QUINCY — Siobhan Magnus, who was the sixth place finalist on the ninth season of American Idol, is a local girl from Barnstable. Today she made the trip to Quincy to join Joe Biden, John Kerry, Vicki Kennedy and other prominent Democrats in a rally for Norfolk District Attorney William Keating, who is hoping to take over the seat being vacated by Rep. William Delahunt.

She was terrible.

For those who enjoy seeing people merely because they have been television, her appearance may have been a treat. But as soon as she began her rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” it was evident that her voice — at least today — was neither powerful nor pretty. Worse, she chose an over-ambitious arrangement whose glides and turns would still have been a challenge to a singer of far greater talent.

The crowd showed appropriate appreciation for her willingness to perform and to support their favorite candidate. But even as people put their hands together for applause, many were turning to the person next to them to whisper a critical remark. She wasn’t “Rosanne bad” but it was pretty terrible for someone who is supposed to be one of the best young vocalists in the United States. Watch the video.

When she returned to the stage to sing “America the Beautiful” her rendition was simpler and less-offensive but still nothing to brag about.

Ayla Brown, daughter of Republican Senator Scott Brown, has been on American Idol as well. It might be interesting to see which of these two young local ladies — one a Democratic supporter and the other the daughter of a Republican — sounds worse without the backing of Simon Cowl’s production company. If that contest ever happens, let me know how it turns out. I’m staying out of earshot.

As far as I’m concerned, Joe Biden — or rather his extra-planetary auto-tuned counterpart — was by far the best singer to take that stage today.

About The Author

Contributing editor John Stephen Dwyer is in love with his native Boston but has also done work in Amsterdam, London, New York, Paris and other cool cities. In recent months he's photographed notables including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Rosalynn Carter.

76 Responses

  1. Brian

    Siobhan’s performance was pretty much pitch perfect. I bet you are a Crystal Bowersux fan. It seems like everyone who criticizes Siobhan is a Bowersux fan.

    • Jill

      There was nothing wrong with that performance! She did a good job and was pitch perfect. It was a little long for my taste but nothing wrong. Nothing!

  2. AJ

    I think Miss Magnus totally rocked that. She most definitely melted my face off. Are you by chance… a little boy? 😉

  3. Ben

    it wasn´t something outstanding and it wasn’t to bad as the article says but she was OK!

  4. thafuk

    Lol U Mad? you must be deaf or have some grudge against Siobhan because it’s absolutely absurd to say she “bombed”. Anyone with functioning senses would agree that she did a good job. IMO she was great… I loved how she changed up the melody in places and combined her power vocals with head voice. She has a unique, versatile and beautiful voice. Siobhan, future rock-goddess, FTW

  5. Syl

    Um… I thought she sounded wonderful. She was pitch-perfect and I enjoyed her unique style. Well, whatever. To each their own. You don’t have to like her, but she hardly “bombed”.

  6. Brian

    I can’t get over the fact that this guy devoted an entire article to bashing a girl who was singing with a freezing cold wind blowing in her face. It’s like he has some kind of bizarre grudge against Siobhan. Very weird and very unprofessional.

  7. Maria Sousa

    Siobhan Magnus is not an amateur singer. She was not singing in children’s theater or a school musical. She is a professional musician who will be getting paid to tour as part of the American Idol franchise. It is therefore appropriate for a journalist to evaluate her performance in plain language. There is nothing unprofessional about this article.

    Please note that Mr. Dwyre found fault with Ms. Magnus’ performance. He did not hurl insults at her or attack her personally. It is Ms. Magnus’ friends and/or fans and/or family members who are hurling the insults and being rude. It shows a great lack of maturity.

    Siobhan Magnus might sound great 99% percent of the time. I have no idea. But this video is evidence that yesterday she gave pretty bad performance just like this article describes.

    • Maria Sousa

      More specifically, the performance has several cringe-worthy moments. Given length of the performance, that’s enough to give it thumbs down.

    • thafuk


      Well he’s he’s allowed to voice his opinions on his own blog… That said, there’s no way anyone that with functioning senses can listen to her performance and say that she “bombed” and even compare her to Roseanne…I mean come on… he may not like the way she arranged the song, but that hardly warrants him labeling her vocals as a “bomb”. There’s no way anyone can take this dude seriously as a music critic after this failure of an article. Either his perception of sound is F’ed up or he’s letting his personal biases against Siobhan prompt him to create an ridiculously harsh critique of her performance. If the latter (and I assume it is), then you could certainly argue that he was being unprofessional. I’d admit that there were a few parts of the performance where her vocals were non-perfect (ie a bit nasally and muddy) and that’s expected since she was singing into cold-wind, but her overall vocal performance was excellent. After all no singer is perfect in any given performance let alone in harsh weather conditions. If you think the changes in the melody were “cringe-worthy” then that’s fine; but the actual vocals were by and large pitch perfect and impressive.

      Honestly I think that this dude purposely made this article offensive to Siobhan in order to get a rise out her fan-base and actually attract some attention to his writing for once in his life… The term is “trolling” I think.

    • michael wooten


      You’re as big a douche bag as Dwyer if you think that was a bad performance. Granted, you may be able to fault the arrangement if it was not to your liking, but the performance was pitch perfect, with power and subtlety combined jointly. VERY FEW singers can pull that off, professional or otherwise. Are you Dwyer’s girlfriend by any chance? Mother maybe?

  8. Shuki

    I thought she did a damn good job. It was pretty much pitch perfect like quite a few posters here pointed out. I don’t know about everyone else, but to me as long as you sing a song in tune from beginning to end calling it “bombed” is frankly ridiculous.

    That being said, I could criticize her performance, because NO ONE is perfect. She was a tad nasally in her lower register and she sang the song with a slow arrangement. That’s pretty much all you can criticize fairly, okay, you could say she has a terrible voice, but that’s totally subjective. To me she has a gorgeous and unique voice and she should have won American Idol.

  9. Shuki

    Oh, and on youtube the video has 13 thumbs up and 1 thumb down, maybe this is the guy who thumbed it down?

  10. Tom Nouga

    To be honest, judging by that video it would be equally reasonable to suggest Siobhan’s rendition to be the best ever than to say it completely bombed. There were some iffy parts but moments of brilliance as well. Focusing on the negatives is just silly.

    I think she did a very good job considering the cold and windy weather which definitely doesn’t help your vocal cords.

  11. Anthony

    Are you tone-challenged or hard of hearing? Comparing her to an abomination like Rosanne, is all the proof you need to verify that you are. Normally I wouldn’t waste my time, dignifying comments like yours with a response, but I couldn’t let this one go. I thought Siobhan sang a very unique version of the National Anthem, and quite beautifully, she delivered a rendition that most singers can’t and one clearly beyond your ability to appreciate.

    If you’re a journalist, don’t quit you day job; stick to what you know something about because apparently, music is not one of them.

  12. Dave

    This isn’t journalism, this is sensationalism. The title is very misleading; to say someone “bombs” the National Anthem suggests that a singer forgot the words, fell off the stage, or experienced some similar epic failure. An “over-ambitious arrangement” is simply a matter of taste and certainly not worthy of being branded “offensive.” Such hyperbole! And if John Stephen Dwyer believes it was so bad as to warrant an entire article, well, I guess that says something about the author.

  13. Lee

    The only bomb laid here is by the writer of this “critique”—from I could tell from the videos she did fine and didn’t deserve such over the top negative comments. I’m not sure what this writer’s field of expertise is, but I don’t think it’s being a music critic.

  14. sheila

    A. She didn’t bomb this at all. She sounded fantastic! I liked the arrangement she did.
    B. This You Tube recording is pretty bad. The wind is distracting but I can still hear PERFECT pitch
    C. Thanks for spreading the hate. I’m sure it will come back to you.

  15. Abel

    The author is OBVIOUSLY not a music critic. The rendition was perfect and heartfelt and that’s all that really matters. I loved it because it evoked the proper sense of pride from the listener.

    The fact that the author chose to sensationalize and dwell on such a trivial topic as HIS OPINION of an American Idol’s singing of one song at a political rally instead of the issues brought out during the rally speaks volumes about this “author”‘s relevance.

    Maybe he wants to be popular that’s why he is attacking someone popular like Siobhan Magnus. You are not alone there. I know of a lot of psychos on the internet who do the same thing.

  16. landglider

    The Star Spangled Banner is no easy song to sing even when the vocalist follows the traditional sheet music. Siobhan’s vocals rival the most creative renditions ever performed. It was beautiful. You can tell this song came from her heart.

  17. Tom

    That was an amazing performance, and it was probably the best rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that I’ve ever heard!!! This performance of hers is just another reason why I love her vocals!
    You really ought to get your ears checked!!!

  18. Leland

    One of our national sports in recent years is the ridiculing of National Anthem singers. In this article, Mr. Dwyer, you seem to really enjoy being the “school bully”. However, here you are not only mean-spirited, but also “off-key.”

    Siobhan’s effort yesterday was far closer to the best than it was to the worst – as evidenced by virtually all who have commented. I hope that Mr Dwyer’s supervisor at The Blast will review his effort – and question whether this is the kind of “snakiness” that the magazine wishes to be known for.

  19. Shamon

    Everyone is freaking out that a very professional article was written with an opinion differing from your own. You all repeatedly say how you can’t believe someone wrote an article about her performance when it was in fact all of you that took the time to read and respond so passionately to this article… and besides… at least he is published…

  20. swansteel

    I’m not bothered by Mr. Dwyer’s article. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I just want to state for the record that I found Siobhan Magnus’ performance exceptional, especially considering the conditions under which she was singing. I thought her phrasing was original without taking away from the character of the song and that her tone was beautiful. To think she sang without musical accompaniment in 40 degree weather with a strong wind blowing makes the performance even more remarkable. I am 49 years old with a wide taste in music and I thoroughly enjoyed this interpretation. There aren’t many young performers out there today who could have done what Ms. Magnus did so well.

  21. seeker of truth

    This is a joke, right? I just watched the video and the performance sounded wonderful. Also, the video doesn’t show anyone making critical remarks at the end of her performance, just a lot of clapping and loud cheering. I can understand if the author didn’t fully appreciate this rendition. After all everyone’s tastes differ. But to say that Siobhan Magnus “bombed” the National Anthem couldn’t be further from the truth. The author must realize that the vast majority of listeners would say just the opposite. To devote an entire article to this position, and to take the time to also criticize Ayla Brown in the same article, seems rather sensationalistic. I would say that Mr. Dwyer bombed as a credible journalist, at least on this article.

    • Rick

      This was an irresponsible article at best, a complete an outright lie. Tastes may different but to mention this young girl in the same breath as Roseanne. This reporter has no business commenting on music. I am not sure what his forte is but it clearly is not aligned with what he wrote about here.

      Her voice was smooth, moved effortlessly and, most importantly, stayed on pitch. Perhaps, the authors’s issue rests with the arrangement? I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt which is far more than he deserves.

  22. thafuk

    Great to read that many people are grilling this author for his ridiculous article. I hope the magazine’s supervisor realizes how much of fail this was and it reaps away credibility from the magazine as a whole to have this write for it. This was one of the most unique and gorgeous renditions of the anthem I’ve ever heard, and it clearer required masterful vocal ability and a strong sense of creativity to pull it off.

    – Omar

  23. thafuk

    Great to read that many people are grilling this author for his ridiculous article. I hope the magazine’s supervisor realizes how much of fail this was and how it reaps away credibility from the magazine as a whole to have this guy write for it. This was one of the most unique and gorgeous renditions of the anthem I’ve ever heard, and it clearly required masterful vocal ability and a strong sense of creativity. (Edited for typos lol)

    – Omar

  24. thafuk

    lol I just realized that this guy, with two followers on twitter, hasn’t had more than 3 comments on any of his previous articles….. and now he writes the epic fail of an article filled with unreasonably harsh criticisms of Sio’s singing and gets 32 (and counting) comments on how bad his post was…Interestingly he found Metros video, meaning he was likely following Krummy on twitter or lurking the siofan site…. Now this adds more support to my suspicion that he, in some desperate need for attention towards his failing blog, attempted to anger the siobhan fan-base so that they’d read and comment on his post. Not sure how this can help his career as writer for this magazine… but at the very least…successful troll is successful…

  25. Rohit

    the amount of comments on this article says more about peoples’ bad taste in music and the stupid shit they care about than anything else. i also hate this girls voice and unlike her crybaby fans i don’t have a heart attack when someone disagrees with me bout liking a pop singer. they didn’t say anything bad bout her personal just her singing so seriously GROW UP

    • thafuk

      It seems like you cared enough about “stupid shit” to add to the number of comments on the article. Also, you seem pretty upset that people like Siobhan enough to grill this author for his lame article… so upset that that just had to make this aggressive post about how you hate Siobhan’s voice and how people who disagree with you and like her have bad taste in music… Hopefully you now realize how much of a fail your post was.

      • Rohit

        i don’t care about bad singers but it’s fun to laugh @ u lame-wads like i am

        buy sum kleenex and have a good cry LOL!!!!!

  26. Rohit

    and any of you who think THIS is one of the best versions of anthem ever U better start learning bout sum singers besides those on reality showz

    • Siobonbon330

      I think the one who wrote this just really don’t like Siobhan.
      Siobhan has a wonderful voice….
      Even when she sang that song.
      Are you deaf?

  27. unbiased_fan

    It’s actually the high notes that Siobhan needs to work on. Make them less screechy, open up her throat more to gain more vocal resonance. The low notes were really great instead, she sang them with a beautiful tone. I didn’t detect any pitch problems overall. I’m not a fan of the arrangement though, a tad too slow for my taste.

    But to say she bombed is waaay overstated and definitely sensationalistic. Let’s just say she did very good, but could be better.

  28. geoff

    Why have so many of the negative comments about this article disappeared? Can’t take the heat?

  29. Karmon

    Simple. Look who’s in the banner on top. The rehab queen, crotch shot Britney, and a rich spoiled brat. Boy there’s some role models Nuff said…………..

  30. lesher

    Terrible?? I think someone needs their ears cleaned and/or stop posting reviews on singing, since you obviously know NOTHING about it!

  31. Karmon

    Oh! Banner Change. What did you expect from Siobhan Magnus Fans on what this fool wrote? Praise? Gimme a break. He wrote it. We see it. We voice our displeasure. Probably the most responses this site has ever seen. Nor heard of, or seen, until now. Now you can put Lohan, Spears, and Hilton back on the banner.

    Then we’ll talk terrible,

    • Blast Magazine Newsroom

      You should have seen a column we ran called “Twilight Sucks” back in 2008. I think the comment count is over 2,000 now.

      And we didn’t change the banner. You’re just viewing the article from the Entertainment section instead of the celebrity blog.

  32. boogfour

    I’ll just say this,…… it took a lot more courage for Siobhan to get up on stage in front of all those important people to sing those songs than it did for Mr. Dwyer to write such an unnecessary, cowardly article!

    Mr. Dwyer, you should follow and cover Siobhan more frequently, she has a lot she could teach you!

  33. Brian

    The most offensive thing about this article is the suggestion that Siobhan would need autotune to sound good. What a joke! Siobhan was probably the most consistently on pitch of all the Season 9 American Idol contestants. I’ve listened to dozens of her performances both on and off American Idol, and I can only think of one (Through the Fire) that had any significant pitch problems. Her pitch is almost ALWAYS spot on.

  34. CJ

    Mr. Dwyer’s article has a “mean spirited” tone to it…..proof of that is the photo he chose to go with it: How many good shots, of such a beautiful lady, did he have to sift through to find that one?

    The wind, the cold, and long distance video distract from a unique and difficult version of the National Anthem as performed by Siobhan, but in no way was it a “bomb”. “America” was absolutely beautiful!!!

  35. Patti

    I’ve just lsitened to this, and while I don’t believe the girl bombed, I do think she stretched way beyond her vocal capabilities. Perhaps with time, and vocal training she could perform this quite well, but she’s definately not there yet. The author is allowed his opinions without him being attacked on a personal level. The poster’s here need to lighten up, and support their artist in more positive ways.

  36. Sensibility

    Clearly angry that she was singing for Democrats, not republicans. This article is as credible a source as Fox News.

  37. Dee

    I’m a huge Siobhan fan, I thought her rendition had a bit too many unecessary runs to my liking, but other than that, I thought her tone was very solid. The author of this article saying “She was terrible” is way out of line.

  38. Not Tone deaf

    She was great in this video. Bombing to me indicates poor singing, and people either not clapping or booing. All I saw was people clapping.

    This author is completely tone deaf.

    • Rick

      People were not there to hear Shiobhan sing — they were at a rally. Don’t expect stomping, screaming and shouts for an encore — she was there as window dressing for the purpose of the rally. She did what was expected of her – and she did that very well. I don’t see the lack of loud applause as cause for validation of the Reporter’s personal tastes nor his venomous attack on the singer.

      It was NOT a terrible performance – it was not a poor performance – it was not a good performance – it was a great vocal performance (there was nothing wrong with pitch, timbre or presentation) by an obviously talented young lady.

      A publication that presents this kind of crappy article in order to generate publicity or responders is hardly worthy of attention and cannot be considered as a serious news source.


    Is this what deregulation of the press has brought us…talentless writers! The public relies heavily on the skills of reporters, where did this donkey get his reporting skills? Mr. Dwyer appears to be tone deaf……or on the crackpipe! I suggest that his employers ensure that he does NOT cover any event of a musical nature, he obviously is inept!

    I can not believe that anyone could listen to that video and agree with this publication!

      • Rick

        Poor choice of words on her part but she is part of your readership. Your responsibilities for presented reasable views are far greater and your editors seems to have adbidated that role. Honesly, in viewing the video — can you serioulsy say she “bombed”? Not, it’s not my tastes but, really the peformance was a bomb??? It’s really hard to swallow what the reporter presented here.

        What Cowell said, how Shiobhan fared in the final weeks of AI — are all irrelevant to the performance that was reviewed here. The video stands as evidence of what took place that day. She has nothing to be ashamed of! This paper, on the other hand, should feel that they have done the community a gross disservice for this report.


    Forgot to say…”Blast” should really fire this guy, it may improve their reputation and sales!

  41. chet

    Wasn’t my favorite arrangement, didn’t even do herself justice with it, but she has a positively super attitude in her vocal style..normally. AGT had it biggest drop in viewership ever the week after they canned Siobhan. Personally I think Simon had a problem with her, and used his authority and cut her votes just to get rid of her. No way she lost fan votes as the week following boycott proved.

    Before I sign off I have to ask one thing.. Did this writer get paid for this article?

  42. Josephine Cullen

    I thought she did beautifully! I love Siobhan! So this person who wrote this article should shove it where the sun don’t shine!

  43. Wookiee

    She didn’t bomb at all! She has a strong voice and sang well. The arrangement was different than standard, but to say that she bombed is harsh and misleading.

  44. Zwigster

    Exactly how was this a bomb? I had shivers as she hit her high notes. Why is Siobhan not on the radio? She needs to be producing albums.

  45. Joseph

    Wow … who the hell is John Stephen Dwyer to write this diatribe about Siobhan? He sounds just like Simon after a brilliant performance knocking somebody down for no apparent reason. Yes, I am a Siobhan fan but I also have ears and I know a great vocal when I hear it. I swear some of these people criticizing her are tone deaf. I thought it was wonderful, powerful and unique. You go Siobhan and don’t let the naysayers get you down!

  46. cranberrycowgirl

    I was very moved and in spite of the complex arrangement, did not hit a single bad note. I love her style and love the fact that she’s not cookie cutter–especially when it comes to something we all know so well. She took a risk and knocked it out of the park!. This was not a bomb in any way, shape, or form.

  47. Kc

    After reading the article I was expecting this to be a horrible and embarrassing performance…….what the hell is wrong with the person who wrote this article and everybody else who justifies this as a bad performance?!?! You people have no idea what you are talking about. Sheesh!! Go listen to your autotune bullcrap Kanye West CD’s and continue to call that music. Idiots.

  48. chiliboots

    What’s your beef, here? Nothing is wrong with Siobhan’s gentle version of a very bad song, and in fact,
    she did it better than Aguilera, or anybody else faced with this monstrosity. She did it unadorned, and
    quite sincerely. And she sings on-tune. This is a very strange little hit-piece on a very nice Person.

    I am also a Musician and Singer. Siobhan Magnus is an excellent Singer. You are quite clueless.


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