Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season XIII Top 8 REDUX Performance Show: Songs From The 80s

American Idol

By: Rosanne Simunovic

This week, the Top 8 Redux took on Songs From The Eighties. There was a ton of material from which to choose, depending upon which songs were cleared for the singers.

That being said, I have to say that, overall, the personal selections were disappointing and it is hard to know where to place the blame. So many songs out there – so color me confused.

However, is was super great to see and hear David Cook work his magic with these kids. He did a superb job and was a master at re-arranging and revitalizing these classic songs. I suspect that is why Idol snagged him. Oh – and the ratings! Can’t forget the ratings! Bravo David.

Anyway, let us move forward to my Vocal Masterclass evaluations and I welcome your commentary and suggestions after the read!

Here are my evaluations and, remember, I am reviewing each singer in (last name) alphabetical order. Your comments are always welcome. To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below.

C.J. Harris, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson

Jessica Meuse, Alex Preston

Dexter Roberts, Malaya Watson, Sam Woolf

C.J. Harris: “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty

Strengths: C.J. –  what I love about this particular song is the wide melodic range within its structure.

Starting in your lower range and then moving into your upper during the second half of the number allowed you to highlight the depth of your range. Therefore, in that sense, I thought the song serviced you very well.

I loved the rhythmic elements that David Cook implemented in this song. And, from your remarks, I see that David had a profound influence on you. You were mentored by the best and it became evident as the song unfolded.

As with last week’s performance, I wished you had moved away from the microphone; however you still managed to reach your audience and blanket them with your voice and presence. This is a gift and testament to your honesty as a performer.

Great work, CJ!

Critique: C.J. – you were lacking the proper support in your lower range – similar to what Tom Petty lacked as well. This initial lackadaisical approach to your vocal support carried over to your upper range in the second half of this song.

Because the support was not there from the beginning of this number, it was hard to “kick it in” as the number progressed to a louder and higher dynamic. Your breathing was shallow and also you incorporated too much chest voice into your vocal mix.

What you must realize, CJ, is that energy and intensity is important at every level. The softer and lower passages need your total commitment and the articulation of the words need to be less sloppy and more precise – and expressive.

Singing is sustained speech and once you learn how to cohesively sustain their notes, then the expressive elements carry the song to another level.

Also, increasing your technical skills – diaphragmatic breathing, circular mouth formation, relaxed jaw, open facial features and crisp articulation – will ensure that your pitch is beautifully centered.

As I said last week:

“You need to work on establishing a stronger center to your voice. As I have mentioned to others, as well as you in past weeks, a HORIZONTAL mouth position, tense throat and little to no diaphragmatic support are all causes for disaster.

A circular mouth position is key here, especially when you develop the technique of focusing and gluing your vocal sound to the pure vowels within your words. Do not grab every vowel in the syllable but rather the the first pure vowel. This will add uniformity to your melodic line and your voice will sound absolutely seamless and centered”

Good luck C.J.

JENA IRENE: “I Love Rock N Roll” by Joan Jett

Strengths: Jena – this took guts, young lady. You have a creative mind and I love that in a performer. David Cook offered you fantastic guidance. Intelligent guidance. I think has advice really assisted you to move this song in the correct direction.

I loved the very fact that you started this iconically quick song at a subdued, slow tempo while seated at the piano. It speaks to your creativity and it would have been something I would have done. Ha!

And my goodness you put the rock in this song once it kicked in; your original and inventive take on this song was just excellent.

I also enjoyed how you inhabited the stage – from being seated at the piano to using the space surrounding you on that stage. This kind of a performance is multi-dimensional with loads to see and hear in such a short time.

Brava Jena. I loved every minute of this song.

Critique: Jena – last week I said that you had big shoes to fill – YOURS. Well fill them you did and I congratulate you for always taking risks and displaying such confidence on that stage week after week.

I would just like to caution you to always use your voice correctly. You displayed so much movement that I felt that the chest voice was, intermittently, too prominent in the vocal mix. Be careful when you sing these potent numbers – pace yourself and your voice.

However, all in all, this was another strong performance. Great work!

CALEB JOHNSON: “Faithfully” by Journey

Strengths: Caleb – finally a change of pace! A slower song. You go guy! And, from your remarks, it was apparent that you LOVE the 80s.

David Cook wanted you to give the song more reverence. And your most certainly did that and more.

Could your voice sound more glorious, more present, more rich, more everything? Talk about commanding the stage. This was an enormous performance and a potent and perfect delivery.

And your technique! I could throw an opera aria at you and you would nail it. You have such a vocal gift that can cross many genres. The round mouth, the strong diaphragmatic skills, the nuances and impeccable phrasing were there for all to see and hear.

Great, great work, Caleb! Loved it! Standing O!!

Critique: Caleb – how do I critique near perfection? Simple. I don’t. This was an exquisite, honest performance and – finally – a sustained ballad.

Bravo Caleb. Bravo!

JESSICA MEUSE: “Call Me” by Blondie

Strengths: Jessica – I liked that you wanted to add a modern twist to this iconic song. Good thinking on your part.

And I am glad that David Cook encouraged to connect more consistently with your eyes. In this respect, you really succeeded monumentally with this song.

This song was beautifully paced, it had flow and the tempo was perfect. Perfect. I always felt that you were in perfect control. There was not a hint of breathlessness when you moved around the stage, toward the judges and then back again.

Your movements and your voice basically glided through this performance which, to me, meant that you meticulously rehearsed this number. Brava!

Like last week, your voice sounded expressive, alternating head voice with raspy nuances. You never push – I love this. You understand how to control of your voice – very, very impressive.

Good work, Jessica.

Critique: Jessica – as I said last week, “watch that mouth position. It was better than in previous weeks but, with the natural brightness in your voice, you need to find a way to add depth at times to your voice”.

But how great it was to see you move and loosen up on stage. You took the risk and I think the judges should have given you some slack about that. Rome wasn’t built in a day!!

I was impressed, Jessica. Excellent work.

ALEX PRESTON: “Every Breath You Take” by Sting

Strengths: Alex – I really, really loved this song choice for you. Smart choice. And David Cook wisely reinforced the expressive elements in this song.

In a nutshell – this was artistic brilliance at its best. The manner in which you reinvented and communicated the soulful essence of this song was just beautiful and inspiring. You are your own artist and you know where to take your voice.

Also, there was a beautiful descending scale in the melody line which I loved. Your voice was beautifully sustained on the pure vowel and your intonation was spot on. It really was a strong nod to your diaphragmatic support. Kudos!

And, lest I forget, your guitar skills were impeccable and sensitively echoed the sound of your voice.

Artistically, this is as good as it gets on the American Idol stage and I applaud you for being such a visionary in this season’s competition.

Good work, Alex!

Critique: Alex – that nasal tone. You need to keep working on it and I gave you tons of advice last week to assist you in this respect.

Here is a quote from last week’s Vocal Masterclass. It’s a quick fix:

“Hold a note with a horizontal spread in the mouth – like a smile – and, while holding the note, slowly adopt a circular position in your mouth. Hear the difference? The sound is more pure, more centered and is enjoying the addition of natural head voice”.

Also, just a question – is the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth when you sing?

If so, this would count for the nasality in your tone. Your tongue should be resting behind your lower teeth – not tense, but rather like a wet dish rag

However, technical problems aside, the manner in which you interpreted this song was excellent and a great refresh on an iconic song.

Congratulations Alex. This was, for me, a show-stopping numbers. Standing O!

DEXTER ROBERTS: “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” by Georgia Satellites

Strengths: Dexter – I love that David Cook encouraged you to enunciate your words. He is the “word” man but, truth be told, correct articulation cures many technical problems.

And how great it was that you had a guitarist from the band duet with you. It was visually and aurally appealing and, also, it gave you an opportunity to interact with your audience.

You are the consummate showman, Dexter, and this song was pure, unbridled entertainment. A real crowd pleaser.

Very, very good showcase!

Critique: Dexter – oh how I wish you would remember to add a circular formation to that mouth. It would add a more pleasing and even sound to your voice – more ring and clarity.

Also, I wish I could have heard the consonants in your words – as much as David encouraged you to articulate them, I don’t think you were quite there yet with the correct approach. You need to think like a Brit – clean, quickly articulated consonants sandwiching beautifully sustained vowels.

It would help to practice these quicker paced songs at a slower and sustained tempo so that you could get in touch with your diction, phrasing and breathing. It would make such a difference in your approach once you brought the song back up to speed.

And, as much as this song was fun to watch, I didn’t find it particularly challenging at this stage of the game. Although, truth be told, you did challenge your performing skills by moving around the stage and reaching out to your audience for a few high fives. Therefore, it was a trade-off and I understand this.

Also, after you poignant performance last week, you were due, I suppose. So, I should cut you some slack. Ha! But select your future songs cautiously from here on in.

Great work, Dexter!

MALAYA WATSON: “Through The Fire” by Chaka Khan

Strengths: Malaya – so you are a Chaka Khan fan! Good girl! And David Cook gave you excellent advice about pacing yourself during this – or any – number. Very smart!

First thing I noticed was the purity of your vowels. The sustained focus of your pure vowels helped to center your pitch in your mid and lower range. Your upper? Well, that is up for discussion below in the critique section.

You obviously loved and coveted this song like no tomorrow. You were totally committed and the passion was honest and free.

Good work, Malaya!

Critique: Malaya – David gave you great advice about pacing and focusing etc. and I wish you had followed his direction more studiously. At the beginning of this song, you seemed on track and then…

…it fell apart in the second half.

Once again, there was too much chest voice in your upper register and it knocked your voice off its center. With you, Malaya, less is more. You have to realize not to complicate a song with excessive runs or shouting. Your voice cannot handle this at your age nor should you risk trying to handle it. You will burn out.

And, once again, I would like to remind you to not raise your head. Keep it level with your audience. This will establish a stronger communication with your audience, while avoiding too much tension in your neck and throat. Sing over the notes – never reach!

Good luck, Malaya.

SAM WOOLF: “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper

Strengths: Sam – I am so happy that you connected with David Cook who, in turn, assisted you to connect more fully with your audience.

However, i wish you had ditched your guitar because you were barely playing it. Although, the fact that it was just you and your guitar was pretty impressive. So, I will give you a pass…I guess. Ha! But, no guitar next week – please!

You have the most exquisite tone to your voice and your technical skills are pretty solid. You possess a solid work ethic – I can see it in your eyes. You are so committed and so dedicated to your craft – now, all we want to see is you enjoying it.

Very good performance, Sam! You are improving and working hard to make these improvements. Bravo!

Critique: Sam – you need to get away from the mike stand and that guitar. Please! I beg you!

When you sang “Babylon” last week during your “save” song, you moved and grooved without the guitar and never sounded better. Seriously, Sam. Think about this in advance of next week’s performance.

And, why didn’t you make eye contact with one of the girls surrounding you. Or, better yet, all of them. I mentioned this during your Top 13 performance and Harry Connick Jr. pointed it out again. Throw yourself into the moment and you will never regret it.

Good luck as you prepare for next week’s show, Sam!

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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

33 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season XIII Top 8 REDUX Performance Show: Songs From The 80s”

  1. Oh how I hope the voters vote on singing and not anything else. IMO the top3 should be Alex, Caleb and Sam, Middle Jess, Jena B3 Dexter, CJ and Malaya. Hopefully Malaya goes home.

    I fear Sam will as he waited to long to connect and people have chosen favs. I just love his tone and his studio is the best of the bunch and radio ready IMO.


  2. Vonnie 🎵🎼 April 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I loved David’s mentoring…he should be a regular!!!

    I too think Sam may be in trouble tonight! I wonder who’s idea it was to put him back out in the mosh pit? He and Alex are my favorites I hope they both stay!!!

    I will be the Donnie Downer…I love Caleb but did not like his vocals on the Journey song…much like they tell all of the other contestants if you are going to take on a powerhouse singer you have to be amazing doing it, I think he fell short! JMO

    If I were going to choose a bottom 3 it would be CJ, Malaya and Jessica. But I have a feeling it will be Sam and someone else going home tonight, breaks my heart to say that!

    We do send 2 home tonight, right?


  3. Vonnie 🎵🎼 April 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Also! Is it just me or did Harry cross a line last night…


  4. Harry DID cross the line. He is becoming a face time whore. He tries to be all knowing and is off lately as self important and callus. He harshly critiqued Jess and Alex and let Malaya and CJ off without a harsh word.


  5. Aubry,

    I agree with your comments on the finish order last night except that I would swap Sam and Jess. I didn’t notice any improvement in Sam’s weak areas. She has shown steady improvement every week but they are using all of the old Idol tricks on her beginning with the mean girl edit in Hollywood to the excessive criticism last night while much poorer performers received praise and encouragement. They even did the same close up of the lipstick on her teeth that Haley Reinhardt got. Malaya and CJ got undeserved praise and Sam got excessive praise and attention.

    Malaya shot herself in the foot last night by choosing a song that was way too big for her. The same song bit Siobhan Magnus when she sang it, although she was much better than Malaya. She will probably go home even though CJ has had his bus ticket in hand for a long time. It’s a shame, I enjoyed her as a contestant.

    I like CJ’s artistic sensibilities but he can’t stay on pitch to save his life. If he can ever solve that issue, he would be better suited to traditional delta to maybe Memphis style blues than the hodgepodge of styles he has dabbled with on Idol. He identifies himself as a country sing yet that was the worst of the genres he has tackled on the show.

    Rock and roll doesn’t suit Jena. She’s a pop singer and it showed last night.

    I agree with Vonnie that Caleb left a lot on the table with his song, but he was still the best of the night. If he wins, he may be the least successful Idol of all time. I can’t see him doing anything current so he is limited to cover bands in bars, maybe a tribute band or if all of the stars align he might get a gig as a replacement singer in an old man band.

    Alex is my favorite, but I’m mixed on his performance last night. I like that he was willing to bring his own version of an extremely popular song. But while on the surface the song sounded good and he performed it well and brought some very decent guitar work into it, his version classed with the story line of the song. He also needs to vary his style a little bit more so all of his work doesn’t sound alike. It’s good that his songs and his voice are recognizable as being his, but not if they sound alike or the arrangement doesn’t suit the message of the song.

    Last week was the only week that I enjoyed Dexter. Maybe it was because Allison was singing with him. It was great to see her but she is in the wrong spot on the stage.

    Cook was the best mentor they have ever had on Idol that I can remember. He did an excellent job and as Vonnie said, should be on staff. Fire Randy TODAY, fire Randy today, fire…

    Harry was completely out of line.

    You may have noticed that Jessica told Cook that she had seen him in Birmingham and he said “at Work Play?” That’s one of the smaller performance venues that Vonnie and I were talking about a few weeks ago. They have an annual singer / songwriter series that is a contest as well and Jess is the current winner from last years contest. This year’s is still ongoing. So she and Cook have performed at the same venue.


  6. Vonnie 🎵🎼 April 10, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Good stuff Gene W.

    I thought maybe my age was showing a bit…heaven forbid I ever sound like my parents did when I was a teenager, 😉 but Harry was being obnoxious yelling I’m going in, but when he actually went in and pulled out a young lady on his shoulders and brought her on stage…I felt my parents creeping through my chin dropped mouth!!! I must be a prude!!! Lol


  7. Yes, I felt Harry was a bit hyper and weird. Maybe trying to be like Blake Shelton but it is not working. And what is with that kid on his shoulders? So strange and, even worse, inappropriate.


  8. That’s funny Vonnie. I’ve had this creeping realization that we are the “replacement people” ever since the first time a station wagon with wood grain contact paper on the side appealed to me. Now I can see my kids replacing me and my grandkids replacing them. It’s a little scary considering how it turned out for my parents.


  9. MCL,
    That may be your first Canadian ism I recall reading. A “ring” hyper. I’ve never heard that expression before.

    Honestly, I’m expecting to hear the news any minute that Harry has been suspended pending the outcome of a lawsuit filled by the little girl’s parents. The kid didn’t look very amused to me.

    Actually, I thought it was kind of funny when he had to get in the mosh pit with the sway bots for the big rock number, but then it went terribly wrong.

    He was also pretty disrespectful of Caleb by clowning the whole time he was performing.


  10. Gene. Ha! That was a typo which I hastily corrected. Thanks for pointing it out. Oh Harry. Methinks you are in trouble.


  11. Well “dog-gone-it,” I thought I had discovered a new expression. I kind of liked it. Maybe you could make it happen if you keep using it!


  12. Vonnie 🎵🎼 April 10, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Lol…Gene, there is this pillow that seems to float around amongst my sisters and I, it’s a little diddly that goes like this…”mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all”. Lol

    The replacements lol

    Yes! I thought the same thing with Harry, he may need to call Lawsuits R Us.


  13. Vonnie,

    Yes, yes.. I’m turning into my Dad! ha ha ha…

    Where is Johnny Cochran when Harry needs him. Randy may have spiked Harry’s drink so he could get his mug back on the judges panel.

    Oh yeah, amid what some see as the death rattle of Idol, I say we have several new Idol blessings to be thankful for.

    Much less Dawg time. (could no Dawg time be just around the corner?)

    30 minute results shows.

    Group numbers almost phased out.

    Allison Iraheta singing with the band.

    David Cook mentoring and I suppose performing tonight,

    I like the growth arc contestants but they are going to have to work on the “growth” part of the equation if this is to be the Idol format for the future.

    How about DWTS this season, especially Amy Purdy? This is the best matched, most competitive group I’ve seen.


  14. I agree with the comments about Harry. I was really hoping that the girl was his daughter, but, alas, it wasn’t, and she looked very uncomfortable. I think Harry is often funny, but it seems to me that he was trying much too hard last night to add humor and silliness to a show that is very boring. And I have often thought that he is trying to copy the Blake/Adam relationship on The Voice by making comments about Keith. Unfortunately, it really isn’t very funny.

    My favorite performances last night were from Sam and Alex. My least favorite was CJ. There was only one week when I enjoyed CJ. Mostly, I cringe because he’s so off key.


  15. Gene,

    I am thoroughly enjoying DWTS this year! Yes! Amy is Amazing! Derek’s choreography is spot on, the two of them together is just fun and inspiring to watch! I love the cast this year too!

    That’s funny…I watch my son and each day he is more like his dad and I watch my husband and I do believe the man is channeling his Father, LOL. So I tell my son when he laughs at his dad, “don’t laugh too hard, the apple doesn’t fall far, and by watching you I’m not sure it fell.”


  16. Louise, I so agree with you; and the sad thing is Harry is funny he doesn’t need to mimic anyone! When he auditioned during auditions I was laughing so hard…but last night I was not laughing I was thinking……well you know! 😦


  17. I will be curious to see if there is a formal apology tonight by idol and/or Harry!


  18. Vonnie,
    I really am LOL. It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?


  19. Louise,
    I think you are exactly right about Harry trying to copy the guys on the Voice. Even J-Lo is bit looser than usual lately. It’s kind of odd though because I had come to the conclusion that the whole point of the downsized Idol this year was to distinguish itself from the Voice, not to copy it.


  20. Vonnie,

    I was thinking the same thing. I think Harry will apologize. You recall how sensitive he was about the younger girls singing highly sexualized songs during auditions and the earlier rounds, so I think once he realizes how his behavior looked to many who saw it, he will give a personal apology.

    Derek is doing a great job with Amy and her positive outlook is something that a lot of young returning service personnel who find themselves in a similar situation can draw inspiration from. I saw a young man on TV yesterday who was a quadruple amputee as a result of war wounds and he too had a great attitude. Maybe they will have him in the audience later in the season.


  21. I think Harry and Keith has a Mad Men style “lunch” before the show! (Or in other words, I’ll have what they’re having… ;))

    Alex de-creepified “Every Breath You Take”! How did he even do that? Without changing the lyrics, he managed to change the meaning from “no matter where you go, I’ll be there, watching” to “no matter where I go, I see you, I can’t see anything but you.” He definitely needs to get some vocal training, but it looks to me like he’s using AI to work on performance skills, which may be an intelligent choice, if he feels he can only work on one thing at a time–it’s not the sort of experience that easy to come by, after all.

    Sam’s performance made me think of something I read about Fred Astaire. (Stay with me!) All Fred’s partners would complain that he would have them practicing 6, 8, 10 hours, and there they would be with their feet bleeding and he’d be going, “Let’s just run through it one more time!” Sam clearly practices that much–but the difference is that with Fred Astaire, the practicing wasn’t clear, it was invisible. Sam needs to BE onstage when he’s onstage, and he’s not there yet. But I give him props for making a major effort to connect with the song, and with the camera. (Putting him in the pit was an awful choice, I’d be afraid to look into those girls’ eyes too if I there were 6 inches away from me!) And I think it was a good call, and a gutsy one, for him to dump the band last minute and go with the acoustic guitar–but perhaps he could have had someone else play that one acoustic guitar. (Remember back when Jason Castro sang Hallelujah? He’d been criticized–rightly–for hiding behind his guitar, but he wanted that sound, so he got someone else to play the guitar for the song.)

    Jessica sounded really good, the song was a good fit for her voice, but she didn’t really put the meaning in the lyrics (JLo was right about that!) and her walking around was all out of rhythm with the song. She needs to feel the beat with her body, not meander around randomly! But I give her props for moving around, and she’s not going to improve without trying, so props to her for that.

    I think maybe Jena started too low? Because she was swamped by the band in the middle section, I could hardly hear her.

    Malaya seems to be wonderful in rehearsal but I think she’s getting too amped up by having an audience, she sounds tight to me, which comes out as screechy on the big notes. I think that’s what Keith was meaning by telling her to relax into the song.

    Caleb’s singing was spot on as usual–but I wasn’t feeling it. Maybe his snarkiness before and after put me off? Or maybe he’s acting the song instead of feeling it? Hard to say.


  22. Rereader – very good comments. Yes, Jessica could have rhythmically enhanced her stage movements but I was impressed at how relaxed and focused her voice sounded on her promenade. Lol. She really paced herself well. You can see that this is all new to her so good for her for taking advice and running – or in her case – walking with it.


  23. I coached a lot of sports for awhile (a good way to yell at your kids). Something related to coaching struck me as I watched last night’s show. I was big on fundamentals and that was a problem. The problem at a certain age level, especially when they are still growing into hand-eye coordination, is they concentrate so hard on the mechanics of something, the fundamentals, they forget what they are supposed to be doing. So Jena, as one example, was concentrating so hard on the fifty things she was supposed to be doing, she forgot to really sing the song. Just hit the ball! Just shoot the ball! It’s a nitty gritty rock and roll song and it’s all about the beat. It’s not a dainty, piano song. I thought they all performed mechanically last night except Dexter. Dexter just says this is me so let’s go sing my way. Mechanically is fine with a certain level of talent, but it isn’t going to get you where the AI platform can take you. Just sing and let go what is in you!


  24. Sounds like it is time for ‘Smaug’ to make an appearance on AI.


  25. Vonnie 🎵🎼 April 10, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    New twist…bottom two??? I thought 2 go home after a save? This must be like a built in snow day!!!


  26. The double elimination after a save is the worst feature of the judge’s save so I’m glad that is no longer the procedure. I always wanted them to drop to a bottom two at the top ten level because having a bottom three puts an additional contestant in a bad light. You remember they used to say “not necessarily in this order” to mitigate that effect a little bit.

    Two more things to add to the good changes on Idol list. .

    I’m a little disappointed that there was no apology from Harry but if the kid’s parents weren’t complaining I guess that would expose him and the show to liability unnecessarily.

    The voters have been pretty perceptive this year. This was the right bottom two. I would have preferred CJ go home but it doesn’t matter that much.


  27. Well, it was CJs time to leave but Malaya did not perform well last evening. Beautiful voice but clearly not ready for the pressure of this show.


  28. i really do think that harry thing was choreographed. it wasn’t funny, it didn’t work, i don’t know why he kept saying he was going to ‘get out there’ or whatever he was saying, but i think they are pushing him to do those things rather than allowing him to be the person he is.


  29. Hunter,
    You may be right, but I don’t think Harry would so something like that just because the producers were pushing him to. He seems to have a mind of his own and I think he was just trying to add some “zip” to a really boring show. But it didn’t work. Being a father of daughters, I think he was thinking of himself as a Dad to the young girls and probably never gave it a thought that it would look inappropriate. But it really crossed the line a bit. And the other thing to fault him with on that show is that he was taking time away from the contestants.


  30. Vonnie 🎵🎼 April 11, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I agree Gene, I didn’t like the double elimination either! Glad they have made some positive changes to the show! Now to iron out that judges table!

    Louise, I agree what he may thought innocent looked creepy to the rest of us! Did you notice he had his suit back on last night! Time to make the elephant in the room look professional, lol


  31. I think you ladies have it sorted out. Harry’s intentions were playful and innocent but the appearance was pretty creepy. I think Hunter is also on the right track in that they are keenly aware of what goes on with the Voice judges and what they are competing with, but I would stop short of saying it was orchestrated in a step be step fashion.

    Vonnie, I thought the suit was a sure sign that Harry was going to make a statement of some sort. It hadn’t occurred to me that the suit WAS the statement. Good sleuthing.

    I think this year is a building year and they will probably continue with the growth arc contestants next year with more fine tuning to make the show more interesting. It could be better contestants, new features or better mentoring but I think the show will survive.


  32. Hi all! I didn’t like Malaya at first, but the last few weeks I’ve been rather impressed with her. She’s definately gotten better I think. Kinda sad to see her go. CJ sings with so much passion! More than almost all of them. I don’t think he was that much off key this week as he usually is. Man, if he could get that tackled, he would be a front runner for sure!


  33. Vonnie 🎵🎼 April 11, 2014 at 11:33 pm


    I wasn’t always crazy about Malaya’s voice but I loved her personality! She was a lot of fun!

    Gene…me thinks the idol PR team was cleaning Harry up! Make him look professional and put a zipper on his spout!


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