Mini Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season XIII Top 11


Hey there everyone!

I am on vacation for the month of March and will be experiencing problems with time management in completing a Vocal Masterclass article for the next two shows, starting with this week’s Top 11.

I apologize for this but I will do my best to contribute to the comments section in the Vocal Masterclass Discussion topics.

I did watch the performances online very late last evening and there were 5 singers who managed to engage me and break me out of a fatigued stupor: Caleb, Jena, MK, Sam and Alex.

Caleb really was the most impressive – he changed it up with a ballad this week and his technical and performance skills are STRONG. Just a beautiful performance.

Jena is a fighter and her talent is unmistakable. Seated at the piano, I was in complete awe at the depth and confidence she displayed during her number.

Alex displayed sophisticated artistry. His voice is not the strongest at this point in time, but he is an intelligent and savvy musician. Strategic! He is one to watch because he is evolving and commanding the stage with increased confidence each week.

MK finally – FINALLY – opened up and gave a very moving, very authentic vocal performance. I love the purity and the nuance in her voice, the fact that she feels no need to push or scream to effectively communicate her song to the listener. Very memorable performance.

Sam finally grabbed the stage and used the space effectively. He still looked, perhaps, a bit awkward but what a phenomenal improvement from last week’s performance. This is what I was waiting for!

The remaining singers had technical and performance issues on stage. What a shame! Ben’s song selection of Bennie And The Jets initially seemed like an inspired choice, but, as the song evolved, the delivery did not. It lacked bite and a genuine feel for the rhythmic structure of the music. Too bad. I was rooting for him but I have to be objective here.

The remaining singers had intonation issues out the ying yang and were singing with too, too much chest voice in their vocal mix. Singers have to realize that they must ease into the music, to pace themselves, because once the song loses control, it is very difficult to seize control of the reins once again.

So, there you have it everyone. I did my best with the time allotted and look forward to your comments.

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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

44 Responses to “Mini Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season XIII Top 11”

  1. oh, great! once again i am thrilled to read your master class comments, even though they are brief this week. maybe i am more thrilled because you have commented on the people that i am most drawn to. alex has been my favorite, or at least was with his week 1 performance (a damien rice song), he hasn’t been as great since, so i am glad you mentioned him. (again, i haven’t yet watched the show.) and, because i love rock, i’m thrilled you have positive words for caleb. and jena and m.k. are people i’m drawn to too, so wow, i’m happy. :)

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  2. Thank you Hunter. They really were the best of the crop. Really strong evolution process with these five singers.

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  3. Long or short, your reviews are always interesting and informative!

    I was very pleased to see Sam and MK come out from behind their shields (guitars and hats) this week; both sounded less tentative this week to me. Alex did a smart thing by deciding to play to his strengths–his musicianship and his knack for choosing interesting and appropriate songs. I liked the way that, rather than reaching out to the audience, Alex stayed still and invited the audience in. Caleb is the most finished of the artists this year, I think, and has the best sense of who his is musically, as well as having a really good voice, well-suited to his genre. (I think his biggest problem it with vote-getting–the AI audience isn’t largely cool rockers!)

    As I said last night, though, I’m disappointed that, with such a banquet of Pop Standards available, the singers all went for more contemporary songs–as generations of jazz musicians have shown, those standards have all the room in the world for interpretation!

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  4. Last night’s performances were definitely more enjoyable than last week. For the first time, I enjoyed CJ very much. I also enjoyed Sam and thought the comment comparing him to Ricky Nelson was spot on! Caleb also appealed to me last night, and I thought that MK improved as well. Jena is growing on me a bit–I didn’t like her at all the first couple of weeks. Was also sorry that people were so hard on Ben. I think Ben is interesting, and frankly I like that he was able to do something that wasn’t country. Was also surprised that he can play the piano, even though he wasn’t spectacular. And Malaya is also much better than the first couple of weeks. Was very disapointed with Majesty last night.

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  5. while i liked alex’s song, it got me really missing kris allen’s version. that song hadn’t been approved in kris’ season, and they approached the composer and got approval. wow, i guess now it is ‘on the list’.

    and…ben…i really liked that he didn’t wear his cap this week, that he dressed all up. cute to see them trying new things!! i hope the cap doesn’t come back next week.

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  6. hunter-I was thinking about Kris Allen’s version too! For some reason I didn’t quite get Alex’s. Maybe I need to give it another listen.

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  7. I listened to Alex’s performance of “Falling Slowly” a few more times. I noticed by the second verse he had more strength in his voice, and as he sang the chorus he had this rich a tranquil sound. His approach of the song really was excellent, and not overly sung. Sometimes it just takes a few listens to really hear and appreciate what everyone else does. Alex really did give a beautiful performance!

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  8. Rosanne-Harry and Jennifer have again blamed the band for poor performances. I’m not really buying that, but what do you think?

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  9. anita…wish i hadn’t deleted alex’s performance. :)

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  10. i feel soooo bad that ben is gone. i liked him a lot, and as i said, i couldn’t wait to see him grow…in all ways…but i’m especially talking about his appearance since there was such a giant change this week. it was so very noticeable when they played the clips of him from the past weeks.

    and speaking of changes, it is interesting that apparently mk will stay with the make up.

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  11. louise..i did not hear the comment made about ricky nelson compared to sam. when was it made and by whom? i can see that too, now that you mention it.

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  12. Anita – Rickey Minor’s band is phenomenal. They have played for superstars. Maybe the singers had it wrong and they decided to place the blame on the band. I found it insulting.

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  13. MCL-Thank you! I’ve been sick of them blaming the band. I was impressed with Rickey’s response to Ryan. He’s such a pro in every way! It’s so wonderful that AI has had a live band all these years while The Voice of X-Factor do not.

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  14. anita, The Voice definitely has a live band and i love them. unfortunately they are not featured on the show whatsoever, but i’m sure they play a giant part in the whole production. when you see the coach, and the guest coach, working with the singer, there is always a guy playing the piano. he is the ‘leader of the band’. i first ‘met them’ during mark burnett’s ‘rock star’ show. there the band was an integral part of the show and that is how i know how much they were a part of the singer’s development.

    carson daily will periodically thank he and the band.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Mirkovich

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  15. Anita -do you recall Rickey’s response to Ryan? I missed the show and am beyond curious. Thank you :)

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  16. Yes, you are correct Hunter. Thanks for clarifying this. :)

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  17. hunter-Oh! Thank you so much! I didn’t realize that. I’ll listen carefully next time to see if Carson mentions the band!

    Rosanne-Rickey didn’t say anything in response. He just had a very nice smile on his face, and nodded. But who knows what he was REALLY thinking, LOL!!

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  18. Anita – thank you. I honestly cannot imagine this band under Rickey would get this wrong. Maybe the singer was “off”

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  19. mcl-they even said that: the singer was off. the band is to accommodate the singer which is what they said rickey then did.

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  20. Hunter – thanks for clarifying this. I figured it couldn’t be Rickey. :)

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  21. Hunter,

    I made the comment on another posting here about Sam’s similarity to Ricky Nelson. I ascribed the comment to someone else, but I had already thought since I first saw Sam that the similarity was eerie. If Sam ever does a Nelson ballad – Lonesome Town! yes! (well that would be a downer reversion for Sam – Hello May Lou instead!)- and they have Nelson behind him on the screen, everyone will flip out.

    I am not a real fan of the band as a whole, not sure why, but I like many of the individual players. I think maybe the relative loudness, at least as it sounds on the TV, as related to the person singing. Maybe the 1:45 song length just isn’t enough time to hear the music alone (intro/bridge) I typically her in a three/three and 1/2 minute song which is frequently critical to the song’s appeal.

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  22. mcl..the singer in question even said (later, not when they were critiquing her) that it was her fault that it had gotten ‘off’ because she’d forgotten a word…or something like that.

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  23. don..ohhhh!! for some reason i thought the comment had been made on the show. yes, you have some GREAT ideas there about sam/rick. :) btw, i know a don b, i wonder if you could be that one? :)

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  24. don b, about the band: i really liked the band that had replaced rickey. there seemed to be a newness and a freshness that i loved. there were several people that participated that i absolutely loved that i knew from other places. i’m disappointed that i won’t see them again. some of whom i refer to are the multitalented ‘the clark brothers’. here’s a quickie blurb about them:

    http://voices.yahoo.com/the-clark-brothers-american-idol-1346447.html

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  25. don b, here are the clark brothers performing on idol. i actually forgot about this. i remember them more as back up (violin or whatever) for the various idols.

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  26. don b, here are the clark brothers performing on the show i first ‘met’ them on (i really have to chuckle because this is on rickey dot com..sooo funny to me).

    http://www.rickey.org/the-clark-brothers-maggies-farm-the-next-great-american-band/

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  27. and here is one of the clark brothers backing up carrie underwood:

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  28. The band screwed up. Jessica was fine during the self accompanied intro but when some sort of percussion from the band came in (sounded like a rim shot on a drum or finger taps on a guitar top o maybe a wood block etc) it was way off beat.

    My memory of it was that Jennifer said “something was off” and may have gone on to say that she didn’t know if it was Jessica or the band. I’m not sure about that. Harry said, “It was the band.”

    His comment about the band adjusting to the lead performer was a generic one, not specific to this case. He meant that someone has to be in charge when there is a difference and, in his opinion anyway, it should be the lead performer. If both parties are trying to adjust, they will never get it right. In this particular case, if she did anything wrong, it was in response to the band’s screw up and not the cause of it, IMHO. The band member adjusted his beat and all was right with the world.In the real world the lead performer’s name is on the marquee and band members are replaceable.

    You could see on everyone’s face except Keith that something wasn’t right. There was a slight change of expression on Jessica’s face, Harry sort of laughed and J-Lo turned to Keith to whisper something. With the abbreviated lyrics of these shortened songs it would be hard to say if any lyrics were missed, but she never stopped singing and it wouldn’t account for being off beat anyway.

    Rickey’s gestures looked to me like he was accepting responsibility but I’m sure that could be interpreted differently. I missed Jessica taking responsibility for it, but that is what you would expect from both of them.

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  29. Hunter,

    We don’t know each other. (I know no one named Hunter.) Too bad. I happen to love the Clark Brothers, so thanks for the posting. I am not sure that the contestants have that much musical or performance experience (forget about acting) that they can convey to the band ahead of time what they are trying to do and how the band fits that. I agree with Gene 1000% in his summary. And because the contestants have so little experience the ability to glide through mistakes doesn’t exist. They probably need the tour itself to begin to figure any of that out.

    For what it’s worth were I contestant every time I finished a performance I would turn around and ask the band, or whomever played, to stand and take a bow before I spoke with the judges. I think the band members are owed that much and should be recognized immediately in real time.

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  30. Gene- yes you made some valid points. I strongly agree. That being said, I have never seen so many problems with the band and sound and you name it during these performances. I wonder if the singers have adequate time to rehearse or whether they are just too nervous or green to be on this show.Two of the strongest singers, Jena and Caleb, never experience issues so one does wonder.

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  31. Don B. – I heartily agree. Although Ryan does thank Rickey Minor at the end of the show, it would be nice if the singers acknowledged the band as well,

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  32. gene…do you know the clark brothers? i hope you go to that first link of mine where they sing on idol, if you don’t know who they are.

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  33. Wish we had this caliber of Artist still today…

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  34. What’s goin’ on Vonnie?I don’t remember Marvin Gaye competing on Idol.

    Oddly, there is more segregation today, by genre anyway, than there was in the sixties and seventies. If there is a new Marvin Gaye out there today, you may never here him on your usual radio station.

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  35. I don’t know what may be causing issues with the band, but several things come to mind. They may not have a dedicated band anymore. Rickey may be working with session musicians from week to week.

    The band budget may be down from the past. Just another aspect of the cutbacks. I think the “High School talent show” look that you mentioned previously is intentional.

    I have noticed that there is much less participation from the band in the live performances as compared to past seasons. That may be part of trying to change the “look” of Idol to a smaller format or due to budget cuts. Performers seen on air draw higher pay than those who are not.

    Of course Harry is a band leader and doesn’t mind expressing his opinion so he may just be more critical in his area of expertise. It could also be an attempt by Harry to help Rickey if he knows the problems are coming from cuts in the band budget. Squeaky wheel and grease etc.

    Like you, I always like to see a performer acknowledge the band. Caleb is the only one that I have seen doing that this year. Jessica mentioned taking advantage of all of the musical talent and expertise available to her that she isn’t accustomed to having.

    Caleb working well with the band and not having problems makes perfect sense. He is nothing without a band and has probably never sung without one. Jena on the other hand is remarkable in that regard, especially considering her age. Most of the others are not experienced at working with a band.

    They need to challenge this group before they put the audience into a coma. The themes are too easy so far.

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  36. Hunter,
    I don’t know the Clarke brothers. I’ll check them out when I get a chance.

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  37. Vonnie 🎵🎼 March 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Lol Gene…sadly, Marvin Gaye could have auditioned for idol and they would have sent him home on the bus!

    I heard Harry make a comment about all of the contestants using ear buds…

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  38. don b, the don b i ‘know’ was married to ‘georgie’ (who passed away), and they had a son ian.

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  39. Hunter,

    My middle name is George but unfortunately that is where the similarity ends.

    Vonnie,

    I passed up Marvin Gaye a couple nights ago to listen to Otis Redding. These Arms of Mine and I’ve Been Loving You Too Long. Don’t know why. Just had the urge. Wondered if any of the contestants on on AI could sing either song. Maybe Caleb.

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  40. Don…I think you may be right with Caleb, mainly because I think he may be the only one who would even know who either of these artists are! I love Otis Redding too!

    This years contestants seems like a day in Romper Room compared to the talent on the Voice…Age would be one of the factors along with unseasoned performers! JMHO!!! Caleb is an old soul and a performer…me thinks the boy has done this a time or two!!! LOL

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  41. Also…I think if Caleb can continue to up his game each week he will be taking a confetti bath…

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  42. Final two = Caleb and Jena. My prediction. And Caleb will win. Amen. Haha

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  43. MCL…I would like to see Alex in the top three…maybe even top two! I love Sam, his voice is amazing, but he needs some miles put on him, and now with the help of the idol machine they are going to make him look all the more awkward…

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  44. Sam will be Top 3. Alex could be Top 4. It really is a crap shoot right now haha

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