Monday, March 31, 2008

Everybody Wants to Sing!

I was channel surfing this morning and caught a performance by Chikezie on Regis and Kelly. He was so genuinely nice, humble and sang with amazing technique, control, heart, ease and confidence. I think he is one of the very best singers this year from Idol and I am sorry to see him go.

However, when Regis asked how he was doing since he got voted off the show last week, he said he was relieved. He said that now he didn't have to prove himself to the 3 judges and didn't have to sweat through the Wed. night show waiting to see if he was voted on or off. And finally, he said that he was happy to be away from Simon, who enjoys being brutally honest a little too much. I was glad he was so candid with his opinions. Mostly, everyone seems too afraid to speak up against Simon's sadistic tendencies, because he is "the boss" of the show. I for one would never want to be judged by him. Show business is hard enough without someone trying to insult you for the fun of it. Although Simon has some good points, the way he says things is cruel and brutal. Does he think that's what America wants? Meanness is not appealing to me. That is why I haven't watched it for all these seasons. Due to my students constantly asking me what I think of the various singers, I decided to watch the whole season this year. It has been interesting and at times painful so far. I always cringe when Simon gives his critique. I do believe he gets pleasure from making the most cruel comparisons such as telling David A. the song sounded like "a theme park song with animated creatures". Is that necessary? Maybe he could say that the song didn't suit him as well as some of the others. Okay, I've made my point.

And one other thing. I was on the radio the other morning, I thought because I am a singer, performer and vocal coach, I could give some professional insight. Instead, I was asked questions like, "what do I think of David A.'s cruel stage father" and "did I like the new stage?" Why do people want to harp on the gossip and unimportant details? Isn't it more interesting to talk about what it takes to get up there and perform through stage fright and sickness, and cruel judges during this contest. At least I would find that more interesting. I think this show is such a hit because, as my grandmother always used to say, "everybody wants to sing". So don't we all want to know how to get up in front of people and express ourselves completely? I have so many students, young and old who yearn to feel free when they sing. There are great tricks to helping you get through the nerves. I have struggled with stage fright my whole life as so many performers do and have used these methods to help me through. I know I'm not the only performer who has dealt with it. Al Jolson used to throw up before every show. Barbra Streisand stopped performing live for 30 years because of it. I am very impressed with the singers on AI. They get up there and do it. Maybe someone will ask me about things pertaining to performing sometime. Do you have any questions out there? I'm glad to answer them if i can.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Results from 3/25/08

What a surprise that Chikezie got voted off the show tonight. After that amazing performance 2 weeks ago, I'll be sad to see him go. He's an impressive singer, better than most of the people remaining, and he's such a likable guy. He just didn't find the right songs to showcase his voice and amazing energy.

I know he will have a great career, now that he has had national TV exposure, and I'd buy his recordings. It should have been either Jason, or Kristy. They are the weakest singers, but they are appealing to look at. I would hope that's not what this contest is about. I think America got it wrong.

What do you think?

I have been asked to go on Mix 97.7 FM tomorrow to give my thoughts on the American Idol Results. Tune in at 7:30 AM online.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Theme-Songs from their Birth Years

Best performance tonight: David Cook
Runner up: Syesha Mercado
I really have no idea who will be thrown off: Maybe Ramiele or Kristy.
Who do you think?

My take on tonight's performances:

Ramiele Malubay-Alone
I think it was the wrong song choice for Ramiele. She doesn't have such a big voice to be singing a Heart song. No one should be singing a Heart song, or a Whitney or Celine song unless they can bring something new to it. You are always asking to be compared to divas and that's not a good position to be put in unless you can sing like last year's contestant Melinda Doolittle. Ramiele really pushed her voice, almost screaming and sang off key quite often. I don't think she has found a good song for herself yet. Hope she stays on to get that chance. I agree with Randy-bad song choice.

Jason Castro-Fragile
Nice, but he didn't bring anything new to the song. He needs to find a song and do it very different than it was recorded. Light, jazzy, pop. Nothing special. He's got potential, just needs to find that song.

Syesha Mercado-If I Were Your Woman
Wow, she really changed it up. Put her own twist into the song. That was the best I've seen her. Great pitch. She pushed her voice a bit towards the end. I agree with the judges.

Chikezie-If Only for One Night
He did a great job, good song choice for him. He's got a beautiful voice, lots of control, great range, very soulful. It wasn't that different from the original song, but he still sang it really well. Again, I agree with the judges. He needs to change things more than he does, and release that wild energy that he has.

Brooke White-Every Breath You Take
Good performance, nice piano arrangement. I like that she plays piano and guitar when she sings, being a pianist/guitarist myself. I know that it's comforting and relaxing to be with your instrument on stage. I'm so glad they let the singers play instruments this year. I agree with the judges that she should have just played the piano without the band joining in. It made it less unique and more like the Police's version. I thought it was great that she started over, it was brave, although I don't know why she started over, it sounded fine to me. I've done that before, it seems to make performers more endearing to an audience when they make mistakes, although it feels so embarrassing.

Michael Johns-We Will Rock You
Oh-oh, not a medley! He sounded like Queen, confident, but he did it too much like they do it for my taste. The judges and the audience thought it was great. I wasn't blown away. It just didn't sound like anything original but it was a powerful performance, his best yet.

Carly Smithson-Total Eclipse of the Heart
I felt like she was trying too hard, it sounded like she was pushing her voice especially at the end to try to impress. I agree with the judges, it didn't really stand out for me.

David Archuleta-You're the Voice
I love the songs he chooses, the meaning behind the words. He has something to say and he says it; always deep, always full of love and compassion for the world. I liked that he picked a song that was not well known, so he could make it his own without comparisons. He was a little pitchy tonight, but I still thought he did great. Whenever I sing, I want to make a difference with what I say, to touch people's hearts. I feel that same intention behind every song David sings. Keep on singing from your heart David, no matter what the judges tell you.

Kristy Lee Cook-God Bless the USA
Good performance, energetic, good song for her. Pitchy in the middle. I think she'll probably still be in the contest next week.

David Cook-Billy Jean
Wow, great song choice/arrangement. Really original! Great job!!!!!!!! Wow, wow, wow! I agree with the judges.

I wish I could hear these singers sing songs that have not been made famous by others. Then they'd have to be totally original. That's one reason why I write my own songs, it gives a chance to show my own personality, point of view, character, song style or how many different styles I can sing. I know some of them are songwriters as well. It would be great if they could sing their own songs if they do write.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mentors For This Season

I am looking forward to seeing the mentors do their coaching this season.
Ryan named them last week on the show:
Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Neil Diamond
That's an interesting group of mentors. I can see Dolly Parton and possibly Mariah Carey giving some helpful advice, but Andrew Lloyd Webber is a songwriter, not a performer. We'll see what they have in store for the singers. Looking forward to tomorrow's show.
What do you think of the mentors?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Results from 3/19/08

I knew it had to be either Amanda or Kristy. Amanda's style was just too one dimensional. This is a singing contest and she's a singer with a very limited range and style. I'm glad she got voted off because her voice really sounds shot and she had better rest it for awhile or it's going to be gone forever. Kristy is probably next to be thrown off unless she delivers the goods. She needs to really work on her performing skills for next week.
I still think David Archuleta is going to be the next American Idol.
I think America got it right tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Beatles 3-18-08

David Archuleta. AP Photo

My take: David Archuleta definitely was the best performer of the evening, hands down. Glad he is back; confident and resilient!!!!!!! Carly Smithson was the second and Syesha the third.
I think that Kristy Lee Cook is probably going to get thrown off tonight. She has been in the bottom 3 for 2 weeks now and seems to be the least exciting performer of the remaining group.


Amanda Overmeyer-"Back in the USSR"
Amanda sounds like her voice is getting worn out from all the blues singing she's been doing. If I were her teacher, I'd tell her to take some time off and rest it. She's really pushing her voice, and is losing control of her pitch. Of course there is no rest when you are on American Idol.
Her performance: nothing special, no surprises. I agree with the judges, she is getting a bit predictable.

Kristy Lee Cook-"You've Got to Hide your Love Away"
She looked quite unexcited while singing. As a coach, I would work on her acting ability through some theater exercises. I don't think she really knew the melody of the chorus and changed it not knowing it. She needs to work on reading music a bit, I think. Not a great performance, I agree with the judges. Nice voice, though.

David Archuleta-"The Long and Winding Road"
Great performance! Flawless! Amazing voice! He's back. Pure, organic, natural, direct channel from Heaven. He is the 2008 American Idol.

Michael Johns-"A Day in the Life"
His performance didn't really move me. I'd work on acting technique a bit more, he needs more stage presence, less focus on his voice I think. He hasn't been choosing the right songs for his voice/style. Good voice, but not showing what he can do.

Brooke White-"Here Comes the Sun"
Okay performance. She really didn't do anything too interesting or different. Not as good as the original. She seemed uncomfortable with the song. She needs to work on performing without an instrument, using hand motions to express herself. Bad song choice.

David Cook-"Day Tripper"
Fun performance, he didn't blow me away. He could have let loose more. I'd get him to do some theatrical improv exercises to loosen him up a bit more. Good rocker.

Carly Smithson
- “Blackbird”
Beautiful performance; interesting arrangement. I loved that she used her whole vocal range; Changed keys to show her upper and lower range. great choice for her voice. Not a totally emotionally connected performance.

Jason Castro - “Michelle”
He looked bored with the song. He didn't connect with the song. He seemed to just stand there.
The girls really love him. He could really work the audience better and drive them wild by working on his emotional expression through his body. I'd give him some acting exercises using his whole body to free him up a bit more.

Syesha Mercado - “Yesterday”
Nice performance. she gave it some originality. Beautiful voice, range. She is very versatile in her styles and her vulnerabilty really came through in her performance. Good song choice for her.

Chikezie - “I’ve Just Seen A Face”
Strange arrangement. I was confused by the performance. I like when he sings upbeat, more soulful songs. He's got so much energy, he needs to be free like last week's fantastic performance. I agree with the judges. This wasn't a good song choice or arrangement for him.

Ramiele Malubay - “I Should Have Known Better”
Fun song, she was a bit freer this week. She still hasn't found the right song for herself.
What did you all think? Who will get kicked off this week?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tomorrow Night's Show

I am looking forward to tomorrow's show. I want to see David Archuleta redeem himself. I am convinced that he is the next American Idol. Great pipes, great performer and great personality, he's got it all. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Results from 3/11/08

David Hernandez. AP Photo

Syesha's performance tonight was so much more passionate and right on key. Wish she could have sung like that last night. She probably felt she had nothing left to lose, so she just let loose.
It's so cruel to make these guys sing when they have just been told they are in the bottom 3. But on the other hand, you really get to see them more relaxed, and they probably sing better.
Kristy also sang better, less riffs, more natural. David Hernandez actually sang worse.
Katherine McPhee is an amazing singer -- I loved her performance. People sing so much better when it is not a contest. They don't have to prove themselves to anyone.

I'm so glad that David Archuleta was given some slack by the voters. His was the weakest performance last night, but America remembers how great he has been.

I think America got it right tonight. David Hernandez was one of the weakest singers. He needs to work on his pitch and not try so hard. Hope he keeps on singing. Good luck to you David.

I'm excited to hear more Lennon/McCartney songs next week. There are so many more great songs in so many styles.

What do you think they should sing?

Did America get it right?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Theme: Lennon and McCartney 3/11/08

Chikezie. AP photo.

Wow, tonight's show was really exciting. I'm so glad I now have a good excuse to watch TV. It's my assignment! You gotta love that!
I asked my 5 year old voice student tonight who her favorite singer was. She said David Archuleta. I asked her why, and she said "he's got a great voice and he's cute". I agree. But I wonder if she'll still say that after his shaky performance tonight. Well, for what it's worth, here is my take on the evening:

1) Sayesha Mercado - Gotta Get You Into My Life
Made the song her own-jazzy, (a little pitchy). Strong stage presence, confident, nice arrangement, great performance, beautiful to look at too. (Earth, Wind and Fire arrangement, sounded a bit too familiar).

2) Chikezie - She’s A Woman
Great vocal range/great arrangement/fantastic energy: Wow! Really original! I agree with the judges-Fantastic! My favorite performance of the evening. Blew me away.

3) Ramiele Malubay - In My Life
Beautiful, rich voice, the camera loves her, too old-fashioned, performance never went anywhere, didn’t take any chances, she was holding back. I hope she lets loose, she is a great singer and performer.

4) Jason Castro - If I Fell
Emotional, the ladies loved that, his heart is his draw, it’s right out there in every song. A little boring of a performance though, he is so beautiful to look at, mezmerising, I liked his improvising on the melody. The judges did not. Good performance, not great.

5) Carly Smithson - Come Together
She can sing- doesn’t push her voice and can really belt it out and high! She reminds me of Nancy Wilson of Heart. A true great rock voice. What a powerful set of pipes, soulful. Great singer/comfortable on stage, I enjoyed it.

6) David Cook - Eleanor Rigby
Energetic performance, he made it his own, he rocked out. I agree with the judges-loved it.

7) Brooke White - Let It Be
Reminds me of Amy Grant a bit; earthy, beautiful, warm. She is a little hoarse. I wonder if her voice will hold out for the rest of her time on AI. Sounds strained, she could use some technical help. Nice solid performance-calming energy- Authentic. The judges loved it. I liked it a lot.

8) David Hernandez - I Saw Her Standing There
Not a good song choice, this is a song of wild abandon, and he is a controlled type of singer. Wrong outfit. Wrong song, too complicated for such a simple song. I agree with the judges.

9) Amanda Overmyer - You Can’t Do That
Great energized performance, organic, authentic, she’s a natural rocker. Made the crowd go wild. She made it her own. Original.

10) Michael Johns - Across the Universe
Nice voice, not that exciting of a performance. The song/performance didn’t go anywhere. Still holding back I think.
I agreed with Simon and Randy.
Paul loved it, I didn’t.

11) Kristy Lee Cook - Eight Days a Week
I think she was trying a little too hard to impress, too many runs in her voice, out of control a bit. I liked that she did the song country style because she took a chance, but I didn’t like the arrangement of the song. Hoakey. Nice country voice. She reminded me of Dolly Parton too-I agreed with Simon. I wasn’t crazy about the whole performance.

12) David Archuleta - We Can Work It Out
Oh, I felt for him tonight. You could tell he was nervous, forgot the lyrics. It was his worst performance. He's so young, only 17, I hope America will cut him a break, I think he'll stay in, it was just a bad night. He should still be in the competition. I agreed with Simon on this performance.

Favorite performances of the night:
Best: Chikezie
2.Carly Smithson
3.David Cook
4.Amanda Overmyer
5.Brooke White

Who would be voted out? My guess is Kristy Lee Cook.

What did you think?

Welcome to the blog

I've been watching American Idol now for 3 seasons due to my voice students asking me every week what I thought of the performances. So when I got asked to do this blog, I thought it'd be fun, and I can get my students' input as well.

My students range in age from 5 to 75, and we usually agree on who we think is best. Well, we all agree so far that David Archuleta is the next American Idol. He has an amazing voice, a lovable, authentic, and humble personality, he's pleasing to the eye, and he's a great performer. He sings from his heart. I love that he chooses songs that have meaning, that he is using his moment of fame to say something important, like "Imagine" and "Another Day in Paradise."

I disagree with Simon, music should make people feel and think, and if it can make a positive change in the world, fantastic.

Ramiele Malubay comes in second for me so far. Her voice is strong, beautiful and she has a wonderful stage presence as well. My other favorites are Michael Johns, Syesha Mercado and Carly Smithson as far as great voices go.

I look forward to seeing tonight's performances.