Ever since 2002, I have been religiously watching all the reality TV shows concerning vocal performances.
It started with American Idol, then it was followed by Canadian Idol and then, we got The Voice and almost right at the same time, we got X-Factor.
Some of them are better than others, but all of them are quite entertaining.
Sometimes, actually, they are almost too entertaining...
What I mean by that is that the entertainment part is overshadowing the vocal performance part.
In some cases, it looks ridiculous, as not every vocal performer is strong enough to offset the very good and strong dancers, not to mention tons of effects and "fireworks" on stage, so to speak.
It does not actually help the artist to showcase their vocal talent.
On the contrary, in my opinion, it is pretty distracting for the artist and for the audience.
Also, especially this year, the quality of the vocal performance by the remaining top 10-12 participants has quite deteriorated.
You would think that it should have an opposite effect, as by now the artists got accustomed to the stage and the audience and had their mentors attending to them.
To my knowledge, there are some vocal coaches that are around and employed to work with the artists, but the latest trend that seems to be taking place, is that the judges, who are also the artists themselves, are playing the role of vocal coaches.
Granted, they have experience to perform on stage and definitely could help with that immensely.
But when the actual technical help is needed, would they be qualified to give a sound advice and actually teach a singer how to overcome certain technical difficulties, which may occur during some complicated songs?
Let's, for example, take a good car driver and ask him if he could qualify as a driving instructor or, moreover, as a car mechanic?
I presume some would, but generally speaking, the person who knows how to drive the car does not necessarily know how to fix the car or how to play the role of a driving instructor.
All of those qualities are somewhat related, but they are not necessarily implied.
Every skill has its trade and requires a specific certification.
Also, even a very good car driver is not qualified to drive the truck or a truck trailer.
For each of those skills, there is a specific license required.
Therefore, I think that if besides the qualified mentors, there would be somebody who could help artists not only to interpret the song, but also with the technical merit, we would be presented with much better quality and much more on target singing.
Also, when the artist is covering somebody else's song, he/she is usually suggested to make that song his/her own, which is a great suggestion.
However, some of the artists are taking it almost too literally and the other night, watching an episode of X-Factor, I hardly could recognize the song by Celine Dion, "My Heart Will Go On".
Not to mention that the technical merit of the performance was not present at all.
The song has to be recognizable, and if the artist wants to put his/her own twist and spin, so to speak, on it, it's great, as long as the song is not completely lost and ruined in interpretation.
Either way, I'm glad that those shows exist, as there is something to look forward to in anticipation, every time it airs.
Diana Yampolsky is the Master Vocal Coach, Studio Vocal Producer, and Non-Surgical Voice Repair Specialist at The Royans Professional Vocal School in Toronto, Canada. She is also the creator of the Vocal Science ™ method and Talent Scout and Director for the 4 A.M. Talent Development and Artist Management Group Inc.
If you find yourself struggling with vocal performance or are in need of voice repair, you can reach Diana by email or phone, Toll Free in North America, at 1-888-229-TUNE (8863)