Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Jewish Star: The Fourth Judge's Impressions

Last year I was afraid none of the judges would dare to give honest opinions - bad or good - about the contestants so I wrote a long post with blunt assessments of each and every A Jewish Star contestant. I turned out to be wrong as Avraham Fried took the post of the Simon in the show and was even more confrontational then me - kudos to him and I hope he keeps the same mindset this year. Anyways, in case you liked what I had to say lasy year, here are my comments about this year's contestants. I marked my favorites with a *.

Just a note - I just bought Binyamin Moshe's song in a Jewish Star's site and it simply rocks - the song, the vocals, the choir and the arrangement. Just for that A Jewish Star was a success, as it really produced a great star.

Another note - I will not comment on the Jr contestants. I'm against the Jr competition because it can expose the kids to embarrassing situations that will be forever public on the web. Adults are free to do whatever they want, and if some decide to make a fool of themselves online, hey, that's their life. But kids? This is a result of the Children Boys Choir craze that is so poignant in Jewish Music, unfortunately.

Ratzon Gholian - he does reach very high but I always say: it's not about reaching high, it's about how you reach the notes. And his high notes are too thin, shaky and strident. Shwekeyism, and that's a very annoying ism.

David Ackney - I love this video. The Simple setting allows David's tune and voice to stand from the crowd. The interplay of "Na" is smart (although already explored by Yossi Green in his composition to Kol Achai) and it fits well in this Breslov atmosphere - it was just missing the Na Na Nachman! *

Natie Grossnass - the Brits are so verbose! What I like about this one is that this is exactly what an audition should be - just sing a little of what you like and let the judges decide if you are good. This year pretty much everyone decided to follow the steps of last year's winner and come up with an original song in the audition. They should do like Natie, who did it simple but perhaps just enough to go through. Go cousin! *

Baruch Naftel - Nice "open door" into idea, and professional recording. He was on tune throughout the song, and clearly had a good time making this video. Also some funny moments thanks to the scarf throw and the "dorm mess" snap at 4:40. He needs voice coaching - his singing is still too raw but I do see potential in him, with the condition that he stops trying to copy Shwekey's shticks!

Aron Holder - right from the start you hear that he has a very distinctive low voice. I think a voice like his will do good to the finals. *

Yaakov Flusberg - DOA

Hillel Kapnik - he recorded this video in the same place as Boruch Naftel, which leads me to speculate that he was the guy in shorts in Naftel's vid, but going to the point - great composition! It has great potential for harmonies and with a professional producer this song could actually fly. His voice didn't stand out much but he didn't compromise the song and came out good. Weird wink at the end ... whatever. *

Menachem Weinstein - Menachemyahu? Matisyahu is clearly his inspiration and rap is his genre - nothing wrong with that. I like the song a lot, and he really did well with nice vocals, harmonies and arrangement. He will go through, although I'm curious to see if A. Fried will nod to a rapper in this show!

Mendel Markel - back from season1, Mendel gives another shot for his Jewish Star bid. Hands down, the best audition this year; both the vocals and tune were exceptional. And to achieve that with a simple setting - couch, guitar and no auto-tune - wow! *

Yehuda Tenenbaum - No singing technique, weird diction and very many off tune moments. Will not pass.

Ezra Lejbik - very over-the-top, kvetchy and terribly off tempo. I do like his voice, but he needs a lot of framing.

Shmuel Plotke - I liked the originality of the video - it was a cool setting. That's what's good about it.

Zalman Levy - this was interesting. I see a good potential in him, specially as a lyricist. Good English lyrics are a rarity in JM and from the start he is better than most lyricist out there. The question is if this will be enough to captivate the judges.

Aron Behamou - ok the video wasn't mixed properly but I like the song - it's different, original and complex. His vocals are a bit sloppy but I think it's part of the charm of this song. I really wish he will pass. But it will be a long flight to the show! * (the dark horse)

David Hershkovitz - clearly very into the song, but still an amateur. Maybe next year he will be more ripe.

Shmuel Morgenstern - related to Shalom Morgenstern? Wow, it has been years since I heard from him - I was actually one of the few who bought this under-the-radar Yossi Green CD. It would interesting to have a Chassidich guy in the show but I don't think he stood out.

Gershon Shapiro - this video was very well done, specially the video mixing. Gershon put a lot of effort in this video, however I still don't see his vocals standing out. But the song was original, the video was top-quality, so he might very well go ahead this time.

Abraham Cooper - very heimish atmosphere with the fireplace and banjo, but the composition is below par... sorry.

Nachas Baldinger - he seems to be a pro singer, so I don't know how this falls with A Jewish Star's rules. But his vocals are good and even if he doesn't go through this is smart advertisement. Is that Newmark in the keyboard?

Dan Dabbah - the video was so bad that it almost neutralizes what's good about him. Good voice but no stage presence; I don't think that is the profile for a show like this but, hey, his vocals are good.

Shimon Atlas - Great Avrumie Flam song and good vocals. But it's weird to submit a wedding video.


Anonymous said...

You are so off the mark lol
Gershon has an amazing voice and most people disagree with your one man opinion. Kapnik? Naftel? Your favorites? Please...... A joke.

YK said...

I'm a contrarian. The masses are always right?

Btw, Naftel is not my favorite; he just did a smart audition that might push him through.
What I like about Kapnik is not really his voice, but his song.


Chaim W. said...

To Mr. Anonymous,

This blogger was on the mark on many of the contestants.

G Shapiro enjoyed a good production which showed his fair qualities. His voice does not stand out and even more important then that - he does not "connect," his body language is just not at ease and open.

Anonymous said...

Gershon is great, great song, great arrangement, nice video, only thing is Gershon still needs to come out of shell more. I think if he really just let loose, it would make a huge difference.

Anonymous said...

just wondering...did Gershon hire "anonymous" as a blogger again this year?

YK said...

I do think the judges will give Gershon a green light this time but it's important to be objective.

It's a good audition (much better than last year) and a very well produced video. That's it; the rest is fantasy!

Anonymous said...

You guys are out of your minds! Who is YK anyway? First of all he was wrong last year. Second of all, listen to the begining of Gershon's song and teh height he reaches. Listen to the richness of his voice. It is obvious why you are all nerveous and are trying to discredit his voice abilities. You all must be rooting for one of teh other contestantsperiod. Or else you have to be tone deaf to claim that his voice does not stand out.

YK said...

"Who is YK anyway?"
The bigger question is who is Anonymous.

I never discredited Gershon; I actually said he would probably pass. I believe you are making a big deal from nothing.


sim said...

I think you mean Newman on the keyboard?

Anonymous said...

i agree with what ypu said about gershon and if i moght add i dont feel a depth. a song needs to speak to the heart

Anonymous said...

i feel that gershon lacked a certain sincerity. i like that you are not afraid to say what you think. then again it's so much easier when nobody knows who you are :)

Shimmy Atlas said...

YK, I submitted what I had. I hope you enjoy it! :-)

dovy in jersey said...

that's yossi newman of ybc on the keyboard for nachas baldinger

e benhamou said...

i guess you were right about my busband after all. But, the pple from here are saying he should put out a cd. and ao he will :)

Anonymous said...