Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 9 Top 3 Show: Judges’ and Singers’ Choice

American Idol Season 9 Top 3

AMERICAN IDOL: The final Three: L-R: Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox and Casey James. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.

We are finally down to the Final 3 competitors of American Idol Season 9:

Casey JamesCrystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze.

And, to the best of my knowledge, all the guest mentoring is over, allowing the singers the opportunity to work solely with the American Idol musical staff.

The extra time will allow the singers to strategically pace their routine and focus their energy toward delivering confident, artistic-friendly performances during the performance show on Tuesday.

Casey, Crystal and Lee will each perform two selections: one of their own choice and the other selected by the judges.

I have not received any information about their personal song selections; however,  the judges’ selections were  revealed during their hometown visits over the weekend.

According to MJsBig Blog.Com,  Ellen DeGeneres chose “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney for Crystal Bowersox,  Simon Cowell chose “Hallelujah” for Lee DeWyze and Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson chose “Daughters” by John Mayer for Casey James.

Personally, I don’t “get” the Hallelujah song choice for Lee – it’s been done to death but maybe – just maybe – there is a new arrangement out there that will knock us out!   Otherwise, Simon has some “splaining to do!

Also, usually the singers have the opportunity to perform three songs during the Top 3 show.  Why these singers have performed less numbers than any other group of finalists is just strange and so unfair. And I do believe that, at this stage of the competition, original songs should be part of the format and the songs should reflect the style of the singer. Case closed!

UPDATE: Apparently last year’s singers also performed only two numbers each. Thanks Jeanne!

Best of luck to the Top 3 Finalists and feel welcome to add your comments before, during and after the live telecast on Tuesday, May 18th.

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

52 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 9 Top 3 Show: Judges’ and Singers’ Choice”

  1. Reposted from another thread:
    It is cruel to give Lee “Hallelujah.” I just don’t think he can do it. I hope he’s working night and day with the vocal coaches. This is like putting me in a calculus class or a dance contest. Totally unfair, and for another horse metaphor, it’s like putting a maiden two year old in the Kentucky Derby carrying more weight than the 3 year olds. Maybe even without a jockey. And expecting him to win.

    At least the other judges gave Crystal and Casey songs that are in their wheelhouse. Great choice Ellen. I am excited for them. Sad for Lee. I hope he can make up for it in his other song(s).

    The songs the judges pick are not supposed to be death sentences. Challenging maybe. With the potential to have a “moment,” though. Poor Lee.


  2. MCL, it seems to me that last year they only did two songs apiece, too. I could be wrong, but I remember being surprised by this before. Just part and parcel, I guess, of the “let’s show more about the contestants’ lives and the judges instead of letting the music take center stage” mentality.


  3. Halleujah is one of my all-time favorite done by everyone from Leonard Cohen, who was the creator of the song, to K.D. Lang, to Willie Nelson. The fact that the song can be performed by so many diverse artists is a testament to its power. IMO, it is not a song that has to sung, necessarily, but felt. I think if Lee can dig deep and tap into his passion (which he hasn’t always displayed this season) then he will do very well.


  4. Gasunshine2009 May 18, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Great article. Should be I interesting to hear them all sing the chosen songs!


  5. Actually I don’t think it will matter what anyone sings tonight. At this stage of the game we will vote for our favorites regardless. Most folks will vote for both Crystal and Lee. This isn’t the final say, it is just to get the two favorites to the top 2. I am so totally blown away with Crystal at the moment. I was unaware of her pre-idol music. Thank you MJ for posting Farmer’s Daughter the other day. As I was listening to it I was thinking what depth of talent this young lady had, then I discovered “Mama” which is listed on the same page as Farmer’s Daughter. If you haven’t heard it, run over to You Tube and give it a listen. I cannot listen to it without tears. This young lady has now entered into the depths of my heart. She is amazing. Huge thanks to MJ for introducing us to her original songs. I truly believe that with her gift it will not matter if she wins or not as she acknowledges the fact that she has already won and she has.


  6. Please tell me I should be excited. I am always excited when we head into the Final 2. I have seen every show/every season, but just feel so disappointed at how it has turned out. I hope next year there will be only three judges and the finalists sing THREE songs like they did in previous years (not Season 8).

    Yes, I hope Crystal has a moment tonight.


  7. For me it doesn’t really matter who wins…this is a great top three! It is exciting because right now there is no clear winner, any of the three could walk away as the next American Idol. So that makes tonight fun to watch.

    In as much, some people complain about the contestants being able to play an instrument; how ironic that the top three all play guitar!!!


  8. I have a theory as to why Lee was given that song…they really want Crystal to win. Casey just to does not have enough talent to. He is just a handsome guy with an average voice. They know the type of music Lee sings is more popular than the kind that Crystal sings. They are giving Lee a song that has been done to death, and one that is not his style so Lee might be voted off. That would leave Crystal with Casey in the top 2, and we know who is a better singer and will win….just my opinion though.


  9. I tend to agree with Sandy. I think at this point in the competition, people have pretty much made up their minds. It’s all about getting out the vote for your particular favorite. I honestly don’t think the actual performances will matter all that much, but I do hope that we are treated to a great songfest. That is why I watch.

    If Lee’s performance of “Kiss from a Rose” didn’t hurt him last week, then nothing he does can possibly hurt him this week. I wish that it wasn’t so, but I have been watching this show too long. I think what helped Lee was his duet with Crystal. It’s just that I don’t see the actual singing swaying too many people now. The one who has the most power texting fans should benefit the most.

    I am not sure that this is a wide open a contest as some may think. It’s possible, but we shall see. I truly wish that we would be getting three songs from each contestant. It’s such a shame that they have taken second place to a panel of four judges who have precious little of value or merit to say. I sincerely hope that returning to a three song format is one of many changes that the show implements for next season. It really should be all about the singing.


  10. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I will be TiVOing the show. It doesn’t matter to me what the judges say because I won’t be listening to them. I think I agree with Mindy & Sandy; at this point, the actual singing doesn’t matter. People have picked their favorites. People who might be swayed by the singing are people who probably aren’t likely to vote anyway.


  11. If it was any other season, I would trust in Simon’s choice. He has a pretty good track record for matching performer to song and he’s not above claiming bragging rights for his choices. Last year he kinda turned on Randy and Kara for not helping Kris with the arrangement for “Appologise” which he insisted was allowed. Does this mean he’ll be helping Lee???? But it’s not any other season so all bets off on that. Still I wonder???

    If it was any other season, I would agree that voters will vote for their favorites. But, vote counts are way way down this season. Top six this season was 5+ million behind season 7’s top six. Last week this season was 14 million behind S7. Just wondering out loud if viewers aren’t still waiting for the “wow” performance before doing any serious voting??? Again it’s S9…all bets are off.


  12. I echo everyone’s confusion about Simon’s pick of “Hallelujah” for Lee. Last year, Simon picked a winner for Adam – “One” by U2. It was wonderful choice Adam in terms of both the musicality of the piece and the message of the lyrics. This year, Simon’s clearly given no thought to what would give Lee the “moment” he needs to make it into the finale.


  13. Yep to all.

    DVR Night –

    I LIKE all the contestants this year, but not enough to sit through more LAMB & MOUSE comments and product placements.

    I want all the contestants to have a MOMENT – that is what is important – that they take this experience as a springboard or launchpad.


  14. What is going on tonight? What’s with all the Lee pimpage? I thought all the performances were pretty even – a three-way-tie~ By all, back to some more Vocal Masterclass typing.


  15. MCL,
    From a novice listener who knows zero about singing–only what I like to hear–I thought Lee deserved the pimpage tonight. Perhaps he doesn’t always have the best voice, but I definitely really enjoyed both of his performances tonight–especially Hallelujah! So much for all of the negative posting about this song not being good for Lee.

    Also I disagree about the comment that it doesn’t matter how they did tonight because everyone has already made up his/her minds. Obviously many do have favorites, but lots of people probably like all of them and haven’t decided who they want to win. I’m one of them–I’ve liked Crystal and Lee for most of the season (even though Siobhan was my favorite!), and I still don’t have a favorite to win it all, but if the entire season was based on tonight’s songs alone, I’d vote for Lee.
    Crystal was really good, as usual, and Casey was good too, but he still didn’t blow me away and he never has–but I really do think he’s a terrific musician and could probably be a very successful artist. Personally, I really hope Casey gets eliminated tomorrow night.


  16. I love Hallelujah. I don’t think that I can dislike it ever. I’m glad Simon chose it and I think that Lee did come out the winner tonight for the time being. I would say Crystal second, with Casey third. I think Casey could have picked a better song and believe he is better than what he chose. I’m afraid he is vulnerable tonight, especially since he sang first.

    Song choice is so important this late in the game and I think Lee had the best songs tonight. We keep saying it- song choice, song choice, song choice. Pick a good song, change it up, make it your own, be unpredictable, and sing it well. Personally I think it’s always anyone’s game because song choice can totally change things around. Look what Heartless did for Kris last year….It was a game changer in the home stretch.

    Congrats to the top 3 for making it this far. It is hard to see them go home each week, especially this late in the game. Good luck top 3!


  17. I apologize to Lee. He totally rocked “Hallelujah.” That was excellent. And the song works so well, especially in this format because it is one big crescendo that lifts the spirits.


  18. I am a Crystal fan. However, I thought Lee was the clear winner tonight. For me he had his best singing and performance tonight. Sure, the vocal was still not perfect but I don’t expect it to be. Most importantly, Lee had fire tonight. He performed like he wanted to win idol. I don’t think Crystal and Casey showed that tonight. Based on tonight I thought the ‘pimping’ was well deserved


  19. I wasn’t blown away tonight the way I hoped. I did not like Casey’s personal song choice at all. It didn’t have enough of a melody and wasn’t interesting enough to really capture the essence of who he is as a singer. I thought he had some off key notes and that vibrato seemed to go south a bit, but there just wasn’t much he could do with this song. There were so many much better showcases for his talents.

    I thought Casey did better with Daughters, the John Mayer song. He sounded better and the vocals were more in control. But again, I just didn’t hear enough to make me all that interested. I have always been honest in saying that I come to Casey with an innate bias, being someone who generally doesn’t love his genre of music and vocal style. Therefore, I have had to try hard to remain objective and fair when evaluating his performances. Tonight I just think he came up short. I didn’t really think he was top three material and tonight I feel that he proved me right.

    Crystal bringing the harmonica and the guitar seemed to take away from her ability to connect with the audience. I thought this Melissa Etheridge song was okay, nothing brilliant. Her vocals were good, but again nothing special. I actually agreed with Randy about the arrangement. I didn’t think it worked with her vocals. I really expected more with her personal song choice.

    As far as “Maybe I’m Amazed”, I didn’t think it came off as wonderfully as I thought it would. I did like the performance value, with Crystal coming off the stairs and then moving forward on the stage, finally going behind the judges to sing directly to the audience. She sounded very Janis Joplin with her take on the song. I felt that she once again was shouting and using too much chest voice in parts of the song. This girl has so much talent that I find myself expecting so much of her. I wasn’t fully satisfied with what she brought to her performances tonight.

    Lee sounded good on his choice of “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynryd. He was much more in tune and his husky voice was rich and vibrant. I think he made a really good personal song choice. He went with a song that was well suited to his voice and musical style and seemed quite comfortable and in his element. It really does show the importance of song choice. He was so much better than last week with “Kiss From a Rose”. He owned the song.

    I was one who said that the only way “Hallelujah” would work for Lee was if it was changed up dramatically. Well, that’s what happened. This was a unique interpretation of this song. I don’t know that it will be my favorite version of the song, but for Lee it seemed to work really well. He got to sing it his way, using his husky voice with passion and conviction. I heard more emotion in his voice than I have all season. At times, I thought it could go over the top, what with the choir and the strings, but somehow it all came together.

    The judges were shamelessly pimping Lee for all it was worth, but I did think he was the best tonight. These two performances were probably his most vocally pure and the feeling was powerful.

    I still think that Crystal is the best singer in this competition. She would be a worthy winner. However, Lee has definitely made a case for himself with tonight’s performances. I would be surprised if Casey makes it into the finale.


  20. I’ve been brutal to lee in some of my comments, but I agree he won the night based on good song choice arrangement and decent singing.
    That said, the judges (especially Simon) are pimping Lee to death. Watch his performances beginning with Chasing Cars in top 24, Simon has NEVER been very critical of his performances, even in horrible performances like last week and Hey Jude his criticisms are sugarcoated. And of course, anything that’s remotely good he praises to the heavens as if it was Billie Jean caliber. Compare that to the verbal abuse Siobhan, Tim, Didi, and Casey (others too, but this group got it the worst IMO) had to endure after technically better performances and you just have to shake your head….

    I thought Crystal was extremely boring tonight (and she’s my favorite of the three remaining) and Casey’s second song was very good, but the first one was utterly forgettable.


  21. Sorry Mindy, I posted at practically the same time and the topics covered turned out to be quite similar, you just went far more in depth and I enjoyed reading it.


  22. Shuki,

    I enjoyed reading your comments. You did make the important point that Simon has been practically tone deaf to Lee’s vocal pitch problems all through the finals. You also pointed out the other contestants who had much harsher critiques from Simon. He has been just abominable throughout this whole process. He hasn’t been a judge, he’s been a pimper with an agenda. He used to do this with some finesse, but that has all but disappeared this season. Simon hasn’t bothered with some of the witty, edgy remarks that have made his critiques enjoyable in the past. He just goes for the jugular.

    Crystal also happens to be my favorite out of these three. However, I I am in agreement with you about her performances. There was a specialness, a spark, a kind of genius in some of her earlier performances. I could chalk it up to the end of a long, grueling competition. However, I happen to think the judges bear part of the blame for Crystal’s fairly routine performances. They have not challenged her, have not offered up any measure of honest, constructive criticism that might have motivated her to reach for more. This is what happens when you let someone coast by without asking for more. No singer is ever perfect. No singer should ever feel that they can remain static and rest on their laurels. The judges have shamelessly ignored some of the very real vocal issues in Crytal’s performances. She needs to address them in order to fully realize her potential. She is incredibly gifted and talented, but there is still more work to do. I wish the judges had pushed her to give more. She is more than capable of it.


  23. Tonight was a nice show, but there was something lacking that I have felt with previous TOP 3 performances. Oh, three songs for starters. Where was the energy and sense of joy in performing?

    The judges have shamelessly ignored some of the very real vocal issues in Crytal’s performances.

    Yes, this was very obvious tonight. I think Crystal may just be exhausted, but she seemed to be straining her voice. The harmonica was uncalled for and a bit distracting. I still like this gal, but she has done so much better in previous performances. I would like to have seen a simple black skirt instead of the black pants for her second number. I do think she’ll be there next week.

    Casey just didn’t seem to have his heart in either performance. His song choice was just alright… nothing special. He needed to be special if he wanted to be here next week. Maybe he knows it is time to go home?

    Lee did a nice job, but the praises were just OTT, and actually was a bit annoying. I replayed Jason’s version of “Hallelujah” and find the simplicity of his performance is what makes it so memorable. I did find Lee’s tears to be sweet and he does seem like a nice young man. It is obvious the judges want him to win this thing.

    As I have said elsewhere, Tim didn’t have the best voice, but at least I felt entertained. He has an energy about him that was lacking in the performances tonight. And I did miss Siobhan! She brought something to this season that was unique and very special.

    I believe it will be Lee and Crystal in the Finale.


  24. Grammie Kari – I was just about to say: I don’t know if it’s fatigue, sickness, or whatnot, but Crystal’s voice sounded very off to me tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a high degree of imbalance in her vocal production before. She also encountered some minor pitch problems and suffered from a lack of vocal focus in “Come to My Window.”

    Crystal seemed to have a hard time accessing her diaphragmatic support tonight. Her voice sounded very unhealthy at times, especially in “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I’m a tad worried for her; I hope she gets some rest. I’m slightly baffled because she sounded great in the video from her homecoming concert; I’m not sure what happened between then and tonight. (All the traveling and media frenzy didn’t help, I’m sure.)

    From an artistic perspective, she was still strong, but I missed the full beauty of her voice tonight. I am definitely a fan of Crystal, but for the sake of her vocal longevity, she really needs to take steps to protect her voice by learning proper technique. My hope for her is that she finds someone who doesn’t try to change her style but can teach her to create aggressive/raspy sounds in a healthy manner. I truly believe that any sound can be done in a healthy manner; aggressive sounds are not necessarily unhealthy. The auditory difference between a sound done healthily versus unhealthily might be subtle for some, but I think for many, it’s one of those things that you can’t quite put your finger on, but you notice it when it’s pointed out. The healthy versions, in my opinion, actually sound better because the vocal cords are vibrating freely.


    [On a side note, I apologize for my absence as of late! I don’t know where the time goes! Two weeks ago, some personal difficulties cropped up, which were slightly burdensome and anxiety-producing (although I really, really feel that they’re very minor in the grand scheme of things!). As such, I left some loose ends unattended to in terms of conversations, and I apologize dearly for that. Fortunately, I’m doing much, much better now, so hopefully, I’ll get to those loose ends soon! Let me know if I forgot to reply to something you wrote me somewhere! ;)]


  25. J, I am happy that things are going better for you! Welcome back. We have so many wonderful participants on this website. I certainly appreciate you all.

    Some feel runner-up status may be better for Crystal. She may have more control in the production of her album. I am just not sure Lee has what it takes to be a success. Personality wise, he seems a bit shy, which is fine. Tonight he did show more confidence in his performance, but something is lacking. I just cannot pinpoint what it is.

    What did you think about Casey’s performance? Did anyone notice the number of commercials about 10 minutes before the show ended? Between those and having four judges, we did not get that third performance. Maybe Crystal, Lee, and Casey were happy about that?


  26. Dear Grammie Kari, Louise, and Shuki –

    I agree with you – as much as I hoped for a great Top 3 – we got six joyless performances from 3 tired people – it seemed as if all their energy was left back in their home towns.

    Lee, Crystal, and Casey seem to be three of the nicest people, but I don’t see how any one of them really WANTS to win the top spot. I cannot blame them – the top 3 gives them the tour, a bit of income, some hype, and a chance to record later. The top spot seems to offer them the opportunity to perform as E19’s “trained monkey” for a year or two or three, or four, or more …

    I watched this asthenic demonstration again this morning – no joy. To my untutored ears and eyes, all three of the exhausted contestants had issues with pitch, rhythm, dynamics, breath control. To use the HORSE metaphor from earlier posts, the contestants have been –

    ‘Rode Hard and Put Away Wet’.

    Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic, summed it up here:

    I cannot help wondering – Marvelous Mike’s vocals, Siobhan the Great’s showmanship, and even Tim Urban’s charm could have brought some interest and energy; and Katie Stevens, Didi Benami, and Lilly Scott could have fixed a hole in this non-performance of a show.

    Very strange vibe from the Judgementals: If you had just listened to the gang of four – Lee can do no wrong, Casey did very little right, and Crystal was hanging on to past glory.

    … Ellen looked dour tonight and was left out of the Randy, Simon, and Scara Kara, Ryan group grope. Perhaps E19 has made its decision – Kara In, Ellen Out for AI10?


  27. Dial Idol (measures phone busy signals and) supports the conventional wisdom:

    1. Lee Dewyze – Safe (~13.2)
    2. Crystal Bowersox – Safe (~ 6.1)

    3. Casey James – Goes Home (~ 2.7)

    Let’s see if the text voting from the southern block can bring back Casey for another 2 or 3 songs.


  28. I loved last night…I thought all three were very entertaining to watch.

    I disagree with the thoughts that the winner is a done deal…last night for those who wait til’ the top three to vote; decisions were made and I think even a few minds were changed last night!

    Lee was outstanding and deserved every bit of the praise that was given to him!


  29. I do think Lee had the best night, and I think that may be in part because there weren’t notable problems with his pitch, etc. In some ways, the bar is lower for him than it is for Crystal. When he can get through a performance without the usual bumps, we think he’s great.

    Both songs were good for him, and I give him props for Hallelujah, because I, too, was skeptical. Lee is a likable guy, and when he lets his personality creep out, he is definitely going to appeal to the audience.

    As for Crystal, I have noticed that her inclination is to finish songs small, and not to “force” a build at the end in the 90 second format. I haven’t paid enough attention to the iTunes songs to notice how she finishes them, but she forgoes the big David Cook endings, even when she could easily do them without them feeling contrived. Part of how she views things, I guess. Unfortunately, I think we as the audience would like her to finish at 100% sometimes, and I think if she would, Lee would stand no chance. But Lee is the one who is more apt to leave it all out there, and as I commented back in the beginning of the season, we Americans do love powerhouse vocals. Lee’s willingness to go there is appealing to us.

    Casey is so happy to settle for comfortable, and that will be his downfall. After a while, comfortable gets boring.

    I have hypoglycemia, and if I haven’t eaten properly, it definitely affects my own performances. I don’t know enough about singing to have heard what you all heard in Crystal’s singing (although it seemed to me that she was making an effort to avoid the spread mouth), but I wonder if her blood sugar might have been just a little off last night and that was the cause of whatever you heard. I know they have made great strides with the diabetic pumps, but perhaps you can still have down moments. Or maybe it was just a bad night for her. It happens.


  30. It is not Lee’s fault that the judges do what they do. Lee deserved the praise he got last night, Simple man was his wow moment!


  31. As several of you have noted, Crystal struck me as being fatigued or ill last night.

    I was in the studio audience when she performed “People Get Ready” a few weeks ago. She had a real “moment.” That night, she was fully present with an energy and passion that filled the theater and captured the the hearts of everyone present. Last night was just not the same, and I wonder why.

    My first inkling that all might not be well with her was when Ryan asked her if she needed help getting from the stool to the center of the stage before performing “Come to My Window.” I just thought that was strange. Then her lack of eye contact throughout the entire song made it seem sleepy and indeed a bit distant.

    I enjoyed “Maybe I’m Amazed” much more, but again she seemed tentative in her body movement. As she walked across the stage and around the judges, she looked very tired and unsure of her footing. Her arms seemed just to hang by her side. There’s no energy or command of the stage there.

    We’ve all seen Crystal perform better. It’s unfortunate that she wasn’t there 100%.


  32. MCL – I wish that there were a way to go back and edit comments! Obviously I meant “arm” and not “arms.”


  33. Sue, how wonderful that you had an opportunity to see the finalists in person. Thank you for confirming that Crystal seemed to lack energy or perhaps was ill. I wanted her to do well with her songs. I hope many will judge her on all of the performances for the season. That tween/teen vote could mess up her chances of being in the TOP 2. Although, there is the option of the votes being checked to see if all were legit for Casey. I just have no idea which one will be going home.

    We know that the producers have declared Lee the winner. How could you tell?


  34. I wish MCL would review Glee, but I know she has more than enough on her plate. I think that Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris gave the American Idol contestants a masterclass in singing technique last night. The round, relaxed mouth position that MCL has made us all grossly aware of (in a good way) was “in your face” in the duet performance of “Dream On” that was Danny Gokey’s swan song. It made me so aware than you can sing a hard rock song with perfect technique. (And appreciate Steve Tyler very large mouth.) Did anyone else see Glee? I knew NPH sang, but not like that. And it was hysterical. I am of the Doogie Howser generation so seeing NPH’s growth.

    Last night, in my opinion, was better than some of the critics. Lee did have a few ptich problems, esp. in the Lynyrd Skynyrd song. But I agree with the person above who said the bar was low for him, especially in “Hallelujah.” I feel a little bad for Casey because the John Mayer judges’ choice didn’t have soaring potential – a natural crescendo. It might’ve in a full-song format in which he could’ve really gone at the guitar (Simon was right). Hallelujah and Maybe I’m Amazed both build and lend themselves to “moments.” Crystal definitely had a few strained notes. Instead of singing within herself in “Come to My Window” I think she tried to have a rough timbre to her voice. Lee actually would be great singing that song. That said, it was really good, just not great. “Maybe I’m Amazed” was awesome. It seemed like the live audience felt the love a little more than the TV audience. I though her singing “I’m a man” over and over was distracting a little and you couldn’t really change it to wo-Man. She looks a little more comfortable without the guitar.

    You know, overall, I would pay to go see any of these three contestants and could see them playing at small venues – theater sized venues like … well, the Rialto here in Tucson, the Fox Theater in Atlanta. I really can’t wait to see Casey in a band. All of them.


  35. I missed the show last night, so I’m working my way through videos of the performances. Unfortunately, both song choice and the order of songs gave the impression that Casey was just checking in.

    I know that the judges’ pick was slated to be second in the set list, but what if Casey had kicked off the night with the slower and gentler “Daughters” and THEN rocked it out with a high energy, get out of your seats and dance number?

    Think Taylor Hicks and “Living for the City.”

    Instead we got:

    “OK is alright with me. Some things are just meant to be. It never comes easily. And, when it does, I’m already gone.”


  36. I have loved American Idol since the beginning- even tried out for the first season for fun. I just can’t get over the smoke and mirrors giving us the “best performance of the night.” With a choir in the background, a timpani, and horns, “Hallelujah” was still very bland. But because it was loud with tons of elements, we go googoo-gaga. This season is definitely not my favorite. I don’t think any of the singers are awful, but I’m not sure they’re as talented as seasons past. I tire of the “rock voice sound” that can be so easily imitated- Lee doesn’t sound original. Casey, dear, you need to stick with the blues. Short spurts of singing that allow you to rock the guitar is your forte. Crystal has been the most consistent…although I have a feeling her fan base is limited because of her unique sound.

    I do miss Big Mike. I think he was the best vocalist of them all. I’m kinda over this season. I don’t think any of the contestants will make a huge impact once the season is over. I hope they surprise me.


  37. It suddenly occurs to me that the People Spoiler from yesterday made reference to Crystal holding a long note in Come to My Window during the rehearsal. The fact that she didn’t last night tells me she had run out of steam. Definitely a blood sugar issue.


  38. Jeanne,

    Interesting observation about Crystal holding a long note in the rehearsal. We know that she can do better. And, we know that she wants to win AI. I wonder if there will be any comments tonight during the results show about her health. I wouldn’t be surprised.


  39. Kariann said, ” . . . We know that the producers have declared Lee the winner. How could you tell?”

    I don’t think that TPTB have necessarily declared Lee the winner. But I do think that they tried to make it into at least a relatively exciting finale–and I think they’ve probably accomplished that by ending the show with Lee’s version of Hallelujah. I still think that they would prefer that Crystal wins, but they don’t want her to look like a shoe-in. Casey would not be much competition for Crystal at all. But if Lee is doing his best, it adds some suspense to the final show.

    As for the discussion of Crystal not performing quite up to par, besides a blood sugar level, I wonder if Crystal could actually prefer NOT to win the title? Or if we really wanted to believe in conspiracy theories, could TPTB have told her to restrain herself a little to make it seem as if she isn’t the runaway winner?


  40. Am I the only one who thinks that Lee’s version of Hallelujah was way OTT? -_- Simple Man > Hallelujah, IMO. And Kara’s comment: “You are the heart of this season” ugh.

    I do think that it’s clear we’ll have a Crystal-Lee finale. Casey’s performances were not bad, but they were forgettable. Plus he got the lead spot.


  41. thank you, sue, for your observations about observing crystal in an earlier performance.

    she was also “on” during her hectic rounds of mini-concerts in toledo and did a particularly good version of “me and bobby mcgee” at the ottawa fair grounds. last night, in comparison, she looked almost listless by the time she was interacting with ryan. “rode hard and put away wet,” indeed.

    if one takes into account the nature of crystal’s original work, not yet known fully to the idol audience (someone???? at AI knows about it, she said during an interview in toledo that she was pressing them to let her sing “gray haired rock star”), it changes the perspective on her fan base. her own work is not “bluesy rocker chick” nor does it echo or elaborate upon janis joplin’s or melissa ethridge’s sound, at least not to my ears. i think in terms of topics and lyrics alone it appeals across age barriers, although perhaps not to a mass audience of pre-pubescent and teenage girls.

    she’s a hard working young woman, very gifted in the best of the singer-songwriter tradition and i just hope her health holds.


  42. Now that I think about it, you guys are probably right. It’s not that Crystal’s song choices weren’t good last night, it’s just that her voice was never really there. For me I could compare her performances to Lee’s Kiss of a Rose or Siobhan’s Through the Fire.In all of these contestants’ voices were strained and just unappealing during those even when their pitch was good.
    Goodness, I miss Siobhan!


  43. I would much rather listen to Tom Waits gravel on about human stupidity
    than any of the flavor-of-the-month warblers tweeting about the love of their life.

    I pick Lee for the win.


  44. Am I the only one who thinks that Lee’s version of Hallelujah was way OTT? -_- Simple Man > Hallelujah, IMO. And Kara’s comment: “You are the heart of this season” ugh.

    Solidarity – did you see upthread I wrote, “Lee did a nice job, but the praises were just OTT, and actually was a bit annoying.” I replayed the performance again, and there is that gulp of aire as Lee tries to finish the song. That is my biggest complaint. Not one judge addressed the fact that Lee ran out of breath. It was not perfect as the judges would have you believe. I am anxious to see what MCL thinks may have happened to Lee.

    I will say that I won’t miss Simon personally. It may be the down fall of the show, but there has to be one charming, witty, and personable judge out there that can step into Simon’s shoes. We need to remember that we didn’t know whom Simon Cowell was 8 years ago. Simon hasn’t been excited about the show for at least two years!

    Louise – maybe you are right that the producers want to add some excitement for the Final 2. But they may be turning people off, and it may backfire on them.

    Lily – you have mentioned the mini-concerts in Toledo. Were you there or did you view them on YouTube? It seems they all did well on their hometown visits, but lost steam coming back. Well, we will get to see more tonight!

    Sue – I like thinking about Taylor Hicks!

    Shuki, – I really do miss Siobhan!


  45. OK, I rewatched all the performances on youtube and I’ve got to change a few things. I still think Crystal’s vocals were strained, but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I made it out to be. Lee’s first song was actually really well sung so props to him! His second on the other hand was full of bum notes so no props to him lol! I’ve always thought Casey’s voice sounded a bit weak, as if he says the words of his songs instead of truly singing them (small exaggeration, but you know what I mean) and he didn’t sound any different than he has all year, so I’m saying he was pretty good last night.


  46. There are so many comments here since I first posted my thoughts. I have listened to the performances again today, with my eyes closed. As always, it is very revealing.

    Casey was really off with his personal song choice. The vocal technique wasn’t there, he had trouble staying on key and seemed to singing from his throat. I know that Casey is pretty much cannon fodder to the judges, but I was hoping that he would pick a great song which would really showcase what he is capable of doing. This song didn’t give him the opportunity to do that.

    I do think Casey sounded so much better on “Daughters”. He has trouble singing with the melody changes and staying on key, but this song didn’t have much range and worked well with his style of singing. I don’t think that one has to overwhelm the audience with bells, whistles, choirs or angels. This was a truly fine interpretation of a song that gave Casey the chance to show what he does best. Don’t you worry, Casey! There are plenty of guys who love your singing and music! Honestly, this endless nonsense about girls and women loving him as though he was just eye candy and not a serious musician, is beyond insulting.

    Now that I have read the comments and heard Crystal, I am sure there was something wrong with her. I did note how Ryan offered to help her carry the guitar over to the mic stand. She looked quite tired and listless. I think whatever is going on with her definitely affected her performances. Again I have to say that the arrangement her personal Melissa Etheridge song, simply did not work with her voice. That was the big problem for me. I thought she kind of lost the first sentence, seemed breathy in places and just not singing full out as we have heard her do so many times. This girl never gives a truly bad performance. She is too good for that. However, she has set the bar so high that expectations are that she will raise the bar once again. She really seemed just worn out.

    Listening to “Maybe I’m Amazed”, I wondered if she should have changed up the gender in the song. I did hear her sound a bit off in a few places and the raspiness of the shouting was a real concern. She sang with her heart and soul and still managed to pull off a great vocal. I am just concerned for the health of her voice.

    Lee really did sound his best on “Simple Man”. I haven’t seen him this comfortable on stage all season. The song seemed to fit him like a glove. He made an excellent choice and managed to show off his voice very well. I always hear a few off notes with him, but this was his best pure vocal in the competition.

    I have mixed feelings after listening to “Hallelujah” again. I thought that the choir and the strings and orchestration almost drowned Lee out in parts of the song. I found myself wondering how the judges would have reacted if it was Big Mike singing the song this way. Lee did have some off key notes at points in the song, but the ending is what really kind of spoiled it for me. He just lost the last notes. The inability to sustain a note at the end is crucial for full dramatic effect. He seemed to just run out of breath. All you could hear was the choir and the orchestra and everything else. Of course, the judges didn’t say anthing. They were too determined to give Lee his “moment”. I definitely prefer Jason Castro’s tender, restrained, haunting take on this song. However, I have to give Lee credit for really bringing his best vocals last night. This is the most consistent I have heard him all throughout the finals.

    I missed Big Mike. I loved the link that Julia posted. I happen to agree with everything that reviewer said. There is something so old and musty about Idol these days. It’s almost like being a great singer, having great technical skills, delivering consistently good vocals and competing all out, doesn’t really count for much anymore. I think Mike would have really brought some much needed excitement. However, the judges would have treated him much like Casey. They aren’t even judges anymore. They are just people with their own agenda. They all sounded as though they were reading off cue cards. I don’t know what their motive is as far as the pimping of Lee. Maybe they are trying to make the finale look more competitive, maybe they honestly do want him to win now, maybe they are trying to manufacture some real emotion in a season in which it has been so obviousl absent. The bottom line is that they did everything but crown him the winner.

    The two who get into the finale will both have a shot at success. If it’s Crystal and Lee, as I suspect it will be, then they will both get signed. I just think this show has lost so much of what made it special. As that reviewer said, it used to be about finding the next great voice. Who knew that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood would be commercial? That’s wasn’t so obvious back when they won. That’s what made it so great to watch. We wanted the next great talent. We have come so far from that. Now you can practically see the producers and judges calculating with dollar signs in their eyes as to who has the best shot to give them the best return on their investment. There is no longer a guarantee that an Idol winner will even have real commercial success.

    As far as the debate as to whether or not people have already made up their minds, I honestly don’t wish to get into a prolonged discussion about it. I am sure that a good portion of the viewing audience has indeed made up their minds and will vote for their favorite no matter how they perform. I am also sure that there are still people out there who do listen to the performances and can still be swayed by them. I honestly want to believe that. We can never know for sure.


  47. Mindy, what I find interesting about Casey’s personal choice is that he specifically said it represented the kind of artist he is. I was a little surprised, because I think he has done his best with blues, but if that is really how he sees himself, it (a) explains a lot about his song choices this season and (b) I’m not interested.

    Someone on another site mentioned Lee’s ongoing problem of holding notes. I haven’t been paying enough attention, I’ll admit, but there are some singers that I wonder if they can hold a note for more than a quarter note. Always wondered that about Kenny Rogers . . .

    I think Mike was mistreated by those who interpreted his confidence as arrogance, but the bottom line is (a) it’s all about who gets the votes, ultimately, not what the judges say, and (b) the votes represent a very particular cross-section of the AI voting public, not necessarily those who will buy CDs later. So while i am sorry to see artists I like voted off, I really don’t put much stock in it. The bottom line for EVERY Idol contestant is: can you sell CDs/concert tickets?


  48. Masterclass Lady I posted this on the other thread but this seems to be where the discussion are…if you do not want it posted twice just delete it…

    I would like to point out that Casey’s guitar was not mic’d for his first song…..they did not put the amp on stage….right when he is about to start the song you can see him stuff the cord into his front pocket and you never hear his guitar the whole song. He just strums along and it’s obvious the band takes over the “lead” guitar part…from what we heard about the rehearsal is Casey was supposed to “rip it up” on the guitar this week and when listenting to the original version of this song’s piano accompanyment, I can see how it would have been an awesome version with guitar…shame : (


  49. Kateri,

    I actually did see Casey put something in his pocket. I didn’t realize what was going on. However, to be honest I don’t think it would really have helped much. Casey just made a bad song choice. It didn’t do him justice. He is better than that song. The point was made when he sang “Daughters”. It may not have been the kind of song that packs a punch, but in its quiet way it is quite compelling and beautiful. I thought Casey did an excellent job of capturing the feeling of this lovely song. For all of Simon’s complaints about the song not having an emotional climax and Kara arguing that this is how the song is written, I think Casey did as much as possible with this soft, restrained, quiet song. I don’t see Casey being able to sing a power song and sound all that good. So they chose a song that would play to his strengths and, if it wasn’t bombastic enough, then so be it. At least Casey got the chance to show what he does best. I wish him well in his career.

    I am not trying to take anything away from Lee. My issues with his vocals have been ongoing. However, last night he was remarkably consistent and gave it his best. I don’t know that he will ever be the most dynamic live performer and maybe his fans aren’t looking for that. I actually preferred “Simple Man”. I thought Lee picked a song that truly showed him at his best. I saw a young man who was finally comfortable enough to sing better than I have heard all throughout the finals. That is the performance I will remember. I still think “Hallelujah” was just too much. I get what they were going for, but it sure was overkill. I just wanted to point out that this is the kind of thing that Big Mike got criticized for over and over again. I might also say that Big Mike doing this song in this manner, could have been a truly mindblowing experience.

    Lee has done his part and made the case that he deserves to be in the finale. Crystal has been doing her thing all along. She wasn’t at her best last night, but her talent and great performances earned her a well deserved spot in the finale.



  1. Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 9 Top 3 Show … | The Gossip Rag - May 18, 2010

    […] the original post: Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 9 Top 3 Show … Posted in American Idol Tags: casey, crystal, crystal-bowersox, final, fox, idol, masterclass, […]


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