Thea is a very talented young lady with great stage presence and superior overall presentation. She sounds nice on the softer sections of this song. However, I would love to spend just 15 minutes with her. Her problems are very “fixable” and I am surprised she has not had a coach work with her on these issues.
Watch this entire clip, including the judges’ comments. It is absolutely amazing! At the risk of being controversial, I know many of you might not even notice a couple of significant flaws in Thea’s voice; obviously, the judges didn’t. I am being very picky here, but after all, this is American Idol and should be the best of the best!
I realize that Thea is young (only 15 here), but I personally know many young singers with a better, more relaxed sound, especially on the fortissimo (loud) sections of their songs. Instead of just criticizing, I will give solutions to her mistakes, so that if you struggle with some of the same weaknesses, you can learn from this clip.
First of all, she has some pitch issues. She is flat (under the pitch) in 3 distinct places and it is very obvious because they are sustained notes where she is singing loud. The first flat spot is “be” (with you), another is towards the end “out”, and then she starts the FINAL note of the song (“own”) flat!
Another issue she has is lack of control of her vibrato. Her vibrato spins very fast and it is a little distracting especially at the beginning. However, her vibrato saved her final note which had started out flat. The bend in pitch from her vibrato got her back on pitch before the end of that last note.
The only reason I am this picky about this performance is to demonstrate that there are some simple things that can be done to remedy issues such as hers. I believe both of these problems stem from the same thing…tension! Probably those 3 notes are in or near her break and she needs to carefully relax and get correct placement of these notes, mixing her head voice and chest voice in order to get that strong sound without any tension whatsoever.
There are many ways to master this but I will give one exercise to help her work these sections. She should first try those three pitchy sections softer, on a light, relaxed “dee”, bent at the waist. She needs to hang there, relaxing totally the arms and head—DO NOT LIFT THE HEAD. Raising the head causes tension. Once she can sing on the “dee”, then try it with the lyrics, still bent over. Once that sounds right, with the appropriate volume she wants, try it standing up.
The “dee” wlll get it in the right placement for a mixed voice., Bending over will help her relax. The vibrato issue can be worked the same way, but there may be some breathing issues as well. This will get her started though.
She is a beautiful girl with a LOT of great qualities, don’t get me wrong. I would love to work with her, and these issues could be remedied with just a little bit of instruction. I was surprised that not only did the judges not notice that she sang flat, but they specifically mentioned how perfect her pitch was! Maybe I heard a different audio than they did. Randy usually tells people when they are “pitchy”, I guess he didn’t notice on this one.
Contact me through my blog with any questions or observations you might have.
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