Wednesday, April 7, 2010

American Idol, Season 9 - Recap from a Vocal Coach's Perspective

American Idol, Season 9
April 6th, 2010
Dot’s Accompanying Notes to Vlog

It was another Idol edition tonight and now that it’s top 9, things are getting a litter more interesting. Tonight Idol had some interesting surprises from the Didge to Bagpipes. One contestant pulled off the stint without upstaging themselves, but the other did not.
I’m sure you can guess who that was?

Ellen Says playing the digeriedoo is very difficult, but did you guys know that the didge is a great instrument for singers to play, because in order to play it, you do one of the most important vocal exercises there is!

And it involves a breathing technique that is also ideal for singers to get maximum support.

I was disappointed at first when they didn’t have a mentor, but that certainly didn’t take away from the entertainment value of tonight’s episode. We got to hear about what the other singer’s thought of each contestant. What a great way for us to get to know them better. Instead of just hearing about what their Mom and Dad said.

1. Aaron Kelly started off the night with “The Long and Winding Road”
Aaron you have such a great voice, but tonight, it actually sounded like you had a block in your throat chakra and solar plexus while you were singing. For those of you who don’t know what that means – he was just blocked and not as powerful as usual, and sorry honey, but I got a bit drowsy and for once, I agreed with Simon.

2. Katie Stevens sang “Let it Be” and I loved this because you were committed to the song and it was an honest, simple performance. I think you outshone Siobhan tonight as well. I actually really like you Katie.

3. Andrew Garcia – you sang “Can’t Buy Me Love” and I was so excited when you said you were going to sing this because it was a great song choice… but it was in the wrong key. Not that you couldn’t hit all the notes, but had it been 1.5 steps higher, you would have really sailed through it and grabbed me with that tone and energy in the sweet spots of your voice. That’s something Casey has down. He always chooses the right key for his songs. Learn from him and do the same. Truth is Andrew – you are one of my favorite dudes on this show and you did well tonight, but I was a wee bit disappointed because I totally LOVE the energy and tone of your voice and usually feel you. Tonight I didn’t as much as usual.

4. Michael – the best part was seeing that pic of you when you were a little boy! OMG HOW CUTE WAS THAT! So – in the past, I have never really disliked any of your performances. I enjoyed last week, but this week when you sang “Eleanor Rigby” I thought it was FABULOUS cuz if I were to sing that song, I would have done something similar to make it mine, so I really FELT your interpretation and I LOVE how present you can be with a song and just tell your story. It’s great!
TIP – watch your body on stage. Be more grounded. You have so much energy and you’re so big that you kind of need to just ground. Feel free to walk around if you like, in a grounded way, but you tend to work upward with your energy when you sing, making you look borderline awkward in your body. Simple fix. Connect to your feet more. I’ve got a great exercise for that on my CVP CD and you or anyone who feels awkward on stage should do it.

5. Chrstal Bowersox
How come you ddin’t play the didge and sing? That would have been rad.
Okay – I thought your performace was fun – but you seemed quite a bit nervous at the start of your performance. This is the 2nd week I’ve noticed this.
However, you NEVER disappoint. That didge is pretty powerful eh?
You wanna know why Ryan said it was distracting at first?

When you play the didge, you can feel it’s vibration in your body.
Back in the day – in Australia only men were supposed to play it – not because they were better then women, but because they needed it more.
I happen to have 3 of them. Wanna know why?
Because like I said earlier, they are FABULOUS healing instruments. You benefit from them when you play them and are in the presence of one being played.

Listen while I demonstrate in the video
It makes you feel grounded when you do it.
OMG – what does grounded mean? There’s that word again.

Visit and get my CD and it will help you be more grounded.

When you do a lip trill, it traps the air on both sides of your vocal folds and creates .. massage… This balances the vocal folds.
It also make you more grounded.
But if you don’t know how to do circular breathing, then you can only sustain as long as your breath lasts.
Circular breathing –
Bubble while breathing in.

6. Tim Urban
You’re just a cut boy and “All my Lovin” was a great song choice. That’s it for you. You fall into the Sanjaya and Jason Castro bracket, where people just love you cuz you’re you. I like your positive attitude though. Keep it up. It was fun to hear from the other contestants about how you really are a genuine guy.

7. Casey James
Sang “Jealous Guy”
You keep growing on me every week. You always have a strong connection to your song and that is most important. That makes you authentic. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t change a thing… even though Kara encouraged you, which is great and you know she wants you BAD – just keep being true to your gift and keep picking songs that you can Connect Authentically to. (Sound Familiar students? Yeah – my students hear me say this all the time. I’m glad Idol is echoing what I teach – sometimes.)

8 . Siobhan Magnus sang “Across the Universe”
I’m sorry honey, but I’m just not in your world. I don’t know what the hype is about. I like the fact that they say you’re weird, cuz I can relate to that, and you have vocal talent, but I have no idea what you were doing tonight and I guess you’ve won over all the judges because no one said anything bad about your performance.
Good for you then. I am always the queen of positive feedback, but for me, this was the weakest performance of the evening. I got all sleepy. The thing is – this performance showed nothing of what America likes about you. They like that you’re kind of quirky and different and you can “scream” and stuff and that you wear those “nerdy” glasses. Not to say you should do that every week, but I’m just not feelin’ you over the past few weeks at all. However, you were committed to your story tonight, which was great – vocals were weak. I would not have chosen to keep the lower in your head voice. What were you trying to prove by doing this? Are we supposed to care? Sorry honey.
Tip – next week, do something quirky and wild – without screaming, but just committed to the message.

9. Lee Dewyze – well, at least people wil remember your performance of “Hey Jude”, but you let a man in a quilt upstage you. What was that like? LOL.
Should have had him on the stage with you and then maybe give him a solo and then have him join you. But the entrance thing was just a TRIP! LOL! It reminded me of back home in Canada though. You can really hear those bagpipes from miles away. Hmmhmmm. You sang great though and looked much more confident, as Ellen pointed out, but because of the bagpipes, I can’t really remember your performance. You deserve to be in the spotlight honey! No more stints like that unless you do it like a pro.
Advice – Watch the movie “The Secret” So you can stop saying you’re going home and be more positive okay sunshine Dewyze!

f you want to learn how to breathe, center, tone and warm up your voice safely, buy my Practicing CORE VOCAL POWER Cd, and DVD visit http://www.core vocal for more info
Or for my first reaction rough notes!