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Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season XIV: The Top 12 Males


American Idol Season 14 Top 12 Guys

Picture Credit: AmericanIdol.Com

Live Update Of Performances At The End Of The Post

Over the next three weeks,  the Semi-Final Rounds of American Idol Season 14 will feature the Top 24 Singers.  

On Wednesday, February 25th, the Top 12 Guys will perform, with the viewing audience  deciding via voting who will advance to the next Semi Final Round. 

There are a couple of things that I find strange this season. 

Previously, under the Top 24 Semi-Final format, two males and two females were eliminated each week. 

However, this season, four males and four females will be eliminated the first week, thus shortening the semi -final segment of the show.  I am not a fan of this decision but it is set in stone so that, as they say, is that. 

Additionally, twelve singers will be performing in a one-hour show. One hour?  How is that even possible?  Will there be any input from the judges?  Talk about rushing the process! 

Also, I believe this show was pre-recorded live. Another disappointment. I want to see live performances at this stage. This is becoming more and more like The Voice.  

Live shows add excitement and verve to the performances and the viewers can really see which singers can handle the pressure of a live show. 

Performing for your votes on Wednesday, February 25th at 8:00 PM on Fox is:

Clark Beckham (May 15, 1992) White House, Tennessee
Rayvon Owen (June 27, 1991) Richmond, Virginia
Quentin Alexander (December 11, 1994) New Orleans, Louisiana
Savion Wright (March 13, 1992) Jasper, Texas
Qaasim Middleton (January 13, 1995) Brooklyn, New York
Trevor Douglas (January 19, 1998) Fort Worth, Texas
Nick Fradiani (November 15, 1985) Guilford, Connecticut
Daniel Seavey (January 15, 1999) Portland, Oregon
Riley Bria (September 30, 1996) Spring Hill, Tennessee
Adam Ezegalian (October 7, 1993) Wantagh, New York
Michael Simeon (September 20, 1993) Lumberton, Mississippi
Mark Andrew (October 30, 1985) Eden Prairie, Minnesota

I love all these guys but have a soft spot for Savion.  I felt that he was unjustly eliminated last season so I am happy to see that the judges and producers brought him back to the fold. He is very, very talented. 

 Okay Idol fans – what are your thoughts about this season? Are you excited? Have you spotted any favorites yet? Let’s get this party started.

Also, I will be live blogging the show so refresh this post after each performance for updates. 

Live Update Will Be Delayed Because Of My Schedule. 


Adam Ezegelian – “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister 

TBA – I missed the performance 

Michael Simeon – “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton 

TBA – I missed the performance 

Savion Wright – “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train 

 Savion – I love this number and I love how you stamped it with your signature sound. Even with the guitar in hand, you managed to reach out to your audience in a very smart way. You stopped playing, let the band carry on and easily released your vocals in a soothing reggae – inspired style.  Therefore, you emphasized not only your musicality but also your artistry. Very good.  And, you took it even further, moving easily on the stage and then having everything come full circle by finishing this song while strumming the guitar. This is one of the smartest things I have ever seen by any performer this early in the competition.  The judges comments were confusing to me. Did they not see what I saw?  Oh well. Rock on, Savion. See you next week. 

Mark Andrew – “The Weight” by The Band 

Mark – you remind me of a former American Idol contestant, Casey Abrams. That being said I loved your song choice and the relaxed manner you conveyed through your vocal and performing style. However, you seemed pretty locked behind the mike stand – I was hoping that you would take the risk and move away with the mike in hand.  You have a great voice but the song performance was a little too one-dimensional for my taste. I was hoping to see and hear more dimension to this song. It just sort of “lay” there, if you know what I mean. Explore your creativity when you research your repertoire and try to adapt it to suit your individual performing style. 

Trevor Douglas – “Best I Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw 

Trevor – oh dear your pitch! You had some problems out of the gate.  I love your look and style. You were really “giving” it on that stage but the pacing of this number was off from the start. Darn those nerves. I can see and feel the potential in you, but you have to make absolutely certain that you rehearse the movements and vocals extremely well. You cannot leave anything to chance. Trevor. Make sure your song is under technical control and then add the movements.  Never allow the movements to overpower the vocals. The choreography should enhance the vocals. 

Clark Beckham – “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge 

Clark – so I see you are a contender for the prize!  What a great performance and an even better song choice. You have a great, soulful voice – your upper range is gorgeous. There were some pitch issues, but, for now, I am attributing it to nerves. Easy on the screaming though Clark!  You will burn out. The intensity and the commitment you brought to this performance cannot be overstated. It was exceptional really. However, you need to work on solidifying your upper vocals. Do. To squeeze out the sound – let the diaphragm guide your vocals and keep those throat muscles relaxed. That being said – this was a “noteworthy” performance. Bravo!

Rayvon Owen – “Jealous” by Nick Jonas 

Rayvon – this was an interesting and smart song choice. I wasn’t expecting this song, actually. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Ha!  What a great falsetto – head voice rules!  Always keep it as an integral element in your vocal mix. I feel that you need to work on maintaining a seamless quality to your voice. I could hear the breaks throughout your range and, because of this, the vocals sounded lopsided to me. Like it was coming and going depending on which part of your range your were vocalizing.  However, you  moved easily around the stage and this raised the visual dimension of this song very much. 

Daniel Seavey – “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz 

Daniel – great song, loved the mandolin!  And, you are loaded with charisma!  So, you came all bundled up with goodies in that small package. You are incredibly musical – that cannot be disputed. However, you need to work on your vocal technique – relax that mouth and jaw and discover the power and the strength of diaphragmatic support. You need private vocal coaching stat! Stat!  Especially because of your age and the possibility of a voice change in the middle of this competition. So, please, pursue this ASAP. You have a gift and you need to preserve it. 

Riley Bria – “Homeboy” by Eric Church

Riley – this was a very good performance. You are such a musical singer. I loved your song choice. Also, what struck me was you excellent posture on stage. One foot slightly ahead of the other, the bend in the knee, the forward position of the body – all of these elements increased the forward momentum of the song and the projection of your vocals. I will be honest – I wasn’t 100% sure of you going into this Top 24 showcase but I can honestly now say you are in it for the long run. You are a confident and charismatic presence on that stage. Excellent work, Riley. 

Quentin Alexander – “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Quentin – I love this!  Right off the bat, you are phenomenal. You were totally immersed in this mysterious performance and your vocals were very, very exciting. Yes oh yes – you is putting a spell on me. This was a well-rehearsed, cohesive and artistically solid performance.  You used the camera so well and were not afraid to use your body, especially your arms, to emotionally connect with the audience. This  is how you fill a small performing time frame with substance and style. Bravo Quentin!

Nick Fradiani – “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

Nick – you bring a wealth of experience and confidence to this Top 24 showcase. This was a great song choice and you were  grooving very nicely to this number. You have a great voice and you play your guitar with ease. The short time frame of this number is a bit disconcerting and, because of this, I was hoping to hear more dimension to this performance.  Nick – you are an excellent singer – just choose your songs wisely next time. We need to see a wider range of performing and vocal skills the next time you sing. The number has to “pop” right out of the gate.  

Quasim Middleton – “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

Quasim – okay, this is how you do it!  This! Is! How!  You can dance! You can sing! You can do pretty much everything!  I am a fan!  Way to eat up the abbreviated time frame for your performance. You are going to be an unstoppable force throughout this competition. This was a well-paced, cohesive, meticulously rehearsed number.  And you have a rock solid voice and you understand how to choose the perfect number for your voice. Bravo! 

It was not lost on me that some of the best singers of the night performed without a guitar in their arms.  Lugging a musical instrument around at this stage of the game impedes the performance rather than enhances it. 

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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

14 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season XIV: The Top 12 Males”

  1. I can’t think they’re going to cut the judges’ time, not on what they are reported to be earning! I’m betting they’ll make the kids cut their songs to, oh, 90 seconds tops. (Hey, if 90 seconds is good enough for iTunes…)

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  2. Totally underwhelmed thus far. Many are pitchy daug.

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  3. Riley is totally marketable and OMG Quentin can SING. Nick reminds me a bit of Chris Daughtry vocally. Voice not as full but same rasp and cries in his singing.

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  4. Just jotting some thoughts as we go!

    Adam: I think he does what he does well, but it’s not what I choose to listen to.

    Michael: I don’t remember what he sang?

    Savion: He’s got a voice all right, but on this one I’m with Keith–I don’t think that was the best song choice for his style.

    Mark: Now that was a perfect song choice for him, and the whole thing worked for me. (And I wasn’t really liking him so much until this point.)

    Trevor: He needs to take it down a notch–I think he’s a little overexcited right now, which is sweet and endearing but I think it did let the song get away from him.

    Clark: I think his vocals were really smooth…but my attention just drifted right away from him, and I don’t know why.

    Rayvon: I can’t rate this performance fairly because I’ve heard the song before and it drives me nuts every time because I expect it to be the classic “I Still Get Jealous” (the one by Cahn and Styne) and it isn’t really different enough. So I have a grudge against the song!

    Daniel: I really like this song, and I like that he’s using an unexpected instrument, but his voice is breaking a bit there, just as I feared… (Can this hurt his voice, all this exhaustion and singing when his voice hasn’t settled yet?)

    Riley: Started a bit weak and breathless–nerves, I’m guessing?–but he did get better as he went on. County/pop is a good sound for him.

    Quentin: He has pipes, and he’s a bit sideways which is interesting–but I can only listen to him if I’m not watching him. (That nose ring makes me want to hand him a box of tissues. I’m shallow, it’s terrible.)

    Nick: I LOVE this song–and that’s a problem for me, because I’ve been listening to Ed Sheeran sing it so often that this didn’t sound right just because it wasn’t the same voice I have in my head. But I think he did a good job with it.

    Qaasim: I don’t know this song, so I don’t know if the song goes in odd directions or if that’s his voice going off key. He certainly can perform without losing his cool.

    And now I can’t wait to see what you have to say, MCL (not to mention everyone else!)

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  5. Tuned in for my first time tonight. It was too rushed tonight. Pacing of the songs was too fast. Acoustics didn’t sound all that great either. Overall, I thought the performances were a little bit better than last year.

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  6. Oh my gosh…… Quentin! This is the FIRST male contestant that has caught my attention since Adam Lambert. The whole outfit brings back memories of the Ring of Fire, and for anyone familiar with the Glamnation Tour, Voodoo, and what a voice. Mesmerizing.

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  7. The most disappointing thing about Idol this season is that none of the shows have been more than an hour and everything seems too rushed. Most of the contestants seem to be really talented, but I’m not enjoying the changes so far.

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  8. ReReader – great recap! Thank you so much for this.

    I think that the rushed tempo of this entire show hindered these singers so much. What is the point of this? A watered down version of AI is not what I want to see this season. The Voice has full performances and it makes a huge difference.

    And they will be cutting 8 singers next week. Eight! Crazy!

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  9. My recap is at the end of this blog post. Hope everyone saw it. I missed the first two singers because of my schedule here.

    Also – just a heads up – I am on vacation for the month of March but will add blog topics and will attempt to critique if possible.

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  10. The show has a new top mentor (not Randy Jackson) and I thought it was reflected in the performances. There is a disconnect between the talent of the individuals and the presentation they made last night. The acoustics in the Detroit theater seemed poor relative to the more intimate and acoustic friendly settings AI used previously at this stage in the season, and detracted from the performances. For the shows at this point in the season that does a real disservice to all the performers because sound quality is so critical to the performance. Overall I thought the show deserved a C+/B- when it had potential to be an A-. I’ve spoken to several long time fans and they said they turned it off after the third or fourth performance. I’ve always said it is virtually impossible to capture the essence of a song in 90 seconds. The great performances on AI have always run 1:45/2:00 or longer. Someone like Daniel Seavey is literally incapable of connecting with people through a song because he simply doesn’t have the life experience and/or the voice required to make the kind of connection the idol winners usually make, let alone try to do it in 90 seconds. His performance struck me as eighth grade talent show, something one would see on an obscure cable channel. Put that together with an assembly line production and it is a recipe for disaster. Like or dislike The Voice, there is a lot to be said for its consistency. People know what to expect, production quality remains high. Idol is taking the opposite approach.

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  11. I am looking forward to hearing more from Quentin. His voice and performance were so good. I like that he is different. I also liked Nick, Riley and yes Daniel. Did not like Adam, Michael, Savion or Trevor.

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  12. I loved Quentin, Nick, and Qaasim. I really liked Mark.Nick is my man, though. He grew up a couple towns over from me. And he personally answered my Tweet!

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  13. MCL, ” I wasn’t 100% sure of you going into this Top 24 showcase but I can honestly now say you are in it for the long run. You are a confident and charismatic presence on that stage. Excellent work, Riley.” So glad you are able to see what I’ve been seeing! What I really like about his chances is that he is not a front runner and can really map out a strategy that shows growth. Hope he doesn’t show all that he’s got too soon. I also think his ability to go between electric and acoustic guitar (or no guitar at all for that matter) may serve him well in the weeks to come. Rock (in a Nashville way) Riley!

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  14. i just watched the show. wow, i liked most of them and don’t want any to leave. it is interesting that the comments here are very positive for quentin..i felt the same way and i thought i’d be in the minority, so i’m thrilled with the positive comments for him (even mcl, yay!). i sure was feeling him. i agree with the person who said nick had a bit of chris daughtry sound about him. qaasim’s choice was not my kind of thing but he was so cute and effervescent that i want to see more of him. such a natural entertainer. and i enjoyed young daniel, i think he holds his own. i usually like trevor but he seemed so hyper and gawky in this performance. i have a thing here with all their pictures, or i wouldn’t know anyone from adam. ohhh, we have an adam too. i liked his performance and hope he stays. i was surprised that it was a straight rock song because i didn’t think he did rock in anything i’ve seen thus far by him. overall i enjoyed the boys so much more than the girls but that often seems the case.

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