Top Gals - March 5/08

Here's how I rated them, from top to bottom:

I’ve read the comments that are cynical about Carly being in this competition that say the judges are pushing her to be one of the finalists. I have to say, though, that IMO she is a good singer. I thought the song was set a little low – I don’t like hearing someone gravel around in the low notes so they can sing out on the top, I think we should strive for balance. However, I definitely felt she pulled it off.

I didn’t like the song choice, myself. However, I thought she showed good tone and depth, and a little range. I think she has to be careful not to sing in the throat. Her voice needs to come forward, and show more brightness. This can be achieved by making sure you have rounded shapes on vowels. When you put too much weight in the middle voice, and sing with wide shapes, the colour of the voice gets darker. The extra weight in the middle voice makes it more difficult to go up, or the change is resonance as you go up becomes too obvious. The trick is to sing the low and middle notes lightly, brightly, so that you can negotiate the change in registers more effectively… and sound like you have one voice from top to bottom.

I find it difficult to rate Amanda against the rest of the girls, because it’s like comparing apples and oranges. I think this week she did what she does very well. She doesn’t have a huge range. One thing that bugged me about her performance is that she never looked up at the audience or the camera, so there is a sense that she is disengaged… or so focused on getting through the song that we don’t matter. She sang much better than last week.

I think Kristy has great tone in the middle voice. I didn’t like the song much. I felt she pushed the top notes, singing too wide and cracking because of it. We need to understand that singing wide puts a whole lot of pressure on the vocal chords. You can actually achieve more tone, and more ease, if you have the proper vowel shape. And I know people might say, this is pop/rock, not opera. But there’s a reason why opera singers can sing powerfully on the top and it has to do with technique. I find it hard to compare her to the other girls, however, they made a comment about her throat so perhaps she isn’t 100%. We shall see.

When you get to the singers you are rating as being on the bottom of the pack, they each have their own issues but seem to be almost at the same level. I felt that Syesha’s singing is a little manufactured. It just didn’t move me.

This is another singer who feels unattached to her instrument and her performance. She has a nice tone and negotiated the song okay, but she didn’t thrill me in any way.

I wasn’t very impressed with her performance this week. I found the song to be pitchy, and the voice sat in the back of the throat. This can make us sound off pitch even when we aren’t, because the voice is strangled, we are singing too internally. And it makes the top notes tight because the breath is not moving effectively. I agreed that she needs to sing with more animation. In particular, she needs to be more present on the vowels, thinking round shapes, to help the voice come forward. When we try too hard (and hey, the environment these people have to sing in is full of pressure), we lose it. I agreed with Paula that she shows good quality in the tender soft parts, but she doesn’t understand how to bring that quality into the rest of her voice. She needs some training, IMO.

I thought it was a very weird song choice. She sounded slightly off. I felt the chorus didn’t go anywhere. I feel like she’s out of her depth in this competition and I disagreed with the judges who said it was great. To me it was, unfortunately, forgettable.

As an aside, the banter between judges gets to be too distracting. I wish they'd give the singers more time to sing a proper arrangement of a song and give less time to all the talking after each performance. It gets a bit boring.

Vikki Flawith: Songwriter/Composer, Singer/Voice Teacher


Be a FAN: