25Mar08 - Top 10

In this week's show some singers showed vocal stress. I do respect the vocal coaches that work with the kids, but I also think that a knowledge of technique needs to be part of what they do. I also notice that many of the singers are approaching high notes by lifting their heads and singing to the ceiling, and opening their mouths really wide. This works against the voice, as the neck is stretched, and the breath thins out. They would do better to sing focussed forward with the head in a neutral position and the jaw relaxed down, while the corners of the lips are rounded. It's crucial to sing with some technical application, not only so that the vocal tone is good during today's performance, but so that you don't tire out the voice so it can't perform tomorrow.


REMIELE: According to what was said, she is not sick, but she lost her voice. This doesn't surprise me. These kids have been singing more in the last month than they have in a year. Besides the pressure of being in the public eye, consistently learning new music & choreography, there is also a lot of pressure to be "big". In Remiele's case, the strain showed. She has a lovely voice, but she pushed it. It was very tight. I felt that she yelled some of the song. She sings with wide, big vowels, which is very hard on the vocal chords. She would do better to sing with round shapes, and if she needs space, to go long (tall). In particular, on the big wide vowels, she was off pitch. I am concerned for her vocal health.

JASON: Jason finally impressed me a little this week. I thought he sang with more tone in his voice. However, I still say his kind of singing is not what is required for this competition. He is a folk singer, and there's nothing wrong with that, but there's a big divide between folk and pop a la Kelly C. I was disappointed in the song itself, as I was waiting for a payoff to a good chorus what would show some vocal skill and tone... and it went nowhere. For me I think Jason is one of the weaker singers. I know the girls like him, and I think he has a good heart, but vocally he doesn't do it for me.

SYESHA: I thought Syesha sang the best she ever has. She looked and sounded like a total professional. Great tone, great performance, beautiful top notes. Well arranged. Excellent.

CHIKEZIE: Poor Chikezie, he doesn't get what's going on. I thought he sang with good tone. He needs better vowel shapes on the bottom to help keep the tone consistent, otherwise he runs the risk of sounding pitchy. He's got that bluesy sound - which came in towards the end - that actually makes him sound deep and mature. Sure, it's a bit sweet and old fashioned. But if Michael Buble can do it, why not Chikezie?

BROOK WHITE: Brook has not impressed me as a singer throughout the competition. As she played the piano, I felt the combination of dealing with the instrument, a stationery mic, and the performance, caused a lot of tension in her neck and shoulders. You could see it. Sitting down is not always the best position for singing. So, between the tension, and the lack of centered breathing, the voice was not supported effectively. She needs to work on singing with her entire instrument -- which is all of her. The piano in this case was a distraction that made her disconnect from her body.

MICHAEL JOHNS: Finally! Finally he showed his potential. Unlike Brook, he put his whole self into what he was doing, and it paid off. That being said, he's a great example of what I said in my opening remarks. When he goes up, he lifts up his head, and he sings with his mouth shaped wide and flat. This compresses the voice. I wish I could spend 30 minutes with him and show him a different way of doing it. Because I think he's got one of the top voices in this competition, but he doesn't have the tools to understand how to make that voice really work in the top.

CARLY: Another vocal strain candidate. She's always sung her upper notes wide, and now we are starting to hear the results of that approach. The voice gets tight, it sounds stressed, there is no vibrato. I felt it was the wrong choice to try to push the voice to sing Pat Benetar. I felt that she was trying too hard. I am concerned that she is going too far. When you saw her face and the look in her eyes at the end, she knew she hadn't sung it the way she wanted to. But I'm not sure if she knew what had happened. The voice is a delicate instrument. With the right support, you can do amazing things, if your voice is well-developed and healthy. But vocal strain will do you in very quickly in this competition.

DAVID ARCHULETA: Here's another singer with a very good voice, who has always impressed me with his tone... who didn't impress me this week. On some of the vowels, the voice was sitting at the back, this makes the tone sound hollow, dull. It also saps energy from the voice. It's a sutble form of holding back. Again, another singer starting to lift his head when he goes up - this is totally wrong, it means we lose quality, and QUALITY *not* quantity, should always be the goal. I think his voice shows some fatigue, probably because the chosen song was too big for him - he is not a rock singer, and he should push himself to try to imulate the rock singers in the competition. However, I always have and still do appreciate his spirit.

KRISTY: Again Kristy sang in a way that doesn't impress me. What she thinks singing is, is not singing. She pushes the voice, she opens wide, she lifts her head, and in result you hear tightness, pitchiness. It's not that she doesn't have some potential, but I really it would be best for her to be voted off, go away and work with a coach for a year, and come back.

DAVID COOK: Along with Syesha, the clear winner of the night. Original, skilled, professional... and hopefully humble. Very interesting - and brave - way of doing the song, and it paid off big time. It showed his range & ability. Well sung.

If this was a singing competition, then Kristy should go, or possibly Brook. Likely it will be Chickezie, though.

Vikki Flawith: Songwriter/Composer, Singer/Voice Teacher


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