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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Music Industry and Siobhan Magnus

I'm quite the rebel when it comes to music. I don't buy into the sappy romance songs that in my heart I know were written for the purpose of boosting record sales. We saw it happen when Nickelback wrote that musically horrific song 'Photograph' which became an instant best-seller. That being said, you could have walked up to any high school female during that year and asked them what their opinion on that song was and it would quickly be followed by the revolting response "I LOVE that song!" I guess with music being more of a business than a hobby in the real world that it is accepted to write music you hate to make money which...of course...we all love to have. Personally, I think creating music born from your passionate heart and STILL being able to pay the bills and make ends meet is much better than 'selling-out'....but what do I know?

Let's talk about American Idol. It has been on for nine seasons, and for the previous eight seasons I might have watched one episode (when Idol visited Louisville and one of my co-workers went to the auditions). I had always felt the show was not just political, but the end results have rarely generated artists that I enjoy listening to. Carrie Underwood would be the exception to this, because she is definitely the best out of all of the winners and contestants. Plus she's smokin' hot! But the biggest problem I had with the show is not what comes out of it, but that to me it is usually nothing but one big Karaoke contest. the contestants are charged with 'changing' the song up a bit...but unless they do something spectacular, its still the same song.

So many years I joked with people that wasted an hour or two a week putting their heart and soul into watching the show and spending hours upon hours texting or calling in a vote for someone who they will probably never meet in their lifetime. Well, a little over a month ago I was devastated with the unfortunate termination of my position at Indiana Beach. That being said, I had a Tuesday off one night when my brother and mother talked me into watching an episode of American Idol. I didnt have anything else to do, so I toughed out the episode. Apparently, it was rolling stones week...which was pretty cool. Never a big stones fan so I didn't mind seeing their songs horrifically butchered.

Then came Siobhan Magnus. My mom, who was practically narrating the show for me, told me that she was as Simon Cowell put it "a funny little thing" and that I might like her. At this time, I kind of rolled my eyes as I still wasn't that into the show. Then it hit me....a loud female note in the upper register, piercing through the sky but with great intonation. Behind the signature I could hear the "Freedom" chorus from Aretha Franklin's 'Think', and realizing that it was NOT a stones song....we hadn't even gotten to this week's performance! That was when it started......a very dramatic version of the song 'Paint it Black.' Siobhan was wearing a stunning midnight blue dress, and sitting on a red and black stair case. She sang the first verse, very slowly and haunting before flashing lights accompanied by drum beats took control of the stage and the Massachussettes glass-blower (which is interesting because glass-art has always been a love of mine since I was a child) stood up and entered the front of stage with fire, anger, and twisted emotion. I was really diggin the performance, and since then I had been on the Siobhan Magnus bandwagon.....through her best and worst (Through the Fire) performances. I hadn't missed an episode of the show I used to despise since....

To much shock, Siobhan Magnus was voted off of American Idol on Wednesday, April 28th. She had never been in the bottom three and was highly praised by the judges (though highly criticized by the media) for her 'returning' performance of Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine'. Even Kara DioGuardi, who over the past four or five weeks had expressed how she was 'confused' on who Siobhan Magnus was as an artist, exclaimed "Guess who's back. Siobhan!". The only negative comment came from everyone's favorite Simon Cowell who claimed that her screaming at the end of the song felt like she was 'giving birth' up on stage. I felt it wasn't a solid performance, but still loved her stage performance as I always have and was glad to see her going back to the styles that made her famous.

But despite the judges praise and the response from the audience, Siobhan was eliminated the following night. Her fans were devastated, probably more than she was as her signature response was 'This isn't the end, its the beginning of something new." Very mature response for a girl who many claimed didn't sound like the brightest crayon in the box when interviewed. (I always laughed at that assessment because she was 20 years old and isn't used to having that kind of media. Seeing her on the Ellen Show....she had much more intelligent things to say, and it was very obvious - this is NOT a dumb girl)

Ok, so the fact that she was a trendy pick for ending up in the top 3 this of course raised a lot of suspicion on how accurate the vote was to the point where over 4,000 of her fans have signed a petition to reinstate her. Their argument is that the wrong numbers were posted on her facebook fanpage which hosts approximately 23,000 of her devoted fans. If you would like to sign the is the link. Seriously, need to let this one go. I'm as upset as the next and have my own suspicions, but personally I think she is better off. Plus - when did we decide that American Idol was the be-all end-all of the music industry? American Idol is about giving regular talented schmo's off the street an opportunity at success...and it's already done that for everyone from Paige Miles (the top 12 eliminated contestant) to Crystal Bowersox or Lee Dewyze (the two speculated favorites). Personally, a girl of independance such as Siobhan is probably much better off being able to browse the endless opportunities that are out there than she is to be tied to some stupid Fox Contract that will make her sing songs she doesn't want to sing for however long the contract is.

So what IS next for Siobhan Magnus? Well love her or hate her, the girl HAS a voice. The most significant comment that was given was pertaining to her high-note (which many people critically refer to as a 'scream') when Simon Cowell, after her paint it black performance, said 'A lot of people are going to love that, but unfortunately a lot of people will genuinely hate it.' Good thing for Siobhan, she doesn't change who she is just because some people want her to. Risky....but admirable. And this of course is the reason why I think Broadway would be the best move for her after she is done with the tour. Sure, there probably isn't as much money in Broadway as there is when you are on tour the entire year and putting out millions of copies of albums.....but do you really think Sarah Brightman is sitting in the lap of poverty right now?

It really made me happy to hear that Magnus was wanting to perform in musicals (she referenced both Andrew Lloyd Webber hits Jesus Christ, Superstar and The Phantom of the Opera......its a shame she wasnt a contestant when he was a Mentor on American Idol - but I'm sure the two will meet eventually) I believe this would be the perfect transition for her and feel that Broadway is the least likely to screw her up as an artist. I could even see her writing some pretty amazing hopefully this is something she would consider doing.

Now, I'm sure some of you are in strong disagreement with most of my assessments on here....but that is exactly why I said I am a rebel when it comes to music. I'm not trying to compare myself to Siobhan as a musician...obviously....but the fact of the matter is that she sang the songs she sang on American Idol mainly because she LIKED the songs - and kept doing it despite the criticism from viewers and the judges. I write music I like to hear, despite what many of my colleges have said and I have constantly had trouble finding success because of that. The fact that a person like Siobhan, who Kara once called "an unlikely character on the show", has become pretty successful on American Idol...and at such a young does provide people who are different, or rebels, a sense of hope for the future.

As she said immediately following her elimination "I wanted to show them (her sisters) what we are all capable of" Well, Siobhan, I think you've showed the WORLD what everyone is capable of.

And now for your are some videos of Siobhan's stand-out performances on American Idol.

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