Middle Georgia Idol Auditions and Review: Children/Young Adult

I recently had the awesome pleasure of sitting in and judging the first round of the Middle Georgia Idol auditions. The experience was absolutely fabulous. The folks over at C&D Entertainment were the greatest host of all time. They made me feel at home and completely comfortable. Although that environment was quickly killed and buried by Gwen Kirkland for snatching the venue that C&D had solidified for the auditions out from under their feet. That bitterness stuck with me and I have made a mental and now social media note to not even think directing ANY business that direction. We had to move the auditions from one end of the venue to the other and it was completely disrupting what was going on, throwing off schedules, upsetting contestants and parents, all for what? We had 30 minutes left…was that really necessary?

On to the auditions. If you would like to give some feedback in an open forum, feel free to contact Middle GA Idol: HERE
There is a lot of talent here in Middle Georgia. Some of it is just average and they can hold a note, but there are a select few that have the pipes to be professional singers.
I was unable to sit in on the second round of auditions due to an already booked event, but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

Here are the pictures that I took of all of the contestants from Round 1 (Saturday):

Now…On with the reviews:
The day started out a little dry and I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of Country that was being sung but nonetheless, I am here to judge the talent, not the genre. What was refreshing throughout the day was the amount of talent that the youth possessed. I was incredibly surprised and joyful to see so many young people with real talent. Some of it was raw and need a little polishing, but they still possessed talent abundantly.
Here are some of the youth auditions from that day:

Great voice, superb tone…How many of you know how hard it is to sing the Star Spangled Banner? Ask Carl Lewis about it…Work on the diction, and breathing and he could make some noise in the competition.

Cute kid, good voice. Needs work on pacing but there is talent there, it shows after he gets past the nerves and takes on the second verse. He is actually holding back his voice. If he has the chance to cut lose, know his voice, and work on his natural warmth in his tone, he could do this professionally.

Needs a lot of work. Potential is definitely there but the note changes are not smooth in transition. If she gives this song a try during the competition, it will not be pretty. Her strength is in her soft keys, but I think she is being told to belt the harder notes…it is not working well.

Who left the gate open? As nasal as this rendition sounds, she does have talent. She has the look for now, but the song did NOT match the image. There were numerous note changes, octave switches, and some awful notes in there. When singing a classic, you MUST bring your “AA” Game, she didn’t bring it, but we saw enough to put her through to the next round. You judge for yourself.

Nice tone and very gentle voice. Problem is…it’s all in the head. He has the talent but again, like the video above, it is all nasal and throat. That is not where true vocals come from. If he can get some training, chose the right song, and dress the part, he could steal a point or two. But all of the before mention has to take place. If he goes in unrehearsed with a bad song…No chance.

If she gets past the nerves, learns to control her breathing and use it to boost her voice she could not only make some noise, but she could win the competition. The audition wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worse either. He showed control, depth and to attempt a Keyshia Cole song (who could sing the ABCs with precision and yet kill you with her ½ note changes and never ending runs) is commendable. She actually started this song 2 octaves too high, if she gets it right…watch out!

Now this is just too cute. Makes you want to sing along…

This little lady can sing. The problem with her audition was it really didn’t showcase it. She has the personality, image, and more to be a star but if singing it the career of choice, and since this is a singing competition, pick songs that bring out the best of your voice. Go into it as if Stevie Wonder were judging the competition. All he can see or hear is your voice and this song did not highlight the voice that is definitely in there. Once you wow them with that voice, then you can do the theatrics, dancing, and smile until your lips are sore, but at least show and do your best with the vocals.
I would suggest something age and gender appropriate for the competition. For you to have a fighting chance with the older youth, use the complete package of image, style, show and VOICE and you might pull it off.

Don’t try and do this song for the competition…(look below at #2 to see why). You can sing, yes. But you strength is in power, but not songs this powerful. There are singers who rely on power and there are those that live there. You could live there with you power. The problem with that is it limits you. People who live there are members of groups and they realize that they are better suited singing the high notes or the bridges or the power notes because the other members can not. You could be that girl. Judging from this competition, the range wasn’t there to be attempting this song. Good effort, but not close enough. I would recommend something by Jennifer Hudson or Jordan Sparks for the competition (NOT, “And I’m Telling You” again, out of your league”) Unless you can learn to control your breathing and push with the diaphragm, songs like Listen and And I’m Telling you is just too big.

GGGRRREEEAAAT voice. Man you can just hear “Disney” written all over it. Very genuine and comforting. Beautiful melodies and good image. That’s the good news. Problem is she is clearly trained. The problem with training sometimes is you pick up mannerisms that aren’t conducive to vocal competitions like the over enunciating and holding on to notes ,that need to be let go, too long. If theater is the career choice then she would be 1000% perfect for it. If being a demo artist or voice over artist is the thing…Great, again perfect. But if singing in front of others in a pop/jazz/R&B setting is the desire, she will have major issues.
I had to watch this video over and over and finally I closed my eyes and listen to the VOICE and the voice is stellar.

This child is special. Not in a bad way, but in an awesome way. Let me give you the bad stuff first. Watch the eyes…She is looking at her parents. I am all for supportive parents or even overly aggressive parents with good intentions but clearly this is a distraction to the child. She shouldn’t have to keep looking to catch a cue or for mother’s approval. This takes away from the competition and makes the audition seem less genuine.
She is cute as a button and possesses a world of talent. Love the image, song selection a little mature for her age, but her voice is the focus. So lets get on it, she isn’t even trying to sing. Listen to the voice in there. She can sing, probably as well as some of the adults, but the nerves or fear or something (to the left) is preventing her from actually singing. If she can open up like she want to, if she can bring the same personality, style, and performance and be a little more authentic, she WILL win the competition. If she is not aloud to open up, selects the wrong song, or is hampered by other things that are distracting, she will not place in the top 15 of the 17 youths…Her call. Great talent…

AND NOW, MY PICKS TO CLICK:
3

We’ve already went over how difficult it is to sing the national anthem. Now witness someone doing it with ease. Superb voice. Probably one of the top 10 in the ENTIRE competition. Stellar control, nice runs, good breathing, I would hire right now to do the national anthem. This voice is real and it crosses genres. Hard to believe that she is a young adult. If you went through the rest of the auditions, you know that there are quite a few adults that didn’t sound this good. AWESOME voice. Her winning this competition will all come down to image and song selection. Although she could sing anything and make it sound good, it has to be something that accents her vocal superiority over most of her competitors. Best of luck, definitely one to watch.

2

There was a toss up between 2 and 1 but through the something special factor, this young lady lost out but that is in no way an indicator of her not having talent. You heard one rendition of “Listen” by Beyonce now hear what it sounds like when done with control. I had originally picked her to win the competition but again, something special wins out over raw talent every time. Listen is an appropriate song title. Listen to how warm her vocal are. Listen to how much range she has. Listen to how, untrained as she is, she knew to start in the lower registers to give the impact of the higher registers a bit more strength and dramatization. If she isn’t trying to do this professionally, she should rethink her career goals. Very few singers can be in their lower registers (Beyonce, Jennifer Holiday, Lalah Hathaway) and be successful. This is a child!!! And she is doing this effortlessly. If she can learn to control her pacing, work on her breathing and possibly get a vocal coach, not only could she win Middle Georgia Idol, but she has the talent to compete on American Idol.
(the vocals were cut short due to the time constrictions of 1 minute…that is me in the video with a reluctant sigh, I believe she was about to kill it though)

1

Something Special

Do you know what it means to “know your voice”. Certain singers, especially the professional ones know their voice. Mary J. Blige knows she can’t even compare to the voice of Alicia Keys so she picks songs that highlights her voice. What Mary possess that most singers do not possess is heart. When you hear her sing, as limited as her vocals may be, she sings from the heart and you feel it.
When I heard thing song, I didn’t hear it, I felt it. It wasn’t as if I was going through some sort of personal issue but her voice made me sit up, take notice and pay full attention. There is NO other voice like hers in the competition. This is the type of voice that Whitney Houston used to possess. The kind of tone that Aretha Franklin used to have after the church. The kind of depth, warmth, and smothness that Billie Holliday, Donnie Hathaway, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, and (currently) Jazzmine Sullivan use so effortlessly.
There are world class singers that don’t even come close to the talent that this YOUTH (can you believe that) possesses. If I were to give a modern day comparison to her voice, style, tone, and range, I would have to say she sounds like Faith Evans. And that says a LOT!.
The breathing was good, the notes were hit on point and without effort. It’s the singers that sing that don’t know that they can do more that are scary. She doesn’t have to stick to her comfort zone, she has the vocals to out-sing the entire competition. All things considered, if all of the other competitors bring their “A+A” Game and she keeps it where she is, raw and pure, Pending the proper song selection, image, and enough rehearsals she should win by a landslide. Image what she could do with a vocal coach, training, breathing exercises, and some professional input.?. We are talking another league…

To all of the people that made it to the next round, a little advice.
Pick the right song. Pick a song that highlights and puts the focus on you and your music. Do NOT pick a song that is going to stretch your vocals or something that you wanted to “try out”. There are singers in the business now that have limited range, but they stick within those boundaries (Mary J. Blige) because they know that they can’t go past a certain point or it would not be good for them and us for hearing such bad vocals.
Make sure that you are practicing daily. If you need vocal coaching, contact April Crawley, she can assist you. Do not get on that stage and think that it is just something to do, major artist have been discovered or used this type of venue to further their career in talent competitions.
You could be the next American Idol.

To contact April Crawley via email click: HERE
Special shout-out to Mike Model Mayhem, Mr. First Impression is doing his thing.
One time for Bobo and the other judge who’s name has escaped me…thanks for the hospitality.
These reviews are the expressed consent of ME: If you have any issues, here is my number 478-338-2934.

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