American Idol Top 7

Uprising – Muse

Pure genius!

This is a masterpiece from beginning to end. James’ delivery of this song is very operatic in nature and he does extraordinarily well what opera requires – to tell the story of the lyrics (libretto) through acting and song. Uprising is sung in English, so the story is more apparent (often opera is sung in the language of the composer, not necessarily the language of the listener), but James uses all the tools in his box for this one very effectively.

Technically, James hits a homerun. This is the most difficult piece technically that any of the the contestants will sing all season, and James’ style of delivery ups the ante. Even Matt Bellamy, lead singer of Muse, recognizes James’ vocal skills and challenges him to sing up the octave at the end. I will get to that momentarily. James’ approach to this song is forceful, defiant and driven. There is NO energy let up from beginning to end. His core must hold firmly from the first note to the last. I cannot adequately describe the intrinsic muscular strength that this requires – diaphragm, intercostals (ribs), abs, psoas (the muscle that allows you to lift your thigh up to the chest with the knee bent), back and leg muscles, too numerous to mention, to support into the floor. This is an incredible work out. To convey the idea of superior strength, James makes very effective use of the powered straight tone throughout and the power rasp when kneeling at stage right. His vibrato is beautiful when used. Several of the most challenging sections are those that require James to sing repeated same pitch notes over and over again in his lower register, with a very driving beat. Very difficult to do this and sing each note on pitch. He does it perfectly. Then he does the impossible. He sings a phrase up the octave on the high F (vocal fry) and back down the octave and then repeats it all over again. OMG!! That’s all I can say! Just amazing. 10+++++++

Emotionally, James conveys so well the message of protest. He uses artistic nuances (rhythmic, dynamic, movement, facial) to convey a very strong sense of defiance. This is flat out an in your face approach!!! 10 +++++

This performance is a creative masterpiece – from James’ glorious tattered costume, which suggests surviving a  bitter battle – and his sweet boots – to the brilliant use of the cane / mike to emphasize the dark, serious and defiant nature of the lyrics. James presents a very strong, powerful and masculine vision in his costume. This is a case in point in which the costumes along with the props are the other stars of the show. This is a performance which is clearly choreographed to tell a story (in contrast to a lot of James’ performances which are very organic and spontaneous). I especially like his final set of moves from the sharp head turns in place stage right to stage left and back to center, movement with the cane and mike on and down the steps and the final victory stance with his arm and cane raised high in defiance – such a gorgeous vision at the end with the drummers perfectly balanced stage right and stage left!! 10+++++

Spectacular and unstoppable. 10+++++++++++++++++

4 thoughts on “American Idol Top 7

  1. I always enjoy reading your critiques because you state so much more eloquently what I am feeling when I watch James. This performance elicited several wows, oh my Gods, holy molys, and a couple of Hot Damns! And then Kathryn comes in to explain why, and we get to nod our heads and say, “Exactly.” This was the performance that made me start thinking Broadway for James. Much farther down the road, after he’s conquered the World with his metal Uprising.

  2. I just love it all and the way you are able to tell us exactly what we are feeling is incredible in itself……..I have know from day one auditions that this man is unique and incredible………….after reading your explanations…….I am happy to say I now know he is EVERYTHING WE THOUGHT HE WAS AND MORE !!!!!
    Kathryn …..I still have one question ……this man is suppose to be around 6′ 3 ” ……….how in the blank does he jump strait up in place like he does ? That is just amazing ……how does he do that ??

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