American Idol Season 8 Top 10 Vocal Masterclass Article: The Motown Era

American Idol

By: Rosanne Simunovic

This week American Idol paid tribute to the fantastic music from the Motown Era. Legendary artist, Smokey Robinson fulfilled his role as guest mentor to perfection by working and weaving  his Motown magic on the remaining 10 Finalists .

I would also like to mention how absolutely exciting it was to see and hear Stevie Wonder(ful) on the Top 10 Results Show. Is he phenomenal or is he phenomenal?

And I did enjoy hearing Ruben Studdard – it’s been a long time and he still sounds spectacular, doesn’t he?

Now, let us move forward to my Vocal Masterclass evaluations and I welcome your commentary and suggestions after the read!

Here are my evaluations and, remember, I am reviewing each singer in (first name) alphabetical order. Your comments are always welcome. To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below.

Adam Lambert,   Allison Iraheta,

Anoop Desai, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen,

Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud, Megan Joy,

Michael Sarver,  Scott MacIntyre

ADAM LAMBERT 27-years-old: “Tracks of my Tears” by – Smokey and the Miracles

Strengths: Adam-your performance  was gorgeous beyond belief.  You are an extremely intelligent performer, as evidenced in you interview with Smokey Robinson. You voiced weighty, thorough questions for Smokey and I feel it elevated your approach to this song. It’s always good to do your homework, but you went “above and beyond”, so kudos to you for this.

The peaceful and poignant setting you established throughout this song was absolutely beautiful. You sang the song in a manner that reflected and highlighted the emotional core of the message, thus demonstrating that one does not need to sing loud to get his or her point across to the listeners.

The sign of a true artist is to fully translate the mood and the message to your audience and to make them listen without forcing them to listen!   In this respect, you were supremely successful, Adam, and I applaud you for exposing yet another side to your persona. And another piece of the cabaret puzzle is in place!

I also loved the classy, sophisticated new look.  Wow – tres chic indeed!   I barely recognized you – you are quite  the chameleon!  This new look was so perfect for this song -you exuded a quiet sophistication throughout this number and it mirrored your refined  and elegant vocal style.

I was also extremely impressed that you had the courage and confidence to sing with restrained head voice and resonance throughout this song.   It really emphasized how prepared and meticulous you are as an artist in this competition. You emoted this song in a tender, delicate way and allowed the beautiful lyrics to translate to the hearts of your listeners.  The words and music came to life through your superb artistic rendition of this wonderful classic.

Your signature style is truly indomitable, Adam, and I congratulate you once again for giving us a glimpse into the essence of your stellar performing ability.

Bravo! Excellent showcase once again!

Critique: Adam-I guess you have your own way of approaching your technique – spread mouth and all. In the long run, you have to be so careful of the continued use of this approach in your singing style. I felt that, this week, it really diminished the full clarity and core of your head resonance.

Also, the horizontal placement of your mouth also encouraged you to sing through all the vowels in the diphthongs in some of your words.  When you vocalized the word life at the 1:24 mark in the video, I would have preferred a cleaner, pure “ah” vowel. You grabbed every vowel in that “eye” diphthong and, for me, your voice projected back instead of front. It lacked stability.

Same thing happened at the 1:49 mark on the word “smile”, and at 2:43 in the word “place”, but this time you were entering an even higher section of your vocal register and it was more pronounced. You voice  did not sound grounded.  It was a recurrent problem throughout this number;  however, I am just pointing out  some significant areas in the song where I felt  that your voice noticeably suffered because of this technical glitch.

It is so imperative that you keep your mouth circular and your jaw relaxed, thus allowing the diaphragm to harness and direct your vocal energy. And avoid those diphthongs – the pure vowel is the way to go. Your voice will enjoy more depth, more resonance, more transparency if you follow this regimen in the rehearsal and performing process.

However, I could audibly hear the lovely crescendo in your voice on the final word “need”.  The mouth was all wrong, but the stomach muscles were obviously kicking in to create this very difficult, yet effective, crescendo.

Yet, I was aching to hear this final note with a perfect mouth position – circular and relaxed.  I have no doubt that it would have been an even more effective ending to this beautiful number and would have released unnecessary tension from your throat muscles.

Congratulations, however, on an outstanding artistic performance.

ALLISON IRAHETA 16 -years old: “Papa was a Rolling Stone” by – Temptations

Strengths: Allison-what a great song choice! What a great performance!  And how I loved the low, sultry timbre  in your voice at the beginning and throughout this song.  And I appreciated the fact that you incorporated some lovely head voice along the way. Good for you!

Your rhythmic presence on stage was contagious. Oh my, such musicality and such a gift with your phrasing elements! I also loved the gritty vocal nuances you incorporated into  this song. It perfectly elevated the communicative success of your performance and emphasized how deeply you internalize the emotional core of the song.

You really commanded the stage in a monumental way, Allison – showed everyone who’s boss here, but in a genuine and honest manner. You effortlessly worked the stage like a pro and your voice just bounced up and out toward the audience because of your rhythmic passion and stylistic pizzazz and zing!

You are also one clever young lady – you always extract the correct key choice for your natural singing range and thus is the secret of performing success – even if the technical elements are still not quite there yet.

This was a really “crazy good” performance young lady.   This was not an easy song and yet you tackled it with confidence and innate musical style!  Brava and kudos to you!

Critique: Allison-performance-wise, this song was spectacular. But, in an effort not to repeat myself, you need to refer to last week’s critique and, hopefully move forward with the suggestions I voiced.

First of all, a gentle reminder about the overuse of your chest voice  -you are presently over-extending your upper range by incorporating too much chest voice into the vocal mix. Yes, you did have some isolated head voice in this performance, but, when singing your power vocals, there was a discernible push from the throat. As a result, your voice sounded flat at times and lacking in ringing presence.

Also, the tension in your face demonstrated to me that the resonating process of your voice was compromised. Your voice was not being produced in a free, unobstructed manner. You may be subtly applying some diaphragmatic support, but, as long as you maintain the discernible tension in your vocal masque, you will never fully appreciate  and realize the true depth of  your natural singing range.  It’s all punch, now, and no finesse!

In addition, I found your articulation skills to be less than stellar – many times, throughout this song I could not understand the words.  Yes, you must sustain the melodic line on the vowels, but, at the same time, the consonants have to be articulated with quick precision and without disturbing the relaxed open features in the face and jaw.

Also, when are we going to see another side of you? I voiced this question last week and I am voicing it once again. We need to hear your ability to sustain your melodic line and watch it come to full fruition. Only a slower tempo number will fully accomplish this and it might draw your attention to the real deficiencies in your technical elements, allowing you to correct and alleviate them.

Also, a slower number would encourage you to sing with increased nuance, as I feel that this has been truly missing in all of your performances. I love to hear the strong vocals, but I also like to hear the sweet tender vocals as well.

Hope this helps, Allison. Nonetheless, Congratulations on a powerful showcase!

ANOOP DESAI 22-years-old: “O0 Baby Baby” by – Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Strengths: Anoop- you chose another ballad  this week, so, once again, I was looking for the sustaining power you gave us last week.  Can he do it two weeks in a row?  Yes he can indeed!  I loved how you quietly accessed your head voice.  It provided a wonderful contrast to the rich quality of your natural, lower range.

Also, you had a nice bend in your knees when singing through your power vocals and this allowed the soft palate to remain elevated, thus freeing any discernible areas of tension in your throat.

This was a very difficult song selection and  you took a great, artistic  risk in choosing it. You must have been rehearsing like crazy and your ability to maintain control of the rein and pacify the thought process throughout this number was admirable.  You exuded a calm, soothing presence on the stage that complimented the romantic, soothing nature of this song.

I also appreciated the visual dimension you incorporated into this number, starting the song in a seated position and then rising and moving quietly about the stage. This was very well done and also added an opportunity for you to relax and release any excess tension in your body.

Congratulations on a very good showcase once again, Anoop!

Critique: Anoop- at times, I felt that your pitch was somewhat unsteady in your falsetto range.  Somehow, I think  that the diaphragmatic muscles were not connecting properly to your vocal cords and, as a result, the air was not being released in a bouyant and consistent fashion.

Just a suggestion here: try sustaining your falsetto through an increase in your dynamic level.  I felt that the head voice had a diminished sound and never maintained a forward momentum. A slightly louder – and I emphasize the word slightly – dynamic would have accomplished so much more and would have established more vocal presence in this part of your range.

Also, when holding those long sustained notes, make certain that you maintain a consistent level of support from the diaphragm. I always tell my singers to envision the sound spinning from their mouth and moving out in one long line.

I also suggest that you think of repeating several notes on the same pitch when holding one note, thus ensuring that the diaphragmatic support is vibrant and secure.  This will engage your muscles  to flex and channel the air in a more efficient manner so that the head voice remains steady and centered.

Also, be very careful of the messy “ay” diphthong in the word “baby” – grab the purer “eh” vowel and your sound will enjoy a more focused, clearer and centered presence. In other words, think British and make sure that mouth remains oval in the process!

Very good work, indeed, Anoop!  You are truly challenging and stretching your artistic style and are to be applauded for your hard work and dogged determination.

DANNY GOKEY 28- years old : “Get Ready” by – Temptations

Strengths: Danny – this was a great and energetic song choice and it suited you very well. You obviously feel truly comfortable while singing uptempo numbers, as you possess enormous communication skills. To that end, I fully appreciated the crisp, precise articulation of the consonants, thus ensuring the complete comprehension of the lyrics.


I also loved how you mingled with the back-up singers and, of course, that abbreviated choreography  toward the end of this number was a wonderful visual element in this performance. 

You are fortunate in that your voice has natural presence without requiring a large amount of effort from your technical resources. It is  rich, brawny instrument that worked so very well, especially for this week’s Motown tribute.

This was a really entertaining performance.  Good work, Danny!

Critique: Danny -similar to my comments to Allison, I am beginning to wonder if you are ever going to treat us to a slow, meaningful ballad?  As I mentioned last week, you need to challenge your vocal strategy and start selecting songs that highlight your ability to sing with a greater degree of nuance and inflection.

Generally speaking,  slower melodies afford the singer opportunity to do so because the relaxed tempo allows the singer time to focus on every aspect of  a stellar song performance – solid technical skills, forward momentum of the vocal line,  expressive lyrics, impeccable phrasing, etc.

With this week’s performance, you were once again over-extending the parameters of your natural vocal ability.  You were weaving far too much chest voice into your vocal sound and, as a result, your voice sounded very hoarse, poorly centered and extremely one-dimensional.

I have a feeling that, had rehearsed this song in a slow, snail-like fashion, you would have uncovered a myriad of vocal deficiencies and, thus, would have been able to correct and modfiy the technical issues when you performed this song in the original tempo.  I heard you really struggling for the upper notes, but, because the tempo was so quick – too quick, I thought -it was not as obvious to the average listener.

If you are unable to pace your up-tempo songs really well, Danny, the song loses a sense of control and I feel that this is what happened in this week’s  performance.  Your stage movements seemed erratic and/or ill-planned, thus removing necessary energy that you needed to pour into the diaphragmatic breathing process. 

If nothing else, this competition teaches a singer that disciplined, meticulous rehearsal is necessary to ensure long-term success On this show – or any show – or else the singer will lose stamina and resilience.

Good luck next week Danny and practice slowly and pay close attention to the details. Therein lies excllence! 

KRIS ALLEN 23- years old: “How Sweet it Is” by – Marvin Gaye

Strengths: Kris – you decided to “change it up” this week  and choose an up-tempo song.  This was a great song choice. I loved the slow, sexy start to this song – it was a teaser to the clever movement into the gritty uptempo portion of the song.  Through your playful facial expression, you visually mirrored the tempo change to perfection. I love watching you – your natural expressiveness establishes such a bond with the audience. You bring all of us along for a whimsical musical ride.


You are also so very musical, as evidenced by the manner in which you punctuated the rhythmn through the strumming technique on the guitar.  There is always a forward momentum in your musical line and, yet, it always looks and sounds perfectly controlled. You are extremely masterful in setting just the perfect pace for your songs.

Your voice sounded beautifully resonant and clear. It is such a gorgeous instrument and you moved seamlessly throughout your range.  Do you have perfect pitch? You really have a way of centering your pitch, even if the technique is not where it should be at this moment in time.   The lightness of your voice – resplendent with head resonance – is probably the reason for this. Your voice has clarity and transparency that is ubiquitous throughout your range.

I also appreciated your attempt to maintain a circular mouth formation and relaxed jaw. You were really trying to apply a cohesive approach to myour vowels and, as a result,  your voice sounded wonderfully resonant

Also, the performance structure appeared  effortless and, more important  accented your genuine distinctive  style.  Although this was a well-rehearsed song selection, it appeared and sounded spontaneous and because of this, it felt and looked authentic. This is a signature Marvin Gaye song, but, in your aw-shucks way of performing, turned it into a Kris Allen signature song. And that is what this competition is really about – re-arranging and modernizing music from the past!

I absolutely loved this performance Kris! Bravo!

Critique: Kris -careful that the tension in the neck and jaw doesn’t get out of control  No head-raising on the final note – that’s not a good thing!  Always think down when moving up – think over the note, never reach for your upper note. This approach will only cause needless tension. And bend you knees and squeeze that butt,  breathe, drop your jaw  and  – presto -watch the magic happen.

Over time, I know all of  this will improve and you will feel  a more profound resonation process. However, your performance this week was a spectacular one and I. Loved. It!

LIL ROUNDS: 24- years old “Heatwave” by – Martha and the Vandellas

Strengths: Lil -your interview portion was truly inspiring. You are an intelligent, thoughtful artist and, more than any other singer this week, I felt connected to the inner recesses of your soul.  You are obviously a sensitive and caring artist and this is an integral component for success as a  musician. Your believability factor is genuine and true! You looked terrific this week.

I loved the retro wig – what a great, great look!  Although this was, perhaps, the most inspired song choice,  I still fully appreciated the wonderful performing aspects your brought to this number.  You looked extremely comfortable on stage and your rhythmic presence practically bounced off the television screen.

Your movements were poised and effortless and  you established strong communication with your audience extremely well.  Even though the tempo was a little faster than the norm, the clarity of your diction was extremely good – you slowed the process down in your mind and took time to spin out those consonants in a precise fashion.

However, at the same time, your vowel placement was never compromised and, as a result, your voice enjoyed resonating presence throughout the showcase.   I also have to applaud the all-important  circular bel canto mouth position you maintianed throughout this showcase, allowing your voice to ring freely in your vocal masque. Additionally,  your open, relaxed features generally rendered a seamless timbre throughout your vocal range.

You lived this performance and the performance moved from you to us in a very tangible manner. You are such a fabulous artist, Lil, and certainly have earned your proper placement in this Top 10!


Critique: Lil, as I mentioned last week,  make absolutely certain that you are maintaining a sense of continuity toward the application of the diaphragmatic breathing process. Close to the final phase of your song, your voice sounded tired and “chest heavy”.   Your pitch was slightly compromised, resulting in some poorly tuned notes.


I sense that, toward the end of the song, you were running out of steam and, as a result, your breathing was compromised.   You were not able to fully support your voice, thus diminishing the ringing  and pitch-perfect presence of  head voice in your power vocals.

The tempo of this song was quite relentless and left you little room to breathe, so it was remarkable, actually, that you maintained so poised and relaxed throughout this number. The visual component of this song was never compromised; however, the aural component did suffer –slightly -toward the end of this number.

Although you paced this song very well, sometimes the adrenaline rush starts to plummet as the song moves along and that may have been what happened here.  Make totally certain that you practice these up-tempo songs slowly, thus ensuring that  the choreographic elements in a song are not compromising the vocal production.

Also, I hope that, in future performances, you will be able to select a song that will truly accentuate the powerful nuances in your voice – something with more depth and, perhaps, a variation in tempi would do the trick.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed this performance, Lil. It was extremely entertaining and your confidence level escalated in a monumental way this week. Excellent, excellent work!

MATT GIRAUD  23-years-old:“Let’s Get it On” by – Marvin Gaye

Strengths: Matt – you brought wonderful visual dimension to this week’s performance. I appreciated the fact that you moved away from the piano midway through this song – it gave the listeners a chance to enjoy your relaxed vocal skills. Your piano skills are spectacular, but, this week we had the opportunity to solely focus on the gorgeous, mellow quality of your vocal timbre.

I loved the way you frolicked through your head voice -you did so in a playful, yet, soulful manner.  And you walked and moved with such confidence and aplomb -good for you! Your showcase journey enabled you to move closer to your audience and, along the way, to the judges’ table. Excellent!

You selected a wonderful song for this Motown performance and it truly highlighted the style that we have come to identify with you.

Critique: Matt-as I pointed put last week, there is still some discernible tension in your voice.  You love to raise your head, don’t you?  You must be careful that you center your voice from your diaphragm and, at the same time, try to make certain that your mouth retains a circular position.

Also, always remember to allow the jaw to gradually plummet when you sing through your upper/falsetto range; in doing so, it will further encourage your breathing muscles to actively support your voice in a more cohesive manner. And think over your upper notes and never try to reach for them. It also helps to bend your knees slightly when you sing through your tenor range – this will allow the throat to remain open and free.

Additionally, be very conscious of any tension in your throat – it needs to be relaxed at all times so that your voice can project in a liberated manner toward your vocal masque.

Finally, try to grab only the pure vowels in your lyrics. Presently, you are sustaining your voice through all the vowels in your diphthongs, thus diminishing a considerable amount of depth and beauty from your voice and decreasing the nucleus of the exact pitch.

For example, when you encounter the “eye” diphthong in your words, sustain your voice on the first pure vowel in the diphthong, which is “ah“. Isn’t that easier? The same applies to other diphthongs such as “aye” (eh) and “oh” (no “oo” vowel until you are ready to move on to another word or syllable in a word.

However, you must make certain that the diaphragmatic breath support is in place to assist the resonation process of your voice. Breathe deeply and fully from the diaphragm and then flex and contract those muscles to release the correct amount of air for the type of vocal sound you are trying to achieve – high or low, loud or soft.

This will require a great deal of time and effort on your part, but it is truly imperative that you nip these important technical issues in the bud as soon as possible. The result will be a more confident vocal performance and an increase in the dynamic dimension of your vocal production.

However, I have tremendous admiration for your vocal artistry and innate musical skills, Matt. You deserve to move deep into this competition, as you bring a very special and unique dimension to this show.

MEGAN JOY years-old : “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder

Strengths: Megan-you looked wonderful and, overall, this was a good performance.  Sure, maybe the vocals were not perfect, but your style was absolutely wonderful. You moved easily and gracefully on and off stage and injected you personal, quirky style into this soulful classic.

I enjoy watching you, Megan. You have an obvious love for performing that is truly genuine and real. You also make certain that you establish a strong bond with your audience. To that end, I was happy to see that you were confident enough to move off the stage and into the audience. Your stage movements added more dimension to this performance and afforded you the opportunity to relax and move your body – so very important in alleviating any areas of tension in your physical makeup.

I loved the little growl you weaved into your pure vocals – inflection is extremely important in pop music and I was happy to see that you are not timid in this respect. Your voice is wonderfully expressive and the clarity of your diction is impeccable.

Good work, Megan! Loved it!

Critique: Megan -remember to support sweetie!  You were once again singing with an enormous amount of chest voice and when you did move into your upper falsetto range, your muscles were totally unprepared for the transition. Your lovely head voice was unsteady and poorly centered.

You love to belt, don’t you? There is nothing wrong with this approach per say, but singers – especially Broadway singers- learn to do so with a solid technical foundation. You need to blend both chest and head resonance into every part of your range and, by doing so, you will attain a seamless, more confident vocal sound.

As I mentioned last week, your throat was tense and your mouth maintained a horizontal position on some of your vowels – particularly the “ee” vowel.

You need to meticulously work on some technical excercises that will train you to apply a uniform shape to your mouth when singing through all the vowels. And the shape must be circular – similar to biting into an apple.

Also, it is important to relax your throat and jaw muscles and allow the dipahragmatic breathing process to channel and direct your voice toward you vocal masque.

Finally, be every so careful to gauge those stage movements – I felt that all the walking, at times, made you less aware of your vocal production and, thus, some pitch issues ensued as a result of this.

However, I give you high kudos in the sense that you eliminated some of the extraneous body movements we used to see in your earlier performances. So, this makes me think that you are slowly trying to work out these technical issues on a weekly basis. And on live TV! Not an easy task and I congratulate you for your success thus far.

Keep up the wonderful work, Megan, and congratulations once again!

MICHAEL SARVER: ““Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by – Temptations

Strengths: Michael -well, you certainly came out of the gate fighting, didn’t you? You openly displayed a more confident presence on stage and, for the very first time, looked like you truly belonged in this competition. You selected a very, very good song and, personally, I felt that this was your best song performance throughout the entire competition.

I loved the growling aspects you incorporated into your rich muscular sound; it perfectly reflected your strong and vigorous presence on that stage. Your charisma level escalated in a monumental way with this performance and, for me, I enjoyed the fact that you had reached such a noticeable level of improvement in such a short time.  It accentuated the fact that you had been working very hard to correct the technical flaws that were impedeing the full complement of your vocal production and for that I say: “Bravo”!

I was also loving the rounder mouth, Michael.  You cemented those vowels so perfectly in your vocal masque and, as a result your voice had presence – it had power!  In previous weeks, the natural beauty and potency of your voice was masked – hiding inside your mouth and throat and not resonating in a full way in your vocal masque.

You also moved in a very relaxed, well-formulated manner, never rushing, and made certain that the vocals were not sacrificed by the physical energy you were exerting. You balanced the choreographic and vocal elements very well indeed and the whole presentation looked and sounded effortless.

This was an exceptional performance, Michael! Kudos my man!

Critique: Michael – make sure you don’t force the issue with your voice – keep the throat relaxed at all times.  Trust the diaphragmatic breathing muscles to do the trick – those muscles are very strong and, once you obtain full control over them, then you will never constrict your throat again.  Plus, all this facial and throat tension will cause  further vocal problems down the road and your voice is far too precious for that.

Always remember to keep the head voice at the core of your vocal timbre and increase the dynamic level from the diaphragm. Once this is fully mastered, you will truly be unstoppable.  There are some classical elements in your voice that I absolutely love and that is definitely a good thing.

Bravo once again on such a tremendous performance. Now enjoy some well-deserved time with your family! 🙂

SCOTT MACINTYRE 23-years-old: ”You Can’t Hurray Love” by – Supremes

Strengths: Scott – I love watching you at the piano. You are -simply put- an amazing singer and pianist.  I loved this song choice and also appreciated the opportunity to watch you entertain with a more energetic and vigorous approach. It was a good call, so rest well with that thought if and when you read this.

As with Kris’ number, I appreciated the slow opening of this song that segued into the more customary up-tempo version. Another teaser-likeopening and it always works!

Additionally, by adding some wonderful variation to the melodic line, we gained a further glimpse into your innate musicality. Your ability to mold the shape of your phrases is extremely musical and speaks volumes to your creative and sensitive makeup as an artist.

Your upper range was extremely solid – just brimming with clarity and head voice. In fact, I was very impressed with the uniform quality in your vocal timbre and it emphasized how advanced you are in the utilization of the correct technical approach to your singing style.

I was loving that almost roundmouth – it certainly allowed you to cement those pure vowels in a continued fashion and, as a result, your voice always maintained a forward momentum throughout this number. Your phrasing was impeccable, Scott!

The trio of ladies “doo-wapping” with you behind the piano added a great visual component. You looked relaxed, happy and revitalized and it was wonderful to hear and watch you entertain in such a joyous fashion at that precious piano of yours! This was spectacular performance – bravo! bravo!

Critique: Scott-I heard some nasal tone in your vocal makeup at the beginning of this song. Perhaps the slower tempo didn’t encourage you to support in a vigorous manner? Or perhaps it was nervous energy over-riding the technical support system.

However, once you moved into the quicker tempo, your voice gained in resonance and you relaxed your throat, thus diminishing the nasal tone. Nasal resonance is a good thing – it adds a bright, ringing quality to your voice, but nasal tone comes from tension and lack of cohesive support from the diaphragm.

Also, make absolutely certain that you continue to work on the correct shape of your mouth. You jaw appears to be relaxed, so that is not an issue here. But, presently, there is still a slight horizontal spread to your mouth position and I think this is diminshing some wonderful vocal depth and resonance we could be enjoying in your performances.

A quick fix is to think classical while singing pop and allow the circular placement of the mouth to funnel out the pure, translucent quality in your voice. Also, the increased roundness in the mouth will further encourage your diaphragmatic breathing muscles to work in a more bouyant fashion.

However, I think you are a remarkable artist, Scott, and I sense that you are working tremendously hard during the rehearsal process. I loved your showcase this week very much – it was dripping with charisma and musicality! Bravo!

For all the latest American Idol News, visit SirLinksalot: American Idol or the American Idol Official Site .

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

49 Responses to “American Idol Season 8 Top 10 Vocal Masterclass Article: The Motown Era”

  1. I love reading your “recaps” in such an intelligent way. I look for you every week, and look forward to it, it brings music to me since I am deaf. I wear a hearing aid on one side but i do not hear music like other people do, but I love to watch the “kids.” Although, I must mention that I do hear the awesome beauty in Adam’s voice…whoo whee. I think it is because I can appreciate opera and he does a little of those beautiful beautiful notes.


  2. I too love your opinion MCL and think you have a wonderful way of expressing your thoughts. I am assuming that you either sang or taught music. Your critiques are one of the reasons I came over to this site.

    I thought Adam was outstanding. Every week I keep thinking how can he top that performance. Incredible. So I am a bit nervous about next week as I have set my expectations so high, that I might now be let down.

    Quick question. I missed the explanation of what the “save” is for. If the contestant has been voted off, why would the panel keep that person in for next week. WOn’t that contestant most likely get voted off next week. So what is the purpose of the save. The public has voted. Enlighten me.


  3. Hi Joyceanna and thanks for stopping by and voicing your lovely comments.

    The “save” is to give the eliminated contestant one more opportunity to gain the approval of additional voters and strengthen their voter base. You will notice that, last week, Megan and Allison was in the bottom and this week they were not.


  4. Thanks for another enlightening article MCL. I like that you had points of critique for everyone this time. I don’t think anyone is ever completely perfect!

    Adam’s performance was great, but I felt like it could’ve been better, and I think you explained why. It’s just a hunch, but I think is Adam is determined to not sing like he’s doing musical theater. Maybe that’s why he’s forgoing some of the technique that we all know he has, to create a different sound.

    I mean, compare the Brigadoon performance from 2004 to “The Tracks Of My Tears”. I think his falsetto was a lot richer in the former.


  5. MCL, excellent job as usual! I agree with most of what you said. I have to admit though that I LOVED Danny’s performance and thought he was the best of the night. Everything just seems to come so naturally to him up on that stage, and I do enjoy it when he does up-tempo songs. I agree that I would not mind him doing a slower ballad style song sometime, but I think his strength lies in the more upbeat, uplifting songs. I just wish he would sing “You’ll Be In My Heart” SO very much! I believe that he would truly shine with that song!

    Anyway, there were a lot of strong performances this week, and I look forward to next week. I definitely prefer this week’s Adam to the previous weeks, and I thought he did quite well though I still can’t say I’m a massive fan yet. I know I may be very strange, but I actually enjoyed Scott’s performance as well this week despite the rather brutal criticism he got.


  6. I absolutely agree with your comments and critiques for Kris. I believe, musically, he is the best in the competition. It’s the little things he does that makes him such a wonderful performer. Those who notice all the musical changes and interpretations he makes definitely can respect him so much more.

    I’ll take Kris’ way of performing over overdramatic bombast any day. Unfortunately, most of America prefer the “in your face” type of performances…


  7. Hey MCL. Another nice one. Kudos.

    I love how you critique the contestants against themselves, as opposed to the other contestants. This is even more important this season with the incredibly talented Adam Lambert on the show. He is clearly in a league of his own and to compare the others to him would not be fair. That said, I am a HUGE Adam Lambert fan and hope he wins. I agree with you that his performance was so so so pretty. Gooooorrrrgeeeeous. And yes, he is a true artist. “Art” just emanates from this guy. I saw it from day 1 in watching his audition. And what an amazing moment it must have been to see Smokey Robinson give him a very well-deserved Standing Ovation. Amazing!!!!

    My dark horse is Kris. I think he’s very talented, although I think he lacks that star quality spark. Another one of my faves is Allison, who is definitely is a born performer.

    I think Adam will win, with Kris and Allison rounding out the top 3. I predict that Danny will be the “shocker” elimination this season.

    I think Megan is getting unfairly criticized. Yes, her singing was terrible this week; however, she brings something to the competition that many of the others do not. She is unique and fun to watch, which sometimes is under-valued.

    I just want to end by thanking AI for bringing us Adam Lambert. Everyone is watching to see what this remarkably talented human being will do next. I am very very very impressed.


  8. Wonderful analysis, MCL. I really do hope all the singers avail themselves of professional vocal training – whatever the outcome. Every one of them needs it – as you’ve so excellently critiqued. I was never able to successfully marry both head and chest voice; as a result, I relied on chest voice way too much. It effectively lowered my range. Perhaps it was lack of use – but I found myself unable to access my upper register at all after a time.

    I don’t sing any more (my musical comedy days are long gone!) – but I do listen carefully; especially on programs like Idol. It showcases everything – including bad habits. Sometimes they become so ingrained – the artist almost can’t correct them in fear of losing what got them ‘there’ in the first place. I worry about Allison with that. I think she’s almost entirely in her chest voice. Elaine Paige has spoken on this subject extensively. She also sings almost entirely in her chest. Amazing; especially when you consider both her quality and range – not to mention that instantly identifiable tone. Thing is – she almost lost all that. Pushing her voice all those years in that manner threatened to ruin it. She had to go back to basics, essentially. It seems to have worked. I heard her sing ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’ relatively recently. Her voice had lost none of its seductive power.

    Anyway…..I do the Idol singers find themselves good vocal coaching. It will improve their chances at a sustainable career.


  9. I just watched Wednesday night’s Idol again tonight and I agree with you, MCL, that the judges were really unjustly hard on some of the contestants. And I also noticed when they showed the brief re-caps of each performance at the end of the show, that especially the clip of Matt did not feature a standout part of his performance. What they showed was actually a little boring, so it should come as no surprise that Matt ended up in the bottom three. I’m going to make a point of watching this a little more closely in the future. This is another way that Idol can manipulate voting. I do remember hearing that these re-caps are from their practice runs earlier in the evening, so I suppose it’s possible that Matt didn’t do as well then.

    Another thing I noticed was how humble Adam seems to be even though he is so enormously talented. He could easily have an attitude, but he accepts the accolades with true graciousness.

    Does anyone know what next week’s theme will be?


  10. Hi everyone and thanks again for sharing your wonderful views here on this site.

    Louise – I think next week’s theme is Billboard Top 100, but don’t quote me on this. I read it over on the Idolforums site.

    Off to bed, but will chat with y’all tomorrow.

    Good night!


  11. i’m hoping the other judges (all the ones besides Simon) would think up some new generic observations before the next show


  12. Another terrific analysis, MCL! I admit I don’t always understand some of your points. LOL. But I am still learning. I appreciate TFLC’s comments as a singer; it provided a different perspective.

    Adam’s performance and talent is unbelievable. IdolGirl, I do believe you love this guy. ;o) He is very polished, and I do see him winning UNLESS he doesn’t want to.

    Kris is turning out to be a surprise. I love how much he is enjoying himself.

    I hope to see Anoop relax a little more because I absolutely loved his performance. I want to see a “moment” very soon!

    I believe Danny is trying too hard to get us to like him. For some, it is having an opposite effect.

    Do you know what octave range Adam has?

    Thank you so much for your reviews, MCL.


  13. Louise, I have heard the theme is iTunes Top Downloads.

    Oh, you are so right about the manipulations done by the judges and TPTB. There are many in the viewing audience that don’t realize this. However, it is becoming more and more obvious with each season.


  14. According to, Adam has shown a 16-step range on the show so far, which is 2 steps short of three octaves, and the second biggest range ever after Chris Daughtry (16.5). But I’m pretty sure, from watching pre-Idol videos, that Adam can go both higher and lower than what he’s done so far.


  15. I am still waiting for this kind of performance quality from Adam. His voice is truly an exquisite instrument and I hope he uses it in a way that will highlight the depth of his range and ability.


  16. Haha Karian. Can u tell that I love Adam Lambert? hehehe.


  17. Wow, I am surprised about Daughtry’s range. I thought I read that Jennifer Hudson has a 3 octave range. I know it is quite impressive, even if it does fall a bit short for being the biggest.


  18. I don’t remember Chris Daughtry having a large range. Hmmm. Adam sure surpasses him I would think. Will have to check further into this.


  19. Chris’s range is because he can go very low. I believe it was in I Walk The Line that he sang an E2.


  20. Yes, I can IdolGirl! What is nice about this forum is that we are respectful of others’ opinions. I think Adam has an excellent chance at winning. I think a lot will depend on how much growth Allison shows in the coming weeks.

    I hope Anoop goes farther in the competition, although I don’t see him in the TOP 3.

    I am surprised about Chris’ range. WOW.


  21. I guess they are measuring the ranges of the contestants during one number? Okay, I guess that makes sense, since Adam sings a great deal in his falsetto range. I have a feeling that this will change this season with Adam. He has a remarkable range, but hasn’t fully displayed the true depth of it quite yet.


  22. From the FAQ:

    Does this include songs that the contestants have sung outside of American Idol?
    No, this only takes into account the songs that each contestant has been shown singing on American Idol and is not an exact measurement of any of their entire vocal ranges. It is merely a measurement of the vocal ranges displayed on the show.

    Are head voice/falsetto notes taken into account for the range standings?
    No. In order to keep the comparisons consistent, head voice/falsetto are not included for the range standings, as not all contestants use head voice or falsetto. These notes are included in a separate “highest note” ranking and on the contestants’ individual pages.


  23. Sara, you have to keep in mind that only factors in notes sung in American Idol performances and solos in group numbers. It doesn’t include higher notes from packages or any performances outside of Idol.

    Jennifer, indeed, has a large range, and Kelly Clarkson also has a 3 octave range (although one of her former teachers said it was closer to four octaves!). Kelly has sung both higher and lower since Idol.


  24. Yes, the person who maintains the site intends to exclude head voice/falsetto notes, BUT if I’m not mistaken, she (the webmaster) does not study vocal technique. So, she would not be able to distinguish between the finer details of technique. Because to be honest, Adam’s upper notes ARE pretty much head voice but heavily “twanged,” so they have a lot of compression.

    I think it’s just hard for the layman to describe because I think most people (untrained or not) realize that Adam’s upper range is not full out “chest voice” (that’s why some people say his upper range is “thin”), but his sound up there is fuller than “regular” head voice. So someone who is not familiar with the nitty gritty details of vocal technique might mistakenly call the sound “chest voice.” On a physiological level, though, what Adam is doing is a lot closer to head voice, though. As I said before, he just twangs it a LOT.

    That said, the webmaster has perfect pitch, so the low notes and high notes are definitely accurate. She is not drawing letters and numbers out of thin air. I definitely stand behind the site’s accuracy in that sense. Issues of whether notes should be counted as chest voice or head voice/falsetto are more technical than anything else.


  25. Also, I should add that for the older seasons, the webmaster used to use notations of “low” and “high” and so forth, and later on, she converted the notation to, say, A4, C5, etc., so in the past, I have stumbled upon some unintentional errors (where A3 is written instead of A4, for example). But the number of steps for the octave ranges is correct, and you can tell what she meant even in those cases with inadvertent errors.


  26. I recently found out something that disturbs me quite a bit about our current American Idol David Cook. Long story short, he wants his fans to BACK OFF! You can read all about it here:

    I’m a fan of Cook and everything, but it took a whole lot of nerve for him to tell his fans (who put him where he is today) to give him some space. I bet he wouldn’t have told them that last year when he needed their votes. It’s also interesting that David Archuleta was the one who received the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award to American Idol for Best Reality Show this year. Isn’t the American Idol supposed to receive that? Well, as far as I am concerned, last year’s TRUE American Idol did receive that award. I am convinced more than ever that America made the wrong decision last year. I can only hope and pray that American Idol learns from its mistake and chooses the correct person this year.


  27. I’m sorry I posted two times up above, but there seems to be some sort of technical error here. It doesn’t post my recent post down at the bottom, but rather up a few posts from it. Please read what I wrote about David Cook up a few posts above. Thanks!


  28. You sure don’t sound like much of a fan of Cook’s, at least not to me.

    If you knew all the facts, Galen, you might change your mind about Cook’s “whole lot of nerve” re asking his FANatical fans to act more reasonably. Suffice it to say the fans of whom Cook spoke went way over the top, harrasing him, going to his hotel room, etc. He nicely asked on his MySpace for his fans to respect his privacy.

    Re Nickelodeon Award, it is a kid’s show after all, so who better to receive the award on behalf of Idol than Archie? And perhaps Archie was there to receive it, because Cook is back home attending to a family emergency. In case you weren’t aware, Cook had to cancel two concerts to go back home to attend to family matters. (Let’s just hope his sick brother is okay)

    America got it right last year, Cook was and is the American Idol.


  29. Yeah Galen, we got what you wrote about Cook…

    Sheesh, sour grapes, much ?


  30. Wow, that doesn’t seem fair.

    I’m more impressed by someone who can use his head voice in a skilled manner, and I think that should be counted.

    My goodness – based on Adam’s performances thus far, not counting headvoice is going to put him at a considerable disadvantage, isn’t it? He sings in his head voice a lot and he does it well – it really should be counted, I think.

    Does that mean that she doesn’t count women who sing in head voice, either? Because that seems REALLY strange to me. Or does she just not count it for men because it’s a departure from the normal tone of a man’s voice?

    Ugh – this is so confusing to me. I think it would be more fair if she counted everything.


  31. I agree. A singer’s range should include his entire range – from chest to head. No wonder those figures looked strange to me!


  32. Galen – I know firsthand how territorial fans can be. When I was at the Toronto “meet and greet” party, I could not get near David Cook.

    There were, perhaps 50 people – tops – at that party, so it was not a huge crowd by any stretch of the imagination.

    However a band of fans decided that Cookie was their personal prize and hovered over him, taking countless – and I mean countless pictures- with him.

    My daughter loves him, so I gently squeezed her into the crazed group before me and he grabbed her and said: “”You’re next”.

    Yet, as soon as her picture was taken, the crazed fans closed the circle gap once again and I was shoved aside.

    I never had the opportunity to meet him, because 4 or 5 selfish people decided that this was their own personal “meet and greet”.

    Now, multiply this by the numerous appearances he has made and you can just imagine how exhausting and frustrating this has become for him.

    He does love his fans so much, but he he is human and has problems and feelings like the rest of us and should be treated accordingly.


  33. If you go to the Standings page, there’s a section for “Range Including Head Voice/Falsetto of the Remaining Finalists” and “Range Including Head Voice/Falsetto of the Top 36 Semifinalists.”

    I personally agree, though, that a singer’s range *should* include head voice notes if those notes are well executed. In terms of range, I think the number of CONNECTED notes is most significant. Some non-singers don’t realize this, but being able to squeal a squeaky E6 says nothing about whether that person can hit every note between a G5 and C6 in a strong head voice, for example. The latter is much more impressive.

    In the end, though, range is just a number. Some of the greatest singers didn’t have gigantic ranges, but they had a brand of musicality and artistry far superior to many of today’s singers, and they knew how to make the most of their ranges and how to play with different sound colors and coordinations on particular notes.

    Range as a number is rather trivial when it only considers pitches without considering whether those pitches are musical, well-coordinated, or demonstrate connection throughout a singer’s range. For example, Christina Aguilera’s CONNECTED range is well short of the four octaves everyone trumpets, and in recent years, her live range maxes out at an E5. (I also believe she’s hit some A5s in head voice.) She still is a fabulous singer, but my point is that people would be surprised that she doesn’t really sing as high as they think she does.


  34. Gah, sorry for being so roundabout, lol.

    My point with the latter example is that, especially on the Internet, people tend to count range as the lowest pitch you can manage to groan and the highest pitch you can manage to squeak. This “overall” number for range is not particularly useful. Someone who has managed to groan and squeak out five octaves may in reality have a much lower CONNECTED/useful range than someone whose range “counts” in at three octaves. (Because in the latter case, all three octaves might actually be useful and connected.)

    BOTTOM LINE: Range, as an unqualified number, really needs to be taken with a grain of salt.


  35. I am a total novice (read dummy) when it comes to all the stuff you guys are discussing, but I find it all very intriguing.

    I have a few questions which perhaps could be answered in laymen’s terms.

    1) Will Adam’s voice suffer from all those high/super loud notes? I understand from your posts that he is well trained, but is that enough in the long run?

    2) Could you give examples (in any of his AI performances) of what a ‘chest’, ‘head’ and ‘falsetto’ notes are?

    3) When you say that he has close to a 3 octaves range, again to a layman, it doesn’t sound like much. It seems to me that if I think of a piano, he sings a lot more than that. What am I not understanding?

    4) In the world of ‘really well-known artists’, how does Adam’s voice compare?

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to explain this on a “Music For Dummies” level.


  36. I’m posting this again, because it ended up somewhere in the middle of an ongoing discussion??? What’s up with that?

    I am a total novice (read dummy) when it comes to all the stuff you guys are discussing, but I find it all very intriguing.

    I have a few questions which perhaps could be answered in laymen’s terms.

    1) Will Adam’s voice suffer from all those high/super loud notes? I understand from your posts that he is well trained, but is that enough in the long run?

    2) Could you give examples (in any of his AI performances) of what a ‘chest’, ‘head’ and ‘falsetto’ notes are?

    3) When you say that he has close to a 3 octaves range, again to a layman, it doesn’t sound like much. It seems to me that if I think of a piano, he sings a lot more than that. What am I not understanding?

    4) In the world of ‘really well-known artists’, how does Adam’s voice compare?

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to explain this on a “Music For Dummies” level.


  37. Listen, as always, I will repect what you said. My intention is not to start a fight here, but I admit I am not very pleased regarding Cook’s behavior.

    You said: “You sure don’t sound like much of a fan of Cook’s, at least not to me.”

    Actually, listen, I am a huge fan of Cook’s. I downloaded his entire CD off iTunes the first day it came out and have enjoyed listening to his songs ever since.

    You said: “Suffice it to say the fans of whom Cook spoke went way over the top, harrasing him, going to his hotel room, etc. He nicely asked on his MySpace for his fans to respect his privacy.”

    Listen, I understand that some fans can be very extreme and probably quite irritating. However, in David Cook’s case especially, his fans should mean EVERYTHING to him. They were the ones who put him where he is today after all. Many of those “obsessed fans who invade his privacy” were probably the ones who voted non-stop for him the entire voting period on Tuesday nights. I do not agree with Cook’s move of posting his comments regarding this matter on his MySpace page. It makes it sound as though he is addressing ALL of his fans, when in fact he should be addressing a small minority. Cook cannot have his cake and eat it too. You can’t get all of the benefits of being a celebrity and somehow avoid all the negatives. The moment Cook became the American Idol, he forfeited his right to a lot of privacy. His life is in the spotlight because so many people care about him. He would do well to remember that.

    As for Cook’s family emergency thing, I will keep him in my prayers. I did not know that. I am absolutely telling the truth, Listen, when I say that I do care very much about his brother Adam and have prayed for his well-being A LOT. I will certainly continue to do that.

    “America got it right last year, Cook was and is the American Idol.”

    Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. Anyone who watches those final performances will tell you that Archuleta deserved the win. As Simon said last year, it was a “knockout” and Archuleta was the clear winner.


  38. I do understand your point, MCL, and I am truly a fan of Cook’s. I just believe that for his own good he needs to be very careful of what he says regarding his fans (crazy or not). From what I read on MySpace, Cook seemed very frustrated with his fans and wanted them to back off. I know he was just referring to the crazy fans, but some of his other mellower fans may think it is directed at them as well. That’s not right. I just think that he needs to remember that the only reason he is so successful right now is because of his fans who voted to put him there. Whether his fans are crazy or not, he owes them the utmost respect.


  39. I am so weirded out by the fact that the posts are not appearing in chronological order, lol. If you look at the time stamps, there were four or so comments posted after mine (below), but those posts show up above my posts in random places. What can you do? lol. =P

    All right to your questions:
    (1) No. As long as he continues to produce those notes correctly, there is absolutely no harm in singing high notes loudly the way he is. Actually, correct singing is less stressful on the vocal cords than speaking is. I can testify to this. Talking wears out my voice much more than singing does.

    People who lose their voices from singing high notes do so because of incorrect technique (a common culprit is overblowing the vocal cords–blasting too much air through them without proper cord closure; another is singing with excess tension from an unstable larynx, and so forth). Mariah Carey, for example, was brilliant in her prime, but she had a tendency to be a bit breathy in her lower/normal range, and her whistle notes were/are VERY breathy. And that breathiness is really to blame for her vocal decline. Her high notes in full voice back then were very technically solid, though. (Key word: were; now, she’s pretty much yelling up there.)

    (2) To be honest, even Adam’s “chest” range is not particularly chesty-sounding, but consider those the “normal range” notes; the ones that sound similar to one’s speaking voice. Head voice and falsetto mean different things to different people. For some people, the only difference between the two is that the first is non-breathy and the latter is breathy. Anyway, with that disclaimer, all the high notes in “Tracks of My Tears” are a clear head voice.

    His highest notes, even the more powerful ones in “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” for example,” are still head voice (or a heady mix) but with a LOT of twang. Watch this Eric Arcenaux video from around 9:21 to 10:05. The first thirty seconds are an introduction, really, but the key part is from 9:53-10:05. He shows you that the edgy sound is really head voice underneath it all.

    (3) Three octaves is actually plenty. In opera, for example, sopranos are expected to sing two octaves from middle C (C4) to soprano high C (C6). In fact, if you look at the Wikipedia article, all the operatic ranges cover two octaves:

    And trust me, from my experience, most girls cannot hit a soprano C in a truly connected way worthy of opera (at least without training). Here’s some perspective. Sopranos tend to have a low note of G3 (the G below middle C). The high note at the end of “The Phantom of the Opera” is an E6. Most people cannot hit that note in a operatically significant way (that is, not as a squeak but as a powerful connected head voice note). And the distance between an G3 and E6 is not even three octaves yet.

    (4) What kind of “comparison” do you mean? Artistry? Technique? Uniqueness? I find this question to be very subjective. 😉


  40. Whoops! I forgot the link to the Eric Arcenaux video I mentioned:


  41. More perspective: for the untrained singer, two connected octaves is no small feat. In choir, I had a song that ranged from A3 to A5, and that song pushed the edges of a lot of the girls’ ranges (both at the bottom and the top). If you read music, untrained girls in choir tend to have problems with notes above the staff (F5 and highger), and that’s in the soprano section. In the alto section, girls don’t usually sing above a D5. And at the lowest, they still might sing a G3. G3 to D5 is one and a half octaves. I think even that is generous for some non-singers. Especially with singing, even adding a note to one’s range in either direction can be rather difficult, so even though three octaves does not look like a lot on a piano, in reality, I say that’s a very ample-sized range. You can do a lot with three octaves.


  42. I apologize if I offended you, Listen, by double-posting. In my defense, I could not figure out why my post didn’t go to the bottom of the page like they normally do. Oh, and don’t worry, Listen. There are NO sour grapes.


  43. Thank you so much for answering my novice questions! I watched that Eric Arceneaux video – OMG!!! I never knew how much technical fine tuning singers went through! And this guy can pull out notes (the good way and the bad way) out of a hat!!!! Amazing!

    What I meant by comparing Adam to a well-known artist was who as an untrained listener would you compare Adam’s vocal range to?


  44. I am so weirded out by the fact that the posts are not appearing in chronological order, lol. If you look at the time stamps, there were four or so comments posted after mine (below), but those posts show up above my posts in random places. What can you do? lol. =P

    That’s because we now have the threaded comments option available on this site – meaning peope can reply directly to individual posts, like a continued conversation. This is what I did when I responded to you.


  45. As I said you guys are talking way over my head! But for some reason, I feel a need to understand ‘how special Adam is vocally’. I guess I need to make sense of how and why I am so mesmerized by him. I know the visual is a big part of it, but the voice is just so intriguing somehow.


  46. *highger = higher

    MCL, I noticed the threaded comments option too, but madamimadam’s first post is not indented the way other replies are; it’s flushed all the way to the left. So, that confuses me because the lack of indentation suggests to me that the post was not intended to be a reply. Yet, it still appears several posts above several earlier posts. Your post on 29 Mar 09 at 9:01 am (in my time zone), for example, has been shoved much further down the page. No matter, I just thought it was rather strange, but I like the option of replying directly to individual comments. =)

    madamimadam — I’m glad I could help! I’m sorry for being so wordy. That’s something I’m working on, lol.

    The Eric Arcenaux video is pretty awesome, isn’t it? I was blown away when I saw it too because I myself didn’t realize that the edgy distorted sound he demonstrated is actually very heady until I saw the video. There are definitely SO many ways that singers can fine tune and play with sounds.

    Ah, thanks for clarifying your question. You know, to be honest, I can’t think of any popular male singer who chooses to sing in that twangy head-dominant way as a primary sound. Most male singers sing with more chest presence at least to, say, a C5. Adam’s artistic choice to use that sound earlier in the scale definitely distinguishes him stylistically.

    Above a C5, guys who sing popular/rock music tend to employ the same technique, though. Here’s a random example I found:


  47. Ok, I know this is an older discussion now, but I’m seriously perplexed here.

    I was looking at the Idol Ranges site to see if it had been updated since the most recent performances, and I found something I found rather confusing.

    1) Kristen McNamara : D#6/Eb6

    Did this really happen? I don’t recall that. I do not remember anything that high coming out of ANYONE’S mouth this season. I do remember Kristen hitting some beautiful high notes – they just didn’t seem to be THAT high. But I wasn’t exactly sitting there trying to sing with her, so I don’t know. If I had been, I wouldn’t have been able to reach that in a tone that sounded decent. A5 is about as high as I could ever go in a tone that anyone would want to hear.


  48. Woah, count me in on the “it’s weird when my post does not appear in chronological order” train…….



  1. Master Class Lady is at it again! | Anoop Desai Fan Site - March 29, 2009

    […] Check out the entire article or read the nice things she has to say about Anoop below: “Strengths: Anoop- you chose another ballad this week, so, once again, I was looking for the sustaining power you gave us last week. Can he do it two weeks in a row? Yes he can indeed! I loved how you quietly accessed your head voice. It provided a wonderful contrast to the rich quality of your natural, lower range. […]


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