Discussion Thread For The Top 8 Performances

What a disappointing week. These singers looked completely disoriented on stage during their Latin showcase. Makes me wonder what is happening behind the scenes. It can’t be good.

Until the Vocal Masterclass article is online, please feel free to voice your comments. However – be nice.

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

25 Responses to “Discussion Thread For The Top 8 Performances”

  1. LaKisha was my favorite from the auditions, but I think she has not progressed like I thought she would. I am afraid she could be booted off tonight.

    Blake is the one that catches my attention. His voice reminds me of an 80s Brit singer that I cannot quite identify – doh! on me. Anyway, he is a musician and has a sense of what works for him. He is getting better as an entertainer and is interesting. Reminds me of a certain someone from last year.

    Melinda said she isn’t sexy, but I thought she showed a bit of sexiness last night and that is something I’ve not seen with her before. She is indeed a tiger.

    Haley is also a fighter. She came out blazing last night, but her voice was lost in the beginning. Not sure if there were technical problems or if it was her mike wasn’t close enough to her mouth. She may have run out of second/third chances.

    I thought Chris went backwards this week. I was starting to like him the last two weeks, but I didn’t like his performance last night. He seemed to struggle. Did he ignore JLOs advice to sing in a higher key? Weird.

    For the first time, Jordin didn’t wow me. I would like to see a more subtle form of singing. The belting is getting old for me.

    Phil came out fighting too, but seemed to get a bit lost toward the end. Is he over-thinking?

    Sanjaya. I was pretty impressed. He took this one seriously and it was good. He wandered off the trail a few times, but at least he put up a worthy effort.


  2. Thank you Xena.

    I am having trouble with the Masterclasss article this week. It is very difficult to write as there were so many problems on stage. The singers all seemed so distracted on stage. So strange.


  3. I had the same feeling about Latin Night in general last night. It seemed that even the singers who sang well had trouble with the overall performances. Here are a few of my thoughts.

    Melinda sounded good as she always does, and looked beautiful too, but like Randy said it wasn’t her best performance. I’m not sure that “Sway” was the best song choice for her. I would have liked to have seen her do a more contemporary song–then she may have avoided Simon’s comparison of her to a lounge singer.

    I agree that Blake’s performance was the best overall. I was nervous at first that he chose a song that is so tightly associated with Marc Anthony, but he did a good job.

    I really like Jordin, “Rhythm is Going to Get You” is a lively, uptempo song, and it seemed to me like Jordin sang it at a little to slow of a tempo.

    I liked that LaKisha tried to leave her comfort zone, verified the pronunciation of ‘conga’, and performed more actively, but I think that in some ways the movement caused her to have a few problems with her singing.

    Haley was brave to pick a song that is so closely associated with Gloria Estefan, that has such difficulty lyrics and the syncopated rhythms. While I don’t think she was quite up to the challeng of the song, I felt sad for her that Simon made such disparaging remarks about her singing ability. I really wish that the judges would criticize constructively.

    I liked that Sanjaya sang “Bésame mucho” in Spanish. This was the first week that I felt his voice wasn’t overpowered by the band and overshadowed by some of the gimmick things that he has done in past performances.

    Overall I thought Latin Night fell a little flat. One recap article called last night on American Idol “Aburráme mucho”. I think this author hit the nail on the head. The final 8 didn’t seem to enjoy their performances as much as usual last night, and I think that lack of enjoyment spread to the audience as well.


  4. Yes MCL, it was weird, but I think this AI has been odd in general. I enjoyed last season so much and realized that it would be hard to have another great season, but this one has been weird from the get go.

    I think AI has lost its focus this year. The charity stuff is nice, but when they talk about it in the middle of the show, it kind of derails what the show is about – music!

    I have noticed many times that the band and especially, the backup singers are not working well. Are they having problems with the mix? I have been distracted several times by the backup singers drowning out the contestant and a few times at least one of the backup singers has been out of tune. I don’t remember those things happening in previous AI shows.


  5. Xena, I agree with you that AI has been a little off this year. I also have noticed that sometimes the backup singers can be heard more clearly than the contestants.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that the Randy, Paula and Simon seem to be unable to give really constructive criticism that the contestants can use to improve. Maybe they’re burned out on AI?


  6. Glad to see – or sad to see? that everyone is feeling as disillusioned as I am with this season.

    I can’t help but think that there has to be a better process in ensuring the ongoing success of this show.

    Also – what is with the lack of group numbers this year? This is when the singers really shone I felt and their personalities became more evident.


  7. I thought that overall the singers were a lot weaker this week. No one seemed really comfortable with what they were singing (except Blake and Sanjaya!?). I never thought this was a good theme though. After watching Gloria Estefan night in Season 3 I was convinced that this theme should be banned (or at least Gloria Estefan songs). These songs are more about performance and not necessarily about vocals. Perhaps that’s why everyone seemed so off. They’re so used to having the vocals carry them through a song that when it comes time to actually “perform” a song they get lost and don’t know what to do. I don’t know. But they were off.

    However, I do feel that Chris’ vocals are really improving. I’ve always been a big fan of his but I’m noticing that his voice is getting a little lower now and his full tenor sound is becoming a lot clearer. He’s not staying up in his nose as much and I really love it. I hope he continues to improve in this way. Personally, I think that his studio recordings (as a whole) are the best of the bunch and I think as his voice improves even more his recordings will get even better.


  8. Yamilé,

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I too was impressed by Sanjaya singing in Spanish. It sounded authentic to me, but I have not studied Spanish. He showed some tenacity and respect for himself (and the audience) and I was glad to see it.

    One thing I noticed after the early auditions was that Simon was trying to be a bit less nasty. For the most part that is good, but it can be a bit weird too. Simon is all about “commercial” singing and he really seems uncomfortable with anyone who is original. There is an interesting article on Billboard that is about how some neglected genres have been brought out through AI winners. I will look for it and post the url if I find it.


  9. Keep the comments coming! I have to teach my own voice students now – will be out of commission for a few hours.


  10. Weird night. I was dissappointed with the consistent Melinda. She had no life or spark tonight! Blake was the best of the night by far for me. Perfect vibe, he’s so smooth and exciting to watch onstage. Everyone else just sort of runs together in my memory this week.


  11. I found the article about neglected genres. AI didn’t intend to have that effect, but it is pretty cool for music lovers.
    by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

    “Out of all the millions of words that have been written about American Idol, one topic that’s never fully addressed is how the show winds up finding and filling America’s forgotten pop music needs. Genres that have been banished from the airwaves for one reason or another — usually because they didn’t fit within the strictly regimented confines of corporate radio — have resurfaced on the show, whether it’s unabashedly square middle of the road pop, old-fashioned deep soul, Southern rock or blue-eyed soul.”



  12. MCL,

    They are having a group song. WOO!


  13. XENA – do you think they noticed my comment on this site and threw a group number togther together in five hours – hahhahaha.

    It was a good number though, but some of the singers – oh dear….

    Masterclass article will be online tomorrow


  14. Wow. Haley performed the goodbye song much better than last night.


  15. Yes she did. off to bed. It’s been a long day. Your comments are very appreciated.

    Good night!


  16. Ha ha! They probably did take your advice 😉

    Now if we can get them to work on the sound issues . . .

    Has anyone else thought they are pimping Chris in the Ford commercials?


  17. Aw. Thank you MCL. Your expertise is very interesting and adds a lot to the show.

    Hey, did Taylor answer your question about him taking care of his beautiful voice?


  18. Xena, I enjoyed your comments too. I liked the article about neglected genres. Part of the beauty of AI is that it gives singers who are not cookie cutter pop artists a chance to shine too.

    MCL, I enjoy your articles and blogs. There have been a lot of times when I didn’t enjoy a particular contestant’s performance as much as I thought I should have, but then I would read your vocal master class articles and gain more insight.


  19. Just a comment to say I love this blog! I have no vocal expertise whatsoever and therefore did not notice how bad everyone was this week (I actually thought it was one of the best idol nights in a while.. isn’t it strange?) I’m from the Netherlands and the “talent” on Dutch Idol wouldn’t even make it past the American auditions, so maybe I’m just easy to please.

    Anyway, it’s always interesting to read about the technical side of things. All I ever know is whether I enjoyed the performance or not. Looking forward to the masterclass article!


  20. Welcome Kworb and enjoy the ride.

    Thanks Yamile for your positive feedback.

    Xena – Taylor did not answer my question online, so that kind of speaks for itself. Ha! I actually deleted the video a few months ago.


  21. MCL, I really enjoy your professional perspective of the idols’ performances. Like Yamile, I can recognize when a performance is not working but I can’t tell you the “why”.

    Is it just me or is there frequently a problem with the overall sound engineering of the show? Often the backup singers and the band overpower the singer. And, frequently, the judges will say someone was “pitchy” when they weren’t and perfect when they were very “pitchy”. I have come to hate that word “pitchy”. I wish the judges would just say, “you were sharp” or “you were flat” or “completely off key.”

    In seasons past, Simon has made comments about after hearing the playback he was wrong in his original critique. I’ve come to suspect that what we hear over the broadcast is much different than what the audience in the theater hears.


  22. Laura – I agree! The sound is really crazy this season.

    However, I think that part of the problem is caused by the generally lighter sounding voices of the singers.

    Blake, Chris, Sanjaya and Haley are not able to project as confidently as the others.

    Also, Chris had many pitch problems in this week’s competition but they didn’t call him on it. There have been many instances of this kind of biased judging in the past with other singers.

    The judges have an agenda – they want some people in the competition longer than others and their comments reflect this


  23. I would say that the judges aren’t the only ones with an agenda. The whole production is often biased.


    Simon’s commenting on Haley’s clothing vs. saying nothing about LaKisha’s

    The camera angles on Haley’s performance, carefully following her around so that every move and step is noted from some very unflattering angles, vs. panning the audience and theater frequently during Melinda’s performance so that her stiffness and uncomfortable stage presence is less apparent

    Up your nose face shots of Sanjaya so that he looks creepy

    and all that is just from this week’s show.


  24. Very good observations, Laura. Thoroughly agree.


  25. This comment is for Lakisha Jones’ ears:

    Lakisha: From the beginning of audition to the start of the competition, I said to myself, “YES”, this is talent to the heights. You instantly became my favorite singer. You have all the vocal requirements for moving to become a true DIVA. I still choose you each week as my fave. However, I notice of bit of sadness in your demeanor lately. In the search for fame and fortune, there are many hurdles to cross – one of which is criticism which can be interpreted either way. If I were you I would take it as a tool of correction. Just let go and let youself sail on smoothely. Smile!, Enjoy yourself, and forget about worries and fears. Compete like you never did before! You have that enormous talent that got you this far! You were blessed with a masterpiece of a voice. Take it to the limit! Roll with it!! Your vocals can rock the world if you let it !! Remember! This is your chance. You wanted it. You are here. Don’t lose it! You’re still my favorite . Lastly, but not the least, when it’s all over, I will buy your CD …..


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