Vocal Masterclass For Canadian Idol Season Five Top Seven Female Performances


by Rosanne Simunovic

You go girls! What a show last evening. I walked away from these performances more confused than ever. I cannot remember such a strong line-up of female singers, each representing a diverse array of genres and styles.

It appears that each and every one of these singers know who they are as artists and this is extremely crucial if they are to market their unique musical gift into a successful career in the music industry.

But for now, we must take it one step at a time as we evaluate the Top 7 female performances of the Canadian Idol Season Five series.

Next week, I will write Vocal Masterclass articles for the Top 10 in my familiar style of including “Strengths” and “Critique” assessments in the evaluation. However, these are mini-masterclasses until we get into the more serious performances of the Top 10!

To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below.

Annika Odegard, Carly Rae Jepsen,
Kahlila Glanville, Martha Joy
Mila Miller, Montana Martin Isles
Tara Oram,

Annika Odegard: “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton

Annika – like your male peer, Matt Rapley, you absolutely soared like a shooting star as a singer –pianist. It seemed and felt that you were releasing all your pent up emotions through the keyboard and the result was a very real, very passionate vocal performance.

Your piano skills were exceptional and they brilliantly complimented the depth of your vocal skills. Your exhibited a high degree of dynamic range with both instruments – your voice and piano – and you exuded a confidence and professionalism that were ridiculously distant from your age of 16 years.

This performance drew naked attention to the fact that everyone must be objective in the assessment of these young singers. It is to the credit of the Canadian Idol producers that these singers have been allowed to perform in a way that mirrors their real life musical experience. Imagine Billy Joel, Sara MacLachlan, Diana Krall or Elton John without their piano. It’s insanity, isn’t it?

So now, the viewing public can appreciate and applaud the real Annika, a singer/pianist with a very bright future indeed.

Vocally, your voice was quite solid and, although there was some push to the overall vocal sound, I felt that you wisely chose a song and key that highlighted the strongest part of your vocal range. Just be very careful as you move into your upper range that you ease back with the chest voice, adding more of a “Sara MacLachlan” soprano timbre to your upper range voice.

Outstanding performance, Annika!

Carly Rae Jepsen: “Waiting In Vain” by Bob Marley

Carly Rae – although I preferred last week’s song selection, I have to sincerely congratulate you for singing songs that truly define the depth and maturity of your artistry

Yes, your voice intermittently encountered a wee bit of the shakes this week but, overall, your supreme artistry overrode any major vocal problems. Your technical training is there to assist you and I was enjoying watching you access the technical support in a more aggressive manner as the song progressed.

This is why a singer needs to equip herself with the proper training; it provides confidence and support during performances. Without a proper vocal or stage regimen, the singer is left without a net and is technically exposed during a performance. So, good for you, Carly Rae, for lending an air of artistic and technical professionalism to your performances

Also, I absolutely loved the intimacy you created with the circle of musicians. You bring a high degree of creativity to this competition and your intelligent and intuitive musical approach truly sets you apart from the rest.

You are such a vivacious soul and loaded with “joie de vivre”. Never lose that inner child’ mentality because it expands and highlights your vulnerability on stage, thus drawing you even closer to your audience

Brava, Ms. Rae of Sunshine!

Kahlila Glanville: “For You I Will” by Monica

Kahlila – you selected a really sophisticated song this week and it showcased all that is so very special about you. You are a very gifted vocalist capable of bending the melodic line in a creative and communicative manner.

Your voice is spectacular, but be very careful about pushing too much chest voice into your power vocals when navigating your upper range. Overall, your technical support was splendid and you appeared to have meticulously rehearsed all the performance and vocal aspects of this song.

Additionally, you looked breathtakingly radiant on camera, thus creating a strong visual and audible impact. This performance was miles ahead of last week’s performance and showed the level of growth and maturity that is inherent in your musical soul.

My only worry is that your song selection was not as memorable as some of the other singers. I appreciated and applauded your choice, but, sometimes, as a performer, you have to be in touch with what will move and inspire an audience.

However, I do love the poise and professionalism you bring to this competition and I congratulate you on your outstanding success thus far.

Martha Joy: “That’s The Way It Is”, originally performed by Céline Dion

Martha- it certainly does not get better than this. This was an absolutely stellar vocal performance and you squeezed out all the necessary vocal ingredients that define a performance of merit – the superbly controlled nuances, the seamless and smooth vocal range, astounding vocal skills, strong communicative ability, fluid stage skills and absolute confidence and professionalism.

You looked radiant and exuded an aura that signified a young woman with a mission and a purpose. Whoever has been responsible for your vocal training thus far deserves a medal for technical brilliance. You have not only been wisely mentored and tutored, but also you do have a work ethic that truly inspires.

I speak incessantly about maintaining a balance of style and substance during a performance and no one exemplified this statement more than you, Martha.

I am also very glad that you chose a Céline Dion song that has not received too much exposure during any Idol series. It was an excellent song selection, as it emphasized the depth and high degree of your vocal maturity. It is very hard to believe that you are only 16 years old – you bring so much experience and professionalism to this year’s format and I truly look forward to all you have to offer in your future performances.

Brava Martha!

Mila Miller: “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse

Mila – this was a sassy and mischievous performance and I loved every minute of it. I couldn’t figure out this song, but the important thing is that you were thoroughly entertaining and self-effacing

As much as this was a fun performance, I am not sure if it was a performance that was conducive for a Top 10 win. I felt that the entertainment value overrode the true emphasis of your vocal gift and I hope that I am proven wrong. To me, you look like a star, you sound like a star and I want to see you move ahead in this competition. We will know the result of this dilemma very soon, so cross your fingers and toes.

Vocally, your voice sounded extremely resonant and expressive and you piled on the speech like inflection that was so necessary for this song to work. Additionally, your face mirrored this high degree of expressiveness, so the communicative aspects of this song were tangibly consistent throughout your showcase.

I loved the whole “lying across the piano” stage demeanor, accented by the proximity of the instrumental musicians. The entire ambiance hinted at a cabaret performance and, as I am a huge cabaret fan, this was a big plus in my books. You are a storyteller, a singer who relishes and lives her lyrics when she performs and, in my mind, this is what really great singing is all about.

However, as I mentioned last week, make sure you are always centering your vocal projection through the correct technical process. I feel that you still need to employ more head tone into your vocal blend, so that your voice experiences a ringing and free vocal timbre and evenness throughout you range.

Good work, Mila and here’s to the future!

Montana Martin Isles: “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette

Montana – I was quite harsh on you last week, but this week it’s a different story. You finally gave us a glimpse of your vocal quality and you indeed have a strong voice with a naturally rich contralto quality.

Technically, you do need to work on many crucial elements that are currently missing from your vocal production. First of all, you do have tendency to raise your head when you access your upper range. Not only does this create tension in your upper body, but also it diminishes strong communication with your audience. Keep the head level with the camera angle at all times and make certain that the lower body is supporting your vocal sound. Your upper body, including your face, must remain open and free.

Also, you are presently adding too much chest voice into your vocal mix, thus creating the under-pitched vocal sound we heard throughout this performance. The head tone element is extremely necessary for a pitch centered and purely produced vocal sound.

Be very careful that you are heeding the instruction of the vocal coaches and/or technicians, because, ultimately the vocals do indeed count in his competition. You must make certain that this wonderful voice of yours is being supported in a way that will heighten both your dynamic and vocal range.

Your guitar playing was superb, however and I congratulate you for bringing two instruments to this Top 7 performance – the voice and the guitar. And, I almost forgot – the “th” problem really improved this week so kudos to you for really working on the correct enunciation of your words.

Good work, Montana!

Tara Oram: “When God Fearin’ Women Get The Blues”, originally performed by Martina McBride

Tara – now this was a more aggressive performance than last week’s. You sang with self- assurance and confidence and you balanced the vocal and choreographic elements extremely well. It was a well rehearsed and extremely well paced performance

Your voice sounded quite good, but make certain that you don’t become faulty with the articulation of your consonants. I thought that, in an effort to create that country-like drawl, the consonants fell off the radar and, as a result, the comprehension of your words at the beginning of this song was incoherent.

You also must be careful that you do not add too much chest voice into your vocal mix. You need to maintain the ringing head tone component throughout your range so as to increase the naturally brilliant quality to your voice.

I thought that some of the vocal technical skills were slightly compromised this week in a concerted effort to establish communication with your audience. Make certain that, particularly when you are singing upbeat songs, you decelerate the rehearsal process, singing the songs at a slower tempo so as to make sure that the voice is being projected with strong support from the diaphragm. And make certain that your throat muscles are thoroughly relaxed and open so that the diaphragm can work efficiently to assist the vocal process.

However, this was great improvement over last week’s performance! Kudos!

I will be commenting regularly throughout this competition and will be contributing Vocal Masterclass articles for the Top 10 performances.

Please feel free to comment and become part of the vocal masterclass process.

SCHEDULE AS OF JULY 11, 2007

Top 14 Males Performance
Monday July 9 at 9pm ET & PT, 8pm MT, CT & AT.
Top 14 Females Performance
Tuesday July 10 at 9pm ET & PT, 8pm MT, CT & AT.
Top 14 Results Show
Wednesday July 11 at 9:30pm ET, PT, MT & AT and 10pm CT.
Top 10 Performance Show
Tuesday, July 17 at 8pm ET, PT, MT & AT and 7:00pm CT.
Top 10 Results Show
Wednesday, July 18 from 9:30pm ET& PT, 10:30pm MT & AT and 8:30pm CT.
Top 9 Performance Show
Monday July 23 at 9pm ET, PT, MT & AT and 8pm CT.
Top 9 Results Show
Tuesday July 24 at 9:30pm ET& PT, 10:30pm MT & AT and 8:30pm CT.
Top 8 Performance Show
Monday July 30 at 9pm ET, PT, MT & AT and 8pm CT.
Top 8 Results Show
Tuesday July 31 at 8pm ET, PT, MT & AT and 7pm CT

Visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times.

Visit SirLinksalot: Canadian Idol for all current Canadian Idol links

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

4 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass For Canadian Idol Season Five Top Seven Female Performances”

  1. I was very impressed by Martha Joy last night. I thought she showed life and more energy than her previous performances. Annika also did well; I really enjoyed her piano playing and singing.

  2. Yes – those two singers really surprised and impressed me as well.

  3. I thought the girls really stepped it up a notch; it will be interesting to see where the numbers lie for the Top 10.
    Certainly some unique & interesting voices!

  4. Hi there S :)

    It’s going to be a sad elimination. They are all really worthy of Top 10 status.

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