Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season XIV Top 4/3 Performance Show. 

American Idol

By: Rosanne Simunovic

Okay, so this week, all the Top 4 singers sang even though it was a Top 3 show. I am so confused. Seriously, this show changes the rules every week.

Anyway, 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.

Clark Beckham, Jax

Nick Fradiani

Rayvon Owen

Clark Beckham: “Beautiful Day” by U2, “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” by Ortis Redding And Earned It from Fifty Shades Of  Grey 

Beautiful Day

Strengths: Clark – this was a great song choice for you. Thank you Scott Borchetta!
I loved that you made the effort to interact with your audience. This visual aspect can be very powerful and you need to do this more often. It makes such a difference and, even if the vocal delivery is not solid, the energy and passion you exude on stage can make up the difference.

Over all, as a performance, it was very good.

Critique: Clark – you have to make certain that you support in a consistent manner throughout your range. This song started in a shaky manner because your pitch was misdirected in your lower range. There was no physical energy from your diaphragm and your articulation was listless as well.

Singers make this mistake all the time – they forget that the softer/lower parts of a song require intensity and drive. Consonants must be articulated crisply as this will add direction and energy to your voice.

As a result, because of the lack of support from the beginning, the song floundered and you just could not seem to get your voice back on track. You need to activate the diaphragm from the first note – or risk the song colliding for the rest of the performance.

Also, you seemed so distracted and confused throughout this song, almost unconvinced that this song was not working. You just didn’t seem invested in this performance. Too bad because this was a great song choice for you.

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay

Strengths: Clark – you personally selected  a great classic.  And it was wonderful to see you seated behind your piano because it always showcases the depth of your musicality. 

This was a wonderful bluesy interpretation of this song. And, through this performance,  you finally found and showcased the pulse of your artistry. You are such a soulful artist and I believe that lyrics mean a great deal to you during a performance.  And not just any lyrics – you have to emotionally connect with the lyrics, or the song will fall flat – which is what happened with your first song.   

You certainly achieved this – and so much more with this song. We heard  a variety of nuances from you during this number. This was a throughly expressive performance and so authentic. And because there was so much commitment to the lyrics, many technical issues disappeared or were rectified.  Ever the growly parts were in tune during this number. 

This was a very genuine, very real performance. Perfectly in the pocket. 

Critique:  Clark – this was a great performance. I found little fault with this showcase and credit you for choosing a song that reflected your true artistry. Bravo!

Earned It

Strengths:  Clark – your voice sounded incredible during this number. What a great song choice!  And completely unexpected. This was such a haunting, sexy, holy moly moment. Woah!  Intense from start to finish. 

Your voice zipped up and down from chest to head voice with such agility that I was wondering what kind of happy juice you drank backstage before this performance.  Unbelievable!

Your phrasing, your passion and charisma were first rate during his number. You were living the dream or the moment during this song and we were right there with you Clark!  

Magnificent showcase. Kudos! 

Critique: i am too spooked by this haunting performance to offer any critique. But truly it was that good!  Technique took a bit of a backseat at times but the artistry won the day. 

Jax: “My Generation” by The Who, “My Immortal” by Evanescence and Misery Business by Jax

My Generation

Strengths: Jax – I loved the song Scott selected for you. So retro!  And you dressed the part with your retro glam fashion. You looked gorgeous and your hair stylist deserves a high five for creating that punky Marilyn Monroe look for you. Loved those flowing blonde locks.

From beginning to end, this song was a fluid vocal and choreographic performance. You incorporated so much into this song that I honestly do not know where to begin. It was pure entertainment at its best. The very best!

You used the stage to great advantage, commanding it every step of the way. You integrated with the audience, shimmied with the band, conducted them to completion like a maestro and basically sailed through with perfect vocal and choreographic navigation from start to finish. (Oh wait, I already said that last part. Oh well, it bears repeating!)

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and incredible performance Jax! Kudos! Standing O!

Critique: Jax – NONE! When a performance works, it works! Brava!

My Immortal

Strengths: Jax – this was your personal selection. And might I say right off the bat – Brava!  Beautiful song for you.

This time around, we found you seated with a relaxed demeanour behind the piano, skillfully accompanying yourself from start to finish. 

What I loved about this song is how impeccably you paced yourself during this song. You emphasized some words over others and phrased your melodic line so well. Nuances were on high alert during this number and I was hearing and feeling all the ache and angst in your voice. 

Your voice is truly beautiful, resplendent with natural head voice. I had great respect for the restrained delivery of this song. You never felt that need to shout to the heavens to convey the delicate emotion in this song. Kudos for this, Jax. 

This was a beautiful performance. 

Critique: Jax – your voice sounded mighty tired during this number. This is the first time I ever felt that you had to struggle to reach your notes.  Your facial muscles  looked very, very tense and your jaw was not loose and relaxed.  As a result, your pitch seemed to falter here and there which thoroughly surprised me. 

Always remember that you need to support your voice via your diaphragm even when you sing softly. Even more so!  It is a quiet intensity but the intensity must be there. This would have added greater clarity and colour to the hushed quality of your voice during this number. 

However, this was a precious gem of a song. I loved it. 

Misery Business

Strengths: Jax – you create such diverse moments on that stage. It gives us a sense of the depth of your artistry and a window into how you would present a full – length concert. 

This time, you were seated next to an excellent acoustic guitarist singing this great song choice. I loved the chemistry you created between you and the guitarist – so much fun and such a visual  plus to this performance.  That’s how you do it!

Your voice sounded much more clear during this performance. Good to hear that beautiful timbre. I loved the inflection in your voice, your cohesive phrasing and your undeniable commitment to the lyrics. 

Excellent work, Jax!

Critique: Jax – I have little to critique here. I think, overall, you need vocal rest because your voice has a rasp to it that I have not heard in previous weeks. And, weren’t you sick a couple,of weeks ago?  You need to dial it back for a few days and pace yourself during rehearsals. 

And, I agree with the judges, you needed to scale back the interaction with the guitarist.  It was a great visual but, because of the short time frame, we got less of just YOU on that stage. I understand where you were going with this and, had the time frame been longer, it would have worked. 

However, all in all, it was a solid performance. Best of luck next week, Jax!  You are just remarkable!

Nick Fradiani: “Because The Night” by Bruce Springsteen, “Back Home” by Andy Grammer and “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain

Because The Night

Strengths: Nick – I see you and Scott were in agreement with this song choice. Yes – you got The Boss. Did you want The Boss, Nick? Ha! Dreams do come true.

This song started with power and conviction and never relented. Armed with your guitar, you channeled The Boss so well. This song’s delivery had purpose and meaning and momentum. And the physicality of your performance was rhythmically strong and cohesive.

I loved how you interacted with the band at the end, conducting them toward the cutoff. It was wonderful and it reinforced to your listeners that you easily could be a front man for any band lucky enough to hire you. You exude a bravado and strength as a performer and truly mean business on that stage.

Excellent performance, Nick

Critique: Nick – be careful that you fully support your voice during these aggressive numbers. Sometimes you become so excited when you sing that your voice loses its center.

Also, I heard fatigue in your voice this week and then realized that this was probably due to the fact that you were busy on the weekend with your Hometown Reunion. This also could have accounted for the lack of consistent energy from your diaphragm.

Could have, should have whatever!! I am almost talking in circles here. It was still a fantastic performance.

Back Home

Strengths: Nick – overall, this was a strong performance. You propelled yourself in to your upper vocals with muscle and tenacity. Your voice sounded superb and you really articulated your words with precision and clarity.

There was rhythmic punch and powerful presence in this performance. – a sense of purpose. It was great to see you moving around on the stage, embracing the moment it as you should. 

And, you have great singing posture – a nice high rib cage – which is conducive to excellent singing.  This elevated posture also accentuated your presence on stage. You looked confident and, as a result, the audience relaxed and came along for the ride with ease and enjoyment.

Such a great performance, Nick!! Bravo!

Critique: Nick – hmm Nick. Once again, you were having some major pitch issues with this song – which is so unlike you. I think the fatigue factor was wreaking havoc with your voice this week.

Once you moved into your upper range you were fine, but that lower range was lacking some diaphragmatic love.  Make sure that you support your lower voice with the same level of intensity and continuity you impart to your upper vocals. Ground your sound, let the diaphragm guide and project your voice so that we hear the fining clarity of your head voice. 

Other than that, the performance was excellent and it is to your credit that you were able to get the song back on track. Bravo!!

I’ll Be

Strengths: Nick – now we got to see your tender, sensitive side. Good call, Judges!  

Your voice sounded passionate and animated and those lyrics came through loud and clear. They were meaningful. Good boy! Your voice is so radio-friendly it isn’t funny!  And you  have a unique style of delivery. Very physical and always brimming with confidence and power. 

The  way you grab your vowels within your lyrics is just the ticket for creating a uniform presence to your voice. Your pitch was spot on for this song – wonderful to hear!  

This was a phenomenal performance, Nick. Kudos. 

Critique: Nick – It was hard to find any fault with this song. So I shall leave it at that and congratulate you on another excellent performance!! 

Rayvon Owen: “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo, “As” by Stevie Wonder And “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker

Want To Want Me

Strengths:Rayvon – I loved the energy you exuded during this number. As always, you are such an accommodating and genuine artist and make every effort to thoroughly embrace your audience. I love this about you!

I loved that you used the entire stage and moved with rhythmic ease. You are quite the groovy dancer when you want to be Rayvon and this song highlighted this aspect of your performing ability.

I thought this was a great song choice by Scott Borchetta in that it highlighted the “fun- loving Rayvon” rather than “Rayvon the Balladeer”. All in all a very fine performance.

Critique:Rayvon – this song started out with some intonation issues in your head voice. You were walking pretty aggressively so this may have been part of the problem. Too much activity, not enough technical support for the voice – or energy misdirected in favour of he choreography.

You need to make sure that your have solidified all the necessary vocal components in rehearsal, prior to adding the choreography. The choreography should complement the vocals – not overwhelm!

Also, you have a great smile which, unfortunately, can work against you in terms of your pitch. You Must remember to adopt a circular formation in your mouth. This will ensure that you have centred your pitch on the vowel whole adding depth and clarity to your voice.

Overall, your voice sounded pretty emaciated with this song, lacking projection and power.


Strengths: Rayvon – you selected this song and, as you said, it has been a part of your performing experience  for a long time. So, I knew this song was going to be a special moment on that stage. 

You started this song with hushed intensity, setting a heartwarming ambience for this number. Your voice is truly beautiful. The timbre has a gentle vibrato which lends beauty and ring to your voice theougout your vocal range.

I loved the quickly ascending  and descending passages toward the end of this number. They were wonderfully intoned and executed. So liberated. 

The variation in tempo was a nice addition to this number.  Your started quietly and slowly and then, slowly, escalated the tempo.  And you embraced the stage, adding some wonderful movements to this performance. This heightened the visual aspect of this performance. 

Wonderfully done, Rayvon!  Bravo

Critique:  Rayvon – I have little to critique here. You looked fully in the moment during this number and incredibly comfortable.  This comfort level means a great deal to the success of a performance and this was a successful and smooth delivery from start to finish. 

You still need to work on that mouth formation, though. It is driving me bananas here!   Horizontal is a bad place to be with that mouth. The rounder, almost vertical mouth formation will ensure steady pitch and engage the true beauty of your vocal timbre. 

You Are So Beautiful

Strengths: Rayvon – what an interesting and haunting arrangement of this classic song.  I loved the chordal arrangement  of this song.  Very cool!

And such a perfect Judges’ Pick for you!  You have the perfect chemistry to deliver this song with authenticity and passion. 

What I treasured about this song was your quiet restraint during this number and undeniable respect for the emotion within the lyrics. Your voice wrapped so beautifully around the melodic phrases and your face evoked such tenderness and caring. 

Your voice sounded expressive and animated, the natural charisma shining through with clarity and conviction. 

What a wonderful way to end your showcase this week, Rayvon. Congratulations. 

Critique:Rayvon – NONE. It was superb performance. Standing O! 


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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

8 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season XIV Top 4/3 Performance Show. ”

  1. I hope that Scott and the producers noticed how much more relaxed the idol contestants seemed this week than in previous weeks because they weren’t full of nervous energy from waiting and then seeing those silly chairs turn green. If Fox won’t let idol have a results show this is the better way to do elilminations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes Laura I agree but it is too little too late. It took them all this time to figure this out? Oh well, at least we see the name of the song and the the performer on the screen before each performance. I was screaming for this all last season.


  3. I hear that Rayvon finally used up his nine lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All three singers are awesome and could have possible success after Idol. I’ve given votes to Jax and twice as many to Nick. He is very attractive and this was the most relaxed I’ve seen him. Clarke has the best voice and finally seemed to be enjoying himself. I actually like the three-person Finals. Now, we haven’t heard where auditions will be held next year and that worries me. Could this be the last season? I certainly hope it isn’t. American Idol is my favorite show!


  5. I was reading comments on another blog about the contestants, and was surprised to see that others feel as I do about Jax and Nick. I agree that they’re talented, but Nick is rather boring and Jax is rather phony—a singer pretending to be a rocker. Neither appeal to me. But Clark is my favorite Idol contestant in many seasons.


  6. I like all three singers, actually. First time ever. No favourite in this group whatsoever so whoever wins, wins!! Happy dance here.


  7. They have three singers with success potential, but while I’m not upset at any of them reaching the top three, I’m not terribly excited by any of them either. Nick is a very solid singer, and with the right set of songs can easily have a successful record–but he doesn’t seem to be able to pick them himself. Still, put him with the right producer and a label can have a money-maker with him, if not a star. Clark needs to be nudged into a specific genre to be successful–me, I think he’d do well if he went the Michael Buble path, but whatever it is it needs to be identifiable, and right now he’s sitting in no genre at all and seems determined to stay out there in nowhere. And Jax has the opposite problem–to me she seems a little too willing to be led, and if she wins I fear she’ll be “molded” rather than finding her own musical feet.


    Liked by 1 person

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