They were spot on during the Moanin’ duet with Casey. I’ve decided to try to see it as Haley trying to create a signature stage presents rather than some sort of odd fluke that she doesn’t have control over. You may recall Chubby Checker spinning his arm around when he sang the twist or the movements that Cab Calloway and the the old zute suit guys did in their day. Some jazz and swing singers do similar movements. Hers needed a bit of refinement, but they are coming along I think.

    It’s a shame that she has to toe that fine line with no “wiggle room.” I’ve given some thought to many of the suggestions for a new system of voting and pretty much concluded that all of them favor young girl voters. There is something about this system that is is working for Idol management. My guess is that it is a measure of enthusiasm as well as preference and that they may not want the opinion of “grownups” who bought most of their records in the ‘50s through ‘80s.

    What you said about the posters at MJs not being aware of Carole King is sad but it comes up more and more often for me. The first thing that comes to my mind when this happens is Steely Dan’s song “Hey 19.” If you are not familiar with the song, it tells the tale of an older guy dating a 19 year old girl and how she never gets his references to things from his time like the term “Queen of Soul.” Try that out at MJs and listen for the “Sounds of Silence.” The fact that young people like Siobhan or Allison “get” the older music and that it is part of them and informs what they will do with their new music in the future is one of the things that attracted me to them in the first place. Casey could get that same benefit from me if I ever had the feeling that he was serious about what he was doing, rather than it just being shtick.

    Duffy has to grow on you. I particularly like “Mercy” and “Syrup and Honey.” She also has an incredible understated sexiness that may work more for me than you. I’ve never seen her wearing anything revealing but there is something about the way she wears those simple sleeveless throwback to the sixties shifts that works. Her voice can be off putting until you listen for a while but she has grown on me.

    Adele is very good with a nice body of work and a style that is all her own. I like the way that she doesn’t try to hide the Britishness of her word pronunciations.

    I always enjoy talking with you Mindy.


  35. Grammie Kari,

    Vonnie mentioned about three weeks back that it’s “senior year” in her household and she would be spending her time getting her son ready to make the transition from high school to college.


  36. Julia,
    One of the interesting things about Carole King and a few other artist of her era like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, James Taylor or Jim Croce is that they all have both very distinctive voices that you would recognize within a few notes of hearing them sing and a distinctive style of playing their instruments. I don’t know if that just happened or they felt like it had to be that way.

    Don’t get me started about digital music reproduction. While it does offer a lot of benefits, like portability, ready access, timeless availability and no snap, crackle and pop, you hit on where the life can be lost from it. Timing. Some will argue that if you put zeros and ones in, you can help but get zeros and ones out but they fail to realize that the timing can be lost in the process. Pitch is one of the victims of poorly reproduced timing. Anyone who has a turntable can simply put the needle on the record and rotate the turntable by hand to hear what happens to pitch when the playback speed isn’t consistent with the recording speed. It’s not entirely hopeless though. You can build a system using an outboard DAC (digital analog converter) that is much truer to the original timing of the recorded music than the little DAC chips that are part of most modern playback devices. You then have to use good source material and have a consistent power supply to get back to something close to the original timing. As a recovering audiophile I can only say that there is no end to it. Interestingly there is a small undercurrent trend back to analog vinyl. Some of the small self distributed material is leading the way. I noticed that Paul McDonald’s album is available on CD, iTunes download and 12” vinyl. Timing can also be lost in analog playback systems but at least it is something you can easily check and correct by traditional means.

    I’m enjoying the current trend toward stripped down, less is more production. There is an artist that I like named Shelby Lynn who will probably spend her life trying to find herself. Her roots are country but some days she’s pop and other days she’s jazz. She does most of her recording in single takes with the whole band present in the same room. Her living room looks like a studio out of 1960 with a big beautiful Studer tape deck on one wall. It’s probably been over thirty years since a tape machine like that was used on a commercial recording by a major label. The ambiance of the room is palpable in the recordings she makes this way and the interaction of the musicians working together is unobtainable by the more common methods of modern recording.

    If you go to see Madonna, or one of her contemporary clones in concert, you are really going to see a dance and stage show more than a singer in concert. It’s pretty hard to dance around the stage like they do and sing “just like the record.” What I was referring to on the Idol stage isn’t quite as blatant as traditional lip syncing, although they used to do that during the group numbers on results night. It’s possible that what I have noticed is coming from a backing vocalist, but it’s not the ones that you see on the stage. It sounded like the performer had laid down a backing track themselves that was used in the live performance. If I have time this week I will look at some of the recorded shows and see if I can spot an example for you. This is a very common thing in the industry and backing vocals and the people who sing them are one of those nerdy things that interest me. It’s not unusual to hear an artist doing multi part backing vocals on their albums. Melinda Doolittle does this on her album, for example. If they were truly lip syncing I would have to agree with you about not voting, but there are so many embellishments to these performances already that it would be hard to draw the line there. Something that seemed very odd to me this season was Jacob singing what could only be described as a duet with the woman who co-wrote man in the mirror. They didn’t sing together throughout the song, but most duets are not sung that way either. It was way more than what could be described as backing vocals.

    I think the trend this year is to present the contestants in the way they might be seen as professional performers on the concert stage rather than as a kid in a singing contest. It has resulted in a better musical variety show, but at the expense of the purer contest aspects of the original program.


  37. JazzMan sax solo. If she wanted to push the envelope: she could do a duet using “skat”.

    (is this bebop or free skat?)
    Or she could go fully “modern” and rap during the solo.

    They’re upping the times. They gave her close to 2 minutes (1:50) on Rolling in the Deep. Jacob had even more — just over 2 minutes.


  38. Access,
    I like the way you think. A scat duet with the sax; that works for me. Or maybe just scat the saxophone part? It would highlight what has emerged as Haley’s strength and lend an actual jazz element to a pop song about a jazzman, and with jazz in the title, but isn’t a jazz song.

    I would call what Haley is doing scatting in a style similar to Sarah Vaughn, but I’m not an expert in the area of jazz singing.

    I hadn’t realized the songs were running over the usual 90 seconds or so. Good to know.


  39. Hey, Gene . . . I’m really glad to see that Haley has another fan here. As I mentioned before, I didn’t like her much at all in the beginning of the season, but she has really grown on me and I hope she can continue to up her game and hang in there for a while!

    And Kariann, thanks a bunch for sending in the requests for a Carole King night!


  40. Gene,

    I loved your comments about the recent trend to “simpler” music. In the last two decades, we have been experiencing such a shift in the music industry — however, a few artists (Adele for one) stand out for me.

    I am actually fine with using the tools available — artists need to stay current – Bach, Beethoven, Mozart used the tools of their time, and more recently, rock groups used synthesizers. The Saxophone is a fairly modern instrument that never got much respect until recently. Middle of the road groups (for example, The Carpenters, wether you are a fan or not) used overdubbing well. I think that the “over-dubbing” on recordings and “syncing” at performances such as the dance routines you mentioned is understandable at times.

    The trend now seems to be entertainment via IP Addresses and I think the video has reached a higher state of maturity than the audio.

    Perhaps I should look into a better sound system 😀

    I am just not as comfortable with “enhancements” at a contest, as you say, “over the top”. I have a “soft” speaking voice, but I try to avoid a microphone, especially at a contest, unless it is necessary. I find that not using one forces me to focus and add some energy when I am speaking. I don’t try to sing anymore — even to be decent takes time and practice and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s ears.


  41. Jessica Turner April 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Access – thank you for posting that video. Her voice is truly effortless. She has such a beautiful head voice. It’s nice that she doesn’t push it, but just let’s it flow. I hope she continues to believe in herself and does what she loves.


  42. Access,

    That is a great video of Haley doing some serious scat singing. Yes, that would work during the sax solo or in place of it. She did a great job in that duet of “Moanin” with Casey.

    I love, love Ella Fitzgerald. I love the rich tone of her voice, so distinctive and recognizable. Her phrasing was impeccable. However, what I lived for was when she was do her scat singing. There was no one like Miss Ella when it came to that. Her voice would go places that I couldn’t think possible. She was blueprint as far as I am concerned.


    I listened to a bit of Duffy. She reminds me of Nina Simone. Are you familiar with her? She does take some getting used to the first time you hear her. I prefer Adele’s voice. She has a smoother tone and sound. However, I do have to say that it’s encouraging to see real talent emerge these days. I am all for the “real” voices!


    I am one who did not like Haley in the beginning, as I am some may remember. However, she has really impressed me with her growth and development in the competition. I think now she has found her strength, her genre of music. It’s like a discovery process with each week revealing more of her talent. I am really glad that I kept an open mind and gave this young woman a chance.


  43. Oh goodness, typos in my last post!

    In the second paragraph, I meant to say what I lived for was when Ella was DOING her scat singing! She was THE blueprint!

    Last paragraph, I meant to say I am one who did not like Haley in the beginning, as some may remember!

    I really do need to just preview what I write, since we don’t have the option to edit our posts here.


  44. Oh my goodness, there’s been so much activity on this thread! C O O L !!!

    Thank you for fighting the good fight for Carole King! Maybe all those tweets got Nigel thinking!

    Mindy and Gene, I have written Idol, sent postcards, posted all over the place, and contacted Nigel. I just wish they had done this last year where Carole could mentor the Idols. I have let Nigel know this!

    There was some talk about James singing, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” That would seem to be a perfect song and bring him back to some fans who may have left. I want so badly for him to do a terrific job as he approaches the Finals. What a story he has!

    As I mentioned, I have dial-up service and cannot access the links. When I click them on, I get three words then a 45 second break, then another three words. I can’t really hear much of anything. I have checked into DSL and after the trial period, I would pay $51 more than I do now.

    The discussion here is great! Take care and enjoy this evening’s viewing pleasures which include, “Dancing With the Stars”, “Glee”, and “The Voice.” Only problem they are all on at the same time!


  45. Hi Louise,
    I was in the same boat as you and Mindy regarding Haley. I noticed her during her audition but I actually was a little down on her because I felt like she was the reason that they didn’t select Kendra to stay on and Kendra was a more solid performer at that stage of the competition. Now that her jazz chops have been revealed it seems likely that she may also be the reason that another favorite of mine, Emily Anne Reed (the little jazz singer from San Francisco) didn’t make it through Hollywood week. Haley is sort of a two for one deal I guess. Her song choices since her audition have suited my taste, and she has always had good tone, but she was murdering some good songs early on.

    Jimmy is down on Haley for some reason and she can’t seem to do enough to get the judges on her side. Given their style, if the judges are not raving about how fantastic you were from the second they open their mouths, it doesn’t really matter how many compliments make their way into the evaluation. Everyone else is the greatest thing since Elvis.


  46. Jessica Turner April 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Here are Michael Slezak’s song choices:

    Slezak’s Dream Set List for “Carole King” Night
    Haley Reinhart: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (Amy Winehouse version)
    Scotty McCreery: “So Far Away” (paired with Scotty’s deep voice, this could be a true Idol Moment)
    Jacob Lusk: “Way Over Yonder” or (if he decides to go a little uptempo) “Sweet Seasons”
    Casey Abrams: “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (could work stripped down and jazzed out)
    Lauren Alaina: “It’s Too Late”
    James Durbin: “Up on the Roof” (check out the James Taylor version)
    Okay, your turn. Head to the comments and offer your dream set list for this week’s Idol performance show!


  47. Yes I saw these and they are great choices. Thanks for adding these, Jessica.


  48. Jessica Turner April 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Is Natalie Merchant’s jazzy “One Fine Day” a cover of Carole King’s song?


  49. Jessica,

    Yes it is. That would work well for Casey.


  50. Jessica,

    Thank you, thank you, for finding that link! I suggested earlier on this blog that “One Fine Day” might be a good choice if it was done the way it was done in this movie. I love this version of that song! So it was Natalie Merchant who did it!

    Yes, this would be great for someone like Casey or Haley.

    Great work!


  51. Julia,
    As you said, there is nothing new about over dubbing. It actually originated with the incredible Les Paul who not only invented the electric guitar but multi track recording as well. That was when he wasn’t busy being one of the greatest guitarist who ever lived. I loved Karen Carpenters’ voice but Richard was a bit of an over producer. The cutting edge today is actually the retro approach, particularly with regard to the use of vintage microphones and bringing musicians back together to do a project. The key for me is when a new approach doesn’t yield the results you want, you need to take something away rather than add. For example, don’t add a noise reduction system when you can remove the source of the noise.

    Oh yes, the whole point of the over dubbing conversation was whether or not they do it on the Idol stage. I record the episodes on my DVR and I still have last week’s performances in the can. I found one questionable performance in the show. It was at the point in Stefano’s performance when he was walking around the perimeter of the stage. He was singing normally until he crossed the stage stairs that go down into the audience. You hear his lyrics “I Just Can’t Stop” but he isn’t singing. The two young, blond, high pitched backup singers are on stage singing with him but it is a male voice that you hear. After that point, another layer of backup is added, including the male voice.

    There could be several explanations for this like other singers in the band loft. They have done that before, but you can see them and none were present on this occasion. Or other backup singers may have laid down tracks that were used during the performance. Why would they do that? Why not have all of the participants visible? If this were the only time I had seen this, I wouldn’t think much about it, but I have seen it before. This instance was just the easiest for me to find. You can see this video on You tube but it is difficult to see what I am talking about on a small computer screen.

    Personally I believe that using the techniques that professionals use is ok as long as it is done fairly between the contestants and nothing is done to give the impression that the singer is better than they actually are. I wouldn’t want to see traditional lip syncing or the use of auto tune.

    “Video killed the radio star,” right?

    Video is a powerful tool for conveying messages that may not be obvious in the lyrics of a song, or in some cases, are not what the song is about at all.

    I have been interested in emerging talent that is completely self produced and self distributed. I found one young singer / song writer on You Tube and decided to buy her CD. She priced it at “anything over $5.00” which I thought was innovative. The CD arrived promptly all the way from England in a hand addressed and stamped envelope, which she probably prepared herself. I decided the envelope was as cool as her first CD and decided to keep it as well.

    Later she made another You Tube video requesting that her fans that play ukulele to do a cover of one of her popular songs on video and submit it to her. She then edited them together along with her own and made a really cool video, the sale of which benefitted charity. Later she auctioned off her studio microphone that she used in previous recordings to pay for the pressing of her second CD. I’m intrigued by the innovation and new ideas being brought to this common interest that we all share. She may be the model for the future.

    The best advice I can offer regarding buying a better sound system is RUN. It’s more addictive than heroin. You can have a lot of fun and achieve remarkable gains by “tweaking” your system. Any half way decent two channels stereo will respond to the application of basic acoustic principals regarding speaker placement, room layout acoustic treatments to the listening room, and vibration isolation and dampening. Most people have some skill that they can bring to the process whether it is basic carpentry, sewing, upholstery and so on. Common items like sand or that sticky gum stuff called Bluetac can be used in the vibration dampening process. If you are able to use a soldering iron then you can realize a lot of improvement by crafting your own speaker wires, interconnects and power cords or upgrading a few parts inside your components.

    Do you perform in some way now? What do you do if I may ask?


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