By: Rosanne Simunovic
Once again, out Top 6 Singers came out fighting. And, perhaps, a little more than usual. Each was vying for placement in the Top 5 and an opportunity to be part for the Top 5 tour.
In the end, Quentin was eliminated, losing the Twitter Fan Save to Rayvon.
Did you agree or disagree? Let’s see if we can dig deeper via the Top 6 Vocal MasterClass article, shall we?
I welcome your commentary and suggestions after the read!
Here are my evaluations and, remember, I am reviewing each singer in (first name) alphabetical order. Your comments are always welcome. To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below.
Yesterday: Clark- now this was classic Clark. Your voice sounded phenomenal from the beginning of this beautiful number. You ascended that melody flawlessly, impeccably and with technical skill that comes from years of practice and refinement.
For me, the buck stops here. This is what it is all about. Singing a beautiful ballad in an acoustic setting, with nothing but your gorgeous voice and heartfelt presence to grab the listener. You needed nothing else Clark, no gimmicks, no back-up singers, no lights and mirrors , no dancers a just your exquisiteLy controlled voice.
You packed a lot of surprises in to this 90 second performance. I absolutely loved the rhythmic change in the bridge. It was totally unexpected and, yet, added another exciting dimension to original melody. Who thought of this? It was brilliant.
And do not get me started on those fabulous sustained moments, where you grabbed a noted and held it with perfect intonation and unwavering style. And, it stands to reason that your visual for the phrasing elements in this song was heartfelt and very creative.
I also noticed that you were more immersed in the performance of this song, worrying less about the technical aspects. And, guess what? The song rose to stellar heights because you stayed fully committed to communicating the heartfelt soul of the lyrics.
I could go on and on about this performance. Every note, every phrase was meticulously formulated and delivered. Standing O, Clark! Congratulations.!
Boyfriend: Clark – seriously, when I heard you were singing this number, I giggled like crazy. A never thought I would hear you sing a Justin Bieber song. Just when I thought I had you all figured out, you pull out a “Biebs” song on me.
However, the playful nature of this song was just the ticket, actually, and I just bet you picked up a couple of new fans along the way with this selection. Like a couple of thousand +.
You delivered this song with punch and pizzazz, adding your inherent soulful take on this number. Your words were distinguishable – as they always are when you perform – and, as a result, your voice was centred and resonating as it should – in your vocal masque.
Yesterday: Clark – this performance was pretty flawless. One thing, however! The ending was so abrupt. I was confused. The song did not sound complete.
These 90-second time frames are so ridiculous because it gave you no time to finish this song in its entirety.
The only thing that may have helped you, perhaps, would to have established a faster tempo – but then you would have risked losing the slow, gentle pace that this song longs for. Those beautiful sustained moments and “stretched out” phrases would have disappeared and they were the heart and soul of this beautiful performance.
Make sure you think your arrangements through carefully, fully understanding that the endings are as important as the beginning. Tweak the songs until every aspect sounds complete and refined.
Boyfriend: Clark – I think this song was a bit strange in terms of the arrangement. I have to agree with the judges – it was very technical and, perhaps, too sophisticated in texture. I was hoping you would have more fun on that stage with this song but, In fact, the arrangement was so crazy busy that you lost your target – the audience – once again.
Remember your audience, Clark. Keep it simple and fun. Yeah, I know it’s hard but, in the end, people want to be entertained not confused.
White Flag: Jax – yeah. You sang this song seated at the piano. Great way to highlight the strength of your musicianship.
Your voice wrapped around the melodic line so effortlessly and so passionately. I loved the sensitively sustained moments in this song, the manner in which you kissed those upper notes.
And, removing your hands from the piano and lifting them at just the correct moments accelerated the dramatic poignancy of this song.
I don’t know how you do it, Jax, but you managed to grab our hearts with such a simplistic, pure approach. Your artistry is so well – honed and, yet, you connect fully and completely with your listeners.
Totally and completely outstanding. Brava, Jax!
p style=”text-align:start;”>Are You Gonna Be My Girl: Jax – you started this great number with such strength in every area. Your vocals, your ease on stage, your performing ability and your charisma were all there from the beginning and your commitment to this song was pretty much relentless throughout this number.
Also, what really, really impressed me was how freely expressive you are with your voice. You never belt or scream but are extremely committed to using your voice the technically correct way. I heard the gorgeous heady voice throughout this number. You added just the correct amount of chest resonance to add meat and punch to your song.
The rest you did with your body, as you physically commanded that stage. And not a breathy note to be heard! Very well paced. Brava!
And you are a Katharine McPhee fan? Well then, no wonder. She, as well, can emotionally connect with her songs without screaming out every second note. For her – as for you – performance and technical skills walk hand in hand.
This was a fantastic opening performance , Jax!
White Flag: This was perfectly performed and visualized from start to finish. Congratulations Jax!
Are You Gonna Be My Girl: Jax- I barely had a chance to find a glitch with this song , Jax. I was enjoying it far too much! For me, it was a strong visual and aural performance and so technically secure. Congratulations. –
Maggie Mae: Nick – I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to hear you sing this song. It is probably the most beloved rock song from the catalogue of the great Rod Stewart. The charismatic melody and lyrics were perfect for your passionate voice and delivery. You physically and emotionally embraced the lyrics and propelled them toward the audience in a technical yet meaningful manner.
Your articulation of the lyrics was crisp and clean – you told the story so well and with such authenticity. Your voice was brimming with passionate artistry and your phrasing had momentum and drive. And i loved the head voice section. It was brief but it was wonderfully done!
p style=”text-align:start;”>This song could have been written for you – the key, the range, the style, the meaning – everything came together in a one-two punch. With you at the helm, that imaginary arena came to life on that American Idol stage and I could thoroughly visualize what the fabulous future holds for you, Nick.
Harder To Breathe: Nick – boy you exude a confident and professional persona on that stage. You are so ready for this competition that it isn’t funny.
You sang this song with verve and commitment, immersing yourself in the pulse of the music. Even though you never moved away from the mike stand, you managed to capture your audience with your beautifully projected voice and relentless physicality. At times, your approach bordered on being anamilistic – very basic and gritty and, well, “harder to breathe” Ha!
And midway through the song, your mouth found that all-important circular formation as you were grabbing and sustaining your voice on the pure vowels . At this point, your voice sounded increasingly rich and resonant. That’s what I was looking for!
Excellent performance, Nick! Bravo!
p style=”text-align:start;”>Maggie Mae: Nick- such a great performance deserves to be critique -free. I loved it to the moon and back! And I applaud you confidence and humility – such a great combo!
Harder To Breathe: Nick- at first listen I thought : “Hmm he sounds too much like Adam Levine. And then I realized why. I love Adam, but he tends to sing with a horizontal mouth formation, using throat rather than diaphragmatic muscles.
And, subconsciously, you sort of adopted this in the front part of this song. As a result, your voice sounded thinner, with less meat in the timbre than what we have heard in the past.
Be careful to stay true to your own unique sound. It is so tempting to imitate the original artist and, oftentimes, as I said above, it is done on a subconscious level. However, you must stay true to your own sound – it is what distinguishes you from the pack.
In the end, the real Nick shone through, so good for you. Better that your technical skills kicked in later than never. Congratulations, Nick.
Light My Fire: Quentin – Quentin – oh Quentin, you “light my musical fire”. Always and forever. You are such a unique entity on that stage.
You established a relaxed, easy groove on that stage, moving around in a controlled, yet rhymically musical fashion. And, yet, you still had great fun with this classic song.
I was particularly impressed with your lower range. It is truly beautiful and you should highlight this area of your vocal range more often during your numbers. In fact, it would be truly neat to hear your sing in a baritone versus a tenor range for a change. It would be a whole different sound for you but I think, in your case, it would be a good thing.
Oh my goodness. How did you make your head go in a circle multiple times when you repeated “try to set the night on fire” at the end of the song? That was mega -cool! What a visual! You are your own special effects.
p style=”text-align:start;”>Shake It Out: Quentin – Now this I loved! Your voice and an organ opening this number! Classic Quentin!
And your pitch was spot on. Even when you sustained that incredibly long note, I didn’t hear a waver, nothing! It was a very controlled and a very brave thing to do as a vocalist, Quentin.
Somehow, I have a feeling that you connected with this song more than the other. I know I did.
Because your voice sounded determined, on a mission , full of drama and passion. I didn’t hear this on “Light My Fire” – not even close. Your mouth was round and you grabbed those pure vowels like your life depended on it!
This was fantastic with a Capitol “F”. Bravo Quentin.
Light My Fire: Quentin – well your pitch problems reared its ugly head again! Shoot! I thought we whipped that problem in the bee-hind!
And, I can’t blame it on a poorly paced performance because you handled the song extremely well – moving with relaxed ease. The song had a groovy momentum, so the problematic pitch issues were confusing to me.
I think, as I said last week, you have problems finding the “bulls eye” of your notes – with a tendency to scoop on to the note rather than singing cleanly on the note. You hit your notes hard, rather than introducing them with pure head voice.
In your case, you need to work on slowing down your songs in rehearsal, almost to halt, and sustain every pure vowel in every lyric. If you really stick to a slow, methodical pace, you will feel the need to access your diaphragm and sustain fully and completely on the vowel
However, you need to keep that mouth consistently round and that jaw relaxed and loose, dropping it when you move to the upper range. This is the only way to correct intonation issues. In fact, this is the only way to correct any kind of local issue you may be having.
Hope this helps you Quentin!! Good luck!
Shake It Out: Quentin – this was a phenomenal performance. That whole tribal thing really worked and permeated my soul to the core. So, in essence, I free you from a critique with this number because you were so connected to the song. Kudos. Your future is so solid!
Go Your Own Way: Rayvon – you sang this song with incredible drive and poured your heart and soul and a diva-like high note in to the end! I loved.how you commanded the stage and really tried to keep this very busy song on track.
You know, until you sang this song, I never realized how very difficult it was. Actually, the range is quite wide and ,considering this, you sang it very well and made it to the Top 5. Congratulations!
p style=”text-align:start;”>I’m Not The Only One: Rayvon – such a perfect song choice for you! Ahh! Perfection! And you sang your heart out! This was such a beautifully nuanced performance. Your expression – vocally and visually – was heartfelt and pure.
This song was an artistic tour de force – from the beautifully sustained notes to the vocal runs you moulded in to the original melody line. Everything sounded effortless but, at its core, I could sense the high degree of practice and professionalism that went in to this performance.
You always exude such a genuine and glowing charisma on stage, Rayvon. With you, it is WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) and we always gain a little bit of peace and inspiration from your performances.
p style=”text-align:start;”>Go Your Own Way: Rayvon – this song started sort of roughly. Almost as if you were not ready for it. I was so perplexed. I think it sat far too low in your vocal range. Darn.
Why didn’t you go with a higher key? You obviously can hit the notes because you gave us a very very high note the very end of the song.
However, at the end of the day, you have to remember to distinctly and crisply articulate your lyrics in every area of your range. Many singers, such as yourself, tend to want to minimize the energy you need when singing through the lower range when, in fact, you need just as much -if not more – energy when singing through the lower range. This is the only way that your lower voice will project towards the back of your audience.
Crisp consonants and well – sustained vowels in every part of your range will ensure an even, cohesive sound. And, believe it or not, a well sustained lower range will kick-start your voice so that, when you move into your upper range midway through song, the support is in place.
I think the song ran away from you, Rayvon. Such a shame. Let’s blame it on the pressure and call it a day, shall we?
I’m Not The Only One: Rayvon – try to remind yourself to maintain a consistently circular mouth position when you sustain your notes. And throughout your entire melody line.
At times, your voice lost its center and some vague intonation issues crept in to this performance. A round mouth, coupled with a relaxed throat and strong diaphragmatic support, will put this problem to rest – with time and practice.
You have a tendency to get lost in your music – which is great for your artistry. We need to see that. However, if the technique is not a natural commodity in your vocal delivery, then you will encounter vocal issues – like poor intonation.
However, at the end of the day, you gave a heartfelt, memorable performance. Congratulations!!
Tyanna Jones: “Heaven” by Brian Adams and “Party In The USA” by Miley Cyrus
Heaven: Tyanna – your voice at the beginning of this song sounded so beautiful. That gorgeous soprano quality in your voice was just the ticket for this song and it continued as the song moved forward.
You sang this song with sincerity and sensitivity. And that vibrato was just perfect for the more passionate section of this song. Also, the fact that you could move with ease from pure head voice to full voice and then back again is testament to the strength of your technical skills. Boy, when that technique kicks in it really works big time, doesn’t it?
I would also like to say but you looked beautiful on that stage. It was wonderful to see you in a very classy gown singing like the very classy musician that you are! Youn set a wonderful tone – visually and vocally – throughout this number. It was indeed “heavenly“.
p style=”text-align:start;”>Party In The USA: Tyanna – now this was a smart song choice. It was current, playful and full of rhythmic momentum.
And, as always, you came out to perform and entertain. You moved effortlessly around that stage and really involved your audience. You are such a generous talented young lady, Tyanna, and this is why you are in the Top 5. You have a natural, real ability to connect with your audience and I can see you filling many stadiums and arenas in the years to come.
p style=”text-align:start;”>Heaven: Tyanna – the only thing would suggest for you would be to work on your technique. It is fairly solid but, at times, I worry that you are singing with your natural vocal talent rather than with the assistance of consistent technical skills.
Those beautiful high notes will lower with age and you want to ensure that you can sing those notes forever and ever Amen. And with the same level of purity.
Also, that vibrato is what distinguishes you as a vocalist so make very certain that you never allow it to lose control. You need to turn it on and off at will.
However, it was a beautiful performance. I loved it!
Party In The USA: Tyanna – once again, your pitch became a pesty little nuisance during this performance. Now, as I have said before, part of it is due to your youth, part of it is due to nerves and part is also due to how physically busy you were with this song.
You need to pace yourself during these upbeat numbers. You do not have to “high-five” everyone you see. You can embrace your audience by creating physical space on that stage – visualizing that they are all up on stage with you.
When you hear that your voice is going out of control, give yourself permission to center yourself physically and vocally so you can get back on track again.
Now, the song did sound better towards the end but, in the end, it lacked the fun and frolic I have come to expect from your performances. It lacked conviction. In fact, I am not even sure you enjoyed it. If that was the case, make sure you have a strong tete a tete with your coaches.
However, at this stage in the game, I was personally looking for something more challenging from you because you thrive on vocal challenges.
However, you are in the Top 5 and I am thrilled for you! Brava, young lady!