Thursday, 18 April 2013

[Review] American Idol Does Divas (Plus Theme: "Year They Were Born")

al 5 american idol 2013

Season 12 of American Idol has officially become a sausage free zone, with the remaining five contestants all being of the female persuasion - it's almost enough to make me watch! This being the case, or not (I don't know how far in advance they pick these themes), yesterday's episode was Divas night! In honour of that, each singer was asked to pick a song by a famous female to perform in front of the judges. But how many were heroic enough to pick a Mariah Carey or Nicki Minaj song? Find out below- along with my two pennies on each performance!

(I've also posted each of their second performances of the night, which were supposedly chosen from their year of birth. Might help those of us who don't watch the show get a better grasp on the contestants.)

Candice Glover: Straight Up/ When You Believe
I was not expecting the jazzy arrangement for Straight Up, but it worked quite well. Honestly, it didn't blow me away and I really missed the playfulness of the original, but no one can deny Candice made it her own. It was also a sweet nod to previous judge, Paula Abdul. Now when I heard her other choice was the Mariah/Whitney Houston colab When You Believe, I was excited. But the actual performance just didn't hit the mark. Part of the strength of the original was that it was a duet, so interest could be maintained by the two voices playing off of one another. With Candice not being able to do that, the song became strangely boring to listen to after the intro. It was still vocally a strong showing, but it didn't click with me.





Amber Holcomb:Without You/What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life
Now, Without You isn't actually a Mariah orginal, but Amber was clearly following her remake of the song, so props to her for having the guts to sing it in front of the Diva. It seemed a little too low for her voice and the top notes didn't have the nicest sound to them, but hey, girl tried. Her next choice was a better fit for her voice and range, but since it's been covered by Diva's such as Barbra Streisand and Sarah Vaughan it was another brave choice! Her take on What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life had some iffy notes, I can't lie, but the overall performance was enjoyable, with her mid-range belts and softer tone getting a chance to shine.





Angie Miller: I'll Stand By You/ Halo
A pleasant enough rendition of The Pretenders' classic, but at times she had a little of the Kermit the Frog thing going on in her voice, which I didn't like. Overall it was a tad dull. Next, a near enough note for note recreation of Beyonce's Halo. They tried to give the song a rockier edge (with the drums) to match the coarser texture of her voice, but it wasn't doing anything for me. The melody was switched up in the closing half, however those held notes sounded too forced to be impressive. I was just waiting for her voice to crack, but thankfully she made it through. My least favourite singer of the night.




Kree Harrison: Have You Ever Been In Love/She Talks To Angels'
Kree has a beautiful tone to her voice and I was surprised at how well it worked with this rendition of Celine Dion's Have You Ever Been In Love. She totally made the ballad sound contemporary. I wasn't feeling the second song as much, but it showed the versatility that her voice is capable of.




Janelle Arthur: When I Call Your Name/ You Keep Me Hangin' On
Playing to her country roots, Janelle gave an authentic performance of Vince Gill's When I Call Your Name. I have to admit, initially it came across as a weak song choice, especially when put next to the more obviously impressive vocals of the other contestants. However, if you really focus on the nuances to her voice, and what she's doing with it, there is a fair bit of technical singing going on here. It just takes a deeper listen to appreciate it. Similarly, her take on The Supreme's You Keep Me Hangin' On brilliantly, and effectively, brought the song into her own musical arena, making me appreciate the meaning of the lyrics for the first time. And believe me, I have listened to that song countless times. Genius!




After watching this week's performances, as much as I kinda enjoyed them, I'm left with the distinct feeling that I'm not missing out on anything by not watching Idol- bar maybe getting to watch Mariah Carey every week. Perhaps if I'd have had the chance to become emotionally involved in their requisite sob stories, I might have felt differently. But ain't nobody got time fo' that! Also, whoever is uploading these videos (Fox, I assume), why do you cut off the judges comments?! I really want to hear their opinions!! Argh!

Thoughts?


82 comments:

  1. i propose a law against covering Diva songs. No one really has a chance. I'll never forget what Simon Cowell said to Katherine McPhee when she finished a Whitney Houston song on the show "what you just told us is that you're not Whitney Houston." Blew me away, esp cause shes quite a good singer.

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  2. Well, one thing's for sure...I don't effing EVER want to hear about that app again.

    I really liked Angie Miller but she is not a belter. If she sticks to a genre more suiting her voice, she could be excellent I think. I mean, she actually made 'halo' palatable for me ( lesson learned...it's really Beyonce's voice which bores me most. )

    If I'd have to vote for ''best singer'' generally, based on these videos, my vote would probably go to Amber Holcomb

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  3. Can't agree there. It's often a really good test. Of musicality as well. Any singer who can cover one of the great divas but give it her own take while still getting near the technical level of te original...well, then you know for sure that's real talent your listening to. In fact...maybe they should make the very first round Diva night. Anybody left standing can continue. Probably be very few and the whole damn season can be done in at most half the time it takes now. ;-D

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  4. My favorite from the bunch is Amber. I like the rich, velvety tone her belts have.

    Candice is great too. I particularly like the connectivity of her registers.

    Kree has a very pretty, earthy tone which I also admire.

    The other two are okay.

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  5. My two favorites are Candice and Kree, with Angie in distant third. I have never understood Nicki's constant comparison of Amber to Whitney Houston, when Amber is certainly no where close to that level. Janelle is just a little too dull for me, when you have Kree and Candice hitting notes in the stratosphere and Janelle staying close to earth, she gets very boring.


    This week was probably a low point in the season, no one truly blew me away. That being said I think Janelle is a lock to go home this week, if she's not, then Amber will be cut (though the judges will surely save her).

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  6. The only similarity I see with Amber and Whitney is there velvety betting. Whtiney's are much more resonant though.

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  7. belting* xD lol

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  8. They do have velvety bets xD Something about Amber vexes me to the extreme and I just haven't figured it out yet.

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  9. The poll over at digital spy [ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/ustv/s91/american-idol/news/a472776/american-idol-top-5-poll-who-gave-your-favourite-performance.html] has Angie Miller as the favourite performer of the night!

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  10. So it was a bad week to watch? Typical I'd pick this week to give it a go!

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  11. Have you been watching the series? If you have (or anyone else reading who has been watching), let me know who is the favourite at the moment.

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  12. Eeek! I must be losing my edge. Always worry when I find my views shared by the biggest percentage. Still...there it is. I do. :-)

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  13. I've been going in and out. My favorite is Amber, but Candice is definitely the better singer!

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  14. I honestly am not a fan of any of the contestants they have stuck with this season. They practically cut out all of the stand outs towards the beginning and kept the ones that better appeal to the mass- yet have small staying power. They wanna make a hit- not a star.

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  15. DD I think amber issue is her use of vibrato. She relies on it too much, and its not the doesn't have the smoothest consistency, not sure if that made any sense

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  16. Janelle's second song was not the Supremes; it was Dou Parton's "Dumb Blonde"...Candice is the favorite to win...her rendition of The Cure's "Love Song" stamped that for her last week. Candice is my personal favorite, followed by Kree then Angie. Angie made "Halo" listenable for me...I'm a Beyonce fan, but that is my least favorite ballad by her (mostly cuz I REALLY love KC's "Already Gone" lol), but the ending belts were a bit much. The Pretenders song I think, minus a few odd sounds she made, was the most refreshing I've ever heard the song. The tempo was more driving than the way it's normally done ie. Carrie Underwood I just find Amber's tone to be so uninteresting. It doesn't convey any type of emotion or depth for me. her voice never rings either. It doesn't resemble Whitney's at all. She is just a really good singer. Kree is just pure country perfection...very LeAnn/Faith. Candice tho has a great unique tone, great technique, undeniable control of her runs that always seem to belong rather than be overdone and she is a powerhouse. "When You Believe" wasn't her best, but aside from losing the belt towards the end, it was great. She is the best singer and vocalist on the show.

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  17. I agree Brian. The cover song choices are getting to be pretty tired.

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  18. I think that these were good song choices for Kree, and watching her sing it makes me think that she'll stay in it to win it! I can't seem to live without my American Idol, and I'm glad that I still have all my episodes from this season stored on my DVR. Because I work at DISH, I was thrilled to get my hands on the Hopper DVR when it was released, and I've been happy with it as a DVR ever since. I really like how I can use my DISH Hopper to automatically record every primetime show that airs on the four major networks simultaneously. I use this technology so that I never need to worry about missing new episodes of the shows I watch, like American Idol.

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  19. And exactly how much are ypu getting paid these days for going to blogs posting salespitches? I'm curious how cheap a loser is in 2013.

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  20. Lol maybe, like me, you are also suffering ' Kelly on AI video '' after effect? ;-)

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  21. I feel bad for this girls. i mean Idol gave them a theme that could eat them up but they did manage it

    My favorite of the night is Kree. Her voice was perfect she sang her song choices perfectly and i was so shocked when Mariah was saying a critique on Kree that there was a part when she's off key cause i didn't hear that. Mariah's ears are too sharp
    my second Fave is Angie. i love her performance of halo but the emotions were too forced not her voice

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  22. LMFAO, is this for real? xD
    Not sure if this is a troll or a computer automated poster.

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  23. For the girls this was not their best week. Last week was a mixed bag, the last male standing in the competition gave us two horrendous performances, but the girls knocked it out of the park. Hopefully next week is better.

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  24. Do you disagree Opie? Or are you just downvoting this to spite me?

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  25. Probably. Or all of them really are just boring. LOL.
    Their voices don't give me a "wow!" reaction. Sure they have good voices. None of them are gonna really impact the industry. Just like most of the talent show winners.

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  26. Well that's kinda what I meant. Kelly really jumped out at the time. Seeing those videos made that even more clear. Comparetively these girls are all very generic

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  27. 'You really like to get into arguments don't you?
    You have a little too much free time on your hands buddy. :)''

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  28. I'm not trying to get into an argument. I'm trying to find out why you downvoted my comment. Big difference.

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  29. ''You really like to get into arguments don't you?
    You have a little too much free time on your hands buddy. :)''

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  30. Reiterating what I said doesn't do you much good. Especially when I told you I'm not trying to argue with you.

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  31. ''You really like to get into arguments don't you?
    You have a little too much free time on your hands buddy. :)''

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  32. i definitely love angie the best. ever since she sang her original "you set me free" i've been in love with her. she's like a christian pop jessie j if that makes sense.

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  33. Again that is irrelevant. I do want a response to the question I asked previously. Are you capable this of providing this response?

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  34. ''If you insist on addressing me, I will presume you want to get a response. In which case don't complain when you get one.
    Now again...I will start with no longer responding. I will even give you one freebee so you can get the last word in. Hell, I'll give you two. After that please stick to this arrangement...I will not address you and you will not address me. Thanks :-)''
    ''You really like to get into arguments don't you?
    You have a little too much free time on your hands buddy. :)''

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  35. I'll take that as a, "No, I'm pressed." K bye. :)

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  36. I didn't find any of these performances engaging or interesting in the slightest. I think some of these girls could have benefited from some changes to the vocal arrangements. Also, am I the only one who thinks Amber did a horrible job with Without You? Those higher belted notes were not pleasant to my ears. I think if she scaled back the vocal arrangement, she could have made the song her own, much like this artist did: (She also translated the lyrics) :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcS1EJoouc8

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  37. Lol I thought for a moment...Nana Moskouri???

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  38. LOL OMG they do resemble one another; it's the hair and the glasses haha. Nana's voice reminds me of Edith Piaf's, well mostly her vibrato.

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  39. Lmfao, Kelly's rendition was great as well, she stayed faithful to the original arrangement, but she can actually pull of those higher notes. Also,I had to do some digging to find a live performance of this song: (Japanese record labels stay on top of those copyright claims): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpoaf2_aansbie-6-wy-part-2_shortfilms Fast Forward to 8:50

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  40. Enough of these boring broads. Hey DD, have you listened to Lana's cover of Nancy Sinatra's Summer Wine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1OEron4rXfk.

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  41. Honestly, if you'd ask for my honest opinion, back in her AI days she did have the "ooh!" factor, but not the "wow!" factor. She only gained my respect as an entertainer after the My December era and when I had was crazy about her at the All I Ever Wanted era. Again, this is only my opinion.

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  42. Lol guess we disagree. For me she definitely has that wow factor in a couple of performances.
    To be honest I'm not really familiar with her albums. I've mainly been obsessing about live videos. :-)

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  43. Ah, I was shocked at her You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman on AI. She was quite sick and yet still be able to deliver the song perfectly with the whistle note. (or was it some other song? I can't really remember)

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  44. I feel as if I am missing something her last performance didn't really blow me away. It was a good performance nothing to exceptional that I heard but I might be missing something.

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  45. Janelle got the boot, did anyone see the squabble between Mariah and Nicki (or the awkward praise) on wednesday.

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  46. Who's last performance and which?
    I thought the one at the country music thing was not her best but with live singing, I don't expect each performance to wow me. The one on AI I did like.
    But the conversation with Ricky was about Kelly's performances as a competitor on AI. That first season.

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  47. Yes. That was ''Natural Woman''. Actually she had laryngitis during several of those last round performances. You can hear when they talk to her right after...she hardly had a speaking voice left.

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  48. Ok I thought you were talking about kelly's last performance on idol last week . :) I haven't seen her performance at the country thing.

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  49. No, that one we discussed under the article here
    http://www.divadevotee.com/2013/04/Watch-Kelly-Clarkson-Performs-People-Like-Us-American-Idol-And-Mariah-Carey-Acknowledges-Her-Greatness.html

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  50. I would've said it's all with bad luck. :>

    But anyways, the whole drama with Clive and her during My December really gained my respect as to why she'd rather die than have her rights taken away from her. I mean, Clive was so dissatisfied with the album's non-radio friendly songs and even offered her $10million to change 5 of them to radio-friendly ones and she still didn't accept it. I guess it really was the lowest point of her life, as she's said.

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  51. Not so much bad luck as exhaustion I gathered. Also not really bad luck since she won anyway as she clearly was the best even with laryngitis.

    I couldn't really remember that whole Clive story. She gained my respect when she sang with Vince.
    She sang live, she sang with so much obvious pleasure in both the singing itself and the singing with Vince Gill and she showed the respect one ought to pay that dude. She had me by the end of that video. :-)

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  52. Janelles second performance of the night was not the supremes...it was "dumb blonde" by Dolly Parton

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  53. You already said so. Hardly matters since she ended up being booted from the competition

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  54. Just saw that second link and even her speaking voice is very reminiscent of Nana. lol

    Have to say, wasn't bowled over by her cover. Lacked emotion compared to Kelly's. Also the piano felt...dragging somehow.
    My vote goes to Kelly still;-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gkcj6vcWZc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  55. I just liked two sexy voices blending together for a simple yet glorious song. Ah. <3

    I swear if Vince weren't in the song I wouldn't like it as much. Hah.

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  56. I like Kelly's as well, I almost forgot that she sang without you on American Idol. This isn't my favorite cover by Angela, but I thought it was better than Amber's in my opinion. My favortie cover by her would have to be Creep: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AFbwETwdaU I think it's superior to the Radiohead original and filled with emotion.

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  57. Oh I can agree she might have been better than Amber :-)
    I refuse to listen to that whiny song 'Creep' from that, just about, most overrated band of the last couple of decades. Which opinion means I have no doubt, with her voice,' Angela sings it better.;-)

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  58. That was I think one of the reasons it wasn't so good recently at that other Country music Award...Vince wasn't there. ;-)

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  59. LOL well Angela pretty much changed the meaning of the lyrics. It's less of a self hating song, and more about unrequited love. Also, I'm no fan of Radiohead at all, some of their songs are down right awful (High and Dry comes to mind), and others contain what might possibly be the worst guitar riffs I have ever heard.

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  60. Good on her!:-)
    I tried to listen to that Radiohead album which was Grammy nominated for album of the year (2008)
    The year I tried to listen to as many nominees in the big categories as I could( thank heavens in many the right one won, that being RaisingSand lol)
    Anyway, that Radiohead album was utter crap. An extremely poor attempt at doing something both Faithless and Massive Attack did infinitely better over a decade earlier. And then people called Radiohead ''innovative''? Psah, I tell you. Psah!

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  61. Oh, thanks for linking me to that! Excellent vocals and lyrics. I even enjoyed the music video, it was simple but engaging.

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  62. Haha it was totally entertaining though ;P

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  63. My favorite part: "Have a stadium full of seats". That has got to be the dumbest expression ever.

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  64. LOL glad at least one reader thought so. :-)

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  65. Yes, he was ever so pleased being able to use that character in abundance.
    Probably of the definition of 'redundant' esapes him as well.

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  66. Aha, they are a 'hipster' band? That explains why my innate dislike. ;-D

    Glad you enjoyed Massive Attack 'Angel'' and "Protection'' are two otherof their songs I really like. And yes, I also enjoy that video for exactly the same reason.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbe3CQamF8k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Epgo8ixX6Wo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  67. Haha make that three :), how did I miss this

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  68. Haha what an interesting conversation ;), but I must agree with your comment of slight vocal stumble.

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  69. Haha, oh Opie have you heard of Rachelle Ferrell?

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  70. I have not but I saw your declaration of love. I will check her out.:-)

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  71. Haha good I love her musicality and dedication to her craft (though it goes way further than I would)

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  72. I realized that when I reiterated it. Despite not owing the likes of an obvious sycophantic, dictatorial, obnoxious and oft out of touch dilettante as yourself, I would say I chose to direct that towards DD directly, as this being a fact and the rest of my aforementioned comment being my personally opinion, so that they would see it and correct it more expediently. Anything else you'd like to needlessly point out?

    Allow me: that last question was rhetorical. ;-)

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  73. Darling, each word was used properly, and well. And it's only name-calling if its untrue and/or out of spite. Neither of which are the case, and I didn't need a dictionary to conjure any of them to thought. And unlike the lot here that seem to be intimidated by your incessant prattling about things you can hardly fathom (such as great voices)

    And finally, before I toss away this guise of concern towards anything you have to say, I could care less about Janelle. In fact, I don't believe she is a good singer or an interesting/unique voice. I'm just concerned with the facts...something you tend to overlook in all your arguments on this site it would appear. It's good to know that my crass brevity affected you as much. Anything else Rosie with Barbara's wit?

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  74. Lol well, one thing's for sure, you are as intimidated by me as you claim others here to be. :-)
    That's okay though. Obviously your ego is a easily injured one. But if you truly are so concerned with facts, you might be a man and admit that A: most obviously your every word directed at me is ''out of spite'' And B: equally obviously you've been avidly following my comments here.
    Both go a long way to show your concern to be far from a guise.
    What you might be wiser to toss aside would be your hypocrisy dah-lin.
    As for your word use . Sorry dude, but no. It is not done well at all.
    Certainly not grammatically.
    It's a failed attempt, born out of a feeling of intimidation and spite. And a text book example pretentious.
    We could quibble over how correct individual words are but since you obviously fail to grasp the difference between fact and opinion and I don't intend to even appear to be defending myself from insults thrown at me by pitiful egos on the net, I won't bother. :-)

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  75. No sweetie...my ego is intact, and the guise is in fact accurate....the fact that I know of your comments isn't because I follow them at all, but rather because they are relentless and overbearing and voluminous in number; OBNOXIOUS and DICTATORIAL.

    Thanks for your "help" though in directing me. A pathetic attempt at being clever or sarcastic or at placating me? I couldn't care less. Either way it seems your goal in life is to try to impress...me, DD, the parents you disappointed when they found your head deep in the rug rather than in the tiara they always wanted you to be in; SYCOPHANTIC.

    Please, just because all you ever wanted to be was a man, doesn't mean you know anything about being one. It starts with admitting that every fault I've laid out about you is true. Then it follows with learning your role, and here it is the bettered; OUT OF TOUCH.

    And lastly, your shade skills are as banal as your knowledge of the English language and the voice. Far too insignificant, as you know more than enough about being, to go into detail, but I will say this, Allison Krauss is only a winner of but so many Grammys, not because she is of merit, acclaim or influence vocally (not to mention substance...her voice is barron of depth, texture or fluidity as it gargles threw its range), but only because she is in a sadly dying category with no competition. Marvelous musician...average singer. You have a basic knowledge of the voice or what falls in good taste and try to pass yourself off as if your OPINIONS are to be taken as fact because you articulate far more abrassively and cleverly than others here; DILETANTE.

    Your words do nothing to me but make me want to laugh and then put you in check. My ego is intact, your responses say otherwise where yours is concerned...and that just tickles mine even more lol

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  76. Angie Miller is the only real musician on the show. The others are nice Karaoke-Singers. "You set me free" could make the decision.

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  77. ok I hear that - so, how do I score here? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI2VXEbpZN4

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