American Idol Performance In Toronto Ontario: A Masterclass Memoir: Part Two

This portion of my Toronto experience will feature the performances of the Top 4 – Jason, Syesha, David Archuleta and David Cook. All four singers were the featured performers after the intermission and it was quite the spectacle!

So much talent and charisma emerged from this group of singers; all four singers staged enormously memorable and artistically significant performances

If you wish to read Part One of my Idol journey in Toronto, you can access the full article here.
For those of you who wish to continue to Part Two, you can do so here!

Jason emerged to center stage shortly before the lights went up and the fans went wild. It was evident that the Dreadheads were alive and well in Canada country. This young man has cultivated an enviable following and, if mentored correctly, could become a huge star.

However, I digress. On with the show! Jason began his set with his signature rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and, to my delight, the audience sang along with him. It was such a great moment in time and this sing-a-long must have provided a relaxing ambience for Jason.

Also, because I have watched so many of his past performances of this song, I knew every notation and phrasing element in the song, so my mind and heart was right there with him all the way. The audience feverishly applauded his head voice when he sang the words “over the rainbow” towards the end of the song. He sounded extremely good and his voice is becoming more fluid and resonant with each performance.

“Crazy” was an extremely strong performance as well. He sounded wonderful and he looked fantastic. Great, great presence and relaxed stage demeanour!

I also have to say that the band added some wonderful harmonic color to the arrangements of all his songs. I was actually surprised. My daughter turned to me and said: “The band sounds great, doesn’t it?” and I said “Definitely – I never noticed this before in the videos.” The additional harmonic texture strengthened the performances and gave Jason a musical foundation for his artistic style.

My favourite song, “Daydream” closed this all too short set. Yes, his set was noticeably shorter than any of the other singers and, perhaps, given his inexperience with his singing career, he was agreeable to this outcome. Yet, it still felt wrong to me.

Also, I don’t know why this young man could not have been persuaded to move around the stage a bit more? The only other performer like him was Brooke and, in so many ways, they are very similar. They have a simplistic approach to their performing style that works better in a smaller acoustic environment.

Now, if I can get him to maintain a circular mouth on all his vowels and relax his jaw when singing the upper notes, I will have accomplished my mission in terms of his technical side. He is phrasing his melodic line much better, but still needs to challenge his breathing even more so.

At any rate, Jason was enthusiastically received by the audience. You could feel the Jason love throughout all three performances and long after he left the stage. That must have made this young man feel good indeed and he deserves this acknowledgement. Such a sweet, talented, genuine performer!

Then, Syesha hit the stage and she looked so glamorous and sounded so glorious. Talk about style and substance! This young lady has both these qualities and so much more.

Where do I start with Syesha? All three of her songs were extremely compelling. What an enormous vocal talent! Oh my! She truly deserved to be in this coveted Top 3 position, as she is an extremely passionate artist, a consummate musician and vocalist and possesses a charismatic demeanour.

The crowd absolutely roared after her final number. I was on the edge of my seat riveted to this performance of Beyonce’s “Listen”.! My goodness, this young lady takes her vocal craft seriously! No stone was left unturned after this number was completed – she lived and breathed every note of this number and catapulted her vocal gift to unbelievable heights.

And she was such a sweet presence on stage, very endearing when communicating with the audience. Canada loved her to pieces and she left such a strong impression with the audience. This young lady is destined for very big things in her singing career. She will find her way on to a Broadway stage or in feature films– absolutely no doubt in my mind. She has many, many special artistic ingredients that will numerous doors over the course of her career.

Back to the performance – I do go on, don’t I? Syesha barely got the words, “This next performer” out of her mouth and the ACC erupted like never before. Either that or a tornado passed through. It was time for the little guy with the great big voice – David Archuleta.

Well, this is where my eyes finally welled and entered the goose bump stage of this show. As David emerged through the fog of dry ice, seated at the piano, I watched in great anticipation, not wanting to miss a moment of his performance.

And then his gorgeous voice filled the ACC and touched our hearts with his poignant rendition of “Angels”. That face and that voice – in combination- is so truly special and he sings with such love and affection for the music and for his fans. However, it is a love that transcends to a much higher level and his spirituality is undeniable. It touches everyone around him and moves them in a profound way.

Everyone wonders why David is so shy when he speaks but not when he sings. The reason for this is that he speaks with his singing voice – that is his way of communicating to those around him and that is why his song choices have always been so inspired. The music and lyrics must affect him in a profound way in order for him to share these feelings with the rest of us.

And, every song in this set reflected this! “Apologize” was a song of longing and “Stand By Me” was a song symbolizing his gratitude to his fans.

“When You Say You Love Me” and “Angels” signified the undying affection he has for his family –first and foremost – followed by his friends and fans. And, we cannot forget his phenomenal musical influences – his parents, Jeff and Lupe, as well as his voice coach Dean and music arranger, Richard.

All four songs were absolutely phenomenal. His heart is truly centered and in the right place when he performs. Just listening to his voice is a powerful testament to what stellar work ethics and sublime talent can achieve.

One vocal cord and, yet, the clarity and purity of his voice could be heard above and beyond the screaming. The articulation of his diction was crystal clear and well-defined and, yet, so expressive and heartfelt.

And that sweet demeanor and radiant smile! Gorgeous! “Apologize” was superbly performed and, in this song, I could really hear the depth and beauty of his mid-range contrasted with gorgeous ring of his head voice.

Also, the audience gave him a thunderous two -minute ovation after “Stand By Me”. He was so taken aback by the overwhelming response he received. He looked so relaxed and animated during this performance and that upbeat portion of this number allowed him an opportunity to have pure fun.

He is a great little dancer and quite the little entertainer. And I still think that the “beautiful girls” segment” could have used one more repeat before he reached the brilliant acrobatic ending of this song. This song ends too soon for little ‘ole me! Ha!

And when he completed his truly inspiring performance of “When You Say You Love Me”, my two daughters wiped tears from their eyes, as did I! That was the best thank you I have ever received! How about you? Does it get more endearing than this? Un.Be.Lie.Va.Ble!

What a gift this young man has – what a prodigious and phenomenal talent. I will support this young man to the end of my days. Talent like this is very rare in one’s lifetime and should be endlessly celebrated and championed.

And yet, there was still tons of screaming room left for David Cook, this year’s American Idol. The fans went wild and ballistic. Two Davids in a row is fodder for chaos, wouldn’t you think? Well, chaos reigned and pandemonium ensued as The Cookster commanded the stage with his intelligent stage presence and resounding vocals

This guy can sing and he can sing in a technically brilliant manner. In every song, his sustained upper notes and exceptional phrasing ability were jaw-dropping. Yes, there is a raspier, edgier quality to his vocal sound, but at the very core, his basic technical skills serve him well in his style of singing.
Like Archie, the clarity of his diction is transparent and clean. How wonderful that American Idol discovered a true rock Idol who can sing with such evidence of sound technical support. Yes, at times, I did see some strain at the top, but, quite frankly, it was not as pronounced as when he was appearing on the show.

Cookie’s voice sounded more resonant, more focused and pure and it soared above the background accompaniment of the band. Nothing like a live performance to give you the true quality of a singer’s chops!

After his four songs were completed, he went off stage and one of my daughters said, “What about Billie Jean?” and I said, “Patience, it’s coming. It’s the encore!” and so it was. My goodness he performs this song eerily well. He was mesmerizing to watch.

And he worked the stage like the pro that he was, moving seamlessly back and forth along the perimeter so that fans could have a closer glimpse of him and take more photos. And, he reciprocated the photo session by videotaping the hysterical fans from the stage. That was classic. I love this guy!

His presence, his professionalism, his powerful vocals were truly special and he was only outdone by the thunderous applause at the end of his five song set. He is and will continue to be a huge star. I cannot imagine the music industry without David Cook’s presence – that would be travesty. Nope. Not going to happen. He’s here to stay and not a moment too soon.

Then the show ended with a Top 10 group number – very fun! Then, it was off to the “after party”

To be continued…..
Next Up: American Idol Performance In Toronto Ontario: A Masterclass Memoir: Part Three –The After Party
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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

14 Responses to “American Idol Performance In Toronto Ontario: A Masterclass Memoir: Part Two”

  1. Awesome awesome again. I dont think I could add much to whats already been said. lol This just makes me anticipate the tour even moreso!!

    Cant wait for the after party recap!!


  2. MCL, once again your remarks bring me to tears. Thank you for your support of all the idols. They are blessed as are we to have you as their champion. And I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the talent of David Archuleta, I too, will support him to the end of my days.


  3. MCL, wow. I just want to thank you again for your support of the idols this season and especially for your support of David Archuleta. It was a stormy season for his fans, but your voice and reviews were a calm that we sought out again and again. To hear you embrace his talent and his career so enthusiastically means a great deal to us. Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed the show.


  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both your recaps. I can tell you and your daughters definitely had a great time at this concert!!

    Eek…I cannot believe you leave us hanging for the “After party”..ha! I can’t wait to read it!!!


  5. Awww MCL, your review gave me chills and made me cry…especially about David Archuleta. I love this kid so much, he IS as you say a “prodigious and phenomenal talent”.


  6. MCL…Thank you so much for your touching, yet technically relevant, review. I was so surprised by the overall quality of the show. I am a DIE HARD David A. fan, but MJ left me PUMPED UP! Great song choices, but very charismatic.

    More and more people are starting to “get” David Archuleta. The accounts from non-fans, after these shows, are wonderful. You, of course, have always been a fan, but he came out of the gates with this tour and is like a locomotive.

    You’re a wonderful, kind lady and the idols are all lucky to have your feedback…



  7. Awww!!!Thank you MCL, I have being waiting for your review all weekend…

    I agree with you, I have listened to all types of music around the world, latino, arabic, japanesse, classical… but I have never heard a voice and performarcce like David´s if just to beutiful, not only because of his tone and tecnichal talent,if something with in the feeling he gives… for the time you listened to his songs, those feelings that he posses become your own… he is just amazing…


  8. thinkofmearchie July 28, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    I’m glad you had a WONDERFUL time at the concert! It was a joy to read your review of all of the idols.. especially our ONE OF A KIND David Archuleta!!

    Can’t wait to read your after party blog. I’m so glad you were able to meet the idols face to face!


  9. I agree with the other commenters here–the Idols are all lucky to have you in their corner! (Of course, I especially loved the comments about Jason–and I couldn’t agree more!) Looking forward eagerly to your tales of the after party!


  10. Hi MCL!! What an incredible review! So detailed – I thought I was right there beside you enjoying EVERY SECOND of the show. Wait…


  11. Hey everyone!

    Thanks so much for your positive commentary. Also, I am a guest once again on David Archuleta’s Fablast site. The live blog begins at 9:00 P.M. Eastern. I will post a separate blog topic a bit later.

    Just wanted to express my gratitude to all of you ASAP. xo


  12. And as you can see, we are most appreciative of you, MCL. Your writing makes me wish I had seen the concert after you did. Thank you so much! Yes, you did notice the length of Jason’s set. I just love this young man and look forward to what mentoring can do, should it seek it. Do you think Brooke and Jason would be able to do a GOOD duet together?

    I was also impressed with David Archuleta and his version of “Stand By Me.” It was my favorite performance at the concert!

    I am a bit confused about his vocal cord. Will it heal or is it gone forever?


  13. Thank you for your wonderful reviews of the AI concerts. I’m a huge DC fan and I’ve loved all of your comments thoughout the season. They are fair and so informative. Thank you also for reviewing DC’s AH album.

    Check out— —many people on that board have read your reviews and love your commentary. They may not be blogging on your site but they love you.


  14. Thanks so much Lizzy. DC was such a powerful presence on that stage in Toronto. he gave a riveting performance – worked so hard on that stage and obvioulsy has great respect for his fans.

    But, it was his vocal skills that impressed me so. He sounds and looks so much better live and his voice is stellar! Unbelievable strength and power.


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