Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For Top 9 Singers: Country Music With Dolly Parton


American IdolI am quickly adding this post, as I am packing and organizing for an early flight back home tomorrow.  I did watch the show and thought that it was just 50/50 for me in terms of the performances. Either the singers performed immensely well or they just “sleep sang” their way through Dolly Parton’s music.

It was not the most enjoyable show from this season’s American Idol series, but there were definite standout performances.

And the judges are really starting to show their personal preferences, aren’t they?  That’s all fine and well, but to call a superb performance subpar seems a wee bit subjective and “eye rolling”ridiculous.

I am flying back from vacation tomorrow, so my Vocal Masterclass article probably will not be online until Friday. In the meantime, have at ‘er and leave your comments – the long and the short of it -at your discretion.

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

17 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For Top 9 Singers: Country Music With Dolly Parton”

  1. Who do you think did the best tonight? I thought both Davids & Michael did really well. Syesha did a great job, too but you can’t help but hear the Whitney version of that song so I can see where the judges are coming from.

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  2. I think the strongest vocal performances came from Syesha, David A., Michael and Carly. My Vocal Masterclass article will explain all of the pros and cons of each performance, but, on the strength of pure vocals, those are the 4 that stood out for me.

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  3. Hmmm…didn’t like Cook this time?

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  4. I agree with strong vocals being David A, Syesha and Michael; I wasn’t really feeling it from Syesha though…huge risk to take on a Whitney Houston song. I think she pulled it off, but it wasn’t the greatest and I agree with you, Erin, that you cannot help but hear Whitney sing that song.

    I also found that this weeks performances by most of the constants was mediocre. It was like they just going through the motion of singing the songs. Interesting to see who will leave….

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  5. Brooke didn’t really seem to feel the message of the song. Her smile and the lively tempo contributed to divesting it of the pathos it requires. I liked David Cook’s new hair cut. He looks younger and far more attractive. Syesha started her song very well but the loooooong note at the end seemed like a demonstration of breath control and left me cold. I didn’t really listen to David Archuleta’s voice because I was so taken with his apparently genuine emotion. I could feel his yearning for his family and familiar surroundings and his real reverence. Carly is looking much better and some further work with wardrobe will be useful.

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  6. The performances were alright.

    1. Brooke: Honestly, she hit only about 75% of the pitches tonight which is par for the course with her. Worst of all, she didn’t connect AT ALL.
    2. David C: I think he’s actually technically a very good singer. Tonight, though, he lacked a bit of support to really hit those falsetto notes, but it was still a nice performance. He didn’t have to prove tonight that he could sing (we all know he can). He just needed to turn in something different. BTW….I guess Cookie was really sick or something. He ended up going to the hospital right after this performance. Kudos to him for not really letting it show.
    3. Ramiele: Christ. Well…at least she was in tune most of the time. But she’s clearly out of her league at this point.
    4. Jason: I don’t think he has any technique whatsover. His tone is nice, but breathy. I think he’s reached his limit.
    5. Carly: The performance of the night to me…better than even Michael Johns or David Cook. Carly has amazing range, tone, and power, and tonight…FINALLY…I actually felt her connect to the song. Here’s to hoping she turns in more performances like this.
    6. David Archuleta: Amazingly developed voice for a 17 year old. Nice round vowels throughout. Archie’s train is back on the rails.
    7. Kristy Lee Cook: At least she was in tune more than anything. She still has no stage presence in spite of her gorgeous face. That’s a first for Idol.
    8. Syesha: BIT OFF MORE THAN SHE COULD CHEW. She’s best when she sits in that lower register, allowing the tonal quality of her voice to move over the music. When she belts…she’s flat and her tone diminishes. She’s not a diva singer. She needs to stop playing it like she is one.
    9. Michael Johns: Nice twist to go for a bluesy vibe. Smart of him to go for a genre not OWNED by someone else at this point. Good voice, as always…but I still think he has a ways to go to catch up to Cookie or Achie.

    Going home? Brooke…shocker

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  7. Micheal, both Davids, Carly ranged from above average to great…as for Syesha…if you had never heard the Whitney version it was definitely great….but unfortunately not only have we all heard the Whitney version, but it’s one of the most famous songs of all time, so I just can’t put her up with those 4.

    As for the other 4 contests…although none of them were aweful…they were just VERY mediocre. So I do agree with your “it was a 50/50 night” assessment.

    Also I just read that David Cook was rushed to the hospital after the show? Apparently not only has he been battling health problems for a while, his brother has been battling cancer. It made me respect him even more that he’s able to go on and perform like he does week after week.

    Here’s the story: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1584613/20080402/id_0.jhtml

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  8. Just arrived home her. Long flight, lost luggage, delays, you name it!

    So Cookie was sick? I should have picked up on this, as he certainly did not sound like himself at ALL. I hope he recovers soon and my heart goes out to him, knowing his brother is suffering with cancer.

    Will check back later gang. Thanks for stopping by and for adding your comments. 🙂

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  9. Cook is out of the hospital & is doing fine. I’m sure he’ll be safe tonight for sure.

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  10. katherinesmom April 3, 2008 at 3:07 am

    Best: Carly, David A., Michael. All seem to have the same issues with their voices when they hit the higher notes. Is it trying to take too much chest voice up high? Although Michael did a superb job with both vocal and performance. Best of the night, for me.

    Better but still?: Syesha. I liked the softer, slower beginning but when she went into full “Whitney mode”, well, she did a good job but all I could think was, “well, she’s no Whitney”. That’s the downside of IWALY. Technically, Syesha is a beautiful singer but I just feel like there is no emotional connection to the audience when she sings.
    David C. sounded pretty good to me, just a little tired? I guess if he wasn’t feeling 100%, that would explain it. I’d like to pretend that I was good enough to pick it up during the show but no, it’s totally in hindsight!

    Ok: Brooke, Ramiele, Kristy, Jason. Brooke did not connect at all with the lyrics and it bothered me. Ramiele and Kristy sounded like good singers but just not professional enough for this contest. I am just over Jason and his coffee-house performances.

    MCL, I’ve noticed that Brooke doesn’t really “finish” her phrases, sometimes dropping the pitch of the last note. (Technically not precise, I know.) What is causing this? Lack of support? Nerves affecting her breathing? Or is it just me?

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  11. David A. does not take hs chest voice up high at all. His registers are so connected…its amazing. Carly does it a lot, though & I think thats why her face tenses up when reaching for the higher notes.

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  12. Masterclass Lady, I really enjoy your blog. As an instrumental musician, I find it interesting to gain insight into “the voice” as an instrument. You help us understand each singer’s technical qualities and how they relate to the performances that we hear and see. For me, it has added a whole new dimension to watching the show.

    Now that we are into the season and the contestants are becoming more comfortable in their environment, it’s great to have the songs “delivered” to us rather than sung to us. I want to “feel” their song and not just hear it. I want it to make me stop everything else I am doing because it captures all of my senses. Give us music for the heart and soul, not just music to the ears. (Yes, I am from Alabama, home of Reuben Studdard, Taylor Hicks and Bo Bice…we just gotta feel our music.)

    Now, for a some questions:
    1) What are the qualities most lacking in this year’s crop of singers and please name some celebrity mentor(s) who, in your opinion, could help develop the singer’s performances?

    2) I appreciate David Archuleta’s performances overall; however, I am consistently distracted by a detectable speech impediment and a wheezy tone to his voice. He seems to show so much technical competence in his voice and stage presence as well as an ability to feel and “deliver” his songs in a manner that is far beyond his years. Am I the only one who is distracted? Are there any specific “fixes” that the Masterclass Lady would recommend? If not, can you name some singers who have been wildly successfull despite these types of qualities in their singing voice?

    I guess this means that the vacation is over…hope it was a great one!

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  13. As I sit here reading your comments, I am still waiting for one of two pieces of luggage that was lost during my flight home. Grrr – MCL is not too happy and has a pounding headache to match her mood.

    But, I love reading your comments everyone and I will start working on the Vocal Masterclass article today. I really apologize for the delay.

    Prlee and Katherine – great questions, but I will answer them in a few hours after I take care of some other business items that came up while I was away.

    Thanks for your patience everyone. 🙂

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  14. So sorry to hear of your lost luggage troubles. It just so happens that the famous “Unclaimed Baggage Center”, as seen on Oprah, is located in Scottsboro, Alabama. Check out their website. Your lost luggage today will be my bargain tomorrow…HA! Let me know if you lose anything important and I’ll see if it shows up in Scottsboro.

    Good Luck

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  15. Prlee – I didn’t even know there was an “unclaimed baggage center”, but I guess that makes sense. But, you can’t have my stuff 🙂 – my luggage was located and is safe and sound in my home.

    Thanks for your offer to help – much appreciated.

    Wadahoot – great news release about David A! Boy, are they pumping this kid, aren’t they? He is super, though – a real talent. And his voice is unique – never realized that it had to do with his vocal paralysis problem.

    Still working on the Vocal Masterclass article. I was very side tracked yesterday with many personal and business issues, but everything is back on track now.

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  16. Prlee – I almost forgot to answer your questions.

    Here we go!

    1) What are the qualities most lacking in this year’s crop of singers and please name some celebrity mentor(s) who, in your opinion, could help develop the singer’s performances?

    I think we have a wonderful mixture of quality in this year’s crop of contestants, BUT – I would like to see a crooner-male or female – with edge on this show – similar to Michael Buble.

    Also – singers with a talent to encompass the jazz idiom in a new way would be really super. Micahel Buble does this as well, but, perhaps it is more difficult to master than it seems. He makes it look so easy.

    Celebrity Mentors? I think that, as much as he may seem difficult with the singers when he last appeared, I think David Foster would be excellent.

    However, my all time favorite was Barry Manilow. Honestly, he should be on each and every year. He was just fabulous with these singers in previous seasons.

    On the female side of things – Martina McBride was wonderful last year and I think that Celine Dion would be super as well. Carole King is another favorite of mine.

    There must be more, but I am drawing a blank here.

    2) I appreciate David Archuleta’s performances overall; however, I am consistently distracted by a detectable speech impediment and a wheezy tone to his voice. He seems to show so much technical competence in his voice and stage presence as well as an ability to feel and “deliver” his songs in a manner that is far beyond his years. Am I the only one who is distracted? Are there any specific “fixes” that the Masterclass Lady would recommend? If not, can you name some singers who have been wildly successfull despite these types of qualities in their singing voice?

    With David, I think that you are hearing the ill effects of his history with vocal paralysis. This is why you hear a husky quality in his voice from time to time; however, his technical skills help him to supercede the paralysis. It really is quite amazing, actually.

    I have never heard of another singer like David, although there must be others out there who have suffered the same problem.

    I think his voice coach is doing a remarkable job with David. He is grounding him with solid basic technical skills – skills that I use every day with my own voice students.

    And, he is aware that his voice is still developing and that is another reason you hear that husky quality. Young male singers have this trait in common – until they advance in age. By their early 20s, the full potential of the male voice should be evident and, even then, there is some future growth to be expected as the technical skills become more developed.

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