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American Idol Season 9 Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread: Top 8 Female Semi-Finalists


Top 8 American Idol Season 9 Female Singers

Picture Courtesy Of AmericanIdol.Com

Well, this is the night – the night where the remaining Top 8 female singers vie for the coveted 6 spots in the American Idol Season 9 Top 12 line-up. The other 6 spots will be awarded to the male vocalists, who will appear live tomorrow evening.

However, this evening belongs to the remaining eight ladies and they are: Crystal Bowersox, Didi BenamiKatelyn Epperly, Katie Stevens, Lacey Brown, Lilly ScottPaige Miles and Siobhan Magnus.

Good luck ladies! And to all the Idol fans, please come back and express your feelings before, during and after the 1-hour-show and voting period has ended and remember: be respectful and fair.

The show has finished airing on the East Coast and my Top 6 tonight were: Crystal BowersoxKatelyn Epperly, Katie Stevens, Lacey Brown, Lilly Scott, and Siobhan Magnus.  I was generally underwhelmed with the performances.

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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

44 Responses to “American Idol Season 9 Vocal Masterclass Discussion Thread: Top 8 Female Semi-Finalists”

  1. Wow! This is make it or break it night…biting my nails!!! Song choice, song choice, song choice…did I mention how important song choice is tonight??? I hope a couple of the girls really break out of their molds tonight and bring something new to the table, HmmmHmmm Didi.

    You know what though, I have thought about each girl left at this point, they are all worthy of the top 6! It’s going to be a tough night.

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  2. Vonnie . . . here’s a link to a short piece about Didi’s need to really step it up tonight. Fingers crossed that she succeeds!

    http://idolheaded.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=763&mode=thread&order=0&thold=-1

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  3. louise…thanks for the link, I did not realize that Didi was an early favorite…I really hope she makes it to the top 6.

    I would love to hear her sing a Sarah Mclaughlin song!

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  4. Louise,

    I really enjoyed the link to that article. I happen to agree with much of what was said.

    For Didi it’s simple, but oh so important – song choice, song choice, song choice. I was surprised to read that she was an early favorite along with Andrew. That’s what happens when you wait until the semi-finals to start listening. J did provide a link to Didi’s Hollywood week performance. I thought I was listening to a different girl. That’s just how important it is for her to pick the right song.

    The competition among the women will be fierce. If Didi doesn’t get it done, someone else may well take her place in the top six. I think Paige has a good shot at making it if she manages to give a really memorable performance. She has also struggled with song choice. I will reiterate my belief that Lacey is in way over her head in this talented group. If it’s about popularity or people like her eyes, then she could manage to crack the top six. But I believe that vocally, the battle is between Paige, Didi and Katie Stevens. May the best, and most deserving, women make it through to the finals.

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  5. My amateur ear agrees with MCL lady tonight with one exception–I preferred Didi Benami over Katie Stevens. For a change, I recognized almost all of the songs tonight so that made the show much more enjoyable for me. If I had to rank the performances tonight, this is what I’d come up with:
    Crystal
    Lilly
    Siobhan
    Didi
    Katelyn
    Lacey
    Katie
    Paige
    I especially thought Didi was much improved over last week and I really hope she is in the top six. I even thought Lacey was better tonight than previous weeks, but if she makes it, I don’t expect her to last long.

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  6. cookie monster March 9, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Ok. I enjoyed most of tonight’s show. I did find myself getting bored at times but otherwise I liked what I heard. I was pleasantly surprised with Lacey’s performance. I didn’t know she could sing/perform like that. Before tonight I had her pegged as leaving. Now I’m not really sure I want her to go. Didi stepped it up as well (yahoo!!). The rest were as I expected them to be. Little disappointed with Katelyn, though. This is an important night for these idols and I feel that she under-performed and under- sang (are these even words???). My ranking:
    Siobhan (I had an Adam reaction after she sang, meaning I was yelling “Wow” “Incredible” “I LOVE THIS GIRL”, like a crazy woman, all alone in my living room)
    Crystal is next – absolutley ENJOYED her performance. It was just so much fun and she can sing!! Fantastic!
    Lilly – find I may be a bit biased putting her here because I love her so much. I hate to rank her lower but really I agree with Simon when he said it wasn’t big enough – it was just cute and quirky like her. But I just love her style.
    I would put Lacey next. (didn’t think I would but I really liked her tonight).
    Then Didi.
    Now it gets tricky. I would have to go with Katie next (based on tonight), then Katelyn (again, solely based on tonight) and finally Paige.
    One last comment. Simon repeatedly talks about Siobhan being so weird. I agree and I love her for it!! There’s just something about her. I love that she’s “weird”!!

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  7. “I was generally underwhelmed with the performances.”

    That was almost exactly what I tweeted right after the show. I don’t know–maybe it was because they only had time for such tiny little bits of songs to sing? But the energy was very low tonight.

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  8. I was in awe when Siobhan sang a capella. Absolutely stunning and one of the best voices to hit the Idol stage. I think Simon realized what a fool he was. Or, he wanted to make sure she would be voted in. Was there any doubt? Get Simon a hearing aid!
    Eric Burdon will be impressed! Now will they have Siobhan do a duet with Chris Issac or Eric Burdon in the Finale?

    Crystal also did an excellent job. Could be Idol wants a Siobhan VS Crystal Finale?

    Both girls put Taylor Swift to shame.

    Yes, I agree it will be difficult knowing who goes home. Will Michelle and Haeley voters step up to save Paige? There has never been a TOP 12 without an African American girl. Will that change this year?

    It was a good night, but not for everyone. The Judges did so much better tonight, minus Simon’s comments about Siobhan.

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  9. For me, the only singer that truly impressed me was Siobhan. I think Simon is afraid that Siobhan will gain momentum and turn the voting tide in her direction – and away from his favorite – Crystal. The latter is a good singer, but I am having problems connecting to her as an artist. Hopefully, that will change with time.

    Katie has enormous potential – I wish they would leave the kid alone and let her evolve on the show. This is what I always loved about AI – the evolution process over two months. She really is trying and I hope she does secure a place in the Top 10 – not only the Top 12.

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  10. Yah, Siobhan was really good tonight. I love that a cappella start, made me sit up and pay attention.

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  11. Hate to say it MCL, but I really think Katie is leaving this week. She hasn’t done well enough to secure a place in the top 12 IMO.

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  12. MCL,

    I had exactly the same reaciont to Siobhan tonight! Reading the comments, I see that I am not alone. But you also gave me a reason for Simon’s rather absurd critique of her performance. I was so busy screaming at him that he was tone deaf! He makes me so mad when he gets like that. But now I think that there is a method to his madness. Your point makes perfect sense. Simon’s favorite is clearly Crystal. The unfortunate thing is that the girl doesn’t need it! Also, it can be the kiss of death in this competition.

    I have so many thoughts on tonight’s performances, that I am considering making two separate posts. My mind is spilling over and this time I took a lot of notes!

    Siobhan literally gave me chills with her performance of House of the Rising Sun! Starting off acappela was just pure genius! Somewhere the great Eric Burdon must be smiling. That is one tough song to take on! The girl has a truly extraordinary vocal instrument. I am truly blown away by her. For the first time, I had that feeling that I get when I hear a great voice coming into its own. That was the moment for me. Brilliant!

    Crystal impressed me with her Tracy Chapman song. Once again, I find this girl to have that quiet inner strength and confidence that is unusual for someone so young. She knows exactly who she is as an artist. Her voice is quite beautiful in tone and timbre. She has a nice range and interprets the words of the song so well. Siobhan may have the best pure voice, but Crystal knows who she is as an artist and what to do with her voice. But half the fun is watching someone come into their own on this show. I think that will happen with Siobhan.

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  13. Sorry, I meant to say “reaction” in my previous post.

    More thoughts on the performances.

    Let me say to Didi – way to go, girl! When I heard that she was going to tackle the great Stevie Nicks’ “Rihanna”, for a moment I feared it might be a disaster. But what a nice surprise! She got it right and good for her. When she picks the right song and delivers, she becomes a totally different singer. It was a lovely, lilting interpretation that showed off her unique voice. I think that performance will earn her a spot in the finals.

    Katelyn really disappointed me with her version of Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move”. I didn’t sense any connection at all to this song. Last week I thought that Katelyn interpreted Coldplay so incredibly well. But this week she just seemed so differet. I am not sure what happened.

    I have a feeling that we may have a surprise this week. Lacey managed to step it up considerably. I didn’t think she could sing that well. Her voice has an interesting vibrato and a quality that is delicate and kind of strange and different. I am still not a huge fan. If she does make it through, I do not think her voice can hold up to all the demanding challenges of the different genres of music that she will have to sing. But she brought it this time and could well get through.

    I am just not convinced that Katie Stevens is ready right now. Taking on Kelly Clarkson was not the best choice for her. Especially on this show, if you want to take on the first winner, a girl with a one of a kind voice who has been incredibly successful, then you are risking looking like a second hand copy of the original. I don’t think Katie has a big enough voice for that song. Given the fact that she went first, I think she might not make it to the finals.

    Paige is probably the biggest disappointment of the night. As soon as I heard that she would be singing, “Smile, I just sensed that it would be trouble. This is one of my all time favorite songs, very special to me, but you need the voice to sing it. It has tremendous range and can be tricky to pull off. There is a reason why these great classic standards have been sung by the greatest voices. The arrangement was positively horrid and Paige looked to be overwhelmed throughout the performance. She is another one who simply doesn’t know who she is and which song works for her voice. I think she may well go home.

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  14. Now I am on to my third straight post. I can’t help it. There is so much running through my mind right now.

    Lilly is someone who seems to like to take on great singing icons. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. She seems to have a good deal of confidence, but it can get dangerous if you just keep taking on signature great songs done by icons. Patsy Cline is one tough act to follow. She had one of the greatest natural singing voices of all time. The problem I had, was that I kept hearing her version of “I Fall to Pieces” in my head.

    No one will ever sing a Patsy Cline song better than she did, same as Sam Cooke. But Lilly does have her own unique sound and style, so she did manage to make it more contemporary and kind of changed it up. Risky move! The girl likes taking chances. The judges seem to love her and want her in the finals. I thought it was a creditable reworking a classic, but didn’t love it. But I do think she will make it to the finals.

    It’s difficult to predict what will happen with the results this week. A lot depends on fan base, actual performance, and what influence the judges comments will carry.

    I will just say that I am hoping to see Siobhan, Crystal, Lilly, Katelyn, Didi and either Katie or Lacey.

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  15. Oh my goodness, I just realized in my second post that I said Didi sang “Rhianna”! How on earth I confused “Rhiannon” with Rhianna the singer, I have no idea! I think it’s time for me to get some sleep!

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  16. I really enjoyed reading your comments, Mindy! I love your balanced perspective, and I agreed with so much of what you said.

    Just a random side note, I wanted to point out that I answered your question about Aretha Franklin (rather beleatedly) here. 🙂

    My thoughts on tonight will be in the next post. =)

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  17. I think the judges (particularly Kara and Simon) articulated what many posters here have said about Katie and her not quite having a distinct artistic identity yet.

    Siobhan has a really pretty head voice! I hope she continues to pick songs that play to her strengths. So far, she’s had a knack for finding songs that highlight the best parts of her range (for the most part). Lacey got her nerves much more under control tonight. Good for her. I think Katelyn was solid, but I’m not sure if she picked the best song. Simon was a tad harsh, but I think he has a point about her needing to do something more “special.”

    Didi is finally back! This performance really showcased the sweet spots of her voice and her lovely phrasing. Beautiful. I really liked this.

    I could see Paige‘s performance being good if she weren’t so nervous! That’s really the danger of doing a song in a predominantly lighter coordination. The nerves make everything shaky. She was just not on tempo, and her pitch was sloppy and off at parts. I think she might’ve confused the band; during the second half of the song, the piano playing and the drum beat weren’t in synch.

    I LOVE Crystal! She is SO good. She reminds me of an earthy Eva Cassidy. There’s something so naturally musical about the way she sings and her phrasing. And for me anyway, I love how she can do the louder, more brassy coordinations without sounding as though she’s yelling. She’s just so comfortable on stage. You never hear any nerves in her voice whatsoever! Crystal has this almost country tilt, more Southern-rock-meets-blues feel, and although I like the latter two genres, in theory, her song choices wouldn’t appeal to me, but she just does them so well. I’m really, really impressed by how well she knows her voice and the control she has over her dynamics, the textures, and tone colors of her voice.

    I like Lilly a lot. She has a very strong sense of herself as an artist. Jazz is one of my favorite genres, so I love that pervasive jazz tilt to her voice. As a matter of preference, I’m not as drawn to bright twangy voices*, so I’m not crazy about her timbre, but that’s just a matter of taste. As a singer, she’s quirky, confident, and unique, and I can’t not like her because of that! 😉

    * Not to compare, but Didi, at her best and in the right spots of her voice, has a slightly darker sound color, which fits more of my aesthetic. Lilly has clearly been much more consistent, though.

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  18. I agree with Mindy that based on tonight’s performances, Siobhan, Crystal, Lilly, Katelyn, and Didi should be in the top 6. The last spot is a toss-up between Katie or Lacey. And Paige has potential, but unfortunately, nothing worked for her tonight—the song choice, the arrangement, her vocal—not any of it.

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  19. I listened again to some of last night’s performances, and I changed my mind about order rankings. I’m making a switch with Siobhan and Lilly. My original ranking came right after the show ended last night and I’m sure it was because Siobhan had the misfortune of going second, and Lilly was lucky enough to have performed last. I love Lilly’s distinctive style, but Siobhan was wonderful!!! I think MCL has a very good theory about why Simon criticized Siobhan. He’s probably also watching the internet chatter about her and realizes that people LOVE her! I was surprised to see her Dad in the audience last night–I actually saw a video of her Dad performing over the weekend with his old band who he hadn’t performed with in about 20 years. They apparently called him because of seeing Siobhan on Idol. He’s pretty good–but she’s a lot better!!!

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  20. The Idol women had a review in today’s New York Times which is almost unheard of . . .

    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/american-idol-a-place-holder-departs/

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  21. I much like louise, changed my order of ranking last night; Here’s my top six:

    Crystal – She reminds me of Melissa Etheridge, so comfortable in her own skin!

    Didi – I just like her, her voice is to my ears, beautiful. Not a powerhouse, but soft and so full of emotion!

    Siobhan – I had not been a fan of hers until last night!

    Katelyn – Song Choice, not a good one, her voice; beautiful. She reminds me of a young Meg Ryan!

    Lacey – I had picked her a few weeks ago as one of my top six, and have not changed my mind…if I could give her any advice, I would suggest that she sing Country Music…she has Reba’s style of voice and last night she had somewhat of a twang in her voice!

    Paige – I would like to see her grow over this competition, I think she may have been a little overshadowed early on…there’s a voice there!

    I left Lilly off my list because as I said earlier, last night changed my ranking, I didn’t like Lilly last night, she had that Megan Joy thing going and I didn’t care for Megan, I can’t see her going through the different themes!

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  22. Luv Crystal!!! Heard this song Cry Cry by Oceana and I think she could her own take on it. I feel it would suit her raw vocals..

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  23. MCL, I’m not sure why you say that you aren’t connecting to Crystal as an artist. Is it her tone or simply what she is singing? I’m far from a music expert but to me Crystal is far and away the best of season 9, with the possible exception of Siobhan.

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  24. Dearest J,

    First of all, thank you so much for that link to your post discussing the great Aretha Franklin. I do agree that her voice in the 60’s and 70’s was a thing of beauty. Age has taken its toll on her voice, but back in the day, she was a force of nature. I learn so much from you about vocal technique and why my ear hears what it hears.

    Louise,

    Again a great link from you! I think that article had some insightful comments. I thought the comments about the contestants now basically asking the judges what songs they should sing, was particularly telling. That is a choice that they must make themselves. Leaving it in the hands of the fickle judges is a dangerous gamble. Sometimes I wonder if the judges themselves know what they mean.

    I also liked how they highlighted the inevitable battle between Crystal and Siobhan. These two girls are like titanic forces, opposites in many ways but formidable talents each in their own right. I can see a clash between them somewhere down the road, however I do think it’s way too early to predict anything here. For me they are the ones whose voices have stood out the most.

    In no way do I mean to dismiss some of the other talented girls in this competition. I was so proud of Didi for giving a stellar performance and showing us who she is and what that unusual voice of hers can do. J mentioned her phrasing, which I had in my notes but forgot to include. I think that is one of her more exceptional qualities.

    Paige has a voice somewhere inside her, but at this point I think she is so confused and lost that it might be better if she doesn’t get through to the finals. However, if she does make it then I sincerely hope that she can find her way.

    Anything can happen tonight, but I am still sticking with my earlier wish list. For me it doesn’t matter all that much if it’s Paige or Katie. Both have struggled considerably in the semifinals and haven’t impressed. I hope Katelyn makes it through despite her lackluster performance. She has the talent and deserves to be there.

    Tonight, it’s on to the guys!

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  25. Mindy said . . . “I also liked how they highlighted the inevitable battle between Crystal and Siobhan. These two girls are like titanic forces, opposites in many ways but formidable talents each in their own right. I can see a clash between them somewhere down the road . . . ” I actually was thinking about Crystal and remembering the year that Melinda Doolittle seemed like she couldn’t lose and thinking that maybe the same thing could happen to Crystal.. I’m also wondering how Crystal will do when it comes to singing different genres. I’m guessing that Siobhan will be able to sing anything, but I have my doubts about Crystal. This could be a VERY interesting season.

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  26. Louise,

    Some here have had concerns about Crystal being a one-trick pony, but after listening to her last night, I think she may well surprise people when she tackles the weekly themes in the finals competition. I think she is much more versatile than we might think. Also, her considerable confidence should help her a lot. I think all this early hype is unfortunate.

    It is worth remembering that Melinda was the early overwhelming favorite, along with that other powerhouse female singer whose name I just cannot remember right now. But young Jordin Sparks came on strong and stole the show. You just never know.

    I know for sure that Siobhan can sing anything, but on this journey she will need to find out who she is as an artist. But it will be a journey worth watching.

    I think the real one-trick pony here is Lacey. Her voice is so delicate, light and fragile, that I simply don’t think it can stand up to the rigors of this competition. When she finds the right song, then she can pull it off, but she won’t have an easy time doing it in the finals. I think Didi is the stronger version. She showed me a lot last night. However, if she gets through it could well prove difficult for her to navigate the treacherous waters of these varied weekly themes.

    Lily also has to be careful if she makes the finals. She has such a distinctive sound,and that could prove to be a challenge for her in transitioning from one theme to another every week. I listened to her version of Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” again, and didn’t like it nearly as much as the first time. I think she made the song unrecognizable and didn’t manage to pull off a true reinvention. I hope that she doesn’t make a habit of taking on singing icons. She has her own special quality and that can get lost if one continues to serve up classic songs that have been sung by true legends.

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  27. ” . . . that other powerhouse female singer whose name I just cannot remember right now” — I think you’re referring to LaKisha Jones. Remember her version of “I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going”? Simon told everyone else they could pack their bags and go home. But unfortunately for her, she never managed to do anything quite that good during the rest of the season.

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  28. I enjoyed many of last night’s performances and thought most of the girls stepped up to the challenge. In particular, Crystal, Siobhan, and Lily secured their spot in the top 12. I also thought Didi gave an excellent performance that highlighted her unique vocals and fit her perfectly. I was disappointed with Katelyn’s performance and thought it was very one-note and didn’t go anywhere. I think she still deserves to be in the top 12, however. Katie struggled with her song and was pitchy in the verses, so I don’t mind if she doesn’t make it. I really think she needed another year to improve on her vocals and stage presence.

    Mindy, I agree with your comment that Didi is the stronger version of Lacey, as both of lighter, more delicate voices.

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  29. louise,

    Thanks so much! Lakisha! Yes, I remember her well. I think she peaked too early. If she could have saved her rendition of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”, then things might have been different. I also remember that she was one stubborn girl. The judges kept telling her that her song choices were not doing her any favors, but she just refused to listen.

    I didn’t love Jordin Sparks. I felt she was too young and not ready to be the American Idol. I remember when she developed some serious problems with her vocal cords a few years ago. That is exactly what I was afraid would happen. When I saw her come back for a guest performance on Idol two years after she won, I was amazed at just how much she matured. Seeing Melinda Doolittle lose out and not even make the final two, is one reason why I almost stopped watching altogether. But I have come to accept that the people I love may not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea. I go for the voice, that’s it. I don’t focus on marketability, popularity, commercial appeal, none of that. I am not a record exec like Simon. I just listen for the voice that moves me.

    Beth,

    It’s nice to hear from someone that I don’t know. I am glad that we have found some common ground. I am hoping that Didi’s performance last night will earn her a spot in the finals. Lacey could get in as well. She gave probably her best performance to date in the semifinals. I have no idea who has the biggest fan base. But I would think that Didi and Lacey may well appeal to the same audience.

    Anything can happen with this show, so we will have to wait until after the guys perform to know the results.

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  30. Mindy,
    Jordan Sparks wasn’t one of my favorites either, and I loved Melinda Doolittle and was really sorry to see her voted off early that year. To me that was the most boring finale ever on Idol. Jordan had a nice voice, but I just didn’t connect with her singing at all. That’s how I feel about Katie Stevens too. Nice voice, pretty girl, sweet girl, but her singing does nothing for me.

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  31. Maybe I’m doing some rooting for the underdog (???) but I would like to put myself in the camp of people that aren’t connecting to Crystal. I respect her as a singer & musician; she certainly is compelling & obviously appeals to a lot of people. But not so much to me. I am not going to have an easy time putting why I like Siobhan so much more into words. I know that her version of “Wicked Game” mesmerized me. There is something different, unique, interesting in that voice & in her as a performer. I’m a fan & I can hardly wait to see what she does in the weeks to come.

    I also made a decision last night after watching the men from last week. I am going to quit listening to the judges. They contradict themselves again & again & I don’t agree with 90% of what they say – for the record, I am a singer who has been taking lessons from a superb teacher for the past 7 years so I know something about singing. Maybe this is the way Idol has always been (???). But most of the time I don’t see what they are saying as being helpful in any way to the singers. It’s either all positive or all negative & it doesn’t make up for it when they end with “But I’m still a fan…”

    Admittedly I am a newbie – I never watched Idol at all until the final 2 shows of last season. I went to two Idol tour shows this past summer. I’m glad I’m watching it this year – it’s very interesting. I love Aaron Kelly – I wish he had waited a year or two to do this – but I so want him to make it to the top 10. And I hope Katelyn makes it too. I have very little doubt that Crystal & Siobhan will be touring. The guys are wide open, in my opinion. Should be interesting. I’ll keep watching.

    Also enjoy reading all of the comments!!

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  32. J. May – I am not drawn to Crystal’s performing style and her voice seems really rough around the edges. Perhaps, my opinion will change with time – it has been known to happen -but, presently, I would like to see her move away from her guitar and connect more genuinely with her audience.

    Vocally, Siobhan is the one to beat and she is gifted with consummate artistic and performing skills.

    I do stay objective, however, and I hope you will see that when OI start to write the Top 12 Vocal Masterclass articles next week.

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  33. I don’t want to repeat what I’ve read here, because I think you’ve all raised great points and for the most part, we’re all on the same sheet, although it’s great to hear other people talk about it because you all put into words things that relate to what I’m thinking but that haven’t necessarily crystallized in my own mind yet. But there are a few things I’d like to add.

    First, I’d like to respond to comments from another thread, I think from Vonnie, about the judges comments and how confusing it must be for the contestants: don’t sing a song made famous by a great singer (unless you can sing the heck out of it or give it an interesting twist, in which case we’ll praise you to the skies); sing something young (but make sure it’s the right kind of young, or we’ll blast you for that, too); etc. I think you’re absolutely right. Yes, if Lacey sang Aretha, it would probably be a bad choice, but can’t she be judged strictly on her performance of the song without being compared to Aretha? I know that I may be in the minority on this board, but as much as I LOVE Tina Turner, I really didn’t dislike Andrew’s version of “What’s Love Got to Do With it”, and I kind of liked it. Did I like Tina’s better? Yes, but that doesn’t mean Andrew’s stunk.

    Adam and Kris both set the bar pretty high last season for “making a song your own”, and most of the contestants seem to feel the need to do that in a big way. Some are better at it than others. Still, I would prefer that the judges just let the singers try to figure it out on their own, as they did in the first few seasons, instead of blasting them at every opportunity. And yes, MCL, I think Katie has been victimized by this as much as anyone, and I hope she squeaks through into the top 12 as compensation for it.

    Yes, Siobhan and Crystal continue to impress, and yes, Mindy, I am less concerned that Crystal might be a one trick pony than I originally was. But as much as I love her, I completely understand that she isn’t to everyone’s taste, so I get why MCL and Darlene aren’t connecting with her. These are still the top two women I will watch.

    Didi finally started fulfilling the promise of that wonderful voice of hers. She was one of the three I put down as quirky on the Top 24 show, along with Lilly and Lacey. But her sort of quirkiness has more flexibility, I think, and I think last night was a perfect example of the kind of music she can do well. I will be happy to see her in the Top 12 if she makes it, although I really wasn’t sure till last night.

    As for the other two quirky kids, Lacey finally settled her nerves, which worries me because last night’s performance was solid enough that she could boot Katie out of the competition. That would disappoint me because I think Katie has more potential overall (and I forgive her coming out early, Mindy, only because of her grandmother), and Lacey, as adorable as she is, has a voice that is going to start irritating me soon. Not her fault, but I don’t want to buy a record of it.

    As for Lilly, I have accepted that she has enough fans to make it into the Top 12, but I still am not a believer. Yes, I think she has great jazz chops, but you know what? Jazz artists don’t tend to sell tons of records, which is sort of the modus operandi behind American Idol. I think Lilly ought to become a jazz singer; that really seems to be her gig, and I think she could be fabulously successful at it. But this is as wrong a competition for her as it has been for the singers that the judges have proclaimed best suited for musical theater.

    She may make the Top 12, but I don’t see her in the final, apologies to the Lilly fans, just because I’m afraid that she IS a one-trick pony, and that wears thin around Week 6 with AI. I’m not convinced that she has Siobhan’s versatility. She is happy, I think, being quirky. She has great confidence in who she is, and she is great at who she is. But I don’t think it’s an American Idol. Willing to be disproved, though!

    So I’d like to see Katie in the finals. Both Paige and Katelyn had flat nights last night. I’m guessing Katelyn will skate through, although she will need to step it up a little to stay in. I hope she can rise to the occasion — just a I hope they all do!

    I wish I could comment on everyone’s posts individually, but just don’t have the time. But it’s all a great read!

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  34. Jeanne — I really enjoyed reading your thoughtful reply, and you raised some very good points! (Like Mindy, you have a way with expressing opinions that some people might disagree with, but you do so very agreeably! I wish I could master that skill. I tend to be so wordy in trying not to offend anyone!)

    I just wanted to ask for one point of clarification: for the performance of “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” were you referring to Todrick Hall’s version? I don’t recall any other contestant (and I’m pretty sure Andrew did not) performing that song. I just wanted to make sure I’m understanding you correctly. =)

    I actually completely understand your comment on Lilly, and like you, I also see how Crystal might not be up to everyone’s taste, even though she and Siobhan are the ones to beat right now. Crystal has definitely grown on me. I understand MCL’s “rough around the edges” comment because I felt that with her “Natural Woman” Hollywood performance, but the more I hear from Crystal, the more I like her. And I am definitely usually drawn to a different brand of singer, even though I love almost every genre there is!

    And Darlene, I agree that “Wicked Game” was mesmerizing! I hope Siobhan continues to make wise song choices. “Wicked Game” and “House of the Rising Sun” were great ones. “Think” as the New York Times noted, was “in places choppy, but often fascinating, and occasionally riveting.” As much as I like her, I see potential weaknesses in certain parts of Siobhan’s range, so I hope she continues to choose songs that highlight the right parts of her voice. 😉

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  35. Darlene,

    Believe me, I totally get what you are feeling with Siobhan! This girl is for real! I like Crystal and can appreciate what she does, but Siobhan is much more to my taste. I can definitely see why some do not connect with Crystal. She takes some getting used to, has her own sound and is quite different. But I always listen to the voice and I am hearing more in her voice than what we have heard from her thus far.

    Siobhan simply has a great vocal instrument. I love how she stays true to herself, no matter what the judges say. Good for her! I love that she cannot be neatly fitted into a precise category or genre. She is completely and totally original.

    Let me say that I share your frustration with the judges. I didn’t realize that I recorded some of last night’s show. I decided to take a listen again, this time focusing intently with my pitch perfect ear. I think some of the judges are quite clueless when it comes to their critiques. I honestly have no idea what they are hearing. Siobhan was even better than I thought! That performance was filled with emotion, feeling, passion and incomparably beautiful vocal brilliance. I am in awe of her natural talent.

    Hearing Didi again, I now think she should rank right behind Siobhan and Crystal, my top two. She did an extraordinary, inventive and lovely interpretation of a classic Stevie Nicks song. I was even more impressed. Contrasting her with Lacey, I have to say that listening to her a second time made me feel a bit less enthusiastic. I heard some very slight pitch problems and in places I thought her voice sounded kind of thin. These may well just be innate characteristics of her voice, but I thought it revealed some real weaknesses. I still believe that if she gets through to the finals, she may well crash and burn quickly. Her voice is just not nearly strong enough to handle the themes in this competition.

    Jeanne,

    This may surprise you but I actually feel now that Katie should get into the finals over Lacey. I still have my reservations about how young she is and don’t know her back story. I only started watching three weeks ago. I have heard some stories about her grandmother, so there may be a reason why she is doing this now, but regardless, I think she has a much stronger voice than Lacey. I am thinking that maybe Katie needs to go with her instincts and not take the judges so literally. They are not doing her any favors.

    I also happen to think you have some good points to make about Lily. She may well be a one-trick pony. I have thought about it, but just haven’t made up my mind yet. She does have that jazzy sound that is quite distinctive, but very much a niche kind of sound that may not have broad appeal. When I listened to her version of “I Fall to Pieces” again, I did not like it nearly as much. It just didn’t work, although she does have an intriguing voice. If she tries to put a jazz spin on some of the themes in this competition, then she could have some real problems. I am undecided as to how I really feel about her right about now. I am not a huge jazz fan. I can take it in small doses, but not all the time.

    So there you have it. I have now decided that Katie should be in the finals instead of Lacey, but I am not sure that it will happen. In fact, I don’t know what will happen. Katelyn certainly left herself vulnerable. I think she deserves a spot, but this really was a bad time to have one of her weakest performances.

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  36. J,

    I sincerely hope that you feel that my thoughts and comments just come from my passionate heart. I always welcome any and all other differing opinions. Sometimes, I have changed my mind after reading someone’s thoughts. I try to keep an open mind above all else.

    I can get intense about singing, but it’s always because of how much I love the human voice. I think you get where I am coming from. I can feel strongly about something, but always try to say so in a polite, respectful manner. I try hard not to get carried away!

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  37. Darlene said, ” . . . I am not going to have an easy time putting why I like Siobhan so much more into words.. . . There is something different, unique, interesting in that voice & in her as a performer.” I’m with you on this, Darlene. I think Crystal is very, very talented and I do enjoy listening to her, but I’ve gotta admit that Siobhan is the one I’m rooting for at this point. I absolutely love Siobhan’s voice. I am not a singer and have no musical knowledge–I only know what appeals to me, and Siobhan’s voice appeals to me more than any other on Idol this year. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think some of the others are talented too. Didi’s voice can be very appealing too. And I like the uniqueness of Lilly’s delivery, but I honestly don’t think that I would ever enjoy listening to an entire CD of Lilly’s music.

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  38. Starting off acappela was just pure genius! There is something different, unique, interesting in that voice & in her as a performer.

    I did not instantly become a fan of Carrie’s, and felt Fantasia and Jordin should not have won. Kelly stood out and deserved to win. However, I was impressed with Siobhan right from the beginning and chose her to win. The reason is simple. She seems like a star already.

    The variety and talent of the girls already makes this season seem better than last year. Using the Top 24 format and no Judges Save is an immediate improvement. However, the casting of the girls was brillant. (There are a few guys I really like, too.)

    Darlene, I think you’re going to find this season to be enjoyable! Just so you know, I was a fan of Anoop. That keeps me out of the debate regarding Kris/Adam/Danny. 🙂

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  39. Dearest Mindy,

    I love reading your comments because you always have something intelligent and thoughtful to say, and your open mind and passionate heart come across so clearly in your writing. You are always gracious, polite, and fair-minded in your critiques, and reading the ease in which you express yourself is very inspiring to me.

    The point that I was trying to make (which may have been unclear, now that I think about it!) is that I admire your ability to express your opinion so well. Any opinion, no matter how well-supported or well-founded, can be disagreed with, and what I was really trying to say was that my morbid fear of offending people tends to prevent me from expressing opinions, as I prefer to stick to expressing facts and “truth”—things that can be verified and widely accepted because they’re not “mere opinions.” And you really encourage me to express myself more freely because you exemplify how possible it is to be candid in expressing opinions, yet be completely agreeable because your perspective is so well-informed and well-intentioned.

    I think I have this great fear of being misunderstood or having my intentions misconstrued, but your posts remind me that as long as a person conveys valid reasons, has thoughtfully considered all sides, and avoids outright ignorance or purposeful unpleasantness, it IS possible to express an opinion and have people agree with and/or understand you!

    I really connect with your responses not only because I agree with you the vast majority of the time, but I understand your reasoning, regardless of whether or not I agree. The reasoning and thoughtfulness resonate with me. I like reading your responses because they make think, “Oh, I definitely can see why someone would see that performance this way!” or “I can see why someone more attuned to these certain characteristics wouldn’t enjoy this!” and so on.

    I hope that make sense! I think it’s fascinating how genetics and experience shape our aesthetic preferences, and the combination of the two really makes all of our musical tastes unique. And I think I’m learning that it’s okay not to “like” things, per se, but still see the merit in them.

    And I completely understand your intensity when it comes to singing! Hehe, everyone always tells me that I’m intense when I sing! And I share that love you have for the human voice as well; there are very few things that move me even half as much. 😉

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  40. My top 3 girls are Siobhan, Lilly and Crystal

    I’ve been moving them around rank-wise. At the moment Siobhan is my number 1. She’s a star and kinda gives me an Adam Lambert vibe.

    I started out having Lilly at the top, but she leaves me cold for some reason. Crystal’s talent is genuine and effortless and her delivery is disconnected from the audience but I think that’s the point – she doesn’t feel.

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  41. Oh, gosh, J, you’re right, that was Todrick singing “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. Sorry — my husband is obsessing lately about cleaning up our Tivo and so I had deleted last week’s shows, and it has been a hectic week, so I got confused about who did what. Whatever Andrew did last week, I liked it better than everyone else, and I’ve been a Todrick fan from the beginning.

    I need to get to the top 12, I have a better chance of keeping track then! 🙂

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  42. Dearest J,

    I came back here to see if there were any additional comments. I actually had forgotten that post in which I hoped you knew where I was coming from when I saw what I think.

    I know that you could never have any mean intent in what you say, so I kind of got it, but just wanted to be sure. I get so caught up with the singing that MY worry is that I will come across as too opinionated or too strong. That’s my worry, as you have yours.

    Your kind and generous words have put those doubts to rest. I am thankful that you totally understand where I am coming from when I give my reactions to the performances. I worry that people will think I am giving myself airs when I speak about my pitch perfect ear. It’s not that I think I know more than anyone else. In fact, at times I have felt the need to publicly defer to both you and MCL when I am out of my depth on the technical vocal issues.

    What you give me is a sense as to WHY I hear what I do. I can’t always figure it out on my own. Both you and MCL clarify and illuminate what is going on with the vocal technique that produces certain sounds that I like or dislike. I appreciate the fact that you always fing the time to answer my questions and do so in an insightful, detailed manner.

    I just wanted to thank you for understanding me so well.

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  43. J . . . your comments about Mindy’s posts were terrific. I always enjoy reading them. Jeanne is another one who makes very insightful comments. And you, J, teach us a lot about music. But I enjoy reading all of the comments from my “friends” on this site who like me are just simply music fans.

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  44. That’s me! I mean simply a music fan, and a friend. Hehehe… I am still in a state of shock about Lilly, but some sensed she may not have connected with the audience. I think some of her fans took it for granted that she would be voted in to the TOP 12.

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