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David C, David A, and Chikeze were the top singers this week. Very close in my scoring, but this is how I rated them, from top to bottom.
DAVID COOK Sang with good, clear tone that showed quality. Sang with ease. I thought he was excellent.
DAVID ARCHULETA Overall David has a clean, bright tone which I find pleasurable to listen to. He doesn't push his voice, he sings easily. I think he shows musicality. I thought he hit the pitches clean for most of the song, however, he chose a song that goes down too far, and when we sing too low for our voice, we take the energy out of the tone, and that makes it difficult to stay on pitch. We also run the risk of pushing for volume down low, which also creates pitch problems. It's important to pick songs that fit the voice and show it off.
CHIKEZIE Good choice of song for him. Showed good tonal quality, flexibility and sang easily, without effort.
MICHAEL JOHNS Everything he's sung since Bohemian Rapsody has been a little disappointing. Tonight I felt that he fell into the same trap as some others, by picking a song that sits pretty low much of the time. Hanging there too long takes energy from the voice and from the performance. He actually disappeared in the low notes. His voice is begging to sing in a higher tessitura*. So in the low notes, we can barely hear you, and then you punch out the 'top' and the whole thing seems off balance. Not only for us, but for the voice. Gravel around low, and then expect your voice to jump into the high notes with ease? And wonder why it doesn't work.
DAVID HERNANDEZ You know, David actually has a pretty good voice but he doesn't understand how to use it. He sings with his voice at the back of his throat. It can feel really comfortable and powerful to the singer when doing that, but the audience loses something. As I watched him sing, I felt he was opening his mouth enough for the voice to come forward, but I suspect it's tension in the jaw and neck that is creating the constriction. This is why his last note was not off pitch but sounded like it was. The apparatus has the right information, and is trying to vibrate at the right frequency, but the constriction in the throat means they are unable to work freely. I also felt the back-up singers and band overshadowed him in a few spots.
LUKE MENACH I found his vocals to be a little tight and pitchy. I agree with Simon, who used the word "weak". I feel that Luke sings in an "unattached" way. By that I mean it's like he is disassociated from his voice. I don't know yet if that is nerves or lack of training, perhaps both. He needs some work with a good coach who can teach him how to reach down into his core for depth, and release it. Right now it's like he's singing 'on the surface', and that isn't compelling to listen to.
JASON CASTRO I disagreed with the judges. I'm not a fan of noisy breath instead of good tone. I would have liked to hear more solid tone, better phrasing, and longer notes on some of the vowels. To me he sounded like someone getting over strep throat who was doing his best to sing a challenging song. He needs to work on understanding how to breathe effectively for singing. I don't know what kind of sound set-up they use but sometimes I wonder if there's too much compression on the voices because every breath stands out so loud. Or maybe it was that the whole thing sounded like unsupported singing.
DANNY NORIEGA Please, can he get voted off this week. I don't know why he's still on the show. In my opinion he does not have the voice. I think he is a fair performer, but he isn't a singer. I feel also that he's either outside his comfort zone with the music, or trying to make his voice do something it's not suited for. He's not a rock singer. Light pop, perhaps.
*Tessitura - generally describes the most musically acceptable and comfortable timbre for a given voice