Music Monday: Carly Rose Sonenclar

Monday, November 19, 2012

I've been tuning into "The X Factor U.S." on and off this season, mostly because I wanted to see how the new judges (Demi Lovato and Britney Spears) fared. Demi Lovato is a lot more outspoken than I thought she'd be, and I think she's made some bad calls, but overall she seems to be doing a good job. Britney Spears, however, remains ever the mystery to me. In the early judging rounds, she seemed overly critical, but now that the show is in full swing, she seems a little too mild, almost timid. It's as if she doesn't really want anyone to know what she's really thinking, or she doesn't want to push anyone's buttons. Yet she's definitely doing something right (or is really good at recognizing talent), because it seems as if of all the judges, she's got the most contestants still in the game.

Which brings me to Carly Rose Sonenclar. From the start, I took an immediate liking to Jennel Garcia, who was being mentored by Demi Lovato until she was booted from the show last week. Other favorites of mine included Willie Jones and Carly Rose Sonenclar. Only Carly Rose remains on the show. (Please, someone enlighten me as to how CeCe Frey is still around?)

Carly Rose is only thirteen, but mighty precocious for her age in many ways. She auditioned with a big show tuney "Feeling Good," and it was apparent she had the chops, but I doubted her likability or her stage presence. To make a long story short, I tuned in last week when she performed "My Heart Will Go On," which I thought she'd sing just like Celine Dion had, but she made it sound like some sort of mystical, ethereal dirge -- it was almost as if her voice melded with the woodwind instrument at the start of the song. I was so, so, so impressed by her vocal ability and control.

Anyway, here's the video ... you might already have seen it on the news or in a work e-mail. (Exactly what happened with David Archuleta's "Imagine" performance on "American Idol" in 2008.) I've grown sick and tired of "My Heart Will Go On" in the hundreds of times I've heard it since 1997, but this version I don't think I'll ever grow tired of. This is definitely better than the original in its restraint, and its give and take.

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