Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Top 12 Female Vocalists

Song Spoilers from JoesPlaceBlog and Rickey.org. Thank you MCL reader, Mindy, for this submission.

1. Clint Jun Gamboa – Superstition by Stevie Wonder
2. Jovany Barreto – I’ll Be by Edwin McCain –
3. Jordan Dorsey – OMG by Usher
4. Tim Halperin – Streetcorner Symphony (Come On Over) (Rob Thomas)
5. Brett Loewenstern – Light My Fire – Doors
6. James Durbin – You Got Another Thing Comin’ by Judas Priest
7. Robbie Rosen – Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan
8. Scott McCreery – Letters From Home – John Michael Montgomery
9. Stefano Langone – Just The Way You Are – (Bruno Mars)
10. Paul McDonald – Maggie Mae by Rod Stewart
11. Jacob Lusk – House is Not a Home
12. Casey Abrams – I Put a Spell On You

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

15 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Top 12 Female Vocalists”

  1. Thank you! I appreciate your hard work!


  2. Masterclasslady,

    I thank you! I wasn’t sure where to post the song choices for the guys. I am glad that you saw it on the previous blog topic and created a new one.

    It was my pleasure to put them up. If I do see any spoilers, maybe I should just alert you so that you can create a new blog! Whatever works best for you, always!


  3. Thank you Mindy! I would appreciate that and I will credit you. You can reach me at: masterclasslady@hotmail.com or


  4. Wasn’t “Just The Way You Are” one of the songs during Hollywood week too? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to sing something that hasn’t been done before? I guess now that America is voting, it really doesn’t matter…

    Thanks for the list Mindy! I’m looking forward to some of the songs. I love “Letters From Home!” I hope Scotty will do it justice! 🙂 I’m sure he will…..


  5. MCL,

    Thanks for your reply. I will be sure to contact you if I happen to see any spoilers in the future!

    I am not sure what to think about some of the song choices, since I don’t really know these young men that well. I see some that could be tricky, but you never know until the actual performance.

    Stevie Wonder’s Superstition is a difficult song to sing. I remember when Siobhan did it last season with mixed results. Doing the Doors Light My Fire could also be either a big mistake or something new and great.

    I think Robbie’s choice was interesting with Arms of an Angel. I will have to see how he handles it.

    I am not familiar with some of the others, so I will have to check them out on youtube.


  6. I’m just listening to Judas Priest singing “You Got Another Thing Comin’ and am wincing. James really needs to choose a song that would demonstrate his ability to hold a note. This is just another excuse to wail, which is definitely he should NOT be doing at this stage in the game.

    Mindy, I saw your comments in the another thread about James’s performance of “A Change is Gonna Come.” I completely agree with your assessment. James has just got to stop all of the comparisons with Adam Lambert. He’s just not as accomplished as a singer and all he is doing now is antagonizing Adam’s fans. James needs to develop his own style and artistry.


  7. Sue,

    I have not had a chance to listen to some of the songs with which I am not familiar. The Judas Priest song is one of them and from your comments, I fear that we are in for another screamfest from James. The judges picked him to go through to the top 24, but if he doesn’t show America more than the high-pitched wailing, then I don’t know if he will get to the top 12.

    It’s like James feels that he has to go there over and over again. I don’t think anyone wants to hear those notes all the time. If you use this technique to excess, then the dramatic effect is almost destroyed. I think he completely lost the real essence of a great song. We have to hear the words and know the story, not just hear screaming.

    Now I guess I have to go listen to that song to have an idea of what I will be in for with his next performance.

    Brett needs to be careful with Light My Fire. He is one who I cannot remember at the moment, but this is an iconic song, especially for baby boomers like myself. Jim Morrison of the Doors really put his signature on that song, so it remains to be seen if Brett will change it up to make it new. It’s a risk.

    I want to check out the song Tim is going to sing, since he is one who I really like. After some listening, then maybe I will have more thoughts.


  8. Mindy,
    Welcome back Sis! Come give me a big hug.

    Brett, is the great big head of red hair with a small boy attached to it. I’m not looking forward to his rendition of “Light My Fire.” He has an odd inflection he uses as a signature sound that gets old fast. Maybe someone can describe it better than I have, but he’s not my cup of tea.

    There are a lot of bad song choices on that list.

    Clint can probably make a showing with “Superstition” but my impression of him so far is that he is more show than voice. He is very full of himself as well.

    Jovany’s song choice is boring.

    Jordan’s requires electronic trickery to stay true to the original, plus the lyrics are inappropriate for prime time, but so were the lyrics to the most popular song during group competition in Hollywood, “Forget You.” It’s also an Usher song, which for me is a yawn anyway.

    Tim’s song, again, boring. That’s a shame because I like Tim. We finally got to see him last week and his duet was one of the top two on the night in my view. This song could make him forgettable.

    Sue nailed James’ song choice. He has my sympathy but I don’t think James is ready for prime time. There actually could be a singer in James if he would settle down to his comfort level and sing in his natural voice and stop trying to be a rock star. The judges have failed him by continuing to encourage bad singing. I was encouraged for maybe 5 or 10 seconds of his Green Mile performance until it became apparent what he was singing and what a mess he was making of it. He has been a hot mess every time I have seen him sing and I have no reason to expect anything more this week. I’ll go for cup of coffee or maybe change a guitar string when he takes the stage.

    Robbie has a good but risky choice. It’s a beautiful song and I think he can pull it off but he runs the risk of having a Katelyn Epperly (The Scientist) moment if he isn’t careful.

    Scott’s choice should fit his voice and style very well. There is part of the song that may push the limits of his range, but they remove that portion of the song anyway. It should work well for him.

    I don’t have a feel for Stefano or his song choice.

    I’m glad that Paul McDonald is going to do Maggie Mae again. We were treated to about 10 seconds of it during his Nashville audition and he created quite a buzz with it. He has a nice, laid back take on this song that Is indicative of his style. It should be a smart choice for him. Paul is one of my favorites at this point and is also in the homeboy position for me.

    Jacob Lusk has a huge opportunity to sing a beautiful song that he is very capable of singing without over doing it and destroying the melody. My bet is that he will miss his opportunity and mess up another great pop standard. I hope I am wrong. Keep his Mom nearby; it could be cryin’ time again.

    Casey’s choice is the most interesting of the lot. Casey has tried to build and image of himself as a jazzman. Until his performance of “Why Don’t You do Right” on the Green Mile, it just wasn’t working for me. He looked like a hyper kid doing mediocre impressions of a jazz man for attention. If he wants to build on that image he will need a solid, serious Jazz woman’s help. He should stay away from the original Jay Hawkins version and the CCR version. These two seem almost comical to me. The Nina Simone style should work well for Casey. He could thump his upright if he wants to with this version. Joe Cocker had a nice rendition of it but I don’t think Casey has the chops for that however the Hammond organ in his version would be a nice alternative or addition to Casey’s bass. The key for Casey is to offer a serious performance.

    Mindy, I read your mention of the arrangements of the Beatle’s songs in Vegas with interest. The arrangements that make me cringe are the ones that have the jive, up tempo, Steve and Edye, Vegas lounge singer vibe. Unfortunately this isn’t a new phenomenon on AI. I noticed several songs last season with this arrangement style. My belief was that it originated with Billy Minor, although he seemed too cool for it. It has continued even in his absence and it seems to appear most often on songs performed by the younger singers or those who are less savvy musically. AS for covers of iconic songs from my misspent youth, I am generally open to them and let them rise or fall on their own merit. I used to hate covers years ago but the word had a different connotation then. It was more than likely either a bargain priced album from K-Tel records with hack artist covering all of your favorite tunes or artist that your parents liked performing a barely recognizable version of a Rolling Stones song on the Mitch Miller Family Hour. I think Neal Sedaka changed my point of view with his excellent cover of his own song, “Breaking up is Hard to do.” It was a hit both ways, but I much preferred the cover.

    Sorry for rambling.


  9. Gene,

    Hi, big brother! Here is a great big cyber hug for you! It’s great to be chatting with you again.

    I loved reading your thoughts on all the songs. You gave me a lot of food for thought. If Paul McDonald is the one with the soft, distinctive voice, then Maggie May should be a great choice and it will be wonderful to see how he puts his own unique stamp on the song. I am still trying to place Brett in my mind. I only remember the ones whose voices I really liked.

    I totally agree with your comments about covers. I have come to a place where I think it’s best to just take it for what it is and see if it works, and if you prefer the original artist’s version, then that’s fine. I also agree about Neil Sedaka’s great cover of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. I have the slow one downloaded and love it just as much as the original.

    I look forward to chatting some more with you about the performances.


  10. Brett, is the great big head of red hair with a small boy attached to it. (This is too funny)!!


    Did you watch the second night of the green mile? Brett was in the group with Jacee and Colton, the were the last group of the night, and all three of them went in together…Brett is the one they put through!!! Hope that helps!!! 🙂

    I am so excited that Paul is singing Maggie May…I don’t know the song that Scott is singing! But I’m not worried…I really think this kid could sing the phone book and I would think it was a hit!

    Gene W,

    Stefano’s song is a current, big hit! Bruno Mars is everywhere, Bruno has a Michael Jackson vibe!


  11. Vonnie,

    Oh, thank you so much! Now I know who he is! I wasn’t all that impressed with him, to be honest. I didn’t love his voice. Oh goodness, he is the one doing Light My Fire? Oh well, we will have to see. It’s a tough song to pull off. Jim Morrison had it down and then Jose Feliciano did a lovely cover of the song in his own latin style.

    Believe me, I listened to that country song Letters from Home and the guy who sang it had a voice very similar to Scott’s, a very deep baritone. I think Scotty should do extremely well with it.

    I don’t know where I have been, but I never heard Bruno Mars. However, I listened to the song on youtube. It’s catchy and very much today’s kind of music, but now I don’t remember Stefano’s voice! It’s not that challenging vocally, so if his voice is decent then he should be okay.


    When you said that CCR did I Put a Spell On You, I had to check it out on youtube. How could I not remember that song? Anyway, no CCR and no Screamin’ Jay Hawkins for sure! Yikes! I listened to Nina Simone’s version of it and that might work for him, since he is supposed to be a jazz guy. Also, Casey definitely does not have the voice for the Joe Cocker version. Everyone here knows how much I love Joe Cocker and had the privilege to see the man himself in concert while I was in college in about 1970 or 1971. Unforgettable! Joe Cocker’s version is too raw for Casey, too bluesy soul. I can only see Casey doing it like Nina.

    I am not sold on Casey at this point. He comes across as more of a musician to me at this point, but I am going to give him a fair chance.


  12. Mindy, Bruno Mars has been on the music award shows like the Grammys and Golden Globes. He does have a nice voice. Yes, Stevie Wonder’s Superstition is a difficult song to sing, but I did like Siobhan’s version.

    I hope Robbie can get a handle on his nerves. I love his song choice. It doesn’t matter what James sings at this point. If he’s not voted in, he’ll be a Wild Card. He does have a solid fan base. He may be able to pull it off. I do agree that casey is a good musician and the song is a good choice.

    Vonnie, I knew Paul would select a Rod Stewart song. He has that voice and should do well. I think Jacob will have many in tears. Idol needs this guy on the tour!

    Thank you, Gene for a very interesting post!

    Brett, Jordon, and Clint are not on my favorites list and I don’t know if they will make it. I am excited to see how they’ll do. I can’t wait to get MCL’s opinion on the performances!!


  13. Interesting having the song choices before hand, I’ve had a chance to look up the ones I don’t know on YouTube – I do have some early favourites, but this could change when I see a whole song instead of a snippet. I am looking forward towards tonight.

    I am no musical expert (far from it) but I’ll add my comments in.
    Casey – I never liked “I Put a Spell On You” but I am looking forward to see what twist he puts on it. While I don’t think Casey has the best voice (range/tone etc) I just love his timing/phrasing and musicality and can listen to him again and again.
    Scott – Just love his voice – he may not have the versatility but what he does is really good. And I loved this song choice.
    Tim – Crept into my choices with Las Vegas – hope he can repeat it. However I found the song on YouTube to be quite boring – so am a little worried.

    Of the others, the one that stuck out like a sore thumb was Jordan – OMG. Why Why Why? It’s not a singers song and it’s not a good song. While Jordan didn’t grab me, he has a nice voice. Is this his way of choosing to exit the competition?


  14. Barbara,

    I think you make a good point about Jordan. That could be a trainwreck. I don’t think Usher is a good choice for anyone. He pretty much has his own style and his dancing and performing is sometimes even more important than the singing itself.

    I think the counterpart with the ladies is Ta-tynisha’s choice of a Rihanna song. I listened to it on youtube and it’s another one of those heavily synthesized songs that sounds better on a recording than live.

    You may be right about Tim’s choice of the Rob Morrow song. I thought it was decent, but I still don’t have a good feel for Tim’s vocals. I don’t know how this will come across.

    From what you say, it appears that James has developed one of those early, strong fan bases that will get him through, no matter what. I think it’s time to break out the ear plugs, although I will try to give it one listen. I am just a bit scared after listening to Judas Priest do the song. I guess it’s the kind of thing that he feels is suited to him.

    I think Paul and Scotty made excellent song choices that should suit them very well.



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