Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season 10 Top 2 Singers: The Country Road To The Grand ‘Ole Finale

American Idol

By: Rosanne Simunovic

Well at long last and with much fanfare we are down to our final two singers, country artists Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery.

In a nutshell, both singers looked and sounded exhausted and nervous. I am sure, as we all are, that they just want this experience, however exciting, to end so they can resume their lives from here on in.

However, there is a big difference – our lives will go back to normal whereas their lives will be forever changed. I hope they are ready for the pressures of the “biz” and that their family members keep them rooted and grounded despite all the changes in their lives.

Best of luck to both Lauren and Scotty. They appear to be wholesome young adults and I wish them nothing but the best in the years ahead.

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

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

Lauren Alaina, Scott McCreery,


“Flat On The Floor”(Personal Favorite), “Maybe It Was Memphis” (Carrie Underwood’s Choice) and

“Like My Mother Does(New Single)

Strengths: Lauren – your “Flat On The Floor” number was a spirited ride. You sang this song with a ton of youthful energy and attitude.

This song was first performed during Top 5 Performance Show, and many of my comments still apply to this Top 2 performance. Therefore, I will refrain from repeating myself.

You have really evolved over the past few weeks and this performance highlighted the vast improvement in your performing abilities.

Additionally, your flirtatious choreography and excellent camera work sustained the overall performance of this number.

Your second number, “Maybe It Was Memphis” was chosen by Idol Alum, Carrie Underwood. I really loved this selection and, might I add, you looked so gorgeous throughout this number. I “heart” that dress.

But, the good news during this number was that your bel canto voice was back in full form. Your vowels were clean, pure and focused. And your phrasing was very musical and fluid. You established wonderful momentum in this number, singing through your phrases with musical consistency.

I also loved the inflection in your voice throughout this number. That nice breathless quality in your voice at the end was wonderfully done. Very expressive and genuine.

Your final number, “Like My Mother Does”, was – emotionally – your strongest performance of the three. This was such a beautiful tribute to your beautiful mama. And that beautiful, soft head voice at the end was wonderfully done.

Your voice, although tired, was loaded with passion and expression and, most important, purpose. Your voice is a naturally beautiful instrument, Lauren, and, if guided properly through stellar vocal technique, will carry you very far in the music industry.

Congratulations on such an enormous achievement. It has been such a pleasure to write these Vocal MasterClass evaluations for you each week.

Critique: Lauren – during your first number, “Flat On The Floor”, your voice sounded incredibly raspy. Now, I know you were having vocal issues prior to the airing of the show but this could have been avoided with proper use of your technical skills.

You have to learn to add power and muscle to your voice via the diaphragm. By breathing deeply and using your air to guide your voice through every dynamic level, you will ensure the health and longevity of your voice. And you will avoid the risk of injury.

You must remember not to push your power vocals. Every part of your vocal and dynamic range should sound free and liberated and never tense or constrained.

Also, please lose the chest voice. You added far too much of this element throughout this performance and I suspect this was the reason for your vocal health problems prior to the show. For the majority of this number you were shouting, not singing.

The lighter head voice quality must always be central to your vocal sound, thus ensuring a clean, pure, ringing, centered vocal timbre.

And be very careful that your choreographic elements do not disturb the proper vocal delivery. Always practice your song separate from the choreography and then, once the technique is firmly established, then add the appropriate choreography to compliment the vocal delivery.

Your second number, “Maybe It Was Memphis” was a more successful performance. You sang it with equal style and substance. Your chest voice was less overwhelming to your overall vocal sound and a higher abundance of head voice ruled the day.

Your final number, “Like My Mother Does” incorporated some of then problems you experienced in your first number, but to a lesser extent. At times your chest voice was very heavy and your voice cracked and/or sounded less brilliant than what I heard in your second number.

However, once again, you were moving more in this number, so again I shall caution you to keep the technique central to your performance. The choreographic and vocal elements must be synchronized to create a flawless, effortless, performing experience.

Congratulations Lauren and best of luck and happiness in your musical career.


“Gone” by Lonestar (Personal Favorite), “Check Yes Or No” (George Strait’s Choice) and

“When I Love You This Big”(New Single)

Strengths:Scotty – during your first number, “Gone”, you did a fantastic job energizing and motivating the crowd. This was Scotty McCreery at his absolute best and I was greedily taking it all in.

Like Lauren, you grabbed this song from your Top 5 Performance and, if you read my evaluation of this Top 5 performance, we all can agree that the comments apply to this Top 2 performance as well.

Your vocals sounded strong and resilient. Your booming bass wrapped so effortlessly around the melody line – the key was perfect for you.

This song was a glowing example at style and substance working hand in hand to achieve the very best.

And, it appears that your mike technique is pretty solid now, Scotty. You certainly look less awkward on stage now that you have abandoned that sideways stance.

Your second number, “Check Yes Or No” was a cute, but less inspired, song selection. Nevertheless, you exuded a nice, relaxed vibe throughout this song, strumming ever so efficiently on your guitar. Good job!

During your final number, “When I Love You This Big”, your vocal delivery was expressive and meaningful. You demonstrated a strong physical and emotional connection to this song.

And you really embraced the depth of your vocal range during this number, easily moving through the higher key change in the second half.

The progress you have made throughout this competition has not gone unnoticed by me or your legion on fans. Due to your stellar work ethic, you have emerged as a confident, poised and polished young performer and I know with all my heart that this will carry you very far in the music industry.

Kudos to you, Scotty. Always stay true to yourself and the world shall be yours.

Critique: Scotty – as much as I loved your first number, “Gone”, there wasn’t a great deal of melodic variation in this song Therefore, the vocal challenge wasn’t there.

However, in terms of pure entertainment value, it was a great number with which to open the show and I am sure it served as an appropriate warm-up for you as well. So, taking this all in, I have to say that this was your most genuine and comfortable performance of the three. It was a great Scotty fit. Everything worked!

Your second number, “Check Yes Or No” was just not a strong choice for you. There was little variation in the melody and were it not for the key change it would have fallen totally flat. At least the modulation added some harmonic variety to this song arrangement.

You seemed bored performing this number and almost detached from the performance. So strange.

Also, your the precision of your articulation was lessened and that tells me that you were not gaga over this song. It just lacked overall energy and presence.

Rule #1 – when stuck with a less inspiring song you have to learn to make lemonade from lemons. This song lacked creativity and spark because you didn’t add a little bit of Scotty into the performance.

Becoming more inventive with your phrasing and flexible within your melodic line, the song would have been more memorable and personal. The nuance and inflection that I heard in your opening number was sadly missing from this number.

And, your final number, “When I Love You This Big”, adopted similar problems. However, what struck me as very odd was the fragmentation of your phrasing. Over the last few weeks, you had made tremendous progress in this regard, so I was puzzled as to what caused you to abandon this advancement technical skills.

Oh how I wish you would connect some of your phrases and not have the sudden silence at the end of each phrase. This vocal element was slowly improving, but for some reason, you lost it during this song.

Additionally, the final word in each phrase was not as well sustained as in previous weeks. I was aching for you to stretch those words and those phrases but it just did not happen. Therefore, the song lacked a forward momentum and drive.

Truthfully, your diaphragmatic support in all three of your numbers was not working at full capacity. It’s almost as if you ran out of adrenaline with each successive number and, perhaps, you did. That and a heavy dose of nervousness, perhaps?

At any rate Scotty I loved everything about you this season. Your quiet, confident demeanor and the promise in your evolving vocal talent was just a wonderful experience for me and all the viewers.

It has been a pleasure to provide these Vocal MasterClass Articles for you, Scotty, and I wish you the very best in your future career.

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

Copyright © 2008. MasterclassLady.Com. All rights reserved.

Bookmark and Share

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

4 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season 10 Top 2 Singers: The Country Road To The Grand ‘Ole Finale”

  1. I have to say that was a very well thought out review of their performances and pretty much right on. I would have added that Lauren needs to do a lot better with breath control, but maybe you meant to cover that with your diaphram comments. But all in all a very thorough and honest evaluation. Which now begs the question…

    What happened to American Idol this season? How did the best singers not make it through to the final? The same reason as in previous other seasons – a flawed voting system. Of course both Scotty and Lauren are extremely likable (count me with the group that thinks they are great young people and shining examples to their generation) but they were not the best singers in the group this year. Sadly, the voting system has turned this singing competition into a popularity contest.

    Honestly, if X-Factor has a better voting system, I’m going to bid farewall to AI. And at least they’ll have judges willing to give an honest critique. Fingers crossed…


  2. Thank you Chris. And, yes, I have addressed Lauren’s breathing issues in previous VM articles and, perhaps, should have clarified it again in this article. Thanks for your input. Much appreciated.


  3. MCL,

    I was wondering if you had a chance to listen to Scotty’s recorded studio version of “I Love You This Big”. He sounds so much better and the song in its entirety also works better.

    I still say that they did him no favors with this song, but he did a great job with the studio version. I wrote on the other blog here that I thought something was up with Scotty last night. He didn’t seem to be his usual smiling, cute, funny self. He was very somber and subdued throughout the finale. I attribute it to a combination of fatigue finally setting in and a case of nerves. He hides it well, but I think he was feeling the pressure.

    I also wish that George Strait or whoever picked a better song than “Check Yes or No”. The challenge is to make something out of very little, but with the moment getting to these two young people, maybe that’s asking too much. Scotty played the guitar which helped the performance value, but the song didn’t pack the power and punch that one would want for a finale. I think there were better choices.

    You had the sense that Scotty wasn’t crazy about the song and I felt the same way. Maybe he didn’t feel the words or connect with it. That is the thing that he has done so well all season – tell a story. I also heard the lack of articulation during this song.

    I don’t know that Scotty felt entirely comfortable with “I Love You This Big”. It was unusual to see him take a step backward at a time when he has been progressing so well and giving some of his best performances.

    I also think it had to be difficult for him to deal with the drama over Lauren’s vocal chord issue. These two have become good friend and this had to be distracting and concerning.

    I watched the finale again today and Scotty did admit that he never expected to be in the finale when he started on this journey. Ryan thought he was being chill, but I think Scotty was all in nervouse knots inside. He is just someone who tries to keep his emotions under control. I even remember him saying after one performance where he started to get emotional, that he wanted to make sure not to have “them waterworks”. He said it backstage after the performance. I don’t remember which song it was, but it was either last week or the week before. So he seems to want to hold back the tears.

    It was hard to listen to Lauren struggling with her vocal issues. When I listened to the performances today with my eyes closed, I could really hear her straining in some places. It hurt to hear it. I hope this young girl can get some solid vocal training so that she can protect the health of her voice.


  4. Mindy I will have to listen to his studio recording. But something was definitely up with him last night. He looked despondent. So sad from the carefree, happy-go-lucky teen who graced the stage week after week.


%d bloggers like this: