Top Gals - March 5/08

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

CARLY SMITHSON
Iíve 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 Ė I donít 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.

ASIAíH EPPERSON
I didnít 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 effectivelyÖ and sound like you have one voice from top to bottom.

AMANDA OVERMEYER
I find it difficult to rate Amanda against the rest of the girls, because itís like comparing apples and oranges. I think this week she did what she does very well. She doesnít 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 disengagedÖ or so focused on getting through the song that we donít matter. She sang much better than last week.

KRISTY LEE COOK
I think Kristy has great tone in the middle voice. I didnít 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 thereís 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 isnít 100%. We shall see.

SYESHA MERCADO
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 Syeshaís singing is a little manufactured. It just didnít move me.

RAMIELE MALUBAY
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 didnít thrill me in any way.

KADY MALLOY
I wasnít 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 arenít, 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 doesnít understand how to bring that quality into the rest of her voice. She needs some training, IMO.

BROOK WHITE
I thought it was a very weird song choice. She sounded slightly off. I felt the chorus didnít go anywhere. I feel like sheís 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

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