Top 4 American Idol Vocal Masterclass Discussion: Who Captured The Moment?

Well, let’s hear your comments. Was there a moment or two or three during this evening’s much anticipated Top 4 showcase?

I was thrilled with the singers tonight. This was the best I have heard any of them sing in a long while. Bravo and Brava~ Vocal Masterclass will be up in the next day or two.

What say you readers?


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

32 Responses to “Top 4 American Idol Vocal Masterclass Discussion: Who Captured The Moment?”

  1. I was quite happy with the singers tonight as well. I thought they all did quite well; I thought Jason could have been much better but he still did okay. I don’t know who really ‘captured the moment’ for me, as I am torn between two performances.

    I loved loved loved “Little Archuleta’s” performance of Stand By Me…an all time favourite of mine..he definitely brought it tonight. My other favourite performance was Syesha’s one of “Change is Gonna Come”. What a song to do and at this time in the AI competition; the song is absoultey gorgeous and she sang it wonderfully! The fact that she was so overcome with emotion after her performances speaks for itself just how much she has changed and that she is realizing her dream!

    So overall Good night….let’s see what tomorrow brings! My prediction is Jason (although Simon could have been a little nicer instead of telling him to “pack his suitcase”)


  2. I thought all four of them sounded really good tonight (I don’t know what the judges thought they were listening to, but it wasn’t the same show I heard). My main problem of the evening was that the performances were so SHORT–I think we could well have done with, say, 30 seconds less of the judges on each performance so we could have had 30 seconds more of singing on each song! More later–I’m chasing several deadlines and my clients don’t care about AI (more fools they–hee!).


  3. Oh, before I go to bed–nice interviews with the final four from Billboard:


  4. Oh boy. I just wasn’t feelin’ it tonight. Plz don’t get irked with me!

    I felt that Cookie was kinda ‘out of it’ like the week when he found out his brother Adam had taken a turn for the worse with his cancer. Did fine, but just seemed zoned out. I hope all is well.

    I’m SO over David A! (Don’t throw things at me!) He just seems TOO perfect, too much, too … well … everything. He says he wants to have fun! and sing fun! songs and then sings these heavy subjects and/or puts more runs in them that I put in panty hose before I got smart and started wearing pants! He just comes across as so sticky-sweet that he is either not a normal 17 year old, or he’s a great actor. I just don’t know what to make of him – it’s like all the feeling in his songs is fake to me and he’s an empty shell filled with what Daddy wants.

    Syesha – shouldn’t have tackled Tina … especially THAT song … worse to me (because of the expected movements) than taking on the dreaded Whitney, Celine or Mariah songs. She didn’t do poorly, just looked like an over-produced number and not a song (hard to explain … just roll with me!). Her second song was lovely … BUT, she shouldn’t have brought back out Diva Syesha, gown and all and especially for me it didn’t fit rock’n’roll night (I know, I know, it was on the list, but it went against the flow of the evening to the point where it felt jarring to me).

    Jason. Oh, Jason. Hang it up buddy. You should have NEVER told the magazine you’re ready to go home and will practice when you feel like it I have NO patience left for him. He’s had the biggest opportunity of his life and doesn’t get (or apparently appreciate) that fans sent him zillions of balloons because he was sick.

    I don’t know if you noticed, but I just wasn’t feelin’ it tonight!



  5. I felt awful for Jason. The one time he really loosened up with his body, he was ripped to shreds. That’s an extremely vulnerable thing for someone to do when they’re not used to it. The fact that he held it together as well as he did during the judges’ critiques was amazing.

    As for that magazine article referenced above, I think the writer took his words out of context. I don’t think he WANTS to go home – I mean, he stood on stage and mouthed the words “vote” when his numbers were being read. I think he’s just mentally ready because he knows it’s a possibility, especially this late in the game. And I think that fame is weird for him.

    This article, which I think portrays him in a much better light, gives some insight into that.

    According to the article, he feels similarly to the way that I do about autographs. I don’t understand autographs – they’re just PEOPLE. Why would I want their signatures? So I think Jason finds it strange to be giving autographs, because he’s just a PERSON.

    That article also shows him being really grateful for the gifts he’s gotten from fans. I’m sure he finds it weird because his life was nothing like this a few months ago. But I don’t think he meant that it was weird in a bad way – especially not after reading the Billboard article. I really think the EW writer took his words out of context.


  6. Hmmm. I guess my response got lost in the spam filter! 🙂


  7. I enjoyed everyone last night, with the exception of Jason. In “I Shot the Sheriff”, it sounded too disjointed, and he let the backup singers sing too much of the song. And for his second song, at this point in the competition, there’s no excuse for forgetting the lyrics. After reading the interview that wadahoot posted above, looks like he’s ready to head home.

    Cook was good, but not the best last night. While I liked his second song better, it seemed so short to me. Maybe if he had more time I would have liked it more.

    I loved Syesha’s “Proud Mary”, and I think she did Tina Turner proud. Her second song was okay to me. She sang it well, but it just wasn’t my thing.

    David Archuleta was perfect last night. I agree that he needs to sing more upbeat songs that sound more his age, but I can’t deny that he sounded great last night.

    MCL… can’t wait to read your comments. I love this forum!


  8. I love these comments. I guess, in retrospect, the evening could have unfolded in a more spectacular fashion.

    And, I agree, the abbreviated length of the songs hindered the overall effect of some of the performances. That’s why song choice and/or arrangement are so crucial at this stage of the competition.


  9. I so don’t have time, but I can’t resist dropping in a few comments….

    I thought both David Cook’s songs (as well as Jason’s first song) suffered the most from the time constraints–they sounded more truncated than just short. On the other hand, I though Cook turned in two very solid performances, if not quite up to his usual standards.

    I would have liked Syesha’s Proud Mary much more if she had skipped the Tina Turner impersonation–it was kind of cute, but did serve to point up the fact that she is not Tina Turner. Stick to being Syesha! (We already HAVE Tina Turner, we don’t need another one!) I’ll have to go back and listen to her second performance again–I remember the dress, and I remember all the crying after, but I don’t remember the performance.

    David A. sounded lovely, but he should fire his arranger–I could barely recognize the songs (although Stand by Me wasn’t quite as bad in that respect). My mother almost never knows any of the songs, so she’s always especially pleased to hear one she does know, and after listening a bit to his second song, she turned to me and said “That’s not Love Me Tender!”

    I loved that Jason was moving around in his first performance, and I thought it sounded just fine–not awesome, but very enjoyable. After those comments I just had to go to mjsbigblog to watch the clip again, because I started doubting my ears, and it still sounded fine. It did seem to me that Jason was psyched up a bit too far, though–wound way too tight, and he let the nerves run away with him, and, apparently, his lyrics. (First time all season he’s flubbed lyrics, too–and this so wasn’t the right week for that.) Other than that, I liked Mr. Tambourine Man quite a lot–I hope it’s his studio version this week.

    So–personally, I didn’t hear any trainwrecks, but also no “moments”, for me.

    (BTW–wadahoot, I love your new icon, such pretty colors!)


  10. Heh, I’m not the only one to think Jason was sabotogued by his own nerves:
    I can tell you that in rehearsal, the guy was good— really good. And so obviously, his nerves got the best of him and now, it will be a huge shock if JC doesn’t get the boot tomorrow night.
    It’s in


  11. I love this website and always enjoy reading MCLs critique and even most of the comments, but today I feel moved to respond to some of the earlier comments.

    I agree with a lot of what has been said:

    I think Jason was okay, but not great. I really liked him earlier in the season, but these past few weeks have not been up to the standard he set for himself earlier in the season.

    Syesha is beautiful, and her voice is very pretty, but her first song was way too choreographed for me. It just felt like an impersonation. Her second song was better, but I still didn’t really connect with her.

    David Cook did very well, but not amazing. He said he “changed up” the first song, but it sounded just like the original to me, so I’m not sure what he changed. And for his second song, I felt like it was building up to be really great, but before it got there, it ended. I’m sure this is about the time constraint, but I’m surprised that of all the choices he had, he chose such a hard song to pare down to 90 seconds. I normally think David’s greatest strength is in song choice and arrangement, and I wasn’t blown away by his choices this week. But he was consistent and deserves to be where he is.

    But I think some of you are being really hard on David Archuleta. I loved both of his performances last night. I think his arrangement of Stand by Me was one of his best arrangements of the season. To me, (a woman in my late twenties), it sounded very fresh and modern. And people always say he needs to be more upbeat and have more fun. He seemed like he was having fun to me – that is the most I’ve seen him interact with the audience all season. He definitely seems to me to be growing as a performer. And as for his second song, it was mentioned that he was basing his arrangement on the recent Norah Jones version of the song. I also truly don’t believe there is anything fake about him and am SO tired of people insinuating that he is controlled by his father. David claims that he sings because he loves it and that he has a great relationship with his father and greatly values his musical guidance. Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt instead of believing nasty tabloid reporters.

    Ok, my rant is over. I can’t wait to see what you have to say MCL!!


  12. MasterClassLady, I think this is my first time commenting on your blog, but I’ve been reading all season and I am your fan. Great, positive and informative reviews of all contestants. Thank you!

    I have to say, as a devoted David Archuleta fan, last night was a great show. I am still riding a bit of a high and I can’t stop listening to either of David’s songs. I can’t decide which I love more, and the dilemma is absolutely delicious! He might have been stronger in Stand by Me, but he was so heartfelt in Love Me Tender. Although he was strong and heartfelt in both. Can’t wait to read what you have to say!

    I also thought David Cook’s second song was very well-done. I don’t know the song and couldn’t catch some of the words, but he is quite a performer! The judges said he was off — hopefully he will regain energy this week during the hometown visit. (And I know I’m making an assumption here. But I think it’s a fair assumption that both Davids will stay in for another week.)

    I felt for Syesha. I’m not sure if her emotion will help her or hurt her. Tonight’s results show should be interesting.

    I especially felt for Jason. What a tough night for him! It seems as if the judges push their agendas and Jason must be aware of what I’m sensing. (That they want him gone.) I wish Simon would stop commenting on performers after they leave the stage.


  13. I just returned from a meeting that was postponed twice because I had been so ill.

    Will start working on the article ASAP. I am still not 100% in terms of this flu, so I am moving a bit slow here.

    Thanks for adding your comments everyone and nice to see new faces on here as well. 🙂


  14. i really liked last night’s program. it is fun to see syesha finally becoming more of who she is for us to enjoy. while she tends to go a bit sharp and travels in and out of “the zone” she has really stepped up to give it her all.

    jason is basically a dorm room crooner who doesn’t understand the rhythmic foundations of the reggae music he claimed to embrace. he really needs to take this all a bit more seriously and practice more, perhaps even listen to bob marley…

    david cook has a great voice, but last night was a disappointment. the first song was uninspiring and the second perhaps too formulaic–the slow groovy gravelly part followed by the surprise glory notes. it was dramatic a couple of times and now is getting old. i could not listen to a whole cd or concert of it. plus, the glory notes always sound tinny and shallow to me, just when i want to hear more depth. they lose resonance. also, i am also beginning to be driven crazy by the chin-up position of his head, which seems to detach him from caring for the audience and put him in a smug-looking position–head thrown back, nose in the air.

    for me, i shed a few tears during “love me tender.” no, it wasn’t “the king’s” arrangement, but it was beautiful and up-dated. even my teen-aged daughters liked it quite a bit and they are david cook/jason castro fans. both of his songs were sweet and heart-felt. his singing is like a breath of fresh air in a very hard and edgy world.

    and despite what many think–that david a’s fans are mostly teeny boppers or old bags, i am finding that there is a wide spectrum of ages and types who enjoy david a’s sincere, and yes, even perfect singing. anyone who does some due diligence, as i have, will find that those who know david or even know of david assert that the innocence and shy demeanor are no act. he is not fake. he is just as sweet as he seems. thank heavens for that! my hope is that he can stay that way in spite of what his future now looks like.


  15. Kathylmh said, “I wish Simon would stop commenting on performers after they leave the stage” That was especially true when he commented during the next performers critique that their’s was so much better than ‘the last one.’ No need to compare 1 performer to another in such a catty way. To me, that just brings down the person on stage. Simon is usually right, and certainly gruff, but this kind of behavior is just tacky.



  16. p.s. Rereader, I’ll send you a copy of the avatar if you’d like … e-mail me at


  17. katherinesmom May 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    For me, the difference between the idols all came down to song choice.

    David A. hit it out of the ball park- I loved his falsetto on both songs.

    David C.- did not love either of his songs. I thought he should have gone with at least one real rock/uptempo performance. Actually, earlier this week I thought it might’ve been kind of cool if he gone “rockabilly” (can’t think of an example, maybe “Wake up Little Susie”? )

    Syesha- thought she did both songs fairly well. Maybe movement in “Proud Mary” got in the way of her vocals. I really liked her second song but wish she had handled the final notes a little differently.

    Jason- loved that he came out of his shell on the first song. Second song sounded a bit rushed (maybe it was the nerves that someone mentioned?).


  18. Here’s the on-the-scenes comment from about David A’s Dad from Neil Diamond week,

    “There’s been a lot of speculation over whether 17-year-old David Archuleta’s father Jeff is an overinvolved stage dad. This Thursday morning, Papa isn’t doing much to dispel the rumors as his son rehearses the Neil Diamond anthem ”America.”

    ”There’s too many ‘Todays,”’ he tells associate musical director Michael Orland of the climactic, repeated lyric, while pacing around the room.
    The comments continue throughout the rehearsal: ”Neil Diamond’s voice is a fifth lower than his” and ”The edit to do is 8 to 10 seconds before ‘My country ’tis of thee”’ and ”The beginning needs to have a U2 vibe.”
    He also occasionally compliments his son, who stands silently by the mic nervously pivoting one foot on its heel.
    ”My dad is like my translator,” Archuleta later says. ”I have issues explaining what I want.” “


  19. I think people can’t believe in the innocence of David A because they are so cynical themselves. I’m glad David is the way he his, its so very refreshing. What with the Britney, Paris, Lindsey’s of the world. I only hope that he stays the way he is. With David A being a minor, I hope his family influences will last longer than the tour.

    If you all remember Benji Schwimmer of So You Think You Can Dance season 2, he was the same way. He had just come off his 2-yr Morman mission & was ~21, he was sweet, innocent, and a bit naive. Maybe it has something to do with their faith and how sheltered the kids are kept. The longer Benji was in Hollywood, the more outrageous he got. Benji is now a seasoned & well traveled professional dancer and not so innocent.

    I think the reason David looked so at ease on stage this week is because he got to spend time with Mom in Vegas and his best friend, Adam, finally got to attend a show. Little things like that make a world of difference to a 17-year old.


  20. Pouncer said, ” he got to spend time with Mom in Vegas and his best friend, Adam, finally got to attend a show”

    Both are SO neat! How did you hear about those stories? I have a 19 year old, so I know something like a best friend and a Mama make a LOT of difference! Is David’s Mom not in LA for the show … just Dad?
    Thanks for the heartwarming info!



  21. MCL, I am so anxious to hear your review, especially on Jason’s performance. You always manage to pick up things I don’t notice. I hope you finally get rid of this flu bug. The thing is that you start to feel better and then there seems to be a relapse period. I was sick for 5 weeks.

    ” Heh, I’m not the only one to think Jason was sabotogued by his own nerves. ” Something just isn’t right about the forgotten lyrics on “Tambourine Man.” I just have this feeling that maybe he did this deliberately. I played the performance 10 times and he ‘drums’ along about 5-6 words, then moves smoothly back into a wonderful version of the song. I have wanted him to do Dylan all season long and I was pleased. I know I will miss him.

    Syesha is beautiful and talented but I don’t know if she was being “the actress” last night. Part of me feels she was sincere. No, no, no to “Proud Mary.” We have seen better performances on AI. I did like her second performance; very moving. Syesha has improved quite a bit.

    I also loved both of David Archuleta’s performances. “Stand by Me” is my favorite song, and I think he did a lovely version. I wish he had done one upbeat number instead of “Love Me Tender.” I can only relate to the original version by Elvis.

    David Cook underperformed and I didn’t really like the first song. It will be exciting to see David vs David in the finale.

    Thank you for the information wadahoot. Why am I not surprised?

    Welcome, kathylmh!


  22. I’m pretty sure he said, “Don’t vote!” what do you think? I didn’t notice it last night, but read about it a few times today.


  23. Still writing everyone, but this flu has really hindered me. Kariann – I am on my 3rd week and have been on clear fluids here. Everyone who hears or sees me are thoroughly freaked out now. But, I am getting better – just so slow.

    Five weeks? Wow – that’s along time to be sick Kariann

    Going to watch the show. Will check back later.

    Thanks everyone.


  24. I’m going to miss Jason. OMG. He makes me laugh. He is such a free spirit : “I would have had to sing three songs next week. I don’t know what I would have done!” Oh Jason, you need to be in a sitcom. Too funny.


  25. I am going to miss him too. First time since season 2 I’ve bothered to vote.
    For someone who was completely unseen until the top 24, I’d say he did pretty darned well to get to #4. He was smiling and happy tonight and I loved his sing-out. Wish they had shown the whole thing instead of cutting the last part off.

    Jason has a superb recorded voice – every one of his itunes songs is good. I hope a nice record label takes him under their wing and nurtures him. He’s right – he is inexperienced, and it caught up with him.

    But I sure am glad we got to know him over these last few weeks.

    Wiping away a tear here………..I really liked each and every one of the top 12 this year for so many different reasons. Heading for a David vs David finale, no doubt about that. Should be interesting.


  26. Awwww…Jason was so sweet. This would have been a boring season without him. I haven’t voted 2 hours since Anthony – Season 4. vegabondfcr, you have expressed my feelings exactly.

    Anita, now I believe even more that Jason forgot the lyrics on purpose. What a great personality and raw talent that can be developed. I do not want to see a TOP 10 of all professional singers. If a contestant has had a record contract with a released CD, they should not be on the show.

    Jason is so funny and so sweet. He will be missed!


  27. MCL, didn’t you just love David A. this week? He’s gotten stellear reviews from journalists & reviewers. : )


  28. I’m pretty sure he said, “Don’t vote!”

    This is for sure all over the internet, but in an interview this morning on Fox’s morning news show, Jason said that he mouthed “Vote! Vote!” and only later realized it could look like “Don’t vote.” That sounds like him–and I think if he had indeed said “don’t vote” he would have said so (why not, at this point?).

    I think was spot on in realizing his inexperience was catching up with him and he really did not know how to cope–but I’m going to miss him. His a raw, natural talent right now, but he has a lovely way of interpreting song lyrics and a great voice for recording, and I look forward with great interest to seeing what he comes up in the future. (Anyone who can make me like a Mariah Carey song is someone to keep an eye on, LOL!)

    By the way, the studio version of Mr. Tambourine Man is now available on iTunes, and is well worth a listen…


  29. wow, i like your articles and the way you evaluate American Idol contestants. I also like reading your readers’ comments, the discussions are always intersting. This is a healthy blog, keep it up!


  30. katherinesmom May 8, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Jason was so carefree during his singout- what a difference to his voice. Just goes to show you what tension can do to your singing. Of course, it’s twenty-twenty hindsight now, but perhaps if Jason didn’t feel comfortable with his song choices, that led to tension, which made his singing weak, which made him more nervous, which compromised his air… Well, idols, be sure and take Bo Bice’s advice to “practice, practice, practice”! Next week will certainly be a challenge for all as now each has to sing three songs.

    Congrats and good luck to all the idols!


  31. re-reader,
    it is lil david’s father who does all his arranging. He does everything for him. I don’t know if you saw the EW article that says he hardly talks at all during the picking, arranging, etc. his dad does everything. it is not going over well with people backstage. Seems he is being quite the stage dad. I feel that if you are going to compete, you need to do all the work and not have someone do it for you. His father goes thru the lists and crosses out what he doesn’t like. This is not a level playing field and I hope they raise the age limit to 18. If you are going to win then it should be with your own wind in your sails and not your “assistant.” His father is now banned from backstage. He inserted words from another song into Stand By Me. They added a verse from Beautiful Girls. This is not allowed and his father was emailed to take it out and they didn’t. Idol will have to pay for that. You can’t just take a verse from someone else’s song and stick it into an existing song. I believe his father should never have been allowed behind the scenes to do all the fine tuning for his son. That is a ringer and should not be allowed.,,20007164_20171835_20197246_2,00.html
    I wonder if this article from EW wasn’t what finally let people know what was going on behind the scene. If he can’t do his own work, he should have waited until he was older to try out. Can u imagine being one of the guys and taking papa archie on the tour bus with you?


  32. I have forgotten who it was but I first found out about your website from a link posted on Twitter. . I really love the stuff I have read on your blog and plan to keep reading when I find more time. Do you have a Twitter profile?


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