Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Jewish Star: The Fourth Judge's Impressions - Part 2

We clearly have many more contestants this year and this has impacted the show a lot. The biggest challenge now is not only sing a song well but to find a way to stand out from the others. This requires a good voice, obviously, but it's as important to choose the right song. And even when you choose the right song you should make it special and different. In light of this contestants like Baruch Naftel, Elie Norovitz and even Gershon Shapiro did a pretty good job but this year I don't think it will be enough - there's too many people. And it's all about standing out. Avrami Cohen is a great example of a smart audition. I'm happy we are going this way as this will make the competition more.. err.. competitive.

But the best so far is Mendel the Shoichet - I can't forget that one. Here are the latest:

Avrami Cohen - Very original audition, with a jazzed up version of YG's Beshoo. He is Kol Zimra-ish and I think will go through. *

Benny Gammerman - Another innovative audition that stood up from the rest. Like Mendy Sheichet, Benny is back and stronger and both seem ahead of Gershon from last year's contestants. The song is pretty much from the Israeli JM camp and it's fresh and groovy, not to mention the interesting lyrics. I think eventually JM will have more and more of these kind of lyrics (Shuli Rand is one of the pioneers) and I hope this audition gets the green light.*

Elie Norovitz - I think it wasn't a good song choice for him - the first part was way too low and it eclipsed the rest of the tune, which did have good moments and good notes.

Motti Hershkovitz - good voice, this audition was quite good. I like him but, again, I don't know if he managed to stand out enough. Reminds me of Yeedle a bit.

Daniel Joshua Gerlich - this guy will polarize opinions around him. This kind of auditions will raise eyebrows for virtually all US listeners but will surely have a following in Israel. The dragged singing is perhaps a little exaggerated but overall this song has character. Does he look a bit crazy? Yes. But the crazy singers can be the best. Think Lipa, Adi Ran - the crazier the less they care about the standards and the more original they are. I don't think he will pass because he doesn't fits in the Avraham Fried/Gerstner music world but I'm very happy to see him compete.

Tzvi Russel - it's a good example of the danger of being too much into your own song. Took a big risk by singing his own song and considering that this song is bad, he had no chance from the very start.

Ilan Eckhart - sings a beautiful song from Six13, a band I follow closely. Good voice, lots of potential, but is this the kind of guy Fried/Gerstner will appreciate and pass? Don't think so.

Edan Hanouka - slightly better than Flusberg. Couldn't watch till the end.

Motty Reizes - what caught my attention was the composition. The song is far from perfect but it has some interesting shticks and I think Motty has potential to be a composer.

Mordechai Levovitz - seems to be a pro singer - can these compete?

Marcos Askenazi - he is on ajewishstar's channel on youtube but is not on the site. Is he in or not? Confusing. One of the better auditions - great interpretation, vocals and musicality. If he is competing, I would place him as a favorite. *

44 comments:

Ber said...

So what do you think of Shlomo Menkes?

Yehuda said...

Ber, what do you think of Menkes?

And let me preempt you: his eccentricity is a clear winner.

Ber said...

I agree with you. I was wondering why YK missed him out.

Anonymous said...

Big fan of Menkes's video.

PS - Marcos Askenazi was in The Chevra II I think ...

Anonymous said...

You seem to be wrong again this year. The average rating so far is nothing like you predict.... I will not use you as my fortune teller.

YK said...

I did see Menkes video. But he is not one of my favorites.

Like Yehuda said, there's a tint of eccentricity in it and I did listen until the end. The song has a Chabad taste to it, but it's way too simplistic for me. All in all, it's a song anyone can sing and I think it was not a good song choice for a contest like this. I can't say his voice is good because the whole song revolves in just a few notes. But I did love the choir! Perfect.

YK

YK said...

Anon 1

If Marcos was in Chevra II that excludes him from the contest? I never even heard of him... And if you go down that road, the other 2 wedding band pros should also be disqualified.

YK

YK said...

Anon 2,

You claim I'm wrong "again". Here's what I said last year:

"Mendel Markel - I disagree with the song choice again. Mendel has a great voice but a more mainstream song would surely work better for him" I was right; actually almost prophetic as he got the right song this year and is the front-runner.
"Binyamin Moshe - This is a very Israeli-styled video. I believe the American judges will not appreciate this original composition, but this is one of my favs. It reminds me of Adi Ran's uber-famous Ata Kadosh and I am a fan of Israeli JM as well, so kudos to this youngster from Lod." At the time many of you said I was off.
"Benny Gammerman - ...I think he will do very well with a better production, so Benny has good chances of going to the next stage." He did come back with a better production and sounds great.
"Shuky Sadon - A solid professional recording, although he could use some voice coaching."
"Avraham Ohayon - A sure winner, this Frenchmen is the best video in this competition. "

No one knows the future but I think I was on the ball. Specially with the Shoichet, I'm really happy he auditioned again.

YK

Ber said...

While I agree that the Shlomo Menkes Song is a little simple and it revolves around a few repeated notes, it is by far the most engaging and entertaining video posted yet.
Part of the beauty of it IS its simplicity.

Does he have the best voice out of all the contestants? Probably not. Is he the most entertaining? Yes. and not just because he is funny, but he does sing pretty well.

In order to win I would think he would have to sing something else on stage and show he can handle it properly, but based on what's available to see right now, he is the winner - IMO.

Chaim W. said...

To YK,

Very interesting read. Great analysis and commentary! Right on the ball

shmuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaim W. said...

What did you think about Ezzy Duchman, Shevach Tamir and Mordechai Hershkowitz?

Each one of them striked me as bringing something additional to the contest.

Anonymous said...

what about shmuel morgenstern i think he has a good voice what do u think?

Anonymous said...

I think that you are wrong about a few people. You are definitely wrong about Gershon Shapiro. His voice is amazing and very few singers (let alone people) have his range and smoothness. and what he did with the song is so much better than the origional. Benny Gammerman is plain boring. He has a good voice but uses a lot of re verb and the overall video is too boring. I think Benny will not make it top ten and Gershon will make it.

Anonymous said...

what do you think of Hillel Braun? i think he is gonna win!

Anonymous said...

Did you say Marquel was in the lead and that you are a prophet? lol Are you leaving on a different planet? You are just another bored blogger who is simply trying to guess. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

btw i agree with what you said about my husband A.B
And the video i badly made doesnt portray all he has to offer. He can bring a house down. But his ratings dont seem to go higher than 3 1/2. what do you think?

Shlomo said...

To A.B.'s wife
How can you be anonymous if you are writing about your husband?

None the less you are a very dedicated and loving wife. Your husband should win if for no other reason then because you so believe in him.

Oif ale yiddeshe viber gezugt

Shlomo

Anonymous said...

thank you, Shlomo, i'm not necessarily trying to be anonymous. It's quicker than signing in. And, i'm more of a shy person so i thought it'd hide me a little. :)

Anonymous said...

YK Said:

"Mordechai Levovitz - seems to be a pro singer - can these compete?"

I heard the rules are that as long as you dont have an album out you can compete

He seems to be an upcoming singer - i actually enjoyed his singing alot

What are your thoughts about his singing?

YK said...

Ber,

I agree with everything you said besides your claim that he will win.

Chaim W,

Thanks.

Anon 1,

Shmuel Morgenstern's is good but he needs voice training - for sure. With a good teacher he can improve a lot. Also, there were quite a few off notes and that's something more difficult to fix. But with training he can do well.

Anon 2,
I agree Gershon will be in top ten. However you all should keep it within context - his range is not as great as you claim and he will not be the next Shwekey/Fried/MBD.

The others,
I will answer later

YK

Anonymous said...

When can we expect part 3?

YK said...

Chaim W and Anon (about Hillel Braun)

I will listen to these later when I have more time. I don't like to judge to quickly!

Anon (AB's wife)

I agree with Shlomo. And you shouldn't worry about how many stars he gets; he's good but not mainstream, so I'm not surprised he didn't get many stars. It's the voting system that is being used, for the better or for the worse. In my opinion, the worse but I understand the reason behind it.

Anon abt Levovitz

Levovitz was very good and always in tune but I don't like wedding videos for auditions. I think it would've been smarter to make a short dedicated video for this competition, but in any case, I think he is in the top 10.

Anon Last

Part 3... too many auditions and not enough time to analyze them properly. And as I said I don't like to judge too quickly so I'm not sure I will comment in the others just yet. Maybe next week; stay tuned.

YK

Anonymous said...

Ok. Who's Habeit did you like better Dutchman or Hershkowitz?
And what did you think of Schnitzler?

Good job do far!

dovy in jersey said...

what about yechiel schnitzler? i thought his last high note was unreal! should make top 10 just for that!

Anonymous said...

what abt Yaakov Glucksman? the vid is not so clear but if you listen close hes got a nice voice with range

YK said...

Chaim W.

Ezzy Duchman video was okay. His low notes are very sloppy but the high notes are his strength - that's where he's confortable. He still needs polish but can be a great soloist. To win he needs to be good all-round.
What I liked most of Shevach was.. his name! Unique. The video was nicely shot but the rock song is very boring, and it hurt his audition. He can be a great musician but not a great soloist.
Mordechai Hershkowitz was always in tune and did a very fine job. He might very well pass, just in my eyes didn't stand out so much. For some reason he reminds me of Yeedle.
YK

YK said...

Anon,

Hillel Braun's song was weak - too repetitive and beaten down lyrics. With that song he managed only to stay under the radar, as there's nothing new nor interesting there. In my opinion contestants should only choose an original song if it's a blockbuster; otherwise, try to find something that is out already.

YK

YK said...

dovy in jersey,

Thanks for pointing this audition; I didn't have a chance to see it before. He was original and we must give credit to him; the song gave him a white canvas to show us what he has. The only problem is that to imitate Bocelli's finest solo is a big bill... and Yechiel doesn't sing opera-ish. The background vocals were a disaster but overall I do appreciate the risk taking. Tachlis, I think he fell short but I did enjoy this video.
On a side note, if that Season 1 argentinian Chazzan would be this original and sing this song he would've been top three. It shows the importance of not only choosing a good song, but choosing a good song for your voice.

YK

YK said...

Anon,

Yaakov Glucksman was off tune most of the time... but it was live so I can understand why. It's difficult to be in tune with the loud music around you. He should record it properly next year; the song choice was very good. He thankfully wasn't from the Habeit/Rachem/Aishes Chayil bunch and went for something more original.

YK

Anonymous said...

YK
In regards to schnitzler.
If you hear Bocelli sing this song, he does not either sing it with a very Operaish voice.
I agree the harmonies were a little off though.
I do have to disagree, I thought it showcased his voice perfectly.

YK said...

Anon,

I understand your opinion.
In regards to Bocelli, I do think it's operaish. Or you think Shwekey or Dedi could've sang this song in one of his albums? It wouldn't go, even though they're pros!

YK

Yehuda said...

what's the name of the bocelli piece he covered?

YK said...

Yehuda,

Sogno. It's the title song of one of his best albums. If you haven't heard it, buy it on iTunes - it's in my opinion his best song.

YK

YK said...

Just heard Zalman Attal, who looks very good. Started too low; I would've started just a bit higher and sing it all in one scale, instead of going higher towards the end as he did. But always in tune, nice voice, good presence and intelligent song choice. Will pass!

YK

Yechiel said...

The title of this song is Canto Della Terra.
It's on the album Sogno

I'm glad you enjoyed the video.

Shavua Tov

Yehuda said...

Thanks for that.

I'll assume you are THE Yechiel:

Your voice is good, but not Bocelli good. That's not an insult; Bocelli is incredible.

You're doing yourself a disservice trying to cover his songs. You're just not that great. Few are.

Yechiel said...

Yehuda

Oh I know that I'm no Bocelli.
But I don't think that just because I use this tune people expect the vocal quality of Bocelli. Especially when 90% of the frum never heard the original.
As long as I feel comfortable singing it and people enjoy it, why not.
I certainly had fun recording it.

Anonymous said...

Hey YK,

Between those who submitted live performances (Schwartzberg, Baldinger, Glucksman, and Levovitz), keeping in mind the challenges and 'reality' of live recordings - who do you like the most, and why?

thanks

zahavit said...

Are you serious?
Yechiels voice is just "operaish" as Bocellis is during portions of the song and softer during other portions.
Thats what I love about his voice. And he has power that Shwekey could never muster.
Straight opera has no chance in this competition.

Anonymous said...

From looking now at the rating and the number of views plus comments on the videos it is clear now that you are wrong about many in your you review.

I guess last year it was much easier to guess with only 26 contestants and even then you were far from accurate. This year with 76 contestants you are not even in the ball park.

All the ones YOU liked don't seem to be doing all that well. The ones YOU did not like seem to be doing extremely well.

All the hype about you being a good reviewer and predictor is exactly just that hype that you yourself created.

YK said...

Anon,

I never said I would predict what candidates would be most voted. You again keep putting words in my mouth, it's a pattern.

I merely said that I predicted that Merkel, for instance, would do much better with a better song choice. And he did. I never said the crowds would agree with me, and I'm not surprised they don't. At all.

But another important point - who are the voters? Do you seriously believe they represent what all JM listeners like? It's a selective crowd of people who took the time to register and watch every audition. If 20% of them like something, you should not infer that 20% of the JM industry think the same.

If you know this blog, I've no problem with dealing with differing opinions. I actually enjoy it, because that's the beauty of music. I do have a problem with people who twist what I say.

YK

Anonymous said...

YK
i actually agree with you. the opinions you say make total sense. Most of the problems which people have, it's to do with their ego. anyway, the voting is mostly manipulated, (at least we think so), just because one has 3 1/2 stars don't mean much

FunnyShulPostings said...

Yes Marcos was in the Chevra and sings with Harmonia Orchestra and that is why he was disqualified. I agree, it made no sense to disqualify him for that. The official rule was that if you were featured on a cd then you can't compete.