This portion of my Toronto experience will feature the performances of the Top 4 – Jason, Syesha, David Archuleta and David Cook. All four singers were the featured performers after the intermission and it was quite the spectacle!
So much talent and charisma emerged from this group of singers; all four singers staged enormously memorable and artistically significant performances
If you wish to read Part One of my Idol journey in Toronto, you can access the full article here.
For those of you who wish to continue to Part Two, you can do so here!
Jason emerged to center stage shortly before the lights went up and the fans went wild. It was evident that the Dreadheads were alive and well in Canada country. This young man has cultivated an enviable following and, if mentored correctly, could become a huge star.
However, I digress. On with the show! Jason began his set with his signature rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and, to my delight, the audience sang along with him. It was such a great moment in time and this sing-a-long must have provided a relaxing ambience for Jason.
Also, because I have watched so many of his past performances of this song, I knew every notation and phrasing element in the song, so my mind and heart was right there with him all the way. The audience feverishly applauded his head voice when he sang the words “over the rainbow” towards the end of the song. He sounded extremely good and his voice is becoming more fluid and resonant with each performance.
“Crazy” was an extremely strong performance as well. He sounded wonderful and he looked fantastic. Great, great presence and relaxed stage demeanour!
I also have to say that the band added some wonderful harmonic color to the arrangements of all his songs. I was actually surprised. My daughter turned to me and said: “The band sounds great, doesn’t it?” and I said “Definitely – I never noticed this before in the videos.” The additional harmonic texture strengthened the performances and gave Jason a musical foundation for his artistic style.
My favourite song, “Daydream” closed this all too short set. Yes, his set was noticeably shorter than any of the other singers and, perhaps, given his inexperience with his singing career, he was agreeable to this outcome. Yet, it still felt wrong to me.
Also, I don’t know why this young man could not have been persuaded to move around the stage a bit more? The only other performer like him was Brooke and, in so many ways, they are very similar. They have a simplistic approach to their performing style that works better in a smaller acoustic environment.
Now, if I can get him to maintain a circular mouth on all his vowels and relax his jaw when singing the upper notes, I will have accomplished my mission in terms of his technical side. He is phrasing his melodic line much better, but still needs to challenge his breathing even more so.
At any rate, Jason was enthusiastically received by the audience. You could feel the Jason love throughout all three performances and long after he left the stage. That must have made this young man feel good indeed and he deserves this acknowledgement. Such a sweet, talented, genuine performer!
Then, Syesha hit the stage and she looked so glamorous and sounded so glorious. Talk about style and substance! This young lady has both these qualities and so much more.
Where do I start with Syesha? All three of her songs were extremely compelling. What an enormous vocal talent! Oh my! She truly deserved to be in this coveted Top 3 position, as she is an extremely passionate artist, a consummate musician and vocalist and possesses a charismatic demeanour.
The crowd absolutely roared after her final number. I was on the edge of my seat riveted to this performance of Beyonce’s “Listen”.! My goodness, this young lady takes her vocal craft seriously! No stone was left unturned after this number was completed – she lived and breathed every note of this number and catapulted her vocal gift to unbelievable heights.
And she was such a sweet presence on stage, very endearing when communicating with the audience. Canada loved her to pieces and she left such a strong impression with the audience. This young lady is destined for very big things in her singing career. She will find her way on to a Broadway stage or in feature films– absolutely no doubt in my mind. She has many, many special artistic ingredients that will numerous doors over the course of her career.
Back to the performance – I do go on, don’t I? Syesha barely got the words, “This next performer” out of her mouth and the ACC erupted like never before. Either that or a tornado passed through. It was time for the little guy with the great big voice – David Archuleta.
Well, this is where my eyes finally welled and entered the goose bump stage of this show. As David emerged through the fog of dry ice, seated at the piano, I watched in great anticipation, not wanting to miss a moment of his performance.
And then his gorgeous voice filled the ACC and touched our hearts with his poignant rendition of “Angels”. That face and that voice – in combination- is so truly special and he sings with such love and affection for the music and for his fans. However, it is a love that transcends to a much higher level and his spirituality is undeniable. It touches everyone around him and moves them in a profound way.
Everyone wonders why David is so shy when he speaks but not when he sings. The reason for this is that he speaks with his singing voice – that is his way of communicating to those around him and that is why his song choices have always been so inspired. The music and lyrics must affect him in a profound way in order for him to share these feelings with the rest of us.
And, every song in this set reflected this! “Apologize” was a song of longing and “Stand By Me” was a song symbolizing his gratitude to his fans.
“When You Say You Love Me” and “Angels” signified the undying affection he has for his family –first and foremost – followed by his friends and fans. And, we cannot forget his phenomenal musical influences – his parents, Jeff and Lupe, as well as his voice coach Dean and music arranger, Richard.
All four songs were absolutely phenomenal. His heart is truly centered and in the right place when he performs. Just listening to his voice is a powerful testament to what stellar work ethics and sublime talent can achieve.
One vocal cord and, yet, the clarity and purity of his voice could be heard above and beyond the screaming. The articulation of his diction was crystal clear and well-defined and, yet, so expressive and heartfelt.
And that sweet demeanor and radiant smile! Gorgeous! “Apologize” was superbly performed and, in this song, I could really hear the depth and beauty of his mid-range contrasted with gorgeous ring of his head voice.
Also, the audience gave him a thunderous two -minute ovation after “Stand By Me”. He was so taken aback by the overwhelming response he received. He looked so relaxed and animated during this performance and that upbeat portion of this number allowed him an opportunity to have pure fun.
He is a great little dancer and quite the little entertainer. And I still think that the “beautiful girls” segment” could have used one more repeat before he reached the brilliant acrobatic ending of this song. This song ends too soon for little ‘ole me! Ha!
And when he completed his truly inspiring performance of “When You Say You Love Me”, my two daughters wiped tears from their eyes, as did I! That was the best thank you I have ever received! How about you? Does it get more endearing than this? Un.Be.Lie.Va.Ble!
What a gift this young man has – what a prodigious and phenomenal talent. I will support this young man to the end of my days. Talent like this is very rare in one’s lifetime and should be endlessly celebrated and championed.
And yet, there was still tons of screaming room left for David Cook, this year’s American Idol. The fans went wild and ballistic. Two Davids in a row is fodder for chaos, wouldn’t you think? Well, chaos reigned and pandemonium ensued as The Cookster commanded the stage with his intelligent stage presence and resounding vocals
This guy can sing and he can sing in a technically brilliant manner. In every song, his sustained upper notes and exceptional phrasing ability were jaw-dropping. Yes, there is a raspier, edgier quality to his vocal sound, but at the very core, his basic technical skills serve him well in his style of singing.
Like Archie, the clarity of his diction is transparent and clean. How wonderful that American Idol discovered a true rock Idol who can sing with such evidence of sound technical support. Yes, at times, I did see some strain at the top, but, quite frankly, it was not as pronounced as when he was appearing on the show.
Cookie’s voice sounded more resonant, more focused and pure and it soared above the background accompaniment of the band. Nothing like a live performance to give you the true quality of a singer’s chops!
After his four songs were completed, he went off stage and one of my daughters said, “What about Billie Jean?” and I said, “Patience, it’s coming. It’s the encore!” and so it was. My goodness he performs this song eerily well. He was mesmerizing to watch.
And he worked the stage like the pro that he was, moving seamlessly back and forth along the perimeter so that fans could have a closer glimpse of him and take more photos. And, he reciprocated the photo session by videotaping the hysterical fans from the stage. That was classic. I love this guy!
His presence, his professionalism, his powerful vocals were truly special and he was only outdone by the thunderous applause at the end of his five song set. He is and will continue to be a huge star. I cannot imagine the music industry without David Cook’s presence – that would be travesty. Nope. Not going to happen. He’s here to stay and not a moment too soon.
Then the show ended with a Top 10 group number – very fun! Then, it was off to the “after party”