American Idol Season 9 Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread: Top 12 Female Semi-Finalists

Picture Courtesy Of AmericanIdol.Com

Tonight’s first live telecast of American Idol Season 9 will feature the talented and diverse singers selected for the Top 24 Semi-Final shows.

The names of the singers are: Ashley Rodriguez, Crystal Bowersox, Didi Benami, Haeley Vaughn, Janell Wheeler, Katelyn Epperly, Katie Stevens, Lacey Brown, Lilly Scott, Michelle Delamor, Paige Miles and Siobhan Magnus.

I am also excited to watch the chemistry between the new quartet of judges, especially Ellen Degeneres’ contribution. I think we are in for a real treat and I believe the singers will have  a wonderful experience this season because of he participation in the show.

In fact, based on what I witnessed during the Hollywood Rounds,  I became very enthused with the  input from the judging panel.  However, I do miss Paula Abdul – she was the heart of the show and I always felt that she had the singers’ back during each season of American Idol.

Good luck to all the ladies this evening. And to all the Idol fans, please come back and express your feelings before, during and after the 2-hour-show and voting period has ended and remember -be respectful and fair. This is not a dissing contest here at MasteclassLady.Com.

MCL UPDATE: The show has finished airing on the East Coast and my Top 6 tonight were:

 Crystal Bowersox, Didi Benami,  Katelyn Epperly, Katie StevensLilly Scott, and Siobhan Magnus.

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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

23 Responses to “American Idol Season 9 Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread: Top 12 Female Semi-Finalists”

  1. I’m so excited the hear all of the girls tonight…can’t wait to see who everyone on here likes!!!

    Thank you so much MCL for providing a great place for us Idol junkies to come and enjoy each others comments, as well as a place to hang out with friends!

    This site is the best!


  2. You are most welcome Vonnie! And the MCL readers are the best as well! A mutual admiration society


  3. Oh noes—Women’s figure skating vs. women singing… decisions, decisions!!

    (Hi, MCL!)


  4. HI RR! I’m watching both! xo


  5. Great picks for your top 6, MCL!! I agree that they were all very good but some of the others picked the wrong songs.

    Although Katie has a good voice, I totally agree with the judges that she needs to sing songs more suited for her age group.


  6. Over here, NBC waited until Idol was over to begin the Ladies Figure Skating. I must say I did enjoy the Idol ladies singing tonight.

    Siobhan Magnus, Lilly Scott, and Crystal Bowersox were stand-outs tonight. Each is unique and not a cookie cutter version that I have seen recently. In fact, I think these three will be in the TOP 12.

    I felt so sorry for Paige Miles because if she had gotten the exposure that Haeley has, she would have an established fan base. To make matters worse, they send this young lady out first. So many of the girls already have fans.

    Lacey Brown usually does better and she may be in trouble. I think Haeley and Ashley were the weakest tongiht. OTOH, Katie seems a given to make the TOP 6. Can you just see her singing for Disney?

    OMG, Randy can speak! Seriously, he made some sound comments tonight. I think all four judges gave valuable advice to the girls, although Ellen’s wasn’t giving advice on the technical aspects. I believe she was a bit nervous tonight. Kara was some kind of awesome – and funny! Simon was back to form and brutally honest.

    MCL, it’s always nice to be back, although I never left! 😉


  7. Iagree with your top six picks too. I was disappointed in Lacey Brown’s performance–I thought she would do better. Besides Lilly and Crystal who I like very much, I am also really impressed by Siobhan. Can’t wait to see more from all of them.


  8. Welcome back Louise and Erin. The show sort of gained in strength as the evening move forward. I also thought Michelle was great, but wanted to limit my picks to my personal Top 6. I felt these young ladies were extremely unique in style and substance.

    Now, let’s see what the guys can do this evening! Glad I don’t have to share AI with the Olympic skating. I love them both.


  9. There really aren’t many great guys this year. The only stand-out one IMO is Andrew Garcia. That guy is amazing and I hope he does great tonight.


  10. I wasn’t really impressed with any of the girls last night…kind of Blah for me! I like DiDi’s voice, it sounded very pure. I didn’t like her song choice! I don’t like that style of music (I don’t even know what you call that) the Bird girl sang like that last year…what was her name? I didn’t like her either. But DiDi’s voice just sounded nice to me.


  11. I love Ellen! I think her presence on the panel really brings out the best in the other judges. I was pleasantly surprised with Randy last night; he actually gave sound advice and spoke clearly. It was nice. =)

    I actually really liked Siobhan’s performance! I was kind of shocked, actually. She has a beautiful, big voice. I just loved how natural she sounded; there wasn’t this “push” in her sound. The parts in head voice were in tune and just lovely.

    I also love Lilly Scott in general—love her jazzy phrasing. Crystal Bowersox also has this great earthy feel; she has great musicianship and presence. Didi is lovely; I wish the judges had given her more credit. Personality-wise, Michelle is such a sweetheart!

    Most disappointing performance for me was Janell’s. I don’t think she was the worst, but she showed a lot of early promise, which she didn’t deliver on. I don’t know if her vocal chops are quite there yet, but she’s a lovely girl.

    Also, just a thought to throw out there, from what I hear, it is VERY difficult for singers to hear themselves on the AI stage, and speaking as a singer who’s been in situations like that, I have to say that’s really tough. It’s SO frustrating to not be able to hear oneself, and it does account for a lot of the pitch problems. That said, that makes me more impressed for the ones who were able to stay on pitch despite the poor acoustics, especially those who were performing with the full band.


  12. Here’s my take:

    I took notes last night, and wrote down “quirky” next to three names: Lilly, Didi, and Lacey. There’s room in the top 6 for one quirky, but Idol is a show that requires broader appeal. I say that only one of these has a chance, and I’ll choose Lilly, just because she has a better sense of who she is. But still, she puts me in mind of Macy Gray and Tracy Chapman: brilliant artists who have a hit record that goes mainstream before they find their niche, which is generally smaller than the record label would hope. Not everyone wants to hear the same sound over and over again, which is why quirky wears over time on Idol.

    Close behind comes Crystal, who isn’t quirky, but rocker chicks are either adored or ho-hum. Crystal is so retro — a la Carole King meets Janis Joplin — that I worry that the audience will get bored with her, but hey, Melissa Etheridge has had a fabulous career. I won’t be surprised to see her in the top 12, because she is born to do what she’s doing, but I won’t be surprised to see her just miss out, either.

    Then there are the marketables: Michelle, Ashley, and Janell. They all have the complete package that makes a record label drool; but how many times have we seen contestants like these fade? All too often. I’ve always thought Ashley has all the pieces, but they will never make a whole; the judges have apparently figured that out, too, and so weren’t afraid to throw her under the bus last night. Janell they tried desperately to save, they obviously think she’s worth another shot (and I do, too, although I’m not convinced she’ll make the most of it). Personally, I think Michelle has the best chance of the three of them of figuring out how to be unique.

    The teeny-boppers: Haeley and Katie. I wanted to dislike Haeley, because she is too doggoned young. Had she waited 2 to 4 years, she could have won the whole thing. As it is, she might make the tour, but that’s it. Still, she’s even more personable than Paris Bennett, and who thought that could happen? As for Katie: all we’ve seen her do are songs for her grandmother. Unless she can prove that she can be contemporary, those gorgeous pipes and mature delivery will mean nothing.

    Which leaves me with Paige, Katelyn, and Siobhan, who actually share their own category, although I don’t know what to call it: different, talented, but close to mainstream? I liked Paige a lot but she has a specific voice, I don’t know if it will wear on me. We shall see. Katelyn gives me no good reason to throw out, and Siobhan strikes me as the contestant who might grow the most over the course of the show. Which makes her the favorite of the girls, I think. Idol loves growth as an artist, and she has some serious pipes, too.

    I would not be surprised to see all three black women in the finals, with Katelyn and Siobhan sliding in as well, and Crystal and Katie fighting for the last spot. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Lilly or Janell put in a good couple of performances and squeeze one of them out. Any way you slice it, the top 6 are bound to be strong. All of these girls can sing. What that means is that no one can afford to make any mistakes, because a mistake makes you stand out in the wrong way, and the dialing audience is just looking for a reason to not vote for someone. Take Janell, for instance — she’s got a great voice, but she really chose the wrong song last night. Fortunately for her, Ashley is boring, she tied her hair up which limited the sexy factor, and Lacey also chose the wrong song, so she has a shot at being safe. But do it again, and she’s gone.

    My picks are based less on talent — as I say, they all have better instruments than the usual top 12 — than it is on the energy they bring on stage. At the end of the day, those who are successful on idol are those who, truly, know who they are as artists, and who have a broad enough appeal. What has always fascinated me about Idol is how it shows how few of those exist out there.

    I’m really interested to see how it all pans out . . .


  13. Well, the girls put on a fairly good show tonight. I was impressed by quite a few of them. The one girl who blew me away was Siobhan! I didn’t really watch all the audition and Hollywood shows so I didn’t really get to “know” her but she has such a unique voice. J really describes how I feel about her voice. I tend to cringe at pushed or pitchy sounds and siobhan made me feel relaxed. Love her low regisiter! LOVE her head voice. Wow! Can she improve? Of course. I’m just saying I wasn’t expecting that from her. Hope she stays! My favourite going into tonight was Didi and although she sang ok I was a bit disappointed by her. So I hope she can step it up because I really like her voice and her style! My favourite? Lilly Scott for sure! I love this girl and hope she goes far. I love her look, her voice, her sense of artistry and she looks so natural/relaxed on stage. She puts her listeners at ease. Close second is Crystal. Someone said earlier that the audience may get bored with her. I don’t really see that happening because of her personality. She just seems like one of those people you just can’t help but like/love because of her personality. Her great sense of music is just a bonus! Paige was also a surprise for me. I really liked her and I hope that going first won’t hurt her because she is better than many of the other girls. And I am NOT a fan of Haley’s. She has an annoying sound, and annoying look and I don’t understand the hype surrounding her. Is it because she is young? Ok maybe I’m too harsh. Perhaps she just needs to mature more or have some lessons. Well I could say more but this is getting long so I’ll end it here. Bye.


  14. Well, here I am after all. I finally decided to give it a go and watch this season. This was my very first look at the top 24, so I don’t know them the way others do. I can see that there is a good deal of talent in this group, but there were a few that stood out to me.

    Crystal seems to have some real talent. I like her versatility with the guitar and harmonica and her voice is quite interesting. She has a laid back kind of style, a quiet confidence in herself that I find appealing.

    Haeley made me cringe singing the Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. The Beatles are tough no matter what, but I thought this was going to be really difficult. She is cute and adorable, but seemed to be struggling throughout her performance. She is so young and that always bothers me. I really wish they would have a minimum age of 17 or 18. These kids need some time to just be kids and grow up a little. It’s too much too soon.

    Katie Stevens is another young one. She obviously has a strong voice, but what is with the song choice? That old standard “Feelin’ Good” has been done to death on this show, most recently by none other than Adam Lambert. No one is going to do it better. The song is way too old for a young girl. It’s also too big for her, even with her pipes. I really don’t like to see these young kids pushed before they are ready.

    Lacey was awful. A number of girls just picked the wrong song and this was an example of the kind of trainwreck that it can produce. Too bad.

    Siobhan was the one who really stood out to me. I love this girl’s voice. She has great range, beautiful husky lower tones and great high notes. Something about her resonated with me. I see enormous potential in her. She seems so comfortable when she’s singing.

    I only made a few notes about the ones who were either memorable or forgettable. Please keep in mind that these are first impressions. I reserve the right to change my mind as I watch these young women in the next few weeks.


  15. Glad you’re back, Mindy. I’ve been watching for your comments, and am pleased that you liked Siobhan too. At this point, she’s the one who impressed me the most and I think she has the potential to go far.


  16. louise,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I finally decided to give it a go again this season. But I must say that I was kind of disappointed in both the women and the men. I do see far more talent among the women this season, but no one immediately grabbed me.

    I think song choice really did many of them in this week. The judges say it again and again, but you really cannot emphasize it enough. I know it’s tough, especially when you are 16 or 17 and don’t even know who you are as a person. That’s why I don’t like to see such young kids in this contest. But it is what it is.

    I see that Ashley is gone. I finally remembered her when she started singing that Alicia Keys song. That was her big mistake. You don’t want to even try to be Alicia Keys, because it’s not going to happen. Her songs are notoriously hard to sing, so Ashley pretty much sabotaged herself. Janelle is one that I truly didn’t remember at all. I have no problems with these two eliminations, although I thought Lacey should have gone home.

    I was really surprised to see Tim Urban survive, but then I remembered how the voting goes on this show. Silly me! Of course, he’s cute, so why not keep him there even after he destroyed “Apologize”. Joe Munoz had such a pleasing stage presence, but his voice was just ordinary. I was happy to see Tyler go. He was the second worst performance.

    Hopefully, I will keep on watching. But so far no one really blew me away. It’s early, though, so someone could really step up and shine. Those of you who know me and my pitch perfect ear, will remember how difficult it is to listen to some of these people. It’s true that there are sound issues in the AI studio, as J pointed out. That may be part of the problem. Nerves also plays a part. Whatever it was, my ear was sorely tested this week. It’s a blessing and a curse. I hear every single off pitch note loud and clear.

    I don’t yet feel comfortable giving an opinion about Ellen as a judge. I think she was a little nervous this week. She isn’t comfortable commenting on the technical aspect of the singing, but in a way she seems to be a different kind of Paula. She tries to give encouragement and balance criticism with some kind words. Simon seems even more disinterested than ever. It’s very rude to the contestants. Maybe it’s a good thing that this is his last season, even though he is the tough voice of reality.

    I am going to make a concered effort NOT to get too emotionally caught up in this season. I realized how over the top I was about Adam Lambert. It tends to blind you to reality sometimes. I will try to be as objective as possible.


  17. Mindy’s comments about song choice are so true. My co-worker and I always discuss Idol the next morning, and neither of us liked most of the song choices. I wasn’t blessed with a pitch perfect ear like Mindy, but even I heard lots of pitch problems on most of the performances. I understand that nerves probably contributed to this, but I just don’t remember other top 24 shows being quite this boring and lifeless.

    And I think MCL made a very good point about the tenseness at the judges’ table. Ellen did seem nervous, and Simon alot more disgruntled. I also hope that the silliness with Kara being attracted to the contestant ends soon. That is completely inappropriate. It was interesting that her husband was in the audience last night, and I’m guessing she has been told by TPTB to put an end to it.

    Anyway let’s hope for a better week last week.


  18. louise,

    Since I don’t sing any longer, I don’t know that my pitch perfect ear is a great thing. But I have it and that’s all there is to it. As MCL told us, relative pitch is in some ways better for a singer. She said that Kris Allen had relative pitch. Listening to these kids, I wish I did! At one point, I actually wanted to hit the “mute” button. It makes me crazy, even though it’s unfair to hold them to such a high standard at this early point in the competition. But there did seem to be more pitch issues than I remember in other seasons.

    I certainly hope that some of these kids can “up” their game. I felt a little sorry for them. It must be hard to know who you are as a singer, especially when you are still only 16 or 17. I was wondering if they get any coaching or advice or any help at all on song choice. Many of them seemed to be truly clueless.

    I think some of them thought that if they picked a great song from a well known artist, that it might garner them some votes. With the public having total say over who goes through, that might not be a bad strategy. I will be shocked if Tim Urban makes it through to the finals. The same goes for Lacey. But you never know. On this show, you just never know.

    I think it’s interesting that a few of us are feeing the same vibe with Ellen as the new judge. I am wondering if Simon feels that she doesn’t have the credentials to be a judge in this competition, or if he just misses fooling around with Paula! I guess it’s to be expected when you make a change after all these seasons. I was surprised that Randy seemed to actually be talking english for once. I could understand him, he made sense!

    That business with Kara was completely unprofessional. I know that Paula sometimes had that whole “cougar” thing going on, but she didn’t seem as aggressive about it as Kara! That needs to go and fast!

    I look forward to hearing everyone’s comments next week. It’s really a joy to be able to share this experience with the great people on this site.


  19. It’s good to see old friends return and with such interesting comments! Hello! Hello!

    Welcome Cookie Monster!

    Seems like a general agreement on the talent of Siobhan; the uniqueness to Lily; and the versatility of Crystal. I have actually chosen Siobhan for the win in an office pool! I hope she continues to show growth as a performer – I love her voice!


  20. I am a week behind & trying to catch up as quickly as I can. I absolutely fell in love with Siobhan tonight. She picked a song that I think is technically difficult to sing & she absolutely owned it. Both she & Lilly are singers from whom I would be happy to buy a CD. I was surprised at the judge’s reaction to Siobhan & I think they were off target. I also like Crystal but she does need to break a bit out of the mold. Her cover of Alanis was technically great, but it was too close to Alanis. She can do better & I really hope she does.


  21. Kariann and Darlene,

    Glad to read your comments about Siobhan. There was just something about her voice that drew me in this week and I can’t wait to hear more. Hope she doesn’t disappoint!

    Some others commented about Didi, and I agree that there might be something there, but I’m reserving my opinion about her until I hear more.


  22. Louise, I do see Siobhan going far in this competition. She has the look, the voice, the persona to succeed. Idol may be looking for another Taylor Swift, but I think this girl has something very special. I hope she continues doing well.

    I think I am less impressed with the guys, but there’s plenty of time left.

    On weekends, I like to watch a little bit of previous seasons. I must admit I do miss Paula. Right now, I feel the contestants do not have someone providing support for their efforts. I am disappointed in this first week of judging.

    Oh, Cookie Monster – you were here in the past! Well, hello again!



  1. American Idol Season 9 Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread: Top 12 Male Semi-Finalists « MasterclassLady.Com - February 24, 2010

    […] the meantime, check out my female picks after last night’s show and let me know what you think!  Catch you […]


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