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American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Singers

Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Show: Birth Year Songs


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So,it looks like Jermaine Jones is getting the ‘ole heave-ho. Whatever! As if American Idol didn’t realize his past when they introduced him to the American Idol viewers? As if?

Boy, I detest this sort of drama – I really do. Is it too much to ask to just produce a valuable singing competition? Are the American Idol producers so frightened of NBC’s The Voice that they have to plot and plan devious ways at every turn in the road in order to entice more viewers?

They should have waited this one out. The Voice aired a tedious Battle Rounds episode the other night. I will be surprised if American Idol doesn’t win the ratings war this week. It would have happened without Jermaine’s story.

Anyhow, I am still on vacation and will probably miss the first hour of the American Idol Performance show tonight and most definitely the entire Results Show tomorrow evening.

So, I will not be able to contribute a Vocal Masterclass article for the Top 12 or 11 (not sure what is going down tonight with the Jermaine hoopla).

In my absence, I am hoping that MCL contributor, Mindy, is on board to add her comments as she so capably did last week.

And, I welcome your comments as well. If they are detailed, I will add them as a blog topic with your permission of course.

Good luck to the singers tonight as they perform songs from the Year They Were Born. With
last week’s blockbuster show, they are off to a very good start indeed.

Start the chatter in the comments section. Let’s get this party going!

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

21 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Show: Birth Year Songs”

  1. http://tv.msn.com/reality-tv/jermaine-jones-american-idol/story/

    Doesn’t Idol do background checks on these contestants??? :-(

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  2. Blah! Should have said in previous post…Jermaine Jone dis-qualified from Idol

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  3. MCL…Blush…I should have read your thread before I posted my breaking news, LOL :-O

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  4. Vonnie,

    I’ve always known AI to do backround checks on the contestants. It’s too bad this stuff about Jermaine wasn’t discovered before the first Live show aired. No matter what Jermine’s criminal history is or the fact that he lied about his father dying, I sincerely hope the aren’t planning on a big humiliation episode tonight! If it is, that doesn’t say much for AI’s character. It better be done with class!

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  5. I agree Anita! The less said, the better!

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  6. Anita and MCL,

    I agree; this has happened a couple of times already with Idol, you would think they would not want to look like they are totally incapable of running a show!!!

    Let’s see there was the Frenchie thing, then the Paula and the one contestant thing…who else am I missing?

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  7. Hi All,

    I just wanted to update everyone, in case you haven’t heard the latest news from MJ’s blog and TMZ. Jermaine flew back to Philadephia last night. He will not be on the show tonight. TMZ has video of him at the airport.

    They also listed four outstanding warrants against him. Also, the “risk management” team at Idol sat down with him at some point and he assured them that there were no criminal issues.

    I don’t know what to believe at this point. His charges include driving with a suspended license, driving with an open container, dui, some violent incident at a Howard Johnson’s in which he gave police a phony name. There are failure to appear charges when he didn’t show up in court.

    I agree with MCL. If this is some ploy to gain ratings, then shame on them.

    Also, I will be available to do another vocal critique after tonight’s performances. I am not MCL, but will do my best in her absence. I hope we can have a great discussion about the performances.

    What bothers me, is that Jermaine’s wild card spot could have gone to someone else.

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  8. Mindy – thanks for having my back once again. I am out for the day and part of the evening, so don’t expect to be home until the second half of Idol. And you add an excellent perspective on the performances that are very appreciated by the readers. Thank you so much :)

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  9. Mindy,

    Hi! I’m happy that you are helping Rosanne out!! Thanks for the info. on Jermaine. It’s such a shame!

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  10. I went back on MJ’s blog and now it’s even more confusing. I am really not sure if Jermaine is going to be on the show tonight or not. I am on the west coast and will wait to see it out here.

    People will know soon enough what is going on. I will get my comments up tonight after the show. It will be late for most of you, since I think everyone is on east coast time or central.

    Hopefully, we can continue the discussion tomorrow. I saw the song spoilers on MJ’s blog and some will be doing songs that have been done to death. We will see how it goes.

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  11. Mindy – thank you so much once again. I missed most of the show. Hollie and Joshua were excellent – those are the only two I saw. I will wait for your review. I thought DeAndre sounded great on the recap.

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  12. Jermaine used a phony name on 2 of the outstanding warrants. I read that Jermaine’s father contacted AI to report that contrary to Jermaine’s background story, he had close contact with Jermaine and this is what led to the show digging deeper and uncovering the unreported warrants. True or untrue, I enjoyed hearing Jermaine’s voice. I liked his baritone. There was a different quality to the show this season with the range of voices that I really enjoyed (and still enjoy).

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  13. Most scripted moment: Skylar saying, “You’re mean tonight.” Or was it, “They’re mean tonight.” There’s no way she’d say that on her own. She’s the spark plug for this season thus far.

    Best Performance: Joshua. However, I think he did better at the rehearsal.

    Most pleasant moment: Elsie singing with President Obama. Loved it!

    Biggest Surprise to me: Colton singing Broken Heart. WOW! I don’t know the song, but it could be a hit today! I really do think he is a terrific singer.

    Biggest Disappointment: Jessica singing “Turn the Beat Around.” Diana DeGarmo knocked this song out of the park. However, I think Idol felt they had to stop gushing all over her. I still see this amzing singer in the TOP 3.

    Most tasteful moment: Jermaine’s exit. It was handled as best as could be done.

    Biggest complaint: They must dial down the band’s music. Much too loud and distracting! They drowned out several singers. Even the back-up singers get too loud!

    I am sorry, but I am not impressed with Jimmy’s mentoring. He steered several of the contestants in the wrong direction. He had them singing songs they didn’t want to sing!

    It was a good show, but it could have been better!

    Vonnie, where are you? Gene, are you still around! I hope so! Looking forward to Mindy’s comments!

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  14. Here is my vocal masterclass article for tonight’s performances.

    Philippe – “Hard to Handle” – I don’t know this song at all. It was nice to see Philippe without his guitar and just singing with a mic. He connected with the song and the audience. I still think there was too much backup, but at least I could hear his voice this time. Congratulations for coming out there and performing less than a week after surgery. Great job! He has this distinctive rough, growly edge to his voice which makes him immediately recognizable. I didn’t think there was much range in this song and at times I worried that he might be pushing too much from this throat, but overall this was a much more fully realized performance.

    Jessica – “Turm the Beat Around” – What a great entrance on stage! This song was a big change from last week, going with an uptempo song. It gave Jessica a chance to show off her performing skills by moving around that stage and engaging the audience. I thought the backup singers and band were a little too much in parts and te song didn’t give her much of a chance to show off the range in her voice. I commend her for trying to do something different and show us more of her stage presence. I thought she had a bit of trouble keeping up with that melody and she was clearly out of her comfort zone, but she showed her poise and did a great job.

    Heejun – “Right Here Waiting” – Heejun has a lovely tone in his voice and so much emotion. It is what makes him so compelling. I did hear better diction, so he worked on that. However, I really feel that the technical issues are hindering his performance. He sounded breathy from the very beginning, and was struggling to stay on key. I think he needs to learn to use his diaphragm muscles to support his voice. That way he won’t lose the words and sound breathy. The judges thought the song was the problem. It was a difficult one, but when you are grounded in solid vocal technique, then everything can come together. He did raise his head at the end and that’s not the way to access those high notes. If he can work on some of his technical issues, I think it would greatly enhance his performances.

    Elise – “Let’s Stay Together” – First, thank you to Will.i.am for telling Elise to smile! Yes! He also told her to try to hold the notes longer. This was an ideal song choice for Elise’s husky r&b soul voice. She was sitting on a stool for the beginning and then came off and moved toward the audience, as though she was reaching out and caressing them. She was so committed and engaged throughout this performance. I loved her phrasing and the tenderness and nuance as she sang the words. I have been waiting to hear this young woman show off her voice. Well, hello Elise! It’s so nice to meet you. Great way to come back and give an outstanding performance!

    Deandre – “Endless Love” – He really seemed to struggle with his song choice this week. I don’t know that Jimmy Iovine did him any favors with this song. However, I loved the beginning with Deandre standing at the piano. Beautifully done. His stage presence is so extraordinary that it almost doesn’t matter what he sings. I heard his vocals as pitch perfect. I think the judges were too hard on him. Even if the song wasn’t the best choice, he still came out and managed to showcase some good vocals. I loved the little falsetto bits here and there. I liked this much more than the judges. I think Deandre is learning about his voice. He doesn’t yet know what it can do and he is on a journey. I am looking forward to seeing hiim progress. He has so much talent!

    Shannon – “One Sweet Day” – This girl loves her power ballads. I think she wasn’t nearly as nervous this week. Her voice was much improved as a result. She has such a wonderful tone and it was nice to see her doing much better. Now I would like her to try and connect with the words of the song, the emotion and feeling. She should try to let it all flow effortlessly and be in the moment.

    Colton – “Broken Heart” – He picked a song that nobody knew and it may have been a stroke of genius. I loved the beginning, seeing him off to the side of the stage with the mic and the lights. His vocals were much stronger, no breathiness or pitch issues. I think he connected with this song, was comfortable with it and that came across in his performance. I kind of wish he kept it soft, but there was a good contrast when he moved to center stage and started building momentum. I think he did a great job and showed off some strong vocals. He has great stage presence and seemed to have the audience in the palm of his hand.

    Erika – “Heaven” – This song was ideally suited to Erika’s gorgeous contralto. I think she brings such passion to her performances. I really didn’t understand why the judges didn’t like this performance. I thought the vocals were outstanding. I had some real differences of opinion with the judges on some of these performances. I think this girl didn’t get the credit she deserved. Good job!

    Skylar – “Love Sneakikng Up On You” – She did the song she wanted to do. Good for her for sticking to her guns. I didn’t love the song, but I am not the one singing it. She has tremendous stage presence. This girl was made to be on stage singing her heart out. She loves being out there and that makes her so appealing. I also think she has a unique sound that is easily recogizable. So much confidence! A real crowd pleaser.

    Joshua – ” When a Man Loves a Woman” – When someone asks what it means to tell a story with a song and convey emotion and feeling, I would tell them to watch this performance. Wow! This young man came out there and just sang his face off! He left his heart and soul out on that stage and also his jacket, at one point! Great stage presence, amazing connection to the song, brilliant vocals, the performance of the night! Standing “O”! Bravo! Now that’s r&b!

    Hollie – “The Power of Love” – This girl isn’t afraid to take on Whitney or Celine. When you listen to her, you realize that this girl has a God given gift. To hear the power and that sound, the richness, the tone, everything just blows me away. The judges were picking way too picky with her. She makes it look effortless. My one criticism is once again, the raising of that head for the high note at the end. Sweet girl, you won’t find it looking up. You have to see it, envision singing over the note, access your head voice. If you keep that head level, then the sound will be even more magnificent! Another outstanding performance from a girl with so much voice that it takes my breath away!

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  15. Thank you, Mindy! Really great review! I have developed newfound respect for Colton Dixon! After listening to the original, you realize how important the band was in pulling this off. He finds out that the band doesn’t know the song. Whoa! There is a segment in the White Lion’s version with the electric guitar that just blows the song away. Kudos to him for bringing something new and different to the Idol stage. I think we may see this young man on MTV some day!

    I love Jessica’s voice and know she’ll be in the TOP 3; however, if you listen to Gloria Estefan’s version, you understand better what the judges were talking about. I find the band to be the biggest problem for both Jessica and Colton! But you (Mindy) already knew that!

    I listened to Diana DeGarmo’s version and liked it a little bit better. Haley Scarnato’s version was awful. Vicky Sue Robinson’s version was really good – but listening to Gloria and that wonderful music mix just tops them all. WOW!

    Yes, I was impressed with Joshua’s performance. We haven’t had someone quite like him on the iDOL TOUR. WONDERFUL!

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  16. kariann,

    Thanks for your kind words. I was really surprised by Colton tonight. I really should listen to the original. Although in a way, I am glad that I heard it without knowing how it was supposed to sound. He took a risk in picking some obscure song that most of the audience wouldn’t know. He definitely connected with the song and his performance had a great deal of conviction. I cannot believe how good his vocals were!

    I know well what you mean about Gloria Estefan’s version of that song. It’s a tricky song. You have to be exactly in time with the beat. I don’t think this song really worked for Jessica. She can go uptempo, but this wasn’t the song for her.

    Gloria makes it sound easy, doesn’t she? Because she is really that good!

    I am anxious to hear what MCL thought of the performances. I don’t know if she was able to hear them all. I had some real differences of opinion with the judges. In fact, I think some of their feedback was kind of contradictory. I know that they are trying to give some constructive criticism, but you don’t want to confuse these contestants.

    All night long they were talking about wrong song choice, bad song choice. Then later in the show, Randy says that they really meant that those people didn’t sing well, it wasn’t the song choice. Huh? I thought they were too hard on Deandre and Erika.

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  17. I thoroughly enjoyed Phil Phillips performance last night. That Black Crows song is a favorite of mine, and I think Phil did a great job. Hard to believe he’d so recently had surgery! Personally, I liked this performance much better than last week’s, when he screamed too much through the song.

    Also, Joshua Ledet is absolutely amazing, and I really enjoyed Elise, Erika, and Skylar too.

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  18. Yay for Mindy. Excellent review as always. I will add it as a blog topic today. I only managed to see Erika’s last few notes, then Skylar and then was distracted when Joshua sang (fun chaos here), then Hollie.

    I was surprised that the judges went on about Skylar and then was lukewarm to Hollie. Don’t get me wrong – I love Skylar – but the degree of difficulty between these performances was wide.

    Hollie’s song is very difficult and, for the most part, she nailed it. And wouldn’t have cracked on her last note if she had not raised her head, as Mindy pointed out. She covered the crack quite well, but it was there.

    And, what’s up with DeAndre and the lukewarm comments. I saw the replay (probably from rehearsal, I know but still…) and he sounded great. He has impeccable star power and a unique approach to his vocal style. Love him.

    Well, off I go, but thanks everyone for your comment. And, Mindy, standing “O” for you!

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  19. Thank you, Mindy, I always enjoy reading your comments.

    Last night I enjoyed Phil Phillips for the first time. Now I’m beginning to see what others see in him. My favorite was Josh, and I loved Hollie as well. And as enjoyable as he is, I’m afraid that Heejun will be a goner.

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  20. Loved your review, Mindy! It was good to see Elise’s performance last night. It was a huge improvement over the week before. Loved Joshua’s performance! Outstanding. I did not understand the criticism, either, of some of the performances, nor the praise, in one case.

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  21. Thank you again for the right on about each contestant, I believe that deandre did a beautiful job on his song, I think he was not confident at first but at the end he owned that song, they said he played it safe he just did a duet by mariah carey and luther omg safe i do not think so and before those 2 lonel ritchie and diana ross did it i say again omg safe. but he did it and made it his own everyone should go listen to the studio version beautiful! I feel that will i am and lovine set him up and the judges pulled them up on it by saying those two got it wrong.

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