What would a music event be without Myron’s take on it? So here’s…
Myron’s look at Eurovision 2015
I come at this from the background of vocal-choral teacher / conductor and voice coach. I say this so that you know what I use as the foundation of any judging I do on music / singing performances. When I am hired to judge a music contest, these are some of the questions I ask while I am writing comments:
Repertoire– most important is melody. Is it soaring or is it trite. Second by harmony and the way it is orchestrated. Then comes text – is there strong poetry at the heart of the song. Does it inspire passion.
Is this pure singing? – good vowels that result in beautiful singing tone supported by good breath support. Also, is some fake, artificial effect being used such as excessive reverb, artificial pitch adjustments via computer, voice distortion, etc. In good contests Auto-tune is illegal.
Does the singing convey passion and heart-felt emotion direct to the audience?
Singers formal training. Were private voice lessons involved in preparation? Is a professional voice coach in use? You don’t have brain surgery done by person who did not even go to medical school. Also, if you are serious about your art and craft, you don’t enter a quality music contest as a singer unless you have been trained by a degreed voice teacher and do use a professional voice coach.
Staging – that is simple, direct and to the point minus the useless gimmicks and distractions. Usually these distractions are used as a cover-up for bad singing practices.
Presentation– do the singers draw us (the audience) in by their own means or do they depend on other kinds of help? Do they even look like they want to be there?
However, here’s the big question:is this the way the contest is being judged? For Eurovision 2015 the answer is mixed. Some of the actual judges have that background and used it in their evaluations. Others did not. Plus we must remember that fans from the various countries could vote as well so that blows the scheme out of the water completely. Do they each know quality singing when they hear and see it? Having been in this business for a number of years I know (and you do to) that sometimes the wild staging, or background animation or the costumes or the way the hair is done or other aspects can sway the thinking. In which case they are likely to miss the true quality (or lack there of) in the performance.
I was struck by the fact that over forty countries were there and each has its own language. However, most of them chose to sing in English – not their native language. Only a few countries sang in their own language. Gee, I wonder who one of those acts might be? Hmm ? Oh, that’s right Italy’s Il Volo that sang in their native language.. Don’t get me wrong I see no problem with acts singing in English. It is the international language, but I do think it is kind of nice when the act is proud of its own heritage. Besides, we all know that Il Volo can sing in English anytime they want !
After all is said and done there really was no logical way to predict this contest. There were a lot of different types of music presented. A lot of songs sounded as if they came from Texas and added a certain amount of rock to the pattern. The winner from Sweden, Måns Zelmerlöw, sang a song that could have been derived from the USA and had a certain “country” flair to it as did his English pronunciation. Is that a bad thing? No. Just a notation. Polina Gagarina from Russia was second place and she sings with a more folk-song like style and voice. Her English shows just a little bit of Russian accent to it. Again, just a notation.
Comparing all the styles of these 40 countries is not like apples and oranges but more like apples and roast beef – in other words quite a stretch. The above mentioned “country- style” vrs our Il Volo ‘s Bel Canto . It is very difficult to compare that.
So to conclude, I will go back and use my usual format for singing contests. The same questions like which acts have the formal singing lessons background; uses avoice coach in their work; has wonderful, well-written repertoire that showed off amazing and passionate poetry; made abeautiful presentation that did not depend on staging “gimmicks” but rather connected their gorgeous voices direct to our heart and soul. Some of the acts had some of those qualifications but which acts had all of those qualifications? I am guessing that all of you on the Flight Crew site have reached the answer already before I did. Hmm — now let me think about it – – I need time – – which acts ? Oh, this is a hard one. Hmm – – Oh, I think I finally got it. Surprise ! You will never guess !It’s IL VOLO !
Am I saying that Eurovision got it wrong? It really depends upon the approach you use to judge.
Congrats ! To Sweden and Russia butspecial congrats to Il Volo for sticking to their guns and presenting pure quality singing. Our guys took the high road. Bravo !