Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 8: Kansas City Auditions

American IdolKansas City -home to current American idol winner, David Cook. This second show focuses on the auditions that take place in the state of Missouri. Think we can find another Cookie? Ummm – I don’t think so. David Cook is pretty special – both as a person and as a musician. However, the judges are going to attempt to discover some more Kansas City star power in some of the singers auditioning for this year’s show.

And, I have received a “heads up” that Michael Castro, brother of Top 4 Season 7 finalist Jason Castro, will be making a long-anticipated appearance on this leg of the tour. And, to make things even more interesting, Jason decides to support his bro’ and come along for the ride. More on this later.

As in yesterday’s Arizona auditions, this article will be written in real time and published immediately after the end of the 2-hour show. Therefore, unlike the full-length Vocal Masterclass articles for the Top 12, my first impressions from the Kansas City Auditions will be abbreviated. I will leave it up to you to fill in the blanks and add your comments.

The show opens with an appearance by Jason Castro. Wheee! It is good to see him again and, for a minute, I am transported to the magic that was American Idol Season 7.

Chelsea is our first delusional singer of the day. God Bless her sweet heart. Her problem is that she is a complete nervous wreck and, if there is a voice in that sweet young body, it has yet to be unleashed. She needs to find a way to manage her nerves or else the party is indeed over.

Ashley Anderson is a 20-year-old singer with a lovely mellow voice and she is not afraid to sing with a variety of nuances. I’m not sure how far she will go in this competition, but it was definitely a very good audition for the television judges. She performed “Footsteps In The Sand” expressively well and left a strong impression on all four judges. On me? Too early to tell.

Casey Carlson is an extremely attractive 20-year-old singer who has a very sweet voice and demeanor. And, as Kara DioGuardi says, “I see a package here” and just like that she is off to Hollywood. She didn’t exactly nail her song – a few nerves got in the way of a steady pitch-centered performance – but she did “keep it together” for the audition. I concur with Kara – she shows great, great promise.

Brian is a classical singer who tries to sing Aretha Franklin’s “Think”. And I emphasize the word “tries”! What a mess! And now he wants to sing Josh Groban and it is truly frightening. Oh my – why don’t these singers hear and see what we hear and see.

This is followed by lots of crying and screaming and yelling by a variety of “singers”. It’s just a show people! You haven’t been sentenced to death! Lighten up!.

Von Smith is 20-year-old who sings a dramatic version of “Over The Rainbow”. To me, it is an “over the top” performance. I would love to see what this guy could do with an upbeat song. He is different, but the question is: “Is it a good kind of different?” He seems gimmicky to me. So, the judges put him through, but he better cut back on the screaming or he won’t have a voice come Hollywood week.

Michael Castro is up next, along with his superstar brother, Jason. They make a cute couple, don’t they? Then Michael sings a Gavin DeGraw number and he has quite the set of chops. He is a bit nasal, at times, but he can really, really sing. He is more rugged in appearance than gentle Jason, but that is a very good thing. It will stifle the comparisons between brothers, as both have a distinct vocal style.

Matt is 27-years-old and is following his dream to be discovered as a singer. And he sings “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. He has a decent voice, but he has mucho vocal problems. And he is off to Hollywood because of his heart and ambition, according to Simon. We shall see what happens. He is going to need to read a ton of Vocal Masterclass articles in order to get his voice on track. That’s why I get paid the big bucks! HA!

Jessica is an 18-year-old singer who absolutely nails a Janis Joplin song. A great powerful voice combined with a genuine persona! She will demonstrate great promise and resilience over the course of this season. This gal is a fighter! Plus, she is good to her grandmother and that touched a soft spot in my heart. There is nothing greater than watching a young person ineract with a senior citizen in such a loving and caring manner.

Asia and India are sisters and they couldn’t look and sound more dissimilar. But they are a hoot to watch. Asia can’t sing at all and India can sing. So, it’s no surprise when little India moves forward to Hollywood. But, Asia is a really supportive sister -what a sweetheart. You can’t buy love people and this segement is evidence of that.

Jamar– screams his way to Hollywood singing “California Dreamin” . What more can I say? It was a screamfest, but the judges loved it. Whatevuh!

Danny is a 22-year-old music teacher who just lost his wife after a lengthy illness. He performs a very good version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. Full of rhythmic soul and a voice that truly impresses. The best heard by the judges to date! Now those are great credentials to carry with him as he makes his way to Hollywood.

Anoop is a 21-year-old vocal major who performs a great “Boys To Men” number. Another soulful performance, but he needs to expand his performing skills. But, all that in time,right?

At this point in the show, I have just about had it! Two hours is way too long and it’s all getting old very quickly. And, truth be told, I haven’t found one singer that I have fallen head over heels in love with! Although I have heard Michael Castro’s songs over on hi MySpace site and he is very good. Those Castro boys are extremely talented indeed.

Andrew brings his own cheerleaders and they are as annoying as whatever! He belts out “My Girl” by The Temptations while the ladies in red provide background distraction. He is a great singer, but why he felt the need to bring these babes is beyond me. The judges found him too theatrical. I didn’t, but it was a huge mistake to bring the gals, dude. I cannot stand gimmick auditions.

Asa is a 28-year-old band director who sings a very good version of Michael Jackson’s “The Way you Make Me Feel”. He has a great tone to his voice – very passionate and full of natural head tone which I love!

Oy vey, when will this show end so I can watch my Frasier and Seinfeld re-runs? Is it just me or is this evening’s episode a boring mess. I want out of Kansas City. Maybe if I click my heels I will be transported to the land of Oz.

Michael is determined to prove that he can sing and can become a star. He is related to Hank Williams Jr.. Well, that’s impressive. However, his singing is not and, to add fuel to the fire, he sings an original composition. Oh dear, this is not good and it really tugs at my heatrtstrings. Hopefully, he can find his true path in life! Chin up, buddy

Dennis sings “With You” by Chris Brown and I love him. Simon does not? Hmmm. It looks like he could be a tad annoying, but I think the kid can perform. Who knows how far he will go? It’s a crap shoot at this point, but he is off to Hollywood.

The show ended with a strong performance by Lil Rounds. And, the judges are in love with her. She has a superb voice and a neat throwback sound in her singing style. I don’t see a whole lot of star power yet, but, the fashion police will take care of that if she finds a spot in the Top 12.

So that is it for Kansas City. I loved all the clips of David Cook and it was great to see his parents. Such wonderful memories from such a wonderful season.

Now, to you the readers, this is your forum as well. What say you? The Masterclass doors are now open.

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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 “Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 8: Kansas City Auditions”

  1. I thought overall, the guys were a lot better than the girls. My favorite tonight was probably Danny…his voice is really good. None of the girls really stood out for me & definitely no David Cook’s or David Archuleta’s. And I thought it was so cute seeing Jason & his brother. Michael isn’t that bad a singer considering he hasn’t been singing for that long.


  2. Unfortunately, I missed quite a bit of tonights show as Wednesdays are a very “Bizzee” day/night for me. From the sounds or your article, MCL…it looks like I didn’t miss much! I did not get to see Michael, though, which saddens me – hopefully it will find it’s way to youTube later….

    I did catch the tail end of the show was was quite impressed with Lil Rounds – I really like her and hope she goes far!!

    I can’t remember who it was that kept begging the judges to let him go to Hollywood – Anoop maybe- but he was quite annoying…I cannot believe they put him through, i don’t think he will make it far at all!


  3. Enjoyed the recap! Thanks!

    Wow; Danny…his soul and vocals just captured my attention. I was so totally not expecting that! And he is only 22? That’s tough losing someone so close at this young age…I really have to respect him for what he did.


  4. judging by the season premiere, it seems like the American Idol crew is spending a lot of time in Kansas City…


  5. Hi MCL….

    Can’t believe it’s here again. I don’t get too excited until they really start performing but I have to say I think there’s a lot of talent so far. I’m
    really looking forward to another season and coming here for your wonderful reviews. I’m off to Washington, D.C. on Friday for the Inauguration, I’m very excited about it.


  6. I think the show is coming along just fine if only they didn’t have all those commercials! There are several very talented people but the one I enjoyed the most was Lil Rounds (the last gal with a family). I saw some LaToya London in her. Very nice as you say, MCL.

    Danny also impressed me.

    It was so nice seeing Jason. His brother, Miohael did a pretty good, but nothing special. Oh, that sweet, sweet man. Loved seeing him interact with his brother.

    Bizzee, Anoop Desai sang “Thank You” by Boys II Men and did a really nice job. I know who you are talking about, but I didn’t tape his audition.


  7. AuntieAudie, have a safe trip!


  8. Thanks, Kariann. I guess that guy didn’t leave a huge impression on me, since I can’t even remember his name…ha!


  9. Thanks everyone. I cannot stand this portion of the American Idol season. I want the Top 36 singers to begin showcasing their stuff.

    However, I am looking forward to some Archuleta madness when they move into the Salt Lake City auditions.


  10. I notice that Simon, MCL, and others keep talking about Kansas. It is true that Kansas has a Kansas City, but the tryouts occured in Kansas City, Missouri (home of numerous Jazz legends, BBQ, Walt Disney, Chiefs, Royals) David Cook was raised in a city called Blue Springs, Missouri in the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. I post this with all due respect because I love you MCL, but I am always amused that people like Simon don’t even know what State they have flown into. I agree with Simon in sharing that the state of Kansas is great, but so is Missouri…home of the Kansas City most people are familiar with but geographically misunderstood.


  11. Dave – mea culpa! I should have realized this. I knew it was Kansas City, but I guess I had a senior moment regarding the confusion of States. I will see if I can correct some of the errors and thank you for being so gracious in pointing this out to me.


  12. Great to see you starting your comments at the very start of the season!

    I find I generally agree with you, and have even used some of your advice to good effect during my shower-singing 🙂

    It’s so hard to choose any favorites at this stage because you have no idea what they can do outside of the audition song, or whether you will ever see them again, and if I start analyzing one it will lead to the others, and we’ll have a book on our hands. So I’ll refrain for the time being.

    One final comment…No one mentioned Banana guy. I don’t even have a note on his name, and he didn’t make it, but was it just me or did he have a look and voice which could actually have been quite wonderful if vaudeville was still king?


  13. I am glad that I have recorded the opening AI8 shows so I can fast forward through all the crying segment, you made the wrong choice segments…

    Check this out for a little more background on Anoop



  14. AuntieAudie – I wish you could pack me in your suitcase. How exciting to be able to attend this historical Inauguration.

    Have a wonderful, momentous time and please stop by once again to share your experiences with us. I will add a blog topic about the Inauguration next week.

    Safe traveling!


  15. Awestruck – thanks for sending these clips of Anoop. It does give me a greater sense of how talented this young man truly is!


  16. Thanks MCL

    Awestruck – enjoyed that usatoday link with Anoop’s youtube videos. I guess the inner geek in me has me intrigued – but don’t count on me changing my name to AnoopFanDoc.

    Glad no one showed up wearing just their Speedo.


  17. ArchieFanDoc – no one has really stood out for me so far, but I was intrigued enough that when I saw this I thought I would bring it here. I never watched AI before last season and then I only started to watch the week of the top 24 – David sang Shop Around. What is really annoying to me watching, for the first time, the auditons; is the airtime they give to bad auditions, unable to sing, argumentative, pleading and worst of all those that are totally NOT serious about the entire process – like bikini girl.

    Sorry for the rant. I may just pass until the remaining audition episodes are over and Hollywood Week(s)commence.

    Your critiques will help me look out for the ones to watch MCL!


  18. Meant to add that I realize that this is TV, but it annoys me none the less.


  19. Awestruck – agree that this part is very annoying – what they do for “TV” — you know that there are people who were passed up prior to this point who can at least sing – while these others are getting their 5 minutes of fame if you want to call it that. I was in another part of the house last year when family watching the auditions – that is until I heard the most sweetest voice ever and started to watch.


  20. Good Day, everyone!

    Have a busy day today, but wanted to check in with all of you and say “hi” and thanks for stopping by!

    David Archuleta and his talent will be hard to match or emulate. But that’s a good thing, right? David is a unique musical entity and we want to keep it that way. 🙂

    However, let’s give these singers a chance to “strut their stuff”. We have seen some very good talent this year and we still haven’t seen the majority of what this season has to offer.

    Looking forward to the rest of the prelim. auditions.


  21. Good day to all (and to you MCL). Just wnated to stop by and say hi. I couldn’t help but be drawn to one of your earlier comments, MCL. I completely agree with your opinion on the amount of “air time” to the non-serious singers…it does bother me. IT is funny to watch, but the people who are serious deserve to be in place. Also, do these people not have to go through a screening process in order to be put through to the judges?? – some screening process….if they would use this process like they are suppose to, there would be less of these people on the air and more of the ones we want to see…..that is my rant for the day.


  22. We need to remember that the show has its scripted moments and that there is a certain amount of manipulation. TPTB feel people will watch the bad auditions and they will up the ratings.

    I feel Von Smith’s audition was set up to have people talk about his OTT singing. I have a feeling he will be a good singer.

    MCL, we will give them a chance. Honest. Hahaha…


  23. MCL…will you allow me to gush for a moment? I will be leaving for SLC in 2 hours…I’ll be on my way to see David tonight in a really small venue of about 250 people and performing for an hour or more. Wish me luck! this California girl is afraid of the cold!!!!


  24. Janey – have a wonderful time. How exciting to have been invited to see and hear David in a small, intimate environment. Please report back ASAP after you return home.

    And we are freezing up here in Canada as well! Terrible, exhausting winter! Save traveling and God speed!


  25. Thanks Bizzee and KariAnn. I will be so glad when these preliminary auditions are over. It was nice to see Jason and his brother and to see David Cook’s parents, so I am looking forward to the Salt Lake City Auditions for obvious reasons. (hee hee).


  26. Hi MCL, just thought I’d send you a couple of video’s of David’s performances at the Sundance Film Festival from last night…
    The first is You Can, David’s brother Daniel is playing the guitar:

    This one is David performing Works For Me:

    I’m looking forward to Janey’s report!


  27. Oh MCL I don’t where to begin. Within 24 hours of obtaining a ticket and flight to Park City Utah home of the Sundance Film Festival I found myself standing outside the door of a tiny hole in the wall art studio watching and hearing David’s sound check. There were already many VIPs inside and we could see David doing interviews and talking to people. Apparently something didn’t go well and we ended up waiting for a couple more hours. There were 2 warm-up performers. And then more waiting. and waiting and waiting.

    Finally David! It seems that his family and friends had been stuck in the elevator!!! It was very late and he was somewhat discombobulated. But that’s what live performances are all about aren’t they? If you want perfection you might as well stay home and listen to a CD.

    I was right in front of the stage to the far left so the sound was way off. In fact after viewing the vids I was surprised to hear a female background vocal. She was completely inaudible from where I was standing.

    He looked perfect and was trying several new things…perhaps working things out for his Spring Tour? The crowd loved him and of interest to me was the diversity in ages and the number of men in the audience. Everyone clearly adored him.


  28. Thanks for adding this information about the Sundance concert. I feel like I am losing touch with David’s career and I don’t want that to ever, eVER happen!

    Marc- thanks for sending these videos. I will treat myself to a morning listen and I have to say that I am looking forward to Daniel’s participation as well.

    Poor family stuck in an elevator! Yikes! That happened to me once and it was a nightmare. All alone in an elevator and it was moving randomly to the top floor of the hotel where I was staying. Plus the lights went out in the elevator. I was petrified. It finally came to a stop and the doors opened, but it was no picnic, I tell you.


  29. Thanks Janey and Marc!

    woops — not sure if my point above was clear — as much as I dislike these “audition” shows — there might be a gem in the midst and if you don’t watch you will miss out on the very beginning of something wonderful yet to come.

    looking forward to Hollywood week and see if Anoop brings to the table some of that stage presence and personality you see in the videos that Awestruck posted.


  30. My honey and I felt that they put through some singers that just wern’t up to par. I hope this isn’t a foreshadowing of this years gang!

    I do feel that they have cut back on the really mean streak toward some of the unfortunate singers … not to say it’s good behavior, but it’s not as bad as in the past.

    I was disgusted by bikini girl, and even more so by the rude catcalling by Randy and Simon and the lack of comments as to the inappropriatness from Paula and whats-her-name. Whats-her-name even gave an interview saying she refused to apologize for not commenting.

    I was mostly touched by how many of the singers really made me like them, so quickly!


  31. Speniatietida May 23, 2009 at 4:22 am

    Hello, I want to say hi everyone.


  32. Merry Christmas to all… and to all a good night.


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