Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 8: Voila! The Top 36

American IdolI am having an incredibly busy day and evening, so I am truly thankful that I prepared the majority of this article in advance.

I will be watching this episode intermittently, so I will not be able to give you live details from this show.

However, I am curious as to the “surprise” that awaits our singers during this final “meet and greet” with the judges. Do they have to sing a spontaneous a-cappella number? The closing teaser during last night’s show indicated as much, but then, as we all know, the magic of editing is a delusional experience.

Thursday, February 12th Update: Joanna Pacitti was disqualified from the Top 36 because of her close affiliation with some Fox execs. She was replaced by Felicia Barton

Click and read more here – where you will see some brief comments plus a collage of the Final 36! Finally!

Nothing more needs to be added to tonight’s final episode -except your comments and evaluations, dear readers. Talent is in the eyes and ears of the beholder and, in this case, the judges – Simon, Randy, Paula and Kara.

I am hoping that the re-instated Wildcard show focuses on singers beyond the Top 36 and includes perhaps a few from the Top 50 who may have been overlooked in the final process.

That being said, I don’t like the format this year. I loved the Top 24 format that was in place over the past 3 years. Only a couple of singers from each gender were eliminated per show, as opposed to this years’ format where 9 singers will be eliminated per episode.

I don’t know why this was tampered with. Leave the male/female Top 24 shows in place and crunch the elimination numbers differently and add a Wild Card show to make up the difference.

Also, the Top 24 format allowed the viewers to become really familiar with the singers before the Top 12 was a finalized product and, additionally, it allowed the singers to become accustomed to the live format of the show in advance of the the Top 12 showcase.

However, here is a glimpse of your Top 36 and I would like to add my special thanks to JoesPlaceBlog.Com and MJsBigBlog.Com for making this process a very easy one for me. You gals rock!

If you click on the singer’s face, you will be transported to  their live preliminary audition, courtesy of  MJsBigBlog.Com, or their official mini-interview at AmericanIdol.Com


Adam Lambert        

Alexander Wagner Trugman        

Alexis Grace        

Allison Iraheta        

Ann Marie Boskovich        

Anoop Desai        

Arianna Ayesha Afsar        

Brent Keith
Casey Carlson Danny Gokey Jackie Tohn Jasmine Murray
Jeanine Vailes Jessica Langseth
Felicia Barton
Jorge Nunez
Junot Joyner Kai Kalama Kendall Beard Kristen McNamara
Kris Allen Lil Rounds Matt Breitzke Matt Giraud
Megan Corkrey Michael Sarver Mishavonna Henson Nate Marshall
Nick Mitchell Ricky Braddy Scott MacIntyre Stephen Fowler
Stevie Wright Taylor Vaifanua Tatiana Del Toro Von Smith

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

24 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 8: Voila! The Top 36”

  1. Wow, thanks MCL!! This is awesome!

    I feel bad for the girls in the first group of twelve. They will have a tough time drawing votes with Anoop, Danny, and Michael Sarver all in that group. They better bring it!


  2. I agree; I’m not excited in the least as to the new format this year. Don’t see why they didn’t just leave it as it was.

    I’m nervous for the first group. As Sara already commented, I think this first group of twelve will be very difficult for the girls: These are some of the more talented guys in the competition, along with Scott, Adam, and Brent.

    Overall I am really looking forward to this season; there is some really great potential and talent here.

    As always, looking forward to your vocal masterclass articles this season!!


  3. I remember reading that the producers wanted to change things this year because the viewers were seeing TOO MUCH of the contestants under the old system. They felt that people were getting tired of seeing the same singers every week while they were trimming the Top 24 to the Top 12.

    This year, we’ll only see the contestants once for the first 3-4 weeks and there won’t necessarily be an even number of girls and guys. Go figure.


  4. Well, first of all, I do believe that more or less the judges have done a decent job of choosing this year’s Top 36. Literally, the only regret I have over tonight’s episode was that Danny Gokey’s friend Jamar did not make it through. I did not necessarily think he was a great singer, but good enough for the Top 36? Yeah. It also must have been tough for Danny and Jamar to part ways after having gone through so much together. Still, I’m just very happy Danny made it through (not that I was concerned for him in the least)!

    About the format change this year, I think MCL said it perfectly. What has made the last three seasons so spectacular is that the contestants felt relatively comfortable performing on live television by the time they made it to the Top 12. The reason for that is because the Top 24 format really allowed them to ease into and adapt to an environment that was new and strange to them. For the first few weeks, nobody had to sing phenomenal to stay safe, and I think that was a good thing. Most of these contestants are not professionals, nor are they probably able to just magically sing on stage flawlessly in front of millions of people right off the bat. Think of it this way. Before a person can learn to run, he first must learn to crawl, and then once he has mastered that he can begin learning how to walk. Only after acquiring the abilities to walk and crawl can a person be expected to run. With this new format, it seems the producers expect this latest batch of Idol contestants to start off running–and that means there are going to be some crash and burns. It is so unreasonable and unrealistic of the producers to expect so much out of these singers so early on in the competition. The singers need to be nurtured and encouraged and allowed a little grace for growth, not unceremoniously booted in a quite brutal fashion–and nine people being discarded a week is the very essence of brutal.

    Still, there is one thing I am very thankful for. The judges and producers are no longer in sole control of how American Idol Season 8 plays out. Now, it is up to the people to make things right and make sure that the right people go through each week. Never before has it been so important for each American Idol voter to carefully consider who he or she will support. Never before has it been so vital to spend at least a good hour on the phone calling in votes for those who deserve to advance in the competition. Never before has American Idol so desperately needed the voices of the people to guide its course and keep it on the right track. There have been many changes so far thisa season, and we are certainly in store for many more. However, we must remember that our votes count! It will not be the judges or producers who ultimately make or break this season . . . It will be the fans. So, now that the Top 36 is chosen, it is now “Game on!” Starting next week, we fans have to do our part and support our favorites! Above all, though, I truly pray that God blesses American Idol this year as He has done so many times in the past, and that it would be an instrument of his will to forever change the lives of those who are a part of it for the better.


  5. Hi Guys,

    Joanna Pacitti has been removed from the competition for some unknown reason and has been replaced by Felicia Barton.


  6. AuntAudie – really? She should NOT have made it to the Top 36 anyway. She forgot her words 24/7during Hollywood week and didn’t she already have a doomed career in her background? Maybe this profession is not for her. They did her a favor be releasing her, or maybe she came to her senses and released herself.

    Will have to change the picture to Felicia Barton. Thanks for letting me know this.


  7. AuntAudie – where did you receive this information? I just want to make sure that it an actual fact before I make any changes. Thanks again MCL


  8. First of all, I am so happy for Felicia Barton! I never thought Joanna belonged in this competition. She was not d/qd because of previous recording contracts, but because she is close friends with two members of the FOX (AI) team. This was Joanna’s opportunity to shine and she failed to impress.

    MCL and Galen, you have given valid reasons as to why I oppose this TOP 36 format. In reality, the fans are selecting only 9 of the TOP 12 contestants. Control is given to the judges regarding the other three.

    Galen, you have expressed my feelings about the TOP 24 perfectly. With the new format, the contestants have ONE opportunity to impress. That’s it. TOP 24 gave us an opportunity to get to know the contestants. I think this may affect their ratings.

    Look at the first group. There are 5-6 who are extremely talented and could easily be in the TOP 12, yet they may miss this opportunity because of this terrible format. I am discouraged.


  9. While I have my favorite (who is not in the first group), next week I am going to really focus on the performances and vote for the best that night. I will try not to be influenced by what I have already seen, especially with regard to the men. I will try to stay as objective as humanly possible. I am really hoping that some of contestants that haven’t had much air time will have a great night.


  10. PS, I found this entry on one of the boards:

    “According to sources, some AI contestant asked for songs by Bowie, Queen , and Aerosmith to be approved.”

    I sure hope it’s Adam!


  11. MCL_ Guess you figured it out yourself, sorry I just came on. I just read over at Joe’s Blog how the elimination process/wild cards are going to work. I’m not happy about it because it doesn’t reward a contestant for perfoming well, there will be the 3 top vote getters and the rest will be gone from each group with only the hope of receiving one of the 3 judges wild cards at the end. Next week is going to be very rough, there’s a lot of talent in that group.
    All sorts of reasons are going through my head about why AI would choose to change the format and none of them are very nice. Any theories?

    MCL-I posted this once before and perhaps you missed it. I have 2 extra tickets for David Archuleta in Buffalo on March 3rd which I offerred to you ( my treat ). Please let me know if you are interested.


  12. Sara – that sounds like an “Adam” special request to me – especially the Queen and Bowie requests. Scott could handle Aerosmith and so could some of the other guys. Thanks for the info.


  13. AuntAudie – what a generous offer and I am sorry I missed the original request. I would be there in a heart beat, but I will be in Florida at that time on vacation and our flights are booked to return on March 4th. Plus, I will be visiting with family and friends at that time in Florida as well.

    I can’t believe I missed the Disney hoopla by a week. We are traveling to Florida next Wednesday. Darn!

    How generous of you though and I hope that someone special in your life can enjoy these two tickets.


  14. Hey, I’ll take those tickets! LOL Just kidding. I live too far away from Buffalo anyway. About Joanna Pacitti, I had heard rumors about her having friends in high places pulling for her, but I didn’t know whether to believe them or not. I guess her official disqualification from the Top 36 proves those rumors true. Even though I know Joanna can sing judging by the song I downloaded of hers off iTunes, I thought it was very strange that the judges let her through considering that EVERY time she sang in Hollywood she forgot the lyrics. There’s just no excuse for forgetting the lyrics every time, no matter how good of a voice she may possess. I can’t recall right now who Felicia Barton is, but I am very happy for her. However, I also wish Joanna the best as well. It must have been very hard for her to be disqualified seemingly at the last minute. It also isn’t her fault that she has friends who are executives of the show. Still, I think American Idol made the right choice in removing her from the competition.


  15. Thanks Galen. I think that Fox et al were looking for a little publicity and this is it so far. I found it so strange that she was being pushed forward by the judges. She obviously does not have the stamina nor the confidence to be a performer. Nice voice, but it stops there. She should look for other avenues in which to pursue her musical career – under a lower profile.


  16. I read in the Fargo, ND Forum that Jessie Langseth is actually the sister of Blues singer/guitarist Jonny Lang…I think I am going to root for her…I can hear in her voice the bluesy sound…I think she is going to follow in her brothers footsteps.


  17. MCL – Are you going to be able to go to any of David Archuleta’s tour shows? Most of them sold out in a heartbeat. I’m not going to any vut hope anyone who goes has an awesome time!


  18. Hi all,

    It looks like Matt Breitzke is in the final group now instead of Michael Sarver.


    Perhaps they want Michael to move on in a later, weaker group?


  19. MCL – Are you going to be able to go to any of David Archuleta’s tour shows? Most of them sold out in a heartbeat though. I’m not going to any but I hope anyone who goes has an awesome time!


  20. Speaking of David Archuleta, he has a new song! It’s called “Let’s Talk About Love.” From what I’ve been able to gather, Build-A-Bear wrote the song and asked David to sing it for them. You can download it at the Build-A-Bear website to raise money for Save The Children. You can listen to this song for free here:

    Yes, it is definitely a “kids” song, but I think it has a surprisingly nice sound to it and (as always) David’s vocals are impeccable. Anyway, I may go ahead and download the song for a dollar to support its cause. You can check it out whenever you get the chance, MCL!


  21. Thanks so much Galen. I love it and hope to add more articles about David in the near future. Off on holidays for a couple of weeks, so I will check in every now and then.


  22. Kirsten, unfortunately I will be away on holidays for two weeks and then very busy with personal and professional activities upon my return to Canada in early March. I wish I could see David on tour and, perhaps, if my schedule clears, this can be arranged.

    Right now, I am just overwhelmed. Perhaps a vacation will allow me time to organize my schedule os that I can sneak a peek at david on tour. (fingers crossed)


  23. MCL….I hope I caught you in time!!!!

    before you go please treat yourself and listen to this!!!!

    David singing Angels a capella. You won’t believe your ears.


  24. Janey – wow, what a performance! This young man is truly inspiring and he sings those lyrics like he is saying a prayer. The words and music flow from the depths of his soul. Thanks for sending this Janey.


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