American Idol Season 8 Top 7 Vocal Masterclass Article: Music From The Movies.

American Idol

By: Rosanne Simunovic

I loved this theme, but Quentin Tarantino truly scares me. That face means business and some of the Idols were ready for him and others were intimidated by him. It was also great to see and hear the American Idol band under Rickey Minor on stage, front and center, as they should be.

And because the judges were so loquacious last week, only two judges per contestant were judging the performances. Weird, really weird! I always want to hear what Simon has to say, don’t you? I wonder how they decided which judges would speak to which contestants. That must have been a political minefield!

Also, I was expecting a more diverse collection of songs – why couldn’t someone do Judy Garland’s fabulous rendition of “Singing In the Rain”?  It’s rhythmically and melodically challenging -really neat. How do I know? I worked on this song with one of my students a couple of years ago and it was a blast from the past!

Overall, I thought some singers dramatically improved this week and the rest sort of fell apart. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to spew the same technical comments week after week to some of these singers. No matter how I spin it, it still sounds repetitive – like a broken record that will never get fixed.

(Sigh) Okay -lets’ see how the Top 7 fared this week and you may be surprised at the results via my perspective.

And keep checking my Twitter updates so we can stay in closer touch!

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,

ADAM LAMBERT 27-years-old: “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf from “Easy Rider”

Strengths: Adam-sock it to us once again! This was another entertaining showcase, full of twists and turns via your innovative choreographic and vocal skills. Right off the bat, you established a strong connection with the crowd – reaching out to those lucky people in the front row for a friendly and all too quick “meet and greet.”

And I loved the interaction you demonstrated with the band – first boogeying to one side and then the other. The keyboardist and the backup vocalists established great rhythmic rapport with you in what was probably the most meticulous rehearsed performance of the evening.

And your backward run as you approached them was rhythmic and precise, never shadowing your vocals, but, rather, augmenting them. That’s the way you balance the choreography and vocals – with solid pacing and technical accuity.

The clarity of your head voice was spectacular this week – like give. me. a. break! You are something else! And when you added some chest resonance in the more powerful sections of this song, you made certain that the purity of your head voice was not compromised. Perfect!

Loved the long, sustained clarity of your final note that alternated with wonderfully executed ascending and descending runs. Someone practices his vocalises and classical exercises! Your artistry is innate, but your naturally gifted voice has been cultivated and refined through the correct technical process.

You really squeezed every ounce of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic energy out of that song. At one point, you went into theatrical/cabaret mode (in the “fly so high” section at 1:55 point in your number), subtly changing up the rhythmn and adding some dramatic movements outside of the obvious rock approach to this song.

As a result this song was loaded with a plethora of visual and aural dimension – a roller coaster ride chock full of artistic surprises and revelations. Incredible performance once again, Adam! Bravo!

Critique: Adam -be ever so careful that you watch that intermittent spread in your mouth line when you navigate your upper range. For the most part, your throat is open and free, but always make absolutely certain that every dynamic level of your sound is being controlled via your diaphragm.

I suspect that it is, but, I just want to make absolutely certain that your voice is receiving the care and the support necassry to sustain you as an artist for the rest of your life.

Standing ovation, Adam! You are -simply put- a stellar artist, a truly exceptional talent.

ALLISON IRAHETA 16 -years old: “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing ” by Aerosmith  from “Armageddon”

Strengths: Allison -this was a powerful song choice. I loved the arrangement – this is the one that David Cook used last year! I also enjoyed this song because of the passionate blend of lyrics and music. The romantic core of the song is such a potent showcase for a singer and, appropriately enough, it demonstrated the rustic, raw essence of your rock-inspired vocal style. 

On the whole, I felt that this was a remarkable performance and there were stellar moments in this song that registered high on the goosebump scale. The true range and power of your voice was wonderfully highlighted in this song and the expressive passion you emitted throughout was enormous.

This week, you undoubtedly challenged your dynamic range. From the quiet, subdued beginning of this song, building toward the powerful ending, I felt that the communicative elements were incredibly persuasive and real.

Your also exhibited confident and intuitive stage skills and this visual aspect coupled with your strong performance skills resulted in a memorable and, what I feel was your strongest, showcase to date.

I also loved the wonderful variation you incorporated into the vocal line and doubly loved the fact that  your voice exhibited the ringing presence of head voice resonance throughout your range. Finally, you liberated your voice and allowed the diaphragm to direct your sound toward your vocal masque. Through the circular formation of you mouth, you cohesively sustained your voice on the pure vowels, thus ensuring that the disphragmatic breathing process was coherent and solid.

Your lower range, at the beginning of this song sounded like chocolate. Mmm! Mmm! It signaled to me that you were generally establishing good connection with your diaphragmatic support and, as a result, you seamlessly segued into your upper range with ease and refinement.

Finally, I heard a ringing presence in your voice and the fact that you accessed your technical skills to challenge your vocal range is something to be applauded.

This was a very dramatic stage presentation, Allison. Brava!

Critique: Allison-please be careful that you don’t push! Sometimes your voice moved off-center because of the inclusion of too much chest voice in the vocal mix.  You are such an aggressive singer – you have to learn to adopt a more relaxed approach in your singing style.  We need the punch, the muscular vocals, but you tend to cross the line and, at times, exaggerate the process.

As I said above, you generally exhibited solid technical skills in the performance of this song; however, at times, your voice withdrew from its proper focus and negatively affected the pitch.

I was wondering if your stage movements were, perhaps, diminishing consistent energy from your technical support. Although, I loved your self-assured presence on and off stage, it really is imperative that you make absolutely certain that it does not interfere with the projection and focus of your voice.

Also, when you sing through your lower range, remember to use your diaphragmatic breath support in a consistent manner. At times, your voice did lack stability during the opening segments of this song where your lower range was very exposed. Feel those muscles flexing, directing the air to vibrate your vocal cords to full effect.

However, that being said, I loved the timbre of your voice throughout this song – it just sounded more lucid and ringing than in previous weeks and, even though there were some pitch problems, I still felt that you were making a concerted effort to use your voice in the proper technical fashion.

Excellent work, Allison, however, take care of that voice and be cautious about that inherent raspy quality in your voice. It worries me. I don’t want you traveling on the road to future nodule problems.

ANOOP DESAI 22-years-old: “Everything I Do” by Bryan Adams

Strengths: Anoop -at the beginning of this song, there was a gorgeous clarity to your voice that never relented.  And this ringing clarity combined with the enormous expressive elements in your voice were musically and artistically formulated.  You prepared this song meticulously well and I applaud your superb work ethic this week and throughout this competition.

Your interpretation of this song was such a refreshing change from Bryan Adam’s rock-inspired approach. He adds more rasp, more intensity in his vocal arrangement and I think this what Quentin Tarantino was aiming for! 

However,  your approach was tender and heartfelt and the simplicity of your vocal delivery highlighted the inherent beauty of your vocal gift.  It was interesting to hear the difference, realizing that both approaches actually work. 

Your phrasing was very musical, Anoop, and the long sustained lines with beautifully shaped vowels increased the refined flow of the melodic component in this song.  Additionally, your consonants were crystal clear and very precise. You voiced your words distinctly, yet, never allowed the consonants to diminish the full sustaining power of the pure vowels. Wonderfully done!  This supplemented  the forward momentum of this beautiful song performance.

This was such a strong showcase and it was so obvious that you had deeply internalized the emotional core of the song.  You were a sensitive and soulful presence on the stage this week and, more important, extremely believeable and genuine.

Outstanding work, Anoop!   Congratulations!

Critique: Anoop -you encountered few problems this week. Generally, your vocal control was absolutely stellar.

However, be ever so careful that you consistently maintain a circular mouth position when grabbing those vowels. A couple of times, I noticed that you were spreading your mouth, thus adding some pressure and tension to the vocal cords. 

Also, never raise your head when singing through your upper range. Once again, this increases tension in the vocal production and it also separates your visual connection with your listeners. We can’t see your eyes and the singer’s eyes are most definitely the windows into a singer’s soul. So much emotion is displayed through a singer’s expressive eyes and a face looking at the ceiling hinders the process.

Think over you upper notes, mentally and physically moving down as you ascend vocally. Slightly bend your knees and squeeze your butt (ha!), but make sure you have deeply inhaled diaphragmatic air to work with or these tricks will be of no use.

Once again, high Masterclass praise for a very poignant and musical showcase!

DANNY GOKEY 28- years old : “Endless Love” by Diana Ross

Strengths: Danny -I love this song. The words, the music, the passion speak and connect wonderfully to the listeners. I loved how you increased your dynamics throughout this song – it was like building blocks of vocal nuance and depth. When you added your muscular vocals to your more subdued voice, the rich, robust, soulful quality of your timbre truly shimmered.

The phrasing was so musical and you made certain that the inherent drive and power of this slow ballad never relented. This allowed the slow tempo of this number to remain fluid and effortless. You sang the song as you would speak it and therefore added much inflection and modulation to this passionate number.

You sang this song from your heart, Danny and I appreciated the message that you were delivering so very much. Hey, and that gorgeous head voice on the word “love” was signature! Excellent work once again!

Critique: Danny – you exhibited some facial strain on the upper notes intermittently, so be careful. Boy -that raspy quality in your vocal mix still concerns me, although it was not as problematic for you this week, as last. However, you need to make certain that your vocal cords are healthy, so hopefully, you have a wonderful ENT specialist to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.

Also, the “heave-ho” approach with your breathing was really disconcerting. What I mean is this – those shoulders and chest heaving up and down when you breathed worked against the proper breathing regimen for efficient vocalization. The breathing has to be diaphragmatic and the upper body should remain relaxed and free.

When you breath in such a shallow, inefficient manner, you are wasting air, causing tension in your throat and diminishing the visual strength and dimension of your performance. Also, that horizontal mouth position on some of your vowels increased the level of tension in your vocal timbre, subtracting the full complement of the inherent beauty of your vocal timbre.

As I have said often to many singers, you included, never reach for your notes, Think over the notes – like spiking a volleyball downward! Visualization is a wonderful technique for singers to use and I have many more up my sleeve. But, since everyone at one time or another has played volleyball or basketball, this one seems to work really well.

Great work, nonetheless, Danny! Good luck next week!

KRIS ALLEN 23- years old: “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard from “Once” 1985

Strengths: Kris -this was a perfect song choice for you. I loved and breathed it, as did you. I so appreciated the beauty and tranquillity of your lower range in the first half of this song. It provided beautiful contrast to the ringing presence of your upper vocals.

I also warmed to the many elements of vulnerability and sensitivity you displayed in this performance: physically, without the guitar, emotionally, sung from your heart and spiritually, establishing strong connection to your audience.

The ethereal melody of this song was so perfect for your distinct voice, as it encouraged you to bring out gorgeous elements in your voice that were not evident in previous performances. Man, when a song works, it really does so in a monumental way and this is what happened on stage with you this week, Kris. You were connected to the song and vice versa and thus musical magic was created during this lucky Top 7 performance.

Additionally, as you have a really resonant speaking voice, it was great to hear some of this resonance in your baritone singing voice. The clarity and brilliance of your lower range was to die for. Truly evocative! It accentuated the meaningful communicative aspects of this extremely memorable showcase.

And that final two-note sustained moment of pure head voice was pitch perfect, centered and heartfelt. It may not have been technically perfect in terms of how you produced it, but it worked.

Bravo, Kris! Superb work and a brilliant and inspired song selection.

Critique: Kris -technically, you were all over the map. Sometimes your mouth was round, then it was horizontal, then the jaw would tighten.

However, your artistry really enhanced the energy in your vocal sound. I always tell my students to live their song and the technical flaws will be less obvious or reach resolution through a sensitive and emotionally ingrained performance.

Yet, nothing can take the place of firmly ingrained technical skills, as it develops your voice to its full potential and expands your possibilities and dimension as a singer. So, be very careful, Kris, that you work at developing and supporting your vocal talent through the proper technical regimen. Otherwise, you will continue to experience inconsistency in your showcases from week to week.

The tension in you neck and face is still very troublesome and you need to work at maintaining relaxed facial features, a circular mouth while sustaining your vowels and empower the strength and support of your diaphragmatic breathing muscles.

Good luck next week, Kris! Keep up the brilliant work and find some more stellar song selections!

LIL ROUNDS: 24- years old “The Rose” by Bette Midler from “”

Strengths: Lil -you delivered this song with exquisite artistry. I loved the gospel arrangement of this number and I feel that you were truly connected to the arrangement. As always you looked beautiful on stage, rendering great passion and finesse to this classic ballad.. Good work, Lil!

Critique: Lil – technically, I don’t know what happened to you this week. The biggest problem you encountered was your overwhelming tendency to sharpen the melodic line of this song. If I didn’t know better, it almost appeared like you could not hear the orchestra and, therefore, invented you own key.

However, I feel that there was a major technical deficiency with your diaphragmatic support – actually surprising considering how technically solid you have been over the weeks. You appeared to be experiencing major problems with your air supply, intaking air in a shallow manner and then letting it randomly scatter with your vocal sound.

As a result, your voice sound very poorly centered, the timbre vascillating between an airy almost emaciated quality during the softer dynamics to a shaky, uncontrolled tremolo during the louder passages.

I just feel that this was a case of nerves, Lil, and, although I loved the arrangement of this song, your technical problems interfered with positive outcome of your performance. Your support did not kick in the early stage of the song and that is always a bad sign. The lower, softer notes needed to be consistently supported in an efficient manner and, without that, your voice sounded vague and directionless.

Additionally, once you moved into the more powerful section of this song, you did not have a support cushion in place and your voice became uncontrollable – the tremolo just aggravated the pitch problems.

What a shame – you were just wonderful over the last few weeks. The stess of this show must be really affecting you. It’s not for the meek of heart, is it?

Better days ahead, Lil! Put this performance behind you and move forward. Good luck next week!

MATT GIRAUD 23-years-old:“To Really Love a Woman” by Bryan Adams from “”

Strengths: Matt -it was nice to see you back at the piano. I loved you song choice and you added some dynamic vocals throughout this song. It was an expressive and heartfelt performance.

And where did that beautiful head voice come from at the end of this song? Gorgeous! I would have loved to hear more of this quality of vocal sound throughout your natural singing range.

Critique: Matt-you are still determined to sing with a horizontal mouth position, aren’t you? As I have said pretty much every week now, the absence of a circular mouth position, relaxed jaw and open facial features are encouraging you to project your voice in a very inhibited manner. Because of these technical deficiencies, your upper notes were very strained, thus rendering a vocal sound that was uneven and very poorly centered.

I never seemed to hear the natural beauty of your voice because the essence of your vocal timbre was either trapped in your throat and/or released with uncontrolled air.

Therefore, there is always a frustrating airy quality to your voice that could be eliminated if you would access the powerful support that comes from using the strength of your diaphragmatic breathing muscles.

On the other hand, you need to develop absolute trust in those muscles and believe that they will fully shape and focus your voice with confidence and continuity. And this belief will only become absolute when you have made a concerted effort to make some changes in the manner in which you produce your singing voice.

And don’t reach for those upper notes but rather sing over them. The reaching will only cause you to add more strain and tension to your voice. This week, your upper notes were really, really pinched because of this habit and you need to ground your vocal sound with support from the diaphragm or it is just not going to happen for you Matt!

Also, watch those diphthongs in your lyrics -you have to remember to sustain your voice on the pure vowel in those diphthongs. e.g. fly = flah. This will increase the depth and ringing core of your voice . And, I have to tell you, the sustaining power on one vowel coupled with strong diaphragmatic support will feel so easy and effortless you will kick yourself for not adapting to this technical advantage during the earlier stages of this competition.

Good luck next week – please work on your technical skills! Pretty please? 🙂

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

63 Responses to “American Idol Season 8 Top 7 Vocal Masterclass Article: Music From The Movies.”

  1. I agree MCL! Adam is outrageously good. What a find and congratulations to American Idol! No one comes close to his artisty – and this is across all 8 seasons. This kid really does rock the boat and makes you think. A true rock star. David C and Chris D were also rockers, but they still stayed within the current pop rock box.

    Not sure if Adam can win because he definitely pushes the boundaries like no idol before him, which some viewers might not appreciate. Kris is creative with his arrangements, but he stays within the box for the most part. There is more to artistry than coming up with new arrangements. That said, he would be my second pick after Adam, with Allison third.

    I really hope Adam wins, but no matter what I am pretty sure that he will have an amazing career.


  2. Good Morning All,
    MCL, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of the hard work you put in to create these incredible critiques. I also love reading all the commentary and different opinions and discussions. I am a multi-year lurker that has decided to come out and play this year. I know that some on other boards may think this season is less than stellar, I however, think differently. For some reason, the contestants this year really resonate with me. I am super passionate about 1, and like several others. I am very much looking forward to the tour this year.


  3. Thanks for your post. I wanna ask this : Who do you think probably haven’t through professional vocal training? after watching they perform for weeks.


  4. I appreciate your generosity to share your professional musical opinion. I really appreciate that your pros are outweighs your cons. But at least you know what you are talking about instead of saying; “I don’t like the way he dressed” which is totally irrelevant. I agree that the singers has to have stage presence but they are young–babes of the woods. Look how the others who succeed in the music business have changed in their stage presence.


  5. I am so glad that Matt made it. It was such a happy ending!!! wow!


  6. Like Kimbo, I disagree with those who think that this year is subpar. I wonder if this is the Adam Factor? His vocal/performance skills are so amazing, that people find the other idols lacking, when they really aren’t. Matt, Anoop, and Lil seem to suffer from some nerves ( I would if I had to sing anywhere near Adam. lol), which I think are affecting their performances a little, but I don’t doubt the vocal abilities of the people on this show. Kris, Allison, and Danny all have great vocal ability and don’t seem to be nervous about performances. In fact, we haven’t had anyone start over or mess up the lyrics (overly noticeably anyway) during this season, like Brooke, Jason, and even David A did last year. (I’m knocking on wood right now). So, no, I don’t think it is better or worse, just different because the people are different.
    On a nonsinging note, I really love the cohesiveness of this group. They seem like they are good friends, which I really didn’t get last year.
    Glad they used the save this week. Thank you for your great critiques MCL!


  7. Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by and adding your valuable comments.

    Today I was thinking about Season 7 vs. Season 8 and wondering how the outcome would have been if Adam Lambert was included in the Top 12 Season 7 line-up.

    I still think many of the Season 7 singers would shine, even with Adam in the mix. Actually, it would have been pretty darn exciting.

    That being said, I feel that, overall, the artistry is not prevalent in the majority of the Season 8 singers. The reverse is true for Season 7.


  8. I can’t thank you enough, MCL, for your insightful analysis of the performances again this week. I have been a lurker for a while, but have decided to finally come out and post here. You help me to understand why a performance doesn’t work for me, but I just can’t put my finger on what is wrong.

    I have to say that I LOVED you bringing up the idea of singing OVER the high notes. That is exactly what I was thinking as I listened to a few of them this week. It’s an old lesson that I learned when I was in my high school chorus, with one of the toughest teachers ever. I learned so much from her. You bring back so many fond memories of just how much she taught me and what I learned from her.

    Adam has totally won me over. Although he is way out of my comfort zone musically, I just cannot deny that glorious voice! It was amazing, given all the frantic energy and movement that he displayed in his performance, that he managed to keep his vocals pitch perfect and brilliant. It is a testament to his vocal training and experience. You can tell that he has put in a lot of hard work and effort. A performance like that doesn’t just come out of thin air. He is a revelation. I have to say that he just seems to be on a completely different level than the others. No disrespect intended at all.


  9. As I think back thru the seasons, I do agree with you, MCL, regarding the amount of overall artistry that is prevelant this year compared to last year. With that said, I do believe my excitement and postivity regarding this year is due to the fact that I adore Adam beyond belief. I am absolutely blown away by him and as I read your masterclass articles, I totally understand why.


  10. I just listened to the studio version of Falling Slowly. Kris’s high voice and chest voice were equally compelling. To me this is an outstanding example of how you can do a song very close to the line of the original, but still sound unique due to the quality of ones voice. I am so surprised Randy “didn’t get it.” Duh. So glad Simon piped in on Wednesday to give Kris props. This song drove me to tears watching the movie and it was goosepimple quality on AI. It just wasn’t long enough live.

    To me Kris has a very sweet, pure vocal. He doesn’t have to do a ton of runs (or whatever those R&B waverings are called) to impress. An intense, perfect sustained note is quite difficult too and can impart just as much, if not more to the audience.

    Sometimes I think singers hide behind those runs to cover up faults in their pitch or vocal quality. I would like to hear if Allison has that ability. Adam has shown the ability to do both. Matt has not. Lil definitely has not. Danny has not.

    Wondering what you think, MCL 🙂


  11. I disagree about Danny, Jessica T. He gave in my opinion a vocally flawless performance Tuesday. Simon even said so as well. Just because he has a raspy voice (which I thoroughly enjoy), doesn’t mean that he has vocal issues. He’s simply unique, and unique often times is a very good thing on Idol. But I do agree with the rest of what you said.


  12. Galen, with all due respect, Simon is not a singer and has absolutely no vocal training whatsoever. The way I read Simon’s comments, he decided not to fault Danny’s vocals out of respect more than anything else. And as I have said before, there is a difference between unhealthy raspiness (when it is inherent in the production of the sound, indicating a possible underlying problem on the level of the vocal cords) and healthy raspiness (when it is an added distortion on top of the sound). Those two types of raspiness do NOT sound the same, and people with vocal training (like MCL and myself) can hear the difference.

    Danny’s raspiness most of the time is not the unhealthy sort, but as the competition is continuing, the unhealthy sort is popping into his sound as well. This is what MCL means when she said:

    Boy -that raspy quality in your vocal mix still concerns me, although it was not as problematic for you this week, as last. However, you need to make certain that your vocal cords are healthy, so hopefully, you have a wonderful ENT specialist to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.

    Let me also quote MCL’s comments from last week:

    You are fortunate that your voice is such a rich instrument – it allows you to skirt over some very important technical elements. However, this charade can only last for so long and then, guess what? You will run into some major vocal issues at some point done the road.

    And the raspiness in your voice may already be hinting at this development. You quite possibly may have some present nodule problems that a skilled throat specialist can quickly identify. You would be wise to consult with a doctor as soon as possible. The only real cure for this is vocal rest, followed by a studious approach to proper singing technique.

    I appreciate your great admiration of Danny and his vocal ability, Galen, and comments about the potential unhealthy state of Danny’s vocal cords are not meant to diminish his talent in any way but are said out of concern and meant to be constructive.


  13. Also, I just wanted to say that I think Danny is a fine singer. I remember I couldn’t stop replaying the snippet of his Hollywood performance of “I Hope You Dance.” The glory note in that performance was simply wondrous!

    So, speaking for myself, any comments about signs of fatigue in Danny’s voice are not meant to slight him in any way. I love Kelly Clarkson to pieces (my favorite idol ever by far), but as the end of the AI neared, her voice started showing signs of fatigue as well. That didn’t make her any less talented, but it did mean that she needed to take better care of her voice. And she really did (especially leading into the early Breakaway era). This competition is really just grinding. I have much respect for all the contestants because AI is just physically, mentally, and emotionally grueling.


  14. I thought I would jump in and add my thoughts to this discussion of Danny’s vocal raspiness. I am also concerned about his hoarseness at times. I do think he could use some tips about how to protect his voice. I love his husky, r&b soul sound, so much like one of my all time favorites, Michael McDonald. It’s just a real sense of concern that he does everything necessary to protect his voice during this arduous competition.

    I experienced this problem ten years ago when I became a substitute teacher for grade school out here in L.A. I started having constant hoarseness, raspiness and actually lost my voice at one point. I did go to an ENT specialist and she examined by vocal cords by putting this instrument down my throat. She said that I had a callus on one of my vocal cords. I got a cortisone shot and was told to REST MY VOICE! I left teaching, not specifically because of the voice issue, but it did play a part. Eventually my voice was back to normal, but it was very scary. I learned my lesson and have tried to not strain my vocal cords. Keep in mind, I am not a singer, but it was scary just the same.

    There is nothing more important than taking care of your health, and for singers that means vocal health.


  15. Hey MCL et al.

    Loved you analysis this week MCL, as always.

    On Adam – I agree with everything. So glad you picked out the “fly so high” part in the song. It was so beautiful and in that moment he was shining brighter than ever. I almost wished he stayed down in that mode a bit longer, but he only gave us a snippet!!! It was an ethereal moment in the performance for sure! He is my pick for the win. Oh, and I think the crowd should get an honourable mention too….it was INSANE after Adam performed. LOL.

    On Kris – He was not vocally perfect, but he picked a great song that would have wide appeal. Kris is generally pretty good with his song choices and this week was no exception. He knows what Middle America likes and stays in that zone!! I think he would have done really well if he were on last season’s show and even could maybe have won. I think he can go far this season too, but it’s going to be tough to beat the wonderful and outrageously talented Adam Lambert. That said, Kris deserves props. The danger for him is blending in with Matt, Danny & Anoop. He also is a bit lacking in the star department.

    On Allison – she’s a little star, isn’t she? She’s not vocally perfect, but I normally don’t care. She’s entertaining, spunky and fun to watch. She is only 16 so has time to grow and develop.

    Those are my top 3 folks!

    I won’t review the others cause my momma always said if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all!!! Hahaha….no I don’t hate the others at all…just not excited enough to write something about them! Maybe next week. 🙂


  16. Well, although I am an Adam fan, I must confessed I am getting a bit sick of his screaming at the end of every fast song. It is geting quite stale and frankly, even expected of him.

    For once, I would like to hear him sing a song with high notes as an integral pat of the song to show off his voice as opposed to doing the high notes at the end of the fast song, where such vocal gymnastics are meant to show off and are unrelated to any integral lyrics or melody of the songs.

    For instance, he can do “Greatest Love of All”, “Bohemian Raphsody”, or even “Open Arms”, where the high notes are part of the song.

    That is what I would like to see him do. For these songs, there will be no need to add on an unrelated scream fest at the end.

    I am sure he will do it well, and he will certainly win over new fans and detractors who have criticised his screaming style.


  17. In reference to idleidolfan’s post above, I agree completely!!! I do think Adam is extremely talented although I’ve never been a fan of the screaming rock-type performance done by anyone. But for Adam’s first couple of songs done in that style, it seemed original for him. But Born to Be Wild was just more of the same as far as I’m concerned–I’m not saying it wasn’t done well, but just not in an original way for him. I thought his performance of Mad World was incredibly beautiful, but I would be appreciating him more if he would be showing that he can do rock well without the “screaming” at the end of EVERY song!


  18. Well Adam was originally going to sing Kiss From A Rose, but changed his mind later on. I’m glad that he did, the night would have been truly mind-numbing if every song had been a ballad. Not to mention that song is done way too much, and Danny already did it in Hollywood I think.

    I do agree Adam is going back and forth between two extremes and that is getting predictable. I’m sure he realizes this as well, so hopefully next week we’ll see a different side of him. Shouldn’t be too difficult, given the theme.


  19. I hope to hear “Macho Man” for the disco week !! ~


  20. Seriously Surely — Macho Man would be hilarious!!!


  21. Adam really needs to do Stayin’ Alive!!!


  22. I also wanted to say thank you to Master Class Lady for taking the time and effort to add a dimension to AI by providing the critiques and this site. I learn so much from you, MCL!

    And, once again, this year I have been posting links to your reviews on the Reality TV World AI message board, hope that’s ok.

    Have you had a chance to listen to the studio recordings yet?

    Adam’s version is a twist on what he did on the show–it’s more of a dance club style with a techno element. It’s fun; I like the live one better, though. The live one was like a rock concert performance; the studio like beat driving dance music.

    Kris’s is superb. Just superb. Would love to read your thoughts on it. I like that he is clear about his strengths and is playing to them even if the show is giving him scant screen time or pimping. Kris can have a career as a singer/songwriter like a Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce. No big, flashy production needed. Just the simple beauty of his voice and the guitar. I’m looking forward to Kris’s work after AI.

    Danny’s studio version is better than his live version imo. I could feel the emotion he was conveying. In your critique you wrote about the raspiness in his voice–that’s part of what I like about Danny’s singing. Hope it’s not hurting him!


  23. Zazzy – I do appreciate you adding the links to my articles each week. It is kind of you to take the time to do so, so thank you so very much.

    I have not had a minute to breathe lately, so I have not listened to the studio recordings yet.

    However, someone was kind enough to give me all of Adam’s studio recordings up to and including his Top 8 performance of Mad World, So, I look forward to listening to them this weekend. I am anxious to hear Born To be Wild.

    Also, I expect that Kris will make an excellent recording artist. His voice is so pure – gorgeous. Will have to listen to his studio recordings ASAP.


  24. I never write in a website like this but felt I had to on this one. It is SO refreshing to read comments like the ones above. I have gotten so tired of writers trashing contestants and being totally cruel about things that have nothing to do with their singing ability. You people have been able to make some negative comments without being offensive. And I agree we should have great respect for all the contestants for showing such endurance. By the way, I’m hoping Adam, Kris, and Allison are our final three. Keep writing these good things!


  25. Thank you so much Alan for taking the time to stop by and share your kind remarks.

    I believe all the readers on this site love coming here for all the reasons you have stated and I am glad to have been able to attract caring, intelligent fans who support all the Idols on their journey.

    I wouldn’t want it any other way – the sound of music should be cause for a joyous celebration and one that brings people together in a positive manner.

    Thanks again! MCL


  26. I am hoping for Kris to continue to shine, I’ve liked him from the beginning. Disco week could be the downfall of more than one this week.

    MCL I don’t know if you have seen this. From Britain’s Got Talent – Susan Boyle. Appearances can be decieving, can’t they. This simply stunned me. Enjoy.


  27. My mid-thirties daughter has always thought of herself as hip when it comes to music. Because she’s been busy and hasn’t had time to watch any of Idol this year, I showed her some of the performances while she was visiting. From the comments on line about Adam being so current, etc., I thought she would like him, but without telling her anything about him besides the fact that he is quite popular, she thought his performances were too theatrical and especially didn’t like Ring of Fire or Born to be Wild. As a matter of fact, she laughed at Born to be Wild. Her reaction really surprised me after reading all of the positive comments about him.


  28. Louise – not everyone will enjoy Adam’s brand of music. He is so distinctive and so unique that you either lover or hate it. Myself – I LOVE it. I have a young male student that is demonstrating a glimmer of Adam’s style and I am slowly trying to nurture this.

    It certainly isn’t cool or hip – not at all mainstream – so it is a bit of a lonely road for these cabaret artists – but I am glad that american Idol has decided to embrace someone like Adam this year. Very glad!


  29. awestruck – yes, I have seen here. She is amazing – such a courageous, gutsy lady. And to think that she has been sheilding that talent for 46 years!


  30. awestruck

    When I first saw it on the telly, (Susan Boyle) and there was Simon. What was Simon doing in England when he is over here for AI? When I saw the woman that does NOT have the IT factor that Simon harps on continously; I really thought it was a joke, especially after he smiled broadly and HAPPILY. I found out TODAY that it was not a joke and that she does REALLY sing.


  31. Rosanne, here is a question for you about Susan Boyle. Here she is from a small village in Scotland, surely she did not have voice lessons. Can someone really have a natural talent? I thought it is something that has to be trained, hone, practiced, hone some more, tweak a little here and tweak a little there and all THAT WORK to have a voice that would sound fab and extra fab or super fab! Thx for your time, i know you are totally beezy.


  32. Louise!~ I bet you that he will do “Staying Alive,” seriously because of his pattern to sign classic songs such as “Satsification,” and “Born to Be Wild.” I hope so! that is really a fab song.


  33. Wow. This is a little off topic but I just watched the Scottish Susan Boyle sing her try out song on Britain’s Got Talent. Uh…. whoa … wow. What a voice to come out of that self-deprecating little lady.

    MCL – have you reviewed Ms. Boyle.

    Anyone else know what’s gone one since then with her? Simon looked like he had died and gone to heaven …


  34. I don’t know but here is who she is copied and pasted:

    Ms. Boyle cared for her mother until the elder Boyle’s passing in 2007 at the age of 91; her father passed away 10 years before. Living alone, Susan attends church each weekend and it was there that her singing talent developed, and where her late mother encouraged her to sing, but Boyle had reportedly stopped singing and did not know how she would do on that Saturday night she shocked the World.

    Susan’s life has not been one without pain. Sadly, she was starved of oxygen at birth and has a learning disability because of the accident. Ms. Boyle says she was abused and teased by classmates, and reportedly the scars of their comments remain to this day.

    one becomes painfully aware of their own mortality, that of others, and the desire to “make one’s mark” becomes ever intense. Susan Boyle’s stirring song was as much a testimate to the power of the human sprit and a form of grieving as it was a display of talent. Susan wanted to make her mom smile, but in doing so made mothers all over the World smile — my Mom called and said Boyle was the next Julie Andrews.

    So, in a World of nasty pirates, mean internet commenters, and crazy right-wing extremists, we have to stop and embrace Susan Boyle for making us smile.


  35. She is not married and has never been kissed.


  36. Seriously Surely thanks for the info on Susan Boyle. An amazing talent. As for the “it” factor… I know what you mean, but you do see contestants on these talent shows morph in appearance week by week. Regardless, with talent like that she holds me to the edge of my seat when I listen you her.


  37. Susan Boyle was interviewed this week on the Today Show and on Good Morning America from her home in Scotland. She did have a little vocal training but I don’t know exactly what that means. Here is a link to an article that is quite interesting:

    It seems that she was featured in a charity CD in 1999 singing Cry Me a River–and it’s really beautiful.


  38. Please feel free to copy and paste your comments in the mew blog topic I added about Susan Boyle. Thanks for adding your comments about her. She deserved a special topic here on the site. what a remarkable lady!


  39. Thank you for all the technical comments you make about the American Idols. I truly hope they are reading what you write for them…they need to read it!
    I love Adam and all of his performances. The judges always tell the Idols to find the kind of singer they want to be and stick to it. So it’s not reasonable to expect Adam to completely change it up every week. If he did that the judges would be saying that they don’t know who he is or how he can be marketed (which is the bottom line for AI). He does his performances like a set list on a record/CD/album, thus mixing the ballads with the upbeat songs. He’s amazing.
    I’d love to see an Adam/Allison/Kris Top 3. 😉


  40. I wanted to add another comment about Adam. I think you are so right, MCL. He is not for everybody. When I first saw him I knew that this was not the kind of singer I would normally embrace. But for me it’s always about the voice and Adam has a glorious instrument. I just sit back and watch him hit notes that I didn’t think any human could hit. I can appreciate the technical difficulty of what he does on stage, although he makes it look so easy. I do agree that he is polarizing. People either seem to love him or hate him.

    For me, he’s much more than a cabaret singer. I think we have seen just a tiny glimmer of what he can do. There is much more to him than cabaret, theater or glam rocker. With a voice like his, the potential is unlimited. He has made this contest incredibly exciting, because I never know what he is going to do next.

    I would like to say that I am ready for him to change it up next week. I have seen the rocker, then the stripped down falsetto singer, now I want to see more. I would love to see him take a disco song and turn it into a ballad and let that voice start slowly and then build to a crescendo. I want him to take his voice out for a gigantic spin. Let it rip, Adam! I can’t wait. I am just so glad that I kept an open mind and let this immensely gifted young man win me over.


  41. My mid-thirties daughter has always thought of herself as hip when it comes to music. Because she’s been busy and hasn’t had time to watch any of Idol this year, I showed her some of the performances while she was visiting. From the comments on line about Adam being so current, etc., I thought she would like him, but without telling her anything about him besides the fact that he is quite popular, she thought his performances were too theatrical and especially didn’t like Ring of Fire or Born to be Wild. As a matter of fact, she laughed at Born to be Wild. Her reaction really surprised me after reading all of the positive comments about him.

    Louise – Your daughter’s reaction doesn’t surprise me at all actually. You have to keep in mind that the visitors on this site are only a small part of the population. Even on other American Idol message boards, you’ll find the reactions to be much more mixed than on this site, which leans heavily towards positive comments for Adam. It reminds me of the MSNBC article previously posted on Adam:

    I remember talking to one of my 19-year-old friends about AI, and when I told her that Adam was a frontrunner, she flat out said to me, “But who would buy his album?” She didn’t think Adam’s sound was one that would sell in today’s music industry.

    People will agree or disagree. I am not expressing my own opinion at all in this post; I’m just being the messenger and trying to present the other side of things. 😉


  42. This was such a strong showcase and it was so obvious that you had deeply internalized the emotional core of the song. You were a sensitive and soulful presence on the stage this week and, more important, extremely believeable and genuine.

    MCL, what a beautiful description of Anoop’s performance. You have described it as no one else can. I hope he chooses an uptempo Disco song and just goes out there and have some fun!

    Mindy, excellent comment, “It was amazing, given all the frantic energy and movement that he displayed in his performance, that he managed to keep his vocals pitch perfect and brilliant.” FRANTIC ENERGY … what a perfect description of Adam! For this show, Adam is indeed a unique AND talented performer.

    Seriously Surely and Louise, I made a suggestion that Adam sings Rod Stewart’s, “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” It would be fabulous but AI wouldn’t allow it. 😉

    I am also following Allison’s performance and seeing the confidence growing with each week. I am anxious to see her choice for Disco week.

    MCL, you know how much I enjoy your critiques and appreciate the other features you add to your website! Thank you so much.


  43. I wrote American Idol and suggested they invite Glen Hansard and Marketa for the Finale. I think Kris would love to sing with them – he did such a good job with Falling Slowly.

    Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise?


  44. Acoording to Kariann’s comment copied and pasted as follows: Seriously Surely and Louise, I made a suggestion that Adam sings Rod Stewart’s, “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” It would be fabulous but AI wouldn’t allow it.

    And I am saying that maybe AI would not allow it because many of these songs were not “pure” disco, but were instead rock or pop songs with (sometimes inescapable) disco influence or overtones.

    And “Do ya think I’m Sexy” is one of them. (I looked it up.)

    I am thinking how about The Bee Gees with Barry Gibb’s falsetto for “You Should Be Dancing”. That ought to fit Adam’s crazy and high falsetto.


  45. check it out: an interesting tidbit trivia that you might enjoy about disco:

    ~Disco is a genre of dance music that originated in African American, and Hispanic communities in the United States, especially New York City, in the late 1960s and early 1970’s.~


  46. Seriously Surely, Rod Stewart was classified as a ricker or Pop singer, but he definitely sang DISCO music.

    His biggest-selling song was the 1978 disco hit “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”, which Stewart never took seriously.

    This video features a few of rocker Rod Stewart’s best songs from his “disco period” – VH1

    Top Disco Songs

    Our disco song list is divided into sections. The “A List” includes essential disco songs… songs that have stood the test of time and continue to be requested over and over again. The “B List” has popular disco songs, but just not as timeless as those on the “A List”… and etc. “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” is on the “B” List.

    ^^^ This is a terrific website for finding DISCO songs.


  47. Rod Stewart was classified as a Rocker or Pop singer, but he definitely sang DISCO music. (typo previous post)

    His song would be eligible to sing, but it is the title of the song that AI producers would probably object to. I think Adam would be fantastic doing this song! 😉

    Rod’s song appears on every list of DISCO songs. Now, I am wondering what Adam will do?


  48. This Susan Boyle story is so fascinating! Wow!

    On Adam….I believe (and this is just my opinion) that with the right producer and material he will sell more than any Idol before him. Why? For one, he can sing like nobody’s business.

    And the main reason? He’s a star. You can get help with producing and writing, but it’s very hard to teach or train someone to have presence: It just “Is”. Adam has the IT factor, that intangible “thing” that makes people gravitate toward him.

    I hope he’s ready for it because whether he wins or loses, the paparazzi are gonna follow him everywhere.


  49. Actually, I am thinking that IF Adam sang *Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Simon will say that he is self-indulgant. Simon takes those kind of songs literally and have brought down wannabe stars to make them look like that are conceited thus the voting public do not like conceited dudes.


  50. I will bet you that Lil will take a Donna Summer song.


  51. Oh yeah, Rosanne, coming up to your comment about only having 2 judges judging alternately is yeah~ really wierd big time. What the hey? Because you know why? (you probably do) They are not doing a hour and a half anymore like they used to. Because after all, they’ve had a guest judge making 4 judges before.

    I will give you one word~ Cutbacks. $$$$


  52. Seriously Surely – I have noticed the lack of $$$ for the show this year.

    Last year, there were so many fabulous guest artists and mentors and this year has been brutally lacking in this respect I feel. Blame it on the economy and also blame it on the “lack of personality factor” in this year’s lineup of singers.

    Season 7 was quite simply the most brilliant grouping of singers in Idol history – unbelievable! Although, Seasons 4 & 5 came close.


  53. It certainly isn’t cool or hip – not at all mainstream – so it is a bit of a lonely road for these cabaret artists – but I am glad that american Idol has decided to embrace someone like Adam this year. Very glad!

    I would be a bit more hesitant to box Adam in though, if I were you. Adam’s experience and habits doing cabaret definitely shows in his performances, but Adam has stated that he wants to be a radio top 40 pop/rock artist. If anything, during the course of the show so far, Adam’s shown his unique ability, both vocally and performance-wise, to cross and sometimes even transcend genres. I’m sure it’s quite exciting for you since you do like cabaret that Adam has done it before, but I think you’re being a bit presumptive when you say that that’s the kind of music path Adam’s going to pursue.

    Also – you up there have just said that cabaret is a bit of a “lonely road” and not “cool or hip.” If that were the case and the path Adam would seemingly be taking, I don’t think Simon would be pushing for Adam to win in the way he’s been doing so far. Simon likes contestants that are talented, but more importantly marketable, and I believe he definitely sees Adam’s marketability to a large group of people.


  54. Kyuu said, “Simon likes contestants that are talented, but more importantly marketable, and I believe he definitely sees Adam’s marketability to a large group of people.” But I want to point out that Simon has not always been right–Simon obviously pushed Rueben and Fantasia, and while both are still recording, you can’t say that they have become big stars. The only winner who Simon was absolutely right about is Carrie. He predicted that she would sell more records than any other Idol and I think she has. It seems to me that people who watch Idol each week get caught up in it and cannot be truly objective. We just can’t be sure what is going to appeal to the mass audience outside of Idol viewers.


  55. When I said that cabaret is a bit of a “lonely road” and not “cool or hip, I meant that in the early stages – when a young male – or female – singer is showing signs of being truly unique in their approach to their vocal style.

    These singers are hard to “pigeon-hole” and, yet, it is their creativity and ability to transcend all genres of music that make them truly special.

    Adam can be what ever he wants to be – therein lies his genius. However, I would love to see him produce a CD or show that highlights his multi-faceted personality, reinventing songs that will be popular on the Top 40 charts.


  56. A good article on how Adam has changed through his career:



  57. Ah, MCL, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head:

    “These [cabaret] singers are hard to “pigeon-hole” and, yet, it is their creativity and ability to transcend all genres of music that make them truly special.

    Adam can be what ever he wants to be – therein lies his genius.”

    Unfortunately, the current market does not necessarily reward musical genius. Of course, there are many that appreciate talent in any form it may take (hey, like us! lol) but that does not always mean mega dollars to be made. Sigh. I guess that means that we need to support artists that we love by buying cds, downloads, and concert tickets. On the plus side, I guess that makes us patrons of the arts.


  58. I am really excited about the Disco theme! I love the music and often play it when cleaning the house. I am curious as to what mentor canceled.


  59. Apple Pie? surely, you are not serious? LOL

    Tonight’s the night. Hope to catch you dudes in here after the show to discuss. I did not see you last week! what’s up with that? I think it is because Rosanne had not put up the new site for the Disco week but do we have to wait til then? How abt if we meet here. If not. well, see ya next time! Disco! Disco! is not Dead! (do you remember the fab nightclubs and the flashing sparkling ball? and the fab dancing?)


  60. OH SHOOT! DISREGARD THE PREVIOUS POST! Rosanne is ahead of me…she DID put up a disco site. meet y’all there.


  61. Apple Pie he was! Check out this article w/video from his Homecoming date x2!

    and here’s a January interview with him



  1. American Idol Season 8 top 7 Vocal Masterclass Article: Disco Music « MasterclassLady.Com - April 23, 2009

    […] Kris -your technical skills are still so green. You need to read everything that was mentioned last week and, in fact, all the weeks since this Top 13 competition […]


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