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Mindy Moore’s Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Performance Show: Own Choice And One-Hit Wonders


American Idol
By: Mindy Moore

I am still fighting a bad stomach bug, so one of my readers, the very insightful and knowledgeable Mindy Moore, has graciously provided her assessment of last evening’s Top 4 show. It is an excellent read and one in which I am in 100% agreement. Thank you so much, Mindy – your expertise is invaluable!

And, for the record, Kree gave two strong performances last night and, although she doesn’t have the strongest charisma or stage presence, her vocals were impeccable.

Of all the weeks, this was not the week for the judges to diss her – and in such a mean-spirited manner! Awful – especially Nicki! Constructive criticism should have been in place for her weeks ago. It’s as if they were dumping all their repressed critiques on these two Top 4 performances.

And as much as I love Amber, her singing was lacking in confidence and poise. She looked as nervous as all get out – probably under duress since she, along with Angie, have become the Chosen Ones. Those song choices did her no justice. None!

Candice was excellent as always and under praised – although I do have some technical issues with her singing. Angie is untouchable right now and in a league of her own.

Okay, enough of me. Here is what Mindy had to say about these performances and, like me, she has listed them in first name alphabetical order:

Amber – “The Power of Love” – Celine Dion/”McArthur Park”- Richard Harris/Donna Summer

Strengths – Trying to take on a Celine Dion song can be a tricky business, but you managed to handle this big power ballad with ease and strong vocals. One of the things I love most is that you never over sing. Starting off with an acappella beginning was a brilliant choice! Immediately you captured the attention of the audience and also showed off crystal clear vocals. This allowed you to build momentum with your performance. You are a young girl who innately understands that less is more with a big song. I have said that this is not one of my favorite Celine Dion songs, but you managed to make it fresh, new and less clichéd and overdone. Your vocal range is truly extraordinary and you manage to handle key changes without losing a beat. I love your poise and stage presence. This song showed that you can step into very big shoes and still manage to put your own unique interpretation on a song that that could be trite in less capable hands. I didn’t love your song choices, but your voice is so extraordinary that you seem to be able to take on anything!

Your performance of “McArthur Park” once again showed that you can take on a challenging song with a difficult melody and key changes and let your voice just soar. This song also highlighted your beautiful lower register. The words were clear and strong. It was nice to hear this aspect of your voice. You once again commanded the stage by starting off to the side and then moving to center stage. Your confidence and poise was a joy to see! You are a star in the making! Well done!

Critique – I made it a point to watch the position of your mouth in both performances and once again, that horizontal mouth was still present. The absence of a rounded mouth compromises the sound of your voice, especially when you are going for those high notes. It makes the sound more shrill and harsh because you also aren’t using your diaphragm. These are technical issues that should be addressed so that you can achieve the best vocals. You are so naturally gifted that it can just take a little extra work and implement some technical skills to take some of the strain off your vocal cords and get the best out of your instrument.

Angie – “Who You Are” – Jessie J/”Cry Me a River” – Julie London

Strengths – You picked two songs that allowed you to show emotion and feeling. There has been some real growth in your performances as you have learned what songs work best for you and how to perform. Once more you decided to start out your first performance on the piano. This song seemed to resonate with you and the emotion and feeling was powerful, along with strong vocals. Your technical strength allows you to perform freely because you can be confident in your vocals. You seemed to talk at some points in the song and get deeply into the song. I don’t normally think this is a good idea, but it gave a realness to your performance. You poured your heart and soul into this performance and it was a joy to see!

Your second performance was a great classic and this time you chose to stand on the stage. I thought your vocals were outstanding throughout this performance. You emoted and allowed the passion to resonate in your voice. You didn’t have to move or do anything, because your commitment to the song was there for everyone to see. I think you managed to reach another level with two stellar vocal performances. Brava and Standing O!

Candace – “Find Your Love” – Drake/”Emotions” – Samantha Sang/Destiny’s Child

Strengths – I thought that something was going on with your singing tonight, maybe too much chest voice, but then you told the judges that you were battling a cold. However, your voice still always manages to resonate so purely. I think that you had two interesting song choices. I have to say that I disagree with Nikki regarding your choice to change the melody for “Find Your Love”. Having heard Drake’s version, I realized that the melody was limited and kind of repetitive without a lot of dynamic changes. Therefore, your decision to change it up was savvy and smart! You put a unique and original twist to this song and did it your way. You seem to be so confident about who you are as an artist and it showed in this performance. Your little runs were a special touch that allowed you to show off your strong vocals. I didn’t find anything “old” or “adult contemporary” about this performance!

Your second performance of the gorgeous “Emotions” was enhanced with nuance and flavor as you put your stamp on a great classic song. You managed to show off your range without over singing and showed an ability to transform a well known song. You are always in command on that stage, ever the strong presence. There is a real intelligence and thought process in your song selection and approach to performing. You sound great even with a cold!

Critique – I did want to say one thing about your first performance. While I did appreciate your decision to change the melody, when it comes to the runs I would just say that maybe less is more for this song. I would have put in fewer runs in key places to create more of a dynamic in the song. If you use runs too often, then it may not be as special or memorable. It’s just a slight suggestion that you might want to take as you move forward. There really isn’t much to critique in your performances. There is an authenticity when you are on that stage that cannot be matched. I think the judges want you to be belting out big songs, but I am glad that you follow your own path and use your own instincts! Well done!

Kree – “It Hurts So Bad” – Susan Tedeschi/”A Whiter Shade of Pale” – Procol Harum/Annie Lennox

Strengths – You really challenged yourself with these song choices. You came out and engaged the audience in your first performance. I heard some real emotion and gritty vocals in this performance. I think your voice has a sound that is easily recognizable. However, I do think that you managed to convey more emotion and feeling and tried to dig deeper. I think that you were ill-served by some of the criticism from the judges. It’s a process when you are performing and it can take some work to connect with a song. Your voice has some emotion in it and that has been one of your strengths. But you really did connect with this song in a very real way.

I thought that your second performance showed off your best vocals of the night. You seemed to be more comfortable with this song. I feel that you made great strides tonight in both your performances. Your vocals were pure and strong and there was an emotional connection in your performances.

Critique – In your first performance you seemed to go off key in a few places. I know that you were moving around the stage and trying to engage with the audience, but it can’t be at the expense of your vocals. I think you were struggling at times because of lack of diaphragmatic breath support. Technical skill would be helpful in enhancing your performance. You are working on making an emotional connection and it’s just a matter of continuing to listen to the words. Good work!

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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

12 Responses to “Mindy Moore’s Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season 12 Top 4 Performance Show: Own Choice And One-Hit Wonders”

  1. Nice work Mindy! Thanks for picking up the slack for MCL who I hope is feeling better soon. Those are big shoes to fill.

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  2. Gene – on behalf of Mindy, thank you so much. She churned this great article out in record time and her show size matches mine quite well I think!! :):). Kudos Mindy!

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  3. Mindy…Very nice, great job!!! :-)

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  4. I hope you are having a better day today Rosanne.

    I honestly don’t know how you, and Mindy as well, churn out such detailed analysis so quickly. I can’t tell you how many times I have started to type a post, massaging what I want to say over several hours of returning to the document between other task, only to find it is no longer relevant by the time I have finished it! Delete. At least no trees lost their lives in the process.

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  5. Much better thank you Gene. But taking it really slow. Any time I push myself, I start feeling wiped and sick so slow and steady is good.

    Thank you for your kind words. I’ve had a lot of practice and I have made a ton of mistakes along the way. You contribute valued commentary so do not be so hard on yourself. Methinks I have a community of Type A people here. Lol myself included.

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  6. Thank you, I do not know the technicals for vocals, so it is always interesting to read. I wonder if singing is like dancing. You can have the best instrument(body) but you also need an innate intelligence to be a world class dancer. Very rare , but my goodness you know it when you see it.

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  7. You rock, Mindy!! I haven’t watched the performances – I hope to do so tonight. I’m a huge Candice fan but the other ladies are awesome too. Now the judges…that’s another matter entirely. Thanks!!!

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  8. MCL,

    Thanks for your kind words. I was almost going to tell you to change anything that you might want to clarify. One thing I realized doing this, was how much work it is to do this! Not an easy job at all!

    I am grateful for your kind words, while knowing that there really is no substitute for your vm articles! I didn’t go into technical issues very much because that’s not my strong suit. However, I am pleased that you saw it much the same way.

    Thanks for all of you for the kind words! I was more nervous doing it this time than in the past. I really wanted to say positive things about these young women after some of the comments from the judges. I have to say that I felt sorry for Kree last night. The judges have been praising her to the heavens and the suddenly they do an about face and go after her so harshly. I was quite put off by Nikki’s comments. There is certainly so reason to yell!

    I thought your comments about Amber were interesting. I did want to say that I liked her first performance much more than her second one. There were really hateful comments about her on other blog sites. Once again, Michael Slezak was foaming at the mouth about the judges and their selective pimping of contestants, as though this is something new. It just happens that they are not his particular favorites. I have never had one of my favorites being pimped in this way. I am not all that comfortable with giving Amber and Angie such over the top praise at the expense of both Candace and Kree. I have to say that Jimmy was right about Amber’s choice of McArthur Park. While she was singing it I realized how difficult it is and how kind of clumsy the song is, really overwrought.

    I did hear some things with Candace’s voice, but just didn’t feel that I could identify exactly what was going on. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, because I felt that she sounded strained at some points but chalked it up to that cold.

    I just sincerely hope that you are getting better! There is no one else who can fill your shoes, but if this helped while you recover, then I am happy.

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  9. MCL, I’ve known others who have recently had a similar stomach flu–they’re sick for a couple of days, feel better, and then relapse. School nurses were telling parents to keep their kids home for the week because it lasts 5-7 days.

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  10. MCL feel better. Angie won the night for me!! She was to my ears much better than
    the other 3. She has worked on realness and connecting and it is paying off.

    I thought Amber was worst of the night. McArthur Park was horrible to my ears and my dd left the room.

    Candice sounded off and poor girl is battling a cold. Hope she feels better.

    Kree was very off on her first song and somewhat better on her second. My biggest problem with Kree is her lack of performance ability. She doesn’t ooze charisma to draw you in and doesn’t move so she isn’t entertaining.

    IMO B2 should be Kree-Amber with Kree leaving.

    That will not happen. I think no one will go home tonight.

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  11. Aubry – totally agree. Now, apparently, Ryan announced major twist in the show. Lots of drama. Watching now.

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  12. Over 150 albums over forty years.

    Number ones songs in each of five decades.

    Kennedy Center Honoree.

    Country Music Hall of Fame member.

    Grand Ole Opry Member.

    The very definition of traditional country music.

    Sales for his upcoming 2013 nationwide tour were brisk, with tickets for his final concert in Nashville made of un-obtainium, “No Show Jones” does it again I guess.

    So, in the words of the greatest country song of all time “He Stopped loving Her Today.”

    Music legend George Jones dies at age 81 in Nashville.

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