Recently, Carly Rose Sonenclar, one of the front runners of X-Factor USA took a jab at Lennon’s “Imagine”.

She had been performing splendidly over the course of the show. At 13, the youngest front runner in recent reality TV talent shows, she had been called “alien”, a prodigy, gifted, etc… Terms once heaped on David once upon an Idol time.

So comparisons if not trepidation are invitable. OMG Yahoo didn’t mince words —

Carly Rose Sonenclar vs. David Archuleta – Why David’s Cover of ‘Imagine’ was Superior

“X Factor’s” Carly Rose Sonenclar will have a great career, but she might want to pick up some pointers from David Archuleta. Last night, she took a risk by performing John Lennon’s hit, “Imagine.” Unfortunately, her cover paled in comparison to David’s performance from “American Idol” season 7.

Here’s a look at why his cover of “Imagine” was superior to hers:
1. David knew when to hit the glory notes and when to hold back….
2. David’s performance was simple, while Carly’s performance was “fussy.”…
3. The song was more true to David’s artistic style….

You could read the full article HERE
Let’s re-watch the two performances:

Carly’s version

David’s version

Or his other version on piano

What can I say? It’s when you opt to “showboat” rather than tell a story, that’s when you lose the essence and significance of a masterpiece.

Even without comparing the two performances, even if I had not experienced David’s “Imagine”, I would not have liked Carly’s rendition – and am a Carly fan at that!

Fussy, contrived, BAAAAAAD arrangement and concept. Belting out on the wrong points. No judicious use of stylizing. Where was the restraint? Where was the respect for lyrics? For the melody? For the story? It was a sorry mess.


And I blame it all on the coaches. There were certain actuations – which to my eyes were scripted – that were totally misplaced and cringe-worthy artificial.

Carly is such a natural talent and I am sad that at this stage, the Hollywood sheen is already doing a patina on her. Just look at her audition piece —

Karmin’s BROKENHEARTED Unplugged

Wasn’t THAT priceless? And just after few months on X-factor and THAT priceless talent is being eaten up already? That’s why am sad. Sad, sad, sad.

The downside of popular stars acting as coaches to newbies? They are not actually qualified to coach. Sure some of them may have made it big in the industry. Sure they know the business. But to actually handle vocal talent?

The other bad thing with these singing contests? They make belting out the be-all and end-all of a performance – even when unnecessary & totally inept. Just because you can do it, that doesn’t mean you have to do it.

Haven’t we heard it all before: Less is more? Especially with a musical masterpiece such as Imagine. AGAIN: judicious use of stylizing, please!

What David does, so much better than most current young singers out there, is draw his audience into the song, forcing them to react instead of just listen. When a singer can put a smile on your lips, a tear in your eye, tug at your heart and stir your soul all at the same time…that is pure talent! Just like Carly Rose during her audition.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Carly Rose. I believe she has a bright future ahead of her. But if Carly’s Imagine is the example of X-factor’s coaching style, am sorry. That’s not the way to cultivate natural talent.

If they really care about these aspiring talents, stop messing with natural talents like Carly Rose! It would be a shame if Carly loses her natural sparkle out to the Hollywood klieglights, even before her time to shine is given its full chance.

Take a page from David, peeps. Just keep it real. For once.
~ JR