Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rat Pack on Idol--No Baritones

I’m looking forward to tonight’s installment of “American Idol”. According to the paper, they’re doing “The Rat Pack”.

For those who are under 40, the Rat Pack was an informal group of some of the top entertainers of the 1960’s including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. And occasionally, Judy Garland. All were major stars. As a group in a Las Vegas showroom they were phenomenal. Tonight could be pretty interesting in a couple of ways.

One is that the music, of course, will be themed from the 60’s. It will be interesting to see how it is interpreted by a 21st century group of singers especially Adam Lambert who is arguably the front runner, arguably the best singer and arguably the funkiest.

What will also be interesting and is a matter of some consternation for me is that all of the Rat Pack singers (Judy Garland excepted) were baritones. None of the Idol finalists are baritones—all the 4 remaining males are tenor or higher. Of course they can transpose but my question is really, how come there are no baritones?

I’m not talking Barry White bass. I’m talking baritone—like Lou Rawls or even Tom Jones (please, not like Josh Grobin with his overdone vibrato). I’d even take John Legend, although his voice is kind of between bari and tenor. Perhaps the lowest voice on “Idol” is the lone female, Allison Iraheta (and the only “non-Caucasian” remaining too).

It’s a bit of a bummer. I’ve always sung bass/baritone and when my voice and diaphragm are in shape can do a covered 2nd tenor. But choral singing with some solo work is a far cry from what these kids are doing.

I’ve always wondered why there don’t seem to be male voices on Idol that sound like they’ve got just a bit more testosterone. Does it have to do with what sells records/cds? Does it have to do with the “sound” of today and that there’s just not much music for “crooning”?

Every week has a theme. Maybe there should be “Sha Na Na” night featuring Bowser as the “coach” for the performers. For those of you who are uninitiated to Bowser he’s the deep bass who sings “yip, yip, yip…yip, yip, yip…yip, yip, yip Get a Job”. Now that’s deep!

Or how about a Jimmy Buffett night (he’s kind of a baritone)—except one rule; no “Margaritaville” or “Get Drunk and Screw” allowed. Anyway, I’ll be watching just to see how these kids handle “the Rat Pack”. And I bet I’m not the only “OS”er who does.

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