Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season XIII Top 13 Performance Show: This Is Me

20140223-153134.jpgPicture Credit: AmericanIdol.Com

I am glad that the theme of the Top 13 Performance Show is titled This Is Me, because for the first time, I have no idea who’s who among this group. Names escape me, performances are a blur – all thanks to Rush Week.

Well. Guess what? Rush Week was too rushed. I felt I was watching another version of The Voice – tons of singers, quick eliminations, everyone blending in to one another. What was the point of this?

American Idol! Listen up! Just because you have spent quality time with these singers over the last few months and wanted to fast forward to the live shows does not mean that this will translate well to the audience.

You have known these singers for months and we, the audience, have known them for a few weeks. And barely.

In the past, the Top 24 Semi Final format was the best, most inspired format ever – not just on American Idol, but on any competitive show. The Voice has all these bells and whistles and gimmicks which, to be honest, just confuses me and, ultimately, distances me during the elimination process.

The simplicity and transparency of the American Idol Top 24 format was wonderful. The viewers gradually became invested in these singers and, by the time the Top 12 was announced, the connection between fan and artist was established.

So, what was the point of Rush Week? To build the intensity, the fever, the ratings, the momentum? Well, it did not work. Major fail.

And do not get me started on the singers from the Top 30 who were not given an opportunity to sing. If you think we have forgotten, well think twice! This was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen on this show. All of a sudden they were not good enough? Some of the best were silenced last week.

Oh well, I can rant but what is the point? What is done is done.

Best of luck to the Top 13 on Wednesday evening. I hope to become more familiar with you over the next 12 weeks via the Vocal Masterclass articles.

Work hard to establish yourself as a singular artist and you will move deep in this competition.

I hope.

Because this is what it should come down to correct?

Comments are open for business, everyone!

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

18 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season XIII Top 13 Performance Show: This Is Me”

  1. I may watch but in truth my heart is not into it since Spencer, Kenz and others will not be included in the show.


  2. Seems kind of Ho~Hum after the talent that has been on the Voice!!!


  3. Vonnie-I’m with ya on that one! But if AI would only go back to the Top 24 format, and have so many amazing artists like they used to, and not send them home, they would again be Number 1 for me!


  4. Good grief, Dexter, Malaya and Kristen all stunk. Oh why oh why were those cut who were? Yes Vonnie the Voice talent is superior. What coulda, woulda, shoulda…..


  5. They made it easy to sort them out. Cut everyone who performed before Alex.


  6. What the !!!! are they doing to this show??? I am officially depressed


  7. So, I guess I didn’t miss much, heh? Why am I not surprised?!


  8. Nope! Not at all. Unfortunately.


  9. Alumni in the House…and nobody says Hi to him…Taylor Hicks was in the house and they blew him off, AH~Mazing

    Wow! The first half was a hot mess! I agree Gene, the show started with Alex! It was weird, Randy popping up in the corner, and I couldn’t half hear what he was sayin’…I see the agenda already unfolding, Majesty (that’s her name, right?) is the new superstar, followed closely by Caleb…

    MCL…was Alex out of tune? And was Sam too perfect? I was scrubbing my ears out and didn’t hear a bum note! Come on Harry, not you too!!!

    I liked Alex, Sam and Emily…I like Caleb’s voice, but he sounds like a cover gig!


  10. Those were good questions for MCL Vonnie. I think you have it about right.

    Too funny. Randy reminds me of a golf announcer with the low voice talk over routine.

    I hadn’t thought about them not speaking to Taylor but he is the Rodney Dangerfield of past Idols, isn’t he? “No respect, no respect.”

    I was disappointed with Majesty. She is different and it’s unusual that she plays guitar and she also has a nice look but I haven’t heard a great vocal from her yet. I don’t know if she can live up to expectations. I saw the Idol tour in Scotty’s year and the girls did both of the songs that Majesty and Tuba girl did tonight as part of a group number medley and they were unbelievably good. (Pia and Haley mostly but the group as a whole sounded great)

    I thought my home girl (The Little Pink Pony) was pretty good to. She had a little Stevie going on. She snagged the rocker chic tittle for tonight anyway. Pretty lacking in the star power dept. though.

    I thought Alex was a fuzz off pitch as he wound down to the end of his song, but it was pretty minor compared to the earlier performances. Kieth and J-Lo seemed more on point with him than Harry did.

    Emily had a pretty nice performance as well, but I think Kieth was right on point about the nature of the song. She was pretty much sweetness and light, not exactly pink-like. She brought a professional appearance to the stage as well.

    Sam has such a nice tone and he was good but I know he can do better than that. So he will do the growth ark thing.

    Caleb:”Like Meatloaf dude.” He’s fun so I hope he finds his own groove but yeah, pretty much like a cover band.


  11. I always like to read Michael Slezak’s reviews. I don’t always agree, but I almost always laugh.

    Dexter Roberts: Chris Young’s “Aw Naw” — Just boring.

    Malaya Watson: Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby” – The judges were being nice. Randy was right, for once. It was all about enunciation. It was pretty awful.

    Kristen O’Connor: Kelly Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster” – Pageant. OK singer, but totally unengaging.

    Ben Briley: Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” — I love Johnny Cash, and I love this song. Perhaps the shortened format wouldn’t have worked, but I love this song when Johnny Cash plays with the tempo in the verses. In some versions he starts veeeeery slows and gradually gets almost frenetic. This guy is a seasoned performer, and I would love to see him with a full band.

    C.J. Harris: Darius Rucker’s “Radio” — Good effort, good attitude. I think he is capable of way more than this, though.

    M.K. Nobilette: Allen Stone’s “Satisfaction” — Judges were spot on with their comments. Excellent voice, although I find it a little thin sometimes. She needs to inhabit an up-tempo song the way she did the ballad last week.

    Majesty Rose: Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” — I hadn’t heard this song, but I thought it was good for her. I love this girl’s energy and the way she attacks. It wasn’t the perfect song. I felt it could be part of her set list, but it wasn’t a stunner, which you need every week on Idol.

    Jena Irene: Coldplay’s “The Scientist” — I love this girl’s voice. Her swaying at the beginning distracted me. Her voice didn’t betray this stiffness, but if she doesn’t shed this unease, she won’t get past the top 7.

    Alex Preston: Jason Mraz’s “A Beautiful Mess” — IA stellar, professional job. My untrained ear thought it heard one flat note towards the end, but then he did something to resolve it that made it sound puposeful. I’m glad they swooped his hair up this week. It makes it easier to see his eyes. I agreed with Keith and disagreed with Harry.

    Jessica Meuse: Shinedown’s “The Crow And The Butterfly” — This was a little better than OK. She looks uncomfortable without the guitar, and that made me think it was her first time on stage. Her voice is something to hear. I love that she can be powerful and have nuances at the same time.

    Emily Piriz: Pink’s “Glitter in the Air” — I thought Keith was perfect (no pun intended) when he pointed out that the yang was missing. Emily is sweet, and she made a sweet song seem sacchrine. I didn’t hear a note out of place, and (MCL, correct me if I’m wrong) Pink’s songs have notoriously hard melodies to sing with odd intervals. Last year someone hacked one to pieces.

    Sam Woolf: Matchbox 20′s “Unwell” — Like Emily, he didn’t sing a note wrong, but he needs to add some “yang.” The young adorable guy looked quite well. I don’t agreed with Harry that he should’ve sung off, but I don’t think he had enough grit and tears in his voice. Maybe he’s just nervous still.

    Caleb Johnson: Rival Sons’ “Pressure and Time” — I think he needs to do something to distinguish himself from Meatloaf, who is a parody of hard rock, and sometimes himself. Other times I look at him and can only think of Jack Black, who at least is funny. He’s got the chops. He’s got the confidence. He has to be different. I wish he’d get rid of the Meatloaf hairdo … when Harry commented he was “Rock of Ages” in the Hollywood Rounds, I think he was spot on.

    I’m thinking Caleb, Malaya, and Kristen will be in the bottom three. I’m predicting Kristen will go home because she’s the most uncharismatic.


  12. The bottom line for me is that I’m not looking forward to any one of them singing again. That’s not a good sign, is it? I like Majesty Rose and I thought the song could have been a good fit as I know it well, but sadly, she just wasn’t up to the task. I’m not sure I see what everyone else sees (or hears from) Sam. I wish I did. Maybe it’s just my old ears, lol.


  13. I’m not enthusiastic about the performers on Idol this year, but I’m not ready to give up on them yet. The singers who most appealed to me last night were Ben (even though I’m not a country fan), Sam, Majesty, and Emily. I thought Ben had an interesting personality, and I love Sam’s voice, but think he’s a little too sleepy. Majesty is an appealing performer although I was distracted by a phone call and didn’t clearly hear all of her performance–will watch it again today. And I think Emily is probably a little confused. She seems like a “sweet” girl and was called out by Harry last week for singing something that didn’t seem like it suited her. So last night she went in the opposite direction, but her dress, etc. didn’t really suit Idol. She needed to look hipper. But I liked her voice. I also didn’t hear Alex’s performance because of the phone call, so I’ll listen to that today too. Nor did I hear Jena’s performance.

    As for my least favorite, it was definitely Kristen. Her voice is okay, but in my opinion she was given a wildcard spot over others who were better.

    And Caleb is certainly a natural performer, but I also don’t love the Meatloaf look.

    And Vonnie was right–why didn’t they acknowledge Taylor’s presence?!? As for Gene’s amusing comment about Taylor being the Rodney Dangerfield of past Idol contestants, yesterday I read an article published by Forbes about the highest earning Idols. He came in 7th earning $2.5 million last year. Of course, a couple of the runners up were in the top six–Chris Daughtrey earned $4 million, and I think Adam Lambert and Phil Phillips tired for third place with $5 million. Scotty McCreary came in sixth place with $3 million. Kelli Pickler was also in the top 10, and it was rounded out by Katharine McPhee and Jennifer Hudson in a tie for 10th place. I think Fantasia was in 8th place.


  14. LOL…Gene, yes it did have the makings of a golf tourney going on!!! Funny! Now I am laughing out loud, maybe next week Randy can show up with his nickers on, a sweater vest and a little golf derby perched on his head…with a yarn ball attached of course!!!

    I like your Pink Ponies voice, just somebodies gotta do some serious PR on that girl…she lost me during Hollywood week.

    I was also straining at a few of the first performers…couldn’t understand a word they were singing!

    Have you been watching Nashville…Love that show!


    For the glimpse we got, Taylor is as beautiful as ever!!! I so wish they had talked with him, would have loved to hear how his gig in Vegas is going; must be doing very well, 2.5 million last year isn’t exactly chump change!

    So bottom three picks from me…Kristen, Malaya and Majesty! I think all of the guys are going through!


  15. I thought the whole show was corporate, i.e. perfectly timed, went off without a hitch, no rushed endings and comments, everyone gets their 1:30, say thanks and get off the stage. In other words, without any memorable features because the format and timing were more important than the performances. It felt like 13 kids trying out for a school play. 5 things in 20 seconds was the perfect metaphor for this show, especially with a mouth full of toothpaste.

    What stuck out for me, what I’ve come to believe already about this year’s format, was that even if Randy Jackson has an ability to see talent, he does not have the ability by himself or in working with Ormond, the band, and the vocal coaches to help the contestants create a performance that is memorable or worthy. He can’t translate the judge’s concerns into practical application. (I’ve felt that is the missing link on this show for some time, and the one missing critical element that could restore it to a powerhouse show.) So many times he said “if” last night while introducing the performances. For my money, and for the money he is probably getting paid, the major “ifs” should have been taken out of all the performances, so that he should have been saying something like “the unigue aspect of this performance is …..” There are many ways to remove the ifs, but I doubt they are ever going to be used to the contestant’s/audience’s advantage.

    Angie Miller, Aubrey Cleland, Taylor Hicks, Alex and Sierra were all in the audience last night (and probably more). It would have only taken ten seconds to acknowledge them.


  16. DonB,

    I agree 100% There is something that this show is so lacking this year! I think the talent that was left behind in Hollywood, the hanger, and top 31 Elimination would have made a difference if they had not been dropped for an agenda! But, it is what it is.


  17. One thought, were it me. The show is probably 50% singing, 50% acting. Before a contestant could sing a song I would have the contestant speak the song’s lyrics, as if s/he were acting it out. (Maybe they do this, but I doubt it.) Contestants would have to convince me they were emotionally invested in the song. These kids have to get over the self-inhibition that limits performance. If they can’t find the emotion to speak the song’s lyrics, it isn’t going to come out in their bodily presentation or in the music itself.(Or maybe I would make them listen to Elvis’s speaking parts in “Are You Lonesome Tonight” or “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin” about 100 times until they get the idea.)


  18. Jessica,
    The colum you posted isn’t what Slezak has up at his TV Line site???

    Here is what he says regarding Calab and the bottom three.

    Caleb Johnson: Rival Sons’ “Pressure and Time” — Grade: A- | OK, yeah, Caleb got crazy smoke machines to aid in building the drama of his Rock God aspirations. And yeah, the dude’s styling still reads very “midsize city Rock of Ages production.” But those things aside, “Pressure and Time” displayed a ferocious energy and vocal spotlessness that was in short supply among the Top 13. Caleb delivers his campy brand of old-school rock as if he doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone: He believes he’s a star, and that swagger — which is backed by a powerful set of pipes — then becomes a very easy stock to purchase. Yes, Keith’s right that Caleb’s got to avoid coming off too “retro,” that he’s got to find a “little twist” — which may be as easy as cutting a couple inches off his shaggy hair and appointing Chris Daughtry as his fashion inspiration — but that’s a minor hurdle compared to the ones faced by Malaya, Kristen, Dexter and C.J., no?

    Should Be Bottom 3: Malaya, Kristen, Dexter (with Kristen going home)
    Will Be Bottom 3: Kristen, C.J., Ben (with Kristen going home)


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