Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Top 8 Performances

American IdolI thought that the singers performed very well this evening, but,once again, I am confused over the judges’ treatment of Syesha. It is a real head scratcher and it is blatantly clear that the judges do not have a strong affinity for this young lady. Their comments have become personal and subjective and in no way address the outstanding performance she rendered during this evening’s Top 8 showcase.

As I work ahead on this week’s Vocal Masterclass article, I welcome your comments in this thread. Who were your favorites? Were the judges on or off target? Who gave the vocal performance of the night?

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 American Idol Top 8 Performances”

  1. Well due to an insanely busy schedule that is barely leaving me time to think, I have missed yet another episode of Idol; unfortunately I have not ventured into the world of DVRs (if that’s even what they are called)…so I will be having a date with youtube in the next couple of days.

    In the meantime (I know you will be posting your Masterclass Article soon MCL and the list of songs will be on there.)..but could someone plz plz post some of the songs that were sung tonight?? Who was the mentor this week? I really hate missing Idol!!



  2. Oh boy. The judges were all over the place today. Overall, it was a weak night. Here is my review:

    Michael- I thought he was pretty good. I think the judges over-stated the negative stuff. I think he loses control sometimes, but overall it was pretty good…..and he looked great up there as usual.

    Brooke: I did not like this at all. I was very underwhelmed and the singing was just meh.

    Jason: Another one that I did not get, but I must be the only one.
    I don’t think he can sing.

    Carly: I am disappointed. She is usually pretty good, but also had control problems. It was way off for me tonight. I hope she can hang on.

    David A: Sounded great as usual, but I prefer the original. It lacked edge for me.

    Syesha: Sounded great as usual and better than most of the others tonight, but it’s never a good idea to choose songs that other Idols sang. I know it’s dumb, but Idol fans don’t like this. I also want to see Syesha get a little more current.

    Kristy: Good song choice. Good performance in comparison with some of her past performances, but clearly not one of the most talented this year.

    David Cook: I don’t think it was as bad as the judges said, but it’s an obscure song for most people and David was not in his best voice (at times overpowered by the back-up singers, and voice lacked the presence that it usually has). I also think he really needed to tear into that song, and he fell just short of doing that, even though there were some rockstar moments in the performance. Now I have to mention the pompous comment because this is REALLY starting to annoy me. I think early in the competition he did appear smug at times, but this has been absent in the last 3 weeks, and I think David is actually looking sadder as the weeks go bye. He appeared sad right out of the gate tonight, and same goes for last week. There are rumours out there that he suffers from anxiety, and I can believe it. He looks like he’s beating himself up about something, and, ironically so since he’s being labelled the “smug” one. He’s the last person I would expect to let the pressure get to him, but I think this is exactly what is happening.


  3. Bizzee – I guess you are busy! Ha! Here is a link to the songs, courtesy of Idolforums and TMZ: http://idolforums.com/index.php?showtopic=549639

    Also, Idolina – you are very accurate in the summation of tonight’s performances. It was a strange night for me – the singers looked really stressed and very tired.

    However, I do agree that David C. was looking extremely beaten up and if he indeed suffers from anxiety, he must be going through his own personal hell. Plus his brother is so ill. This can’t be a cakewalk for him.

    I wish everyone would realize that all of these singers have personal issues to deal with and need to be treated with compassion and understanding.


  4. MCL, I agree 100% with your comment about treating the singers with compassion. Sometimes it’s the frontrunners like David Cook who get beat up on the most. They’re human like all of us and deserve to be treated fairly. I think with David C it’s gone beyond critiques of his talent to a more personal level (ie. people saying he steals versions of people’s songs, and the endless talk of him being smug/arrogant/pompous). I think these personal critiques are probably more difficult to deal with than comments about their ability or inability to sing, and I think this is what is getting to him. And there’s also the situation with his brother, which is adding an entirely different level of stress.

    At any rate, even on a weak night for him, he still had some rockstar moments there. Some people just have it.


  5. Michael Johns-Really felt like a mediocre imitation/performance.
    It seemed like he had reached the limits of his vocal ability and was really straining to try to maintain the notes.
    I think he’ll be in the bottom three.

    Syesha-She does not seem to know the limits of her vocal ability either. She also does not connect emotionally with the songs, it feels/seems/sounds *put on* almost every week by her. *Yesterday* being the exception.
    Didn’t like it but think she’ll be safe.

    Jason- Thought it was fantastic. Absolutely prefect for him, totally enjoyable, right up his alley. Second best performance of the night.

    Kristy Lee-Thought she was really good. Hit the majority of her notes, connected really really well, had a nice rich tone throughout…She was in the top 3 performances for me.

    David Cook-He was off in a big way. Looked awful, sounded detached, no real connection. Seemed very put on, not very genuine. Vocally thought it was lacking as well, nothing special. Think he’ll be in the bottom three.

    Carly-Ahhh, she hits the notes but is totally and completely boring to me. NO soul, no connection emotionally, just singing. The last one ion the bottom three.

    David A-He sounded a little bit off in the begining, I couldn’t figure out if it was fatigue or an inability to hear himself or maybe even nerves. He hit those big notes full on, right from the soul though, and it was magical.
    What a gift this boy has. He has been looking exchausted and has definitely lost the sparkle in his eye. Not sure what’s going on there but am really thankful he’s in the competition, I love to hear him sing. It’s healing.
    Best performance of the night.

    Brooke-Boring. Pretty tone, no real emotional connection. Think she’s safe for now.

    Can’t wait to hear your take on it, MCL 🙂


  6. I have so much respect for David Cook. I think most people would sympathize with him for having real health conditions and issues and think that it’s relevant to mention them on the show, but the fact that he doesn’t speaks of his strength of character. Not once has David ever made any excuses for himself. He really is a professional in that he lets his performances speak for themselves; he leaves off-stage problems off the air. I think he’s really the strong, silent type, but it’s really quite hard to maintain that kind of composure, and it’s sad when people misunderstand that.

    On a semi-related note, the story about the orange bracelet he wears is very sweet:

    He’s definitely turned me into a fan the past few weeks! That said, he did have an off night yesterday. I wonder what was burdening him. He REALLY did not sound like himself this week. There was just some intangible quality missing in his voice that is usually there (some warmth of “presence” like idolina said), and it’s usually much more powerful.

    I think Kristy Lee’s performance was pretty solid technically, but unfortunately, it REALLY pales compared to Martina. The power Martina has in her voice is astounding! I heard a live version of “Broken Wing” by Martina herself, and it blew me away how much more powerful her voice is in the chorus than *anyone* I have ever heard cover it. Something similar happened with this performance. It’s good if you’ve never heard the original, but if you have, it makes Kristy’s voice sound very small compared to the huge size of Martina’s voice in the choruses and bridge, especially. I suppose it’s no fault of Kristy’s own because that would be based on comparison of vocal fach, but I’m not sure if most people realize how difficult it is to do a Martina song actual justice.


  7. Thanks so much for that link MCL!!!

    I just caught some of the performances via youtube. I agree with many of you that the singers do look tired; I wonder if this in part due to the fact that they were also rehearsing for “Idol Gives Back?” I know that the show was taped this past Sunday… In any event, the judges are definitely being a little to harsh on the contestants and need to lighten up a bit.

    My favourite performance that I have seen so far has been David A; the song he sang is one of my personal favourites and I think he sang it beautifully :)!


  8. Teri – I love this article so much. Thanks for sending the link. I suspect that David C. is an extremely sensitive person, who internalizes many of life’s experiences – both good and bad. He seems to wear his heart on his sleeve and his passion is deeply highlighted through his music.

    I hope to finish my Top 8 Vocal Masterclass article tomorrow. I was sidetracked with a busy day of vocal coaching plus enjoying the Idol Gives Back special later on in the evening.

    Bizzee – I agree – the singers did have a great deal on their plate this week.

    MissDenise – welcome to the site and thanks for adding such an extensive synopsis of the performances. I love when the readers lively discuss and share opinions on this site. 🙂


  9. So, who did you think was the best this week? I thought David A. was. : )


  10. MasterClassLady – were you impressed with how long Kristy Lee Cook sang the last phrase of her song (starting with “I love…”) without a breath, and without trailing off at the end? It seems like that showed some impressive breath support…I would like to know your opinion.


  11. I’ve heard that Syesha’s style just isn’t in fashion anymore. The power voice of Mariah, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion is not trendy? and that styles like Colbie Caillat is what’s hot now? This is what friends of mine with kids in mid/highschool are telling me; any thoughts that this is accurate?


  12. Well this night was one where the underdogs such as Jason (his strongest yet), Kristy(according to a poster on IDF who called Michael on IGB, Kristy is the hardest on herself and really wants to improve, and she is), and Syesha did really well, and the frontrunners such as David C. and Carly slipped somewhat – though I sympathize with David’s health plight – his and his brother’s.

    I know that next week Mariah Carey is mentoring. I’m not sure of the weeks afterward, although if I had to guess on Andrew Lloyd Webber night it’d be top 6.

    What did you think of the group performance of “Seasons of Love”? I thought it was the best this season by far – even though David had a little lyrical slip-up.

    I also love the fact that there are so many comments this season – more people are discovering your wonderful articles! You’re an online celebrity now, MCL.


  13. Hey everyone:

    Thanks for keeping this thread active. I was hoping to have my Top 8 articel online today, but just ran behind in my schedule. I may sneak it online tonight and, if not tonight, then tomorrow morning.

    Love your comments. So much to talk about.

    Seasons Of Love – loved it so much. And, yes, Tomboy, it is super to see more peopel on this site. Thanks for your support as well.

    Curious C commented on Syesha’s style as “out of vogue” and I never really thought about it this way. I just know that I like what I hear – good singers singing good songs of any style – and judge a singer accordingly.

    However, I can see that would be a strong possibility.

    Oops – time for the results show. Later!


  14. I absolutely loved the rendition of Seasons of Love….I adore Rent so much!!

    Michael Johns out! What? This was a totally shocker to me!! Although his performance was just okay, I don’t think it deserved an exit from the show. I’m in total disbelief right now…so much for my earlier prediction! I am sure, though, that his career has only just begin and we will see him back in the future in some other way!!


  15. Bizzee – check out my new post regarding Michael’s elimination.

    Masterclass Lady is not a happy camper right now.


  16. Dear Masterclass Lady – This may not be a fair question considering you’ve never worked with him, but, in your estimation, how easy do you think it would be for Jason to learn proper technique? And can you give an assessment of what you think he’s capable of vocally if he could achieve competency with breath control, posture, mouth position, etc. given his tone, pitch, expressiveness, and overall musical intelligence.



  17. Lori – I think that Jason would struggle at first with the technical skills, because he has many problems to refine. However, that being said, once the technical skills started to develop, I can almost guarantee that his vocal and dynamic range would increase immensely.

    His biggest problem – right now – is his lack of efficiently consistent breathing skills, all of which would noticeably improve once he improved his posture and allowed his facial muscles – especially the mouth and jaw – to relax, leaving all the support to the strength of the diaphragmatic muscles.

    In the end, it all comes down to how disciplined he would be in refining his vocal production with the correct techncial approach.

    He is such a charismatic performer on stage – now he needs to really solidify the vocals. I truly hope this happens, as he has a bright future ahead of him.


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