Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 8 Semi-Finalists: Group Two

Picture Courtesy Of AmericanIdol.Com

Picture Courtesy Of AmericanIdol.Com

Tomorrow evening, February 25th we have the opportunity to meet the talented and diverse crop of singers selected for the Group 2 semi-finalist competition of American Idol.

The two-hour episode will feature individual performances by 12 singers and, following their performances at the end of the show, the viewers can call and/or text their votes for two hours.

Then, on Thursday, February 26th, the results will be revealed to the public and the three top vote-getters will automatically earn a place in the coveted Top 12. This means that the singers have to be really strong during tonight’s showcase or, for the majority of them, the Idol road to fame is over.

Group Two Performers are: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Jasmine Murray, Jeanine Vailes, Jesse Langseth, Kai Kalama, Kris Allen, Matt Breitzke, Matt Giraud, Megan Joy Corkrey, Mishavonna Henson and Nick Mitchell .

MCL NOTE: As I am on holidays until March 4th 2009, I will try to get home in time to view the singers and comment live.

However, it is a beautiful day here in sunny Florida and it is tough to leave the outdoors. So, I am encouraging the MCL readers to be detailed in their comments if they feel comfortable doing so and please feel free to add commentary as the show progresses.

Personally, I am eagerly anticipating the performances of Adam and Nick and hope that some of the others can pull a “surprise of a lifetime” as did Ricky Braddy in last week’s show.

Oh yes, and by the way: RICKY BRADDY FOR WILDCARD. We expect no less for this talented young man. LIVE UPDATE AFTER THE JUMP

Live Update:

Jasmine Murray sang “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles. A pretty solid performance, but the song is not a strong choice for this stage of the competition. Her voice was a little chesty at times, but she does exude a wonderful and confident stage persona.  I love her, though, but do agree that she is not quite ready for this competition. She needs to grow as a performer and artist – two years will make a positive difference in her song selection strategy and vocal development.

Matt Giraud sang “Viva La Vida” and it was not a strong performance. He was nervous, vocally tight and the song just didn’t project well.  On the plus side, he bears a strong resemblance to Michael Buble – I never noticed this before.  He is a great artist and I truly believe that he has huge potential, but he needs to hone his technical skills in order to gain more confidence in his vocal AND performing skills. He has  a great “look” and that counts for a lot in this business.

Jeanine Vailes just sang an overblown version of Maroon 5’s “This Love”.  Oy vey! What is wrong tonight?  All the singers are selecting the craziest songs for their voices. This was a complicated vocal delivery and her voice was not cenetered for the entire number. Her lower voice was poorly focused and dreadfully out of tune and the top range was far too chesty – no ring whatsoever.   However, I do appreciate the fact that she did attempt to add a soulful twist to this song – it just needs some refining with the proper coaching.

The very campy, the very outrageous, Nick Mitchell sang a memorable (is that the right word?) version of “I Am Telling You”.  This guy belongs in Vegas, man! That’s his stage, not this show. However, that being said, I would like to see him advance to the Top 12, I really do! I think he is entertaining and unique.  His parents, who look perfectly normal (how did they spawn this kid) seem like great people. Nick is a wildly entertaining addition to the show’s format. Love him!

Allison Iraheta screamed “Alone” and there was nothing that I liked about this performance. Her voice was too loud, too forced and her “look” was a disaster – from the red hair to the unflattering dress.  The judges love her – who knows why?  Too one-dimensional for me.

Kris Allen, on the other hand, sang a wicked version of Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”. Excellent style!  Crisp articualtion skills!  He was a strong rhythmic presence on that stage and his voice is very good. He needs to hone his technical skills and circulate his mouth position, but he has great charisma and huge potential.

The gorgeous and talented Megan Joy Corkrey was my favorite artistsof the night thus far. Amazing charisma, beautiful lower register vocals and a style that is refreshlingly youthful, laidback and unique. She sang an outstanding version of  Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” . Her lower register is beautifully resonant and focused but she does need to subtract some chest resonance from her upper register. Hopefully, this will be corrected in time, as she absolutely must move forward to the Top 12.  Absolutely!

Matt Breitzke sang a fragmented version of “If You Could Only See”.  His voice suffered from an emaciated vocal timbre, basically due to poor technical and performing skills.  Why don;t these singers get proper coaching before they arrive for the semi-finals?  Why?

Jesse Langseth sang “Bette Davis Eyes”. Love the song, but not at this stage of the competition.  She was trying far too hard to sell the song and her voice just never rang true. The performance lacked a sincere and confident vocal approach.  Too bad, because she exudes a lovely presence.

Kai Kalama sang a very good version of “What Becomes Of The BrokenHearted” and I liked it. Despite a few pitch issues here and there. he demonstrated  a muscular timbre to his voice and very genuine performing skills. I agree, along with the judges, that the song was a bit uninspired – style-wise -but I love his throwback approach very much. It is refreshing – nice to hear great melodies and great lyrics. 

Mishavonna Henson sang a great, great song called “Drops Of Jupiter” by Train. Loved the song choice and loved her! This was a well- rehearsed and meticulous performance. She needs to develop a more relaxed persona,  but I do appreciate the multi-dimensional elements that she brought to this performance – lots of nuance and inflection. Great work!

Adam Lambert sang a killer version of  The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and it was pure brilliance with a capital “B”.  What  a voice and what a style! This young man is just crazy talented and his unique interpretive skills, coupled with his superlative vocal abilty, will carry him incredibly far – beyond this competition. Cabaret Idol -this guy can sing any style -any genre.

Top 3 of the evening: Adam, Megan and Kris. Love Nick, but I am looking at pure singing skills and these three were standouts!


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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

25 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread For American Idol Season 8 Semi-Finalists: Group Two”

  1. So far tonight hasn’t gone off so well…I had Jasmine and Jeanine in the top for the girls before…now I think the girls place is wide open. And I was disappointed in Matt. I was looking forward to his bluesy-soul sound.


  2. Actually, I really liked Allison tonight. Thought she was very good. Think she’s a dark horse…
    I absolutely loved Kris Allen!! Would love to see this guy advance. He reminds me of Chris Richardson from season five.


  3. Thanks for your comments StoneRose. The show was “meh” tonight – those three – Kris, Adam and Megan were spectacular.


  4. I was quite disappointed in Adam Lambert’s performance. I expected great things from him…and had to agree with Simon…there were a few great moments in there, but overall I wasn’t impressed.

    Also sorry that Jasmine Murray didn’t do so well tonight; I was really pulling for her and think she is quite talented.

    Tonight was not nearly as good as last week; and I think that tomorrow’s results will be close.


  5. I think I’m just on a slightly different page from you tonight–weird, because I usually agree wholeheartedly with you! 🙂
    But yes, I agree with you on two points; Kris, and the fact that the show tonight was “meh”. 😀 Not a good week.

    On a different note; I hope that you are having an incredible time in Florida!


  6. I am having a great time and thank you for asking. We can’t agree on all things now, can we? 🙂 Let’s see what happens in the votes. Should be interesting.


  7. Adam Lambert is ridiculously talented. He just has “that thing”. Already a star.


  8. Haha. Adam is a love or hate it kinda guy. I love it! And I’m super impressed with his voice. I want to be able to sing like that. I still don’t even know how to use my whole range! Ahhh, that’s what lessons are for! 🙂


  9. Allison’s performance may have been shouty in parts but her stage presence is wonderful for someone only sixteen. Megan definitely has a unique sound to her voice & I definitely liked her better than her first audition. Adam, of course, was far & away, the best of the night! He’ll make top 12 for sure. Matt really disappointed me, which is a shame because I really like him.


  10. Well, yeah, obviously tonight was a little bit of a let down after last week’s group of contestants. I admit that I was actually a bit bored half way through it, and that is normally not the case with me when Idol is on. One thing tonight’s performers did have in common with last week’s is that most of them (unfortunately) made all of the wrong song choices. As far as who I think will make the Top 12 this week, I honestly don’t know. It definitely isn’t as clear cut as last week for sure. Anyway, here’s my analysis of the show:

    1. Jasmine Murray–“Love Song”: I sort of groaned when I realized that she was performing first tonight. Why? Because prior to tonight’s episode, she was my favorite of the females in this set, and going first in this stage of the competition is often fatal. So, in order for her to be memorable by the show’s climax, Jasmine needed to sing AMAZING! Needless to say, she just didn’t. I don’t think she was the worst one of the night by any means, but I’m afraid she kind of falls into the mediocre category. I don’t expect her to pull through. The odds are stacked way too much against her. A shame, really, because she can definitely sing.

    2. Matt Giraud–“Viva La Vida”: Okay, first let me say that I’ve grown to like this guy and I had hoped he would deliver. Here’s the problem though. He tackled the most popular song of 2008 and tried to change it up in very strange ways. As much as I enjoy the song, I think it was more a liability to him than an asset. Because people are so familiar with the song (whether they like it or not) they are immediately going to compare it with the original, and Matt just didn’t sound anywhere near as good as Coldplay. I could really tell he tried though. I just think he tried a little TOO hard. Still, he did pick a memorable song and has had some decent past performances. Will that be enough to get him through? I don’t know. It’s definitely iffy.

    3. Jeanine Vailes–“This Love”: As much as I love the song she chose, she absolutely should not have chosen that song! I think she was hoping to take a great song and change it up to make it her own. That was a terrific intention, but unfortunately all she ended up doing was taking a great song and changing it into a not-so-great song (to be polite). I liked this girl’s personality, but she just didn’t make the right song choice.

    4. Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle–“And I Am Telling You”: I have to be completely honest here. Say what you will about whether or not Nick deserved to make it this far, but the truth is that his performance tonight was the highlight of the show for me. I laughed all the way through it and didn’t want it to end! Of course, he was mediocre vocally and would never have made it through at all were it not for his gimmick. However, as strange as it may sound (and as hesitant as I am to admit it), there is this little part of me that hopes he makes it through this week just so I can be entertained by him some more. I know that isn’t the right (or fair) way to think, but I can’t help it. His performance was the most memorable one of the night by a mile (though albeit for all the wrong reasons)! LOL I am going to be VERY interested to see what Norman’s fate is tomorrow. I believe he needs to go home, but I’ll miss his entertainment value.

    5. Allison Iraheta–“Alone”: To be perfectly honest, out of all the girls who performed tonight, I like Allison the best. She was actually one of the few contestants tonight who made the perfect song choice, and her wisdom shone through in her performance. I love the red hair as it sets her apart from the other girls, and while her rendition of “Alone” wasn’t the best one I’ve heard on Idol (Carly gets that award), I think she did a much better job with that song than Ramiele Malubay did last year. She really has a unique sound that hasn’t won me all the way over yet, but it just might in the future. She’s my female pick, however she does need to work more on her social skills off of the stage to obtain a bit of star quality.

    6. Kris Allen–“Man In The Mirror” Hmm . . . interesting song choice. At first, I thought it wasn’t going to work out for him, but I was pleasantly surprised. He proved me wrong and really pulled it off. You know, he has a really nice sound to his voice and he does have the looks of a star (though he has suffered from so little screen time this season). I am worried that he may be in the same boat as Ricky Braddy was last week. They both sang well enough to make the Top 12, but because they weren’t familiar enough to America, neither of them may end up making it. Still, to be honest, I actually liked Kris just a little bit more than Ricky. Maybe America will get it right this time around. If not, I see a Wild Card possibility here.

    7. Megan Corkrey–“Put Your Records On”: What do you get when you merge Kristy Lee Cook with Carly Smithson? The answer is . . . Megan Corkrey! I know vocally this girl did really well, but I was just kind of bored really. I wasn’t much for her song choice at all, though it seemed to work for the judges. I know you liked her, MCL, so maybe I just missed something. I do think she’s very pretty though. Ah, well, I guess it’s ultimately up to America. We will see tomorrow!

    8. Matt Breitzke–“If You Could Only See”: You know this guy is simply put the very definition of the word “likable.” He is so nice and seems like the average, hard-working American family man. You want him to succeed because you are just like him. You know what I mean? I think the judges were a little too harsh on him overall. He definitely picked a boring song, but I believe that he tried his best to sing with a lot of conviction and vocally he really wasn’t all that bad. His likability factor will certainly bless him with some votes, but I’m afraid he will end up being just a little shy of making the cut. God bless him. I truly wish him and his family the best.

    9. Jesse Langseth–“Bette Davis Eyes”: I like that this is a bit spunky and all, but she picked without a doubt the most dull song of the night, thus her performance (for what good it did have in it) just ended up falling into the worst possible category–completely and utterly forgettable. Good-Bye Jesse.

    10. Kai Kalama–“What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted”: Oh, darn it! I really liked this guy (how he took care of his mom and all that). However, that song he chose just did not do him justice tonight. I thought it sounded very karaoke and a bit corny. The song was definitely way too old-fashioned to do him any justice. Oh, I really hope that things go well for him and his mom, but I don’t see him making the Top 12.

    11. Mishavonna Henson–“Drops of Jupiter”: Unfortunately for Mishavonna, the fact that she has had so little exposure thus far this season works against her. Add to that the fact that out of an incredible variety of brilliant songs to choose from, she picked a dud. The whole performance was (like Jesse’s) forgettable.

    12. Adam Lambert–“Satisfaction”: This really was the moment of the show I was most looking forward to. Adam has such a vast fanbase already and seems to have “frontrunner” written all over him. That being the case, I was expecting an awesome performance, and it was . . . well, good. Honestly, I was a bit let down. Don’t get me wrong! He was definitely the best of the night by far and will undoubtedly make the Top 12. However, I agree completely with Simon. His song alternated between being fantastic and just grating at times. Still, Adam proved that he absolutely deserves to be in this competition and has an excellent set of pipes!

    Besides Adam, I really don’t know who I hope makes it through tomorrow. My other favorites were Allison, Kris, and (shudder) Nick. If at least two of those four make it to the Top 12, I will be happy. I really did enjoy tonight’s show and I look forward to the results!


  11. Good sum-up of the evening, Galen! Got me thinking about some of my perhaps too-hasty judgements…but overall, I still stick with my original opinion. 😀

    Perhaps I’m totally missing something with Adam Lambert though…he seems to be getting rave reviews already. *shrug* Ah, well. We’ll see how it all shapes up tomorrow.


  12. The number one rock song in music history will never feel outdated to me. I liked Adam’s interpretation and by doing some Mick Jagger, he was allowed to prance and primp. His professional experience bothers me, but it would be a bit dull without him. They need some excitement on the tour.

    The girls will be hard to determine, although Allison came off quite well. The camera loves Megan, so I am getting some Katherine vibes. There is room for her to improve. Both girls would have done well with the Top 24 format. They are my picks for tonight.

    There is always that guy(s) the teen girls love to love. That might be Kris Allen who did a nice enough job. Seems like a sweet guy.

    I would hate to see Nick take a spot deserving of another singer.

    Kai did a decent job and I loved his song choice. I don’t think he’ll be there for the Motown Tribute, but I was happy he made it to the Top 36.


  13. Thanks for your recap MCL! The only contestants I would pay money to see were Allison and Adam. Allison has a ton of potential, but correct me if I am wrong MCL that her technique needs improving. I think she is singing too much from the throat, and she will have major vocal fatigue as the weeks go by (like Kelly Clarkson did till she had some vocal training). I do really like her though and look forward to her performances! Adam is a love or hate performer. I personally love him. He does need to learn how to perform for a TV camera and not just a big arena. Funny how a really high belt is considered screaming. Clearly the same people can’t like Axel Rose, Steven Tyler, etc. We KNOW Adam can sing pretty and use his head voice with a pure, sweet tone if he chooses (but then he will be called girly). I just want him to make the tour and be himself. He will be the only contestant that will draw me to a concert.


  14. Thanks everyone. I see that many of you favor Allison’s performance, but, honestly, the screaming and oversinging was just horrendous. Plus, I felt that she looked a mess – who dresses these kids?

    If she continues to the Top 12, she better “cut back” on the over-pumped vocals or she will run into vocal health issues down the road in this competition.


  15. I would rather Mishavonna advance before Allison. She seems to be a more disciplined singer – great technique and lovely charisma.

    Still love Adam, Megan and Kris, though. They demonstrated distinct artistry last evening.


  16. I’m normally on board with your opinions, but on these I have to disagree. Kris was NOT spectacular at all. He was ‘okay’ at best. Nor was Megan. I mean she has the look but her performance was ho-hum. I didn’t feel any passion in any of these singers the way I felt with Danny Gokey or Allison. Allison was BY FAR the best girl tonight. She had WAY more passion in her singing than anyone else tonight with except for Adam Lambert. Was she as good as Alexis, or is she as good as Lil Rounds? No. But she picked a perfect song for her style/voice which has an edgy quality to it like the chick rockers Vixen and Heart from the 80’s. I watched her performance a couple times and each time I am very impressed by it. As for Adam Lambert, he DEFINATELY was the strongest male of the night, but that isn’t saying much to me because his competition was sorely lacking this week — I think the producers may have set it up this way, but that is pure speculation on my part. My prediction is Alison and Adam for the top female and male, and the 3rd spot is up for grabs because I wasn’t impressed with anyone else’s singing. I’m totally hoping Nick Mitchel makes it in as the 3rd highest vote getter because he’s hilarious to watch!


  17. I disagree that Allison was ‘shouty’. That is the style of the song. If you listen to the original, as I have, you will see that the song HAS to be song with edginess. Take a listen to Vixen Edge of a Broken Heart on youtube and you’ll see that her voice was PERFECT for the song. It’s not a crisp, clean pop or r&b song and she sang it with a passion that was only matched by Adam Lambert.


  18. I missed last night’s show- went to another site to catch the performances. I was underwhelmed…

    I listened to all the contestants first (so informative, try it! You don’t get distracted by the visuals and can hear a lot of things, good and bad.) I thought Adam was the best by far. I went back to compare Allison and Megan, and to watch Kris’ complete performance. Surprise, surprise (not!), I’ve come to agree with your choices, MCL! (Once again, I bow to your wisdom, lol.)

    Kris got better and better and ended his performance with a bang. I hope this last impression will get him through to the next round.

    Megan did the best but really, the female side was pretty lacking, imo. I thought Allison started out okay but she really was oversinging almost the entire time. I detected some vocal fatigue and that is a bad sign, so early in the contest. But I think Allison might squeak by Megan.

    Disappointed with Jasmine and Kai. Poor Jasmine seemed so nervous but what a lovely voice. I think that raising the minimum age to 18 would be a good thing for AI. Did anyone read an interview with Adam Lambert where he said that he waited until he was older to try out for AI? He felt that the experience would only benefit him and he’s exactly right. Very smart…

    Norman was an embarrassment, imo. Yes, he had an entertainment value but in no way should he have made it this far. Unfortunately, he has a shot at making it through since he is, in Kara’s words, “memorable”. And not in a good way. (That was harsh, wasn’t it? But I was kind of insulted that AI would even put him in the semis.)


  19. I am glad you confirmed my suspicions with regard to her lack of vocal technique. I do think she does have potential, particularly for a 16 year old. I need to see more of her though, especially for theme weeks.


  20. Thanks KM – nice to see you here once again and glad that our minds match in regard to the performances last evening.

    Megan will be invited as a Wildcard and, I suspect, Mishavonna or Jasmine.

    I also predict that Allison will struggle in the Top 12 unless she works on her vocal technique.

    I don’t think everyone really understands that there is a good way to sing loudly and a bad way – and her way was the latter.


  21. I hope Megan comes back as a wildcard, too, along with Matt G.! Bet your happy Adam & Kris made it!


  22. Most of us focused on the same four contestants. I was a bit surprised that Kris got more votes than Adam, but I need to remember that there are people beyond the Internet blogs that do vote for the contestants!

    Megan seemed very popular with the judges, so I do see her returning for the Wild Card round. Again, I am missing the TOP 24 format.


  23. I think week 3 will be a real treat compared to a ho-hum week 2. Going into week three, my favorites to win are Jorge Nunez for men, and Kristen MacNamara and Lil Rounds for the women. Alex also has some strong pipes for the men (though he has no star quality that I’ve seen thus far). Can’t wait to see!



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