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Presenting American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Finalists


American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Finalists

American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Finalists

I think it is pretty safe to say that we’ve got ourselves a ballgame ! 

 Judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have discovered some pretty unbelievable talent for this year’s American Idol season. 

Last week, the public voted through 10 remarkably gifted singers to the Top 10:  Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Haley Reinhart, Jacob Lusk, Karen Rodriguez, and Scotty McCreery. 

Following this, six wildcard singers were asked to perform on live television and, based on their performances were selected by the judges  to be included in the Top 13.  They are: Naima Adedapo, Ashthon Jones and Stefano Langone.   

Of the three, Stefano Langone demonstrated the most promise of moving far in the competition. His performance was vocally and expressively brilliant,  as close to perfection as anyone can achieve when put on the spot to perform on live television.  

He is an extremely musical and gifted young artist, the likes of which I haven’t seen since I heard David Archuleta perform during Season 7. 

Additionally, Pia Toscana is another one to watch. Her grace and musicality, when coupled with her strong vocal presence, is truly something special.  And, following closely behind are the undeniably talented James Durbin, Jacob Lusk and Thia Megia.  This is going to be a race to the finish and many talented hearts will be broken along the way. However, many stars will be born in the process and that is always an exciting experience to witness. 

Congratulations to the  Top 13. My Wednesdays and Thursdays just got brighter because of your sparkling talent.

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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

62 Responses to “Presenting American Idol Season 10 Top 13 Finalists”

  1. Jessica Turner March 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I can’t help lovin’ on Casey! I hope with a little vocal instruction he will fly me to the moon!

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  2. MCL,

    I noticed that you didn’t mention Casey Abrams or Paul McDonald. Did you just forget to add them, or did you leave them out for a reason? Just curious.

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  3. I do love them, Louise, but am still on the fence with these guys. However, of the two, I prefer Casey Abrams. Both are extremely, extremely musical but their technical skills, right now, are worrisome. I hope they both prove me wrong and make me eat crow because I love them to death. Let’s see what happens. Too early to tell and anything could happen. Anything!

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  4. It’s amazing that I came to read your comments after my sister and I discussed the show. She knows I’m a huge fan of David Archuleta and she really likes Stefano. She said Stefano reminds her of David and of course I argued no one even comes close to David’s talent. Then I read your comments where you mentioned both guys in the same article. I wasn’t particularly impressed with Stefano (or anyone else so far) but I will pay a lot more attention to him since you and my sister both like him. I love reading what you have to say. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with those of us who have no technical training but love music.

    Like

  5. Ubfortunately, a BIG mistake was made when Robbie was denied his RIGHTFUL place in the finals. For that reason, I will be doing other thingw on Weds and Thurs. nights.

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  6. I am looking forward to this a lot, there is so much variety especially amongst the boys – I hope it continues.

    I like the better atmosphere and I hope it continues, whilst the judges sharpen up their own acts to make specific constructive criticism and praise where needed (not straying into unsupported or personal comments).

    Not missing Simon at all. I also watch the Xfactor (UK) and disliked his obvious manipulation in the last season. He has changed over the years – at first his honesty was refreshing, then he move into a characterture of himself and then the manipulation became too heavy handed.

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  7. MCL,
    I have a feeling that Casey and Paul are probably better musicians than singers. I watched a video of Paul playing the guitar and, to my amateur ears, he seemed excellent. And Casey has shown us he has talent as a musician as well. But I guess we’ll need to wait and see what they are able to do with their voices. For now, I’m a fan of both.

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  8. Rosanne,

    Thank you for you article! Stefano truly is a wonderful artist. Thank also for you comments regarding David Archuleta. I am a huge fan of both David and Adam Lambert, especially David. I used to think though that Adam was a better singer. Do you feel it’s the other way around?

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  9. Anita – Adam is truly in a class of his own. However, Stefano and David are more similar in style and technique. One reminds me of the other yet both are distinct artists. Authentic, extremely musical and technically strong.

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  10. SurelyBSerious March 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Speaking of Simon, when I first thought about it after he left (did he put me under a spell or what?) He is a bully. I firmly believe that he is not on AI because of complaints to the producers from the parents that Simon is making bullying okay.

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  11. SurelyBSerious March 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

    James, hi. Robbie will be back, he is only a junior in high school, hopefully he will be back and prolly just as well because of all the competion this year!

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  12. I love your description of Pia! 😀 I feel that you really captured her spirit and vibe—graceful, she is, and also classy, humble, and sweet. She’s very refreshing, and I’m so thankful that she’s showing herself to be as capable of a vocalist as I hoped she could be (perhaps, even more!). I’m not a fan of hyperbole, but Pia is really the female contestant I’ve been waiting for since season 6 ended.

    I really like this top 13. There are a lot of talented contestants to root for and fall back on. 😉

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  13. J

    I’m a fan of Pia too, and I think she may have benefited by not getting the hype and overexposure that the younger contestants have (Lauren A and Thia in particular). I’m guessing that many viewers are just discovering Pia for the first time and will be blown away by her talent.

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  14. Masterclasslady can you explain what you mean by Adam is in a class of his own? You really didn’t answer the question. Unless you meant that Adam is a better singer than David Archuleta. If that is what you meant then say it.

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  15. I find it interesting that you didn’t mention Karen Rodriguez. I’ve thought since the first time I heard her at the auditions that she had one of the best female tones I’ve ever heard on the show. Her pitch is always solid too. I think what she still is missing is the “wow” factor – at this point in the competition that can be good, so she’ll fly under the radar; but if she can amp that up I really think she can go all the way.

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  16. Wow! Hi, to all fo the new posters! 🙂

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  17. Wow! I type dyslexic…should have read “Wow! Hi to all OF the new posters!”

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  18. I couldn’t agree more that hearing Stefano Langone struck a chord with me the way that David Archuleta did on season 7. They both sing from the heart with clarity that is unbelievable. I’ll be rooting for Stefano all the way, just as I did with David A, although I really don’t think any singer will affect me the way David did.

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  19. Random thoughts:

    You know, MCL, I was excited to see the Top 24 because what I saw of Stefano at the end of auditions made me prick up my ears, and I wanted to hear him do a full song. I was disappointed in the pre-show predictions which readily dismissed him as possible Top 12 material, but then slayed by his performance, which had as seamless and pure a falsetto as I’ve heard since Adam Lambert, and plenty of passion to support it. I’m still uncertain of his long-term chances, but I’m glad to know my ears were not deceiving me and that you agree that he could be one of those dark horses who grow throughout the competition, a la Elliot Yamin and Kris Allen. AI viewers love to see noticeable growth in their contestants.

    I, too, am ambivalent about Casey and Paul. I like them, but am afraid they may be shining brighter now than they will later. Casey is as lovable as Taylor Hicks, but I think he’ll have to prove himself more versatile than he may choose to be as an artist to make it through this crowd. And while Paul’s quirkiness is interesting now, it may wear thin. Blake Lewis made it to the final two, but that was, for me, a largely lackluster season, Melinda Doolittle aside.

    I was very struck by Karen Rodriguez mid-auditions, but have gone lukewarm on her since then. While not having the wow factor may have initially helped some people through the initial rounds in previous years, I suspect (I haven’t gone back to do the math) that they were years in which there were several singers who clearly were out of their league and easily voted off early. No need to mess with a good voice who is just boring when you’ve got people making blatant mistakes. But this year is strong enough that I don’t think she can take that risk. Look at Kendra and Jovany for what happens when you have the voice but don’t bring the wow factor when you need it. Of course, the Latino voting block will probably protect her initially, but even voting blocks tend to falter when superior performances show themselves. Unless you’re a really cute guy the tweeners love.

    The one thing that puzzles me is how Randy, of all people, hasn’t called Ashthon on singing the big songs but not having the voice to do it, which has been his mantra in past years. When she sang “And I Am Telling You” at auditions (I didn’t see the results show), I thought, “As well sung as her voice can do, but NOT the song for her voice.” (I think you nailed her problem, J.) Now, anyone who’s read my posts before knows that I am not remotely a conspiracy theorist, so I don’t believe that AI is using peculiar and devious motives in its wildcard picks. BUT it has occurred to me that if I’m the producer and I’ve decided to keep three picks to myself, who am I going to pass on to the finals? The 11th, 12th, and 13th vote-getters – no matter how much I may personally think they stink. I want the most popular singers, because I want people tuning in. Period.

    It’s still the strongest group of finalists ever, so I’m not losing any sleep over Ashthon, who I think will be departing soon enough.

    Mindy, I read two posts elsewhere from people claiming Thia had pitch problems, and I thought “Where?” Now, I may not trust my own ears on this point, but I trust yours, so I’m glad to hear I wasn’t crazy.

    And just to weigh in on “Summertime”; I know it’s not written as an uptempo song, and I loved Fantasia’s performance, but let’s also remember that it’s a lullaby and not necessarily meant to have every bit of angst wrung out of it, either. I’ve heard it done in Naima’s jazzy version before, and while I understand it as a performance out of context, I’ve always thought it an interesting and refreshing take on it as a piece of music. I still prefer the original, but if I disregard the fact that it is “Summertime” and just listen to the arrangement and how it showcases her voice, I liked the performance and thought it rated a Top Ten vote.

    As for Adam versus David – does it really matter? Two such magnificent voices – I’m just grateful to AI that I’ve gotten to hear both.

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  20. Well, Hello there Jeanne…glad to have you back!!!!!!!! 🙂

    Now! Where’s skid, galen, and scott???

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  21. Hi everyone. I am in a Barnes and Noble store in Florida and in the arms of a wireless hot zone.

    Welcome to the new readers. Enjoy reading all your comments. Keep them coming. I will try to add more feedback tonight or tomorrow. 🙂

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  22. Thanks, Vonnie! I tried to make it through the summer to keep you company, but just got too busy. I’m too busy now, to be honest, but I found I missed you and J and Mindy and everyone else and so wanted to at least check in!

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  23. I have to agree with J that Pia is the class of the field. She has a beautiful tone in her lower register and seems to be a very nice young woman. I’m also encouraged by her song choice on ladies top 12 night. There is a video of her cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” on You Tube. Taking on songs by gritty artist like Chrissie Hynde and Amy Winehouse, and being able to make their songs her own, shows a lot depth and suggest more interesting performances from her this season.

    I will miss Kendra and Lauren Turner, the smoke and fire of this season’s ladies. I see no substitute for either of them in the lineup. Kendra is a working professional singer and is easy to find on the web, if you like her. I haven’t found much about Lauren posted.

    Naima is still fascinating to me. For someone with no training and no experience performing, at least as far as I have discovered, I think she shows tremendous potential. She has a very nice tone, a big powerful voice, a lot of heart with the ability to connect to a song. She also is familiar with good material. If she was responsible for the arrangement of “Summertime” I will have to call that a miss for her, but both times that she sang “For all we Know,” in the unaccompanied audition and the second version, with the band, were very nice. Her version was “her own” and not like Donny Hathaway’s. She was strong in Vegas as well. I would like to hear her sing “A Song for You.” With a little polish from the vocal coaches, and no more lounge singer arrangements, she may have the makings of a super star.

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  24. I am really happy that Idol is once again an entertaining show from opening to closing credit. Considering that the singing performances only represent about a quarter of the show (commercial time is probably more than that) Nigel had a lot on his plate and I think he did pretty well. Sure there will always be a little head scratching over some of the things that happen but that’s always been a part of Idol. In spite of what’s been going on with ratings over the past several years, voting numbers have always gone up year to year…until last year when they fell far behind season 7. That had to have been a concern for TPTB. From what I see so far, I suspect they have solved that problem.

    I too loved Stefano’s “sing for your life performance”. He really turned it around. I also thought of Archie while he was singing. It was one of those things that, sitting in your own living room watching the show, you’re sure you were the only one who made that connection. Guess not!

    During the Wild Card sing-off, I wonder if the judges were looking not just at the singing but at whether those chosen had shaken off the big stage nerves and jitters and were able to come back with a strength and confidence beyond their original performance? Don’t know the answer to that…just wondering.

    Overall though, I agree with others here that we have a very strong top 13. I’m really looking forward to what comes next.

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  25. Rosanne,

    You will have to watch David Archuleta’s new vlog, up today. He talks about American Idol Season 10 and the only performance he talks about was Stephano’s!! I thought that was really something!

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  26. Jeanne,

    I missed chatting with you too! Glad to have you back in the blend of things!!! Have you gotten to watch the beginnings of this season? If so, I’m anxious to hear your favorites!

    All this talk of Pia is going to make me have to watch and listen closer to her! I’m not usually to hip on the girls, but, I do like Thia and I think Pia and Thia are close in singing abilities, eh! I love that their names rhyme! LOl

    I have come to the conclusion this year that while I do have a few ponies in this idol race; I am going to be watching the whole field, this group intrigues me enough, that even if my favorite doesn’t win, I’ll be okay! I’m sure that my #1 will be singing long after idol is over this year! Much like Adam!

    Gene W,

    I hear ya on Kendra and Lauren T…what a shame they were not in the top 13! I would have liked to have seen how it would have played out if TPTB would have chosen the top 12 based on votes alone, no wild card pick! I say that, but there were two in the top 24 that I would not have been thrilled if they had made top 12, so let’s say if it would have been Kendra and Lauren that had been voted in , then yeah, I woulda’ been happy! Okay enough blabbering, I’m done!

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  27. Really Anita? Now that is karma for sure. Is the vlog on his website?

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  28. Oh, Vonnie, don’t apologize! Your “blabbering” is one of the most charming things about you! You are one of the most genuine and guileless people I know, and it sometimes puts me to shame. Your heart just pours out love, and I love that about you.

    I don’t know that I have a favorite — there are so many good choices that no one sticks out in particular for me at this point. My favorites tend to be incredibly naturally talented vocally as well as with a tonal quality I love (rich, round sound), serious performance chops, and versatility. In other words, I want the whole package, and I can’t really tell who’s got that until a few weeks have passed. To give you an idea of who’s caught my attention in the past: Clay Aiken and Kimberley Locke (I missed Season 1), Fantasia, Carrie Underwood (despite her lack of performance skills at the time — that voice!) and Bo Bice, Elliot Yamin and, to a lesser extent, Chris Daughtry (I got a little tired of the grim reaper look, but the voice was wonderful), Melinda Doolittle, David Cook and, to a lesser extent, David Archuleta (points off for keeping his eyes closed at the time), and Adam Lambert. Last year I was on Crystal’s bandwagon as much as anyone, but no one really turned me on.

    Years ago I saw a tv special with John and Bonnie Raitt (have I talked about this before?), where they each sang the other’s type of music, and I was struck by what a beautiful and clear instrument Bonnie has when singing musical comedy, despite her professional choice to go gritty and raspy. I admire singers who have such control over their voices that they can do just about anything, despite their artistic choice to do one thing in particular. Kind of like I feel everyone ought to be able to do a ballad, a quiet song, an upbeat tempo, and just a plain fun song, in whatever their preferred genre is. We’ve seen one-trick ponies before, including some frontrunners who just couldn’t hold their position. So ask me in a few weeks. Right now, I can conceive of scenarios wherein nine different people could walk home with the grand prize!

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  29. Jeanne,

    How wonderful to see you here! I am also one who was away for quite a while and missed so many people I have come to like very much.

    I am not an expert when it comes to vocal technique. That belongs to MCL and J. However, I do trust my ear and know perfect pitch when I hear it. Thia’s pitch is absolutely spot on, so I don’t know where you heard this, but that is simply not accurate. Sometimes when people say a contestant is off pitch, it may mean that they simply do not like the sound of their voice. When Thia started off acappella, I thought it was thrilling. That’s like doing a high wire act. There is no place to hide! The tone in her voice is gorgeous, but that pitch was impeccable! Very brave choice for her to start off that way. What I loved about her performance was the simplicity of it. No little quirks, no mannerisms, no extra runs or drama, just good old singing from the heart.

    I do not meant any disrespect to some of the others. It’s just that there are times when less is more. I think in her case it worked brilliantly. She showed so much composure for a young girl. I was quite proud of her.

    I share your ambivalence about Paul and Casey. I will give them a fair shot at winning me over, though. I also was surprised that Randy would have approved of Ashthon’s version of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going. J helped me a lot by explaining what I was hearing that bothered me about her voice. That tension in her throat constricts the vocals and doesn’t give her the richness and power she needs to pull off this song. I think they like her attitude and performance skills. I am lukewarm about her.

    I can see your point about Summertime. I don’t know if it was Naima’s interpretation of it or just that I felt it wasn’t a good song choice to highlight the distinctive aspects of her voice. I think she was outstanding with the Donny Hathaway song For All We Know, when she sang for a wild card spot. It brought out the best in her and all the emotion just came out at the end after she hit the last note and broke down. I was so moved. She is offbeat and different, but I would love to see how she does in this talented group.

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  30. Rosanne,

    I found David’s vlog on a fan site called “David Archuleta Fan Scene”, which I am a frequent visitor of. It’s an incredible fan site!!

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  31. Gene,

    I share your disappointment about Kendra and Lauren Turner. I knew it could be tough with four girls singing the same genre of music, but I crossed my fingers and hoped that at least one of them would get through. At least Kendra had a chance to sing for a wild card spot. Lauren didn’t even get the chance. I thought these two brought something unique and different to the bluesy, soul, r&b style of singing. I will miss them.

    I also am fasincated by Naima. She really is like an exotic flower. I love her jazzy take on songs and the way she owns the stage and seems to have such charisma and presence, is mesmerizing. I love watching her.

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  32. Mindy, I am completely on board with you about Thia. I am intrigued to see what more will come out of her. And don’t worry, I immediately dismissed the “pitchy” remarks once I heard your opinion! I know I can trust you to let those of us without your excellent ear know when someone is on and when they aren’t, and I value that skill deeply, even if I occasionally am willing to overlook it in favor of a tone or performance style I prefer. However, I think more often than not, you and I appreciate the same things in our singers.

    The judges spoke positively about Ashthon from Day One, so apparently they heard something that you and I seem to be missing, but then, isn’t that what makes the world go around? While I’m not expecting to be wowed by her, I’m going to keep an open mind. I have to say that James Durbin turned in a performance I was prepared to dislike, but man!, that guy owns the stage!

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  33. Always love hearing from you MCL You are wonderful. Thanks also for mentioning our guy the one and ONLY David Archuleta!! So looking forward to the future to see what David comes up with musically on his own. Glad he is getting a break and truly enjoying this season of American Idol as well. Apprently from his vlog today he agrees about Stefano being really good. 😉 Take care.

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  34. Thanks Janey. I saw it and went YAHOO! GO David! Not only does he sing with quality, he knows how to pick ’em as well!!

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  35. At the beginning of each Idol season, I like to play what I call the Idol “Suprise Me” game. I like to ask myself “What voting results would SURPRISE me.”

    Here is how I see the season going. Anything other than these results would surprise me. (These results are not my own preference, just a prediction).

    The first 4 girls to leave will be: Ashthon, Naima, Haley, Karen (The order they leave in is unpredictable and not really important.)

    The next two girls to leave will be: Thia, Pia (The order they leave in is unpredictable and not really important.)

    The last girl standing will be: Lauren

    The first boy to leave will be: Stefano (I say this because he already came last in the voting among the remaining 6 boys, and logically could be expected to come in last again. If he continues to perform as he did in the Wild Card show, all bets are off.)

    The remaining 5 boys all have great voices and/or lots of fans and their elimination order will be very unpredicatable. However I think the next two boys to leave will be: Jacob, James

    The last boys standing will be: Paul, Scotty, Casey

    I can’t make any prediction about which of these 3 boys will go first.

    I predict the winner and next American Idol will be: Lauren

    If the season goes exactly as I predict, it will be kind of boring for me. I like to be surprised by the results, so I am hoping that what I predict will NOT happen.

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  36. MCL, may i quote you on AFS? (haha, i know you’ll say yes, thx!)

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  37. Rosanne,

    I hope that you will visit David Archuleta Fan Scene frequently. It’s updated with new stories a few times every day!!! I’m really hoping that their staff appreciated me saying what an incredible fan site it is!

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  38. Yes, Janey, but of course! Always!! For David!!

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  39. MCL

    In the words of the mighty Borg: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

    You are just not going to be able to stay away from this site for the next three shows! I can see you now hunting down every Wi-Fi hotspot in the Sunshine State you can. LOL!

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  40. Sue – indeed I caved! Will be watching the show tomorrow night but still don’t know how I will be able to submit a VM article on schedule. Will try, but not promising! Having too much fun in the sun! 🙂 But my fingers are itching to evaluate. Darn Type A personality.

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  41. Popping in, I hear you all are talking about David Archuleta here again 😉

    Thanks for your comment Anita!

    Just wanted to thank MCL for all her hard work and dedication to ongoing AI evaluations. We know how much time this takes and is much appreciated.

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  42. Thank you so much AFD! I love what I do and all of you make me love it even more! Thank you for your support over the years. :):)

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  43. MCL,

    I hope you will forgive me for this, but I am not sure if you have access to your e-mail. The song spoilers are up on MJs blog, so I wanted to post them so that everyone can have a chance to think about the choices.

    Here goes!

    1. Lauren Alaina – Any Man of Mine by Shania Twain
    2. Casey Abrams – With A Little Help From My Friends by the Beatles
    3. Ashthon Jones – When You Tell Me That You Love Me by Diana Ross
    4. Paul McDonald – Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams
    5. Pia Toscano – All By Myself by Celine Dion
    6. James Durbin – Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney
    7. Haley Reinhart – Blue by LeAnn Rimes
    8. Jacob Lusk – I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly
    9. Thia Megia – Smile by Michael Jackson (his version)
    10. Stefano Langone – Lately by Stevie Wonder
    11. Karen Rodriguez – I Could Fall In Love by Selena
    12. Scott McCreery – The River by Garth Brooks
    13. Naima Adedapo – Umbrella by Rihanna

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  44. Initial thoughts:

    — This show sounds heavy on the ballads. I think Lauren made the right decision by picking two upbeat country songs in a row. They keep her young, fresh, and age-appropriate. For the most part, the contestants did a good job picking songs well-suited to their voices, but I wish the song selections showed more variation in tempo.
    — I heard Casey might be doing the Joe Cocker version of his song.
    — My guess is that Jacob might take the Yolanda Adams route with his song. (Her version is incredible!)
    — I actually think Pia could pull this off (I haven’t seen a female vocalist who made me think that in a long time!), but I just worry that this song choice is too old-fashioned. As Gene W mentioned, Pia’s more interesting when she picks edgier artists to cover, and since she already sang a ballad last week, I’d like to see her speed up the tempo a bit. That said, I hope she does awesome and shows me that my worrying is for naught! I just want her to be memorable.
    — Thia’s song seems well-suited to her vocal style (I see her voice wrapping around this melodic line very well), but the judges might have a problem if they don’t believe she’s being “young” enough. Contestants Thia’s age always run into this critique.

    I think the biggest problem contestants are going to have this week is being memorable. All these ballads might just run into each other. The worst situation to find oneself in is the middle of the pack. The eliminated contestant may not be the worst singer, simply the most forgettable one.

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  45. Dearest J,

    I am listening to Yolanda Adams’ version of I Believe I Can Fly on youtube and it’s giving me goosebumps! Unbelievable! This is one of those songs that has been done a lot and can seem hokey and saccharin if one isn’t careful. Jacob has the voice for this, no question about it, but I hope he again will resist the temptation to get too dramatic and oversing because the song doesn’t need it. Yolanda is giving the power and emotion with her voice and that’s how it should be done.

    You made a perceptive comment about the choices being heavy on the ballads. I see some very risky choices here. Thia is taking a big chance with Smile, which is such a classic pop song and has been sung by some of the greatest singers that ever lived. I also thought about the judges criticizing her choice as “old”. They do that with the young ones. She certainly has the voice to pull off the song, but this is going to be tricky.

    Needless to say, I am very nervous for Pia with that Celine Dion song. I was praying that no one would go for Mariah, Whitney or Celine. No one is going to top Celine’s version. Pia certainly has the voice to pull it off, but I fear that the judges will compare her to Celine and that’s not a good thing. Why set yourself up for that? Her voice is good enough to shine on its own without trying to compete with Celine.

    I think Casey could have a great time with that Beatles song, but he kind of did the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/Joe Cocker combination version of I Put a Spell On You last week. He certainly brings the entertainment value, but are the vocals good enough?

    I had to listen to that song that Paul chose, because I was not familiar with it. Hearing it on youtube, it seems well suited for his vocal style. Scotty has stayed in his zone with this song choice and is playing to his country strengths. I think Lauren could have found a better country song that this Shania song that got Siobhan sent home last season. She has tons of personality and sass and confidence, so she could do very well with it.

    I also had to listen to Lately, the Stevie Wonder song that Stefano chose. I always worry with Stevie, because he pretty much owns his songs and they are difficult to sing. However, this song isn’t as well known and it is quite lovely. Stefano just might do himself proud with this one.

    James surprised me with Maybe I’m Amazed. Well, maybe he will amaze me! We will see. I think Haley will put a bluesy, soul, r&b spin on Blue. I don’t see her doing it as straight country. I think Naima will do the same with Umbrella, maybe giving it a jazzy rendition.

    Ashthon could be in trouble with that Diana Ross song. She may like being compared to this diva, but singing one of her songs may not be a good thing. Diana Ross had a unique sound but not the best pure vocals. Listening to this on youtube, I think it’s really going to be tough for Ashthon to pull off. It sounds too old for her and it’s not an easy song to sing.

    It should be very interesting watching this week!

    Like

  46. Oh, I just had to come back here one more time. I am listening to Michael Jackson’s version of Smile and it has brought me to tears. There is a montage of his life and career and this is a truly extraordinary version of a great pop classic. Thia is doing his version and, I must say that this young lady has her work cut out for her.

    You know, sometimes I forget what a great voice Michael Jackson had. This has touched me very deeply. Just wanted to share that.

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  47. AAAAHHH MIndy. Thank you for this. It’s been so difficult without a wireless connection but I hope to be the ownedr of a 3G/wireless IPad 2 on Friday and all will be fine and well with the universe. These are great, great songs by the way.

    Like

  48. No sense jumping to conclusions until we’ve heard everyone perform their songs. It is heavy on the ballads but, ballads really give you a strong glimpse into the strengths and weaknesses of each singer. Hard to run and hide. I am tired of “All By Myself”, so I hope Pia brings something new to the table with this song.

    Like

  49. I’ve never liked All By Myself, from the moment Eric Carmen first sang it, but if Pia has to make a bad song choice, this is the week to do it. I will say that it sure showed off Dion’s voice, perhaps it will do the same for Pia.

    Most of the song choices are logical. I am somehow surprised that Lauren sees herself as a country singer, because I don’t remember that from her audition, but okay. Allows her to show off her personality, which is probably a good strategy at this point. But Haley choosing a country song, especially one as tricky as Blue, really surprises me. Not a game she can win at against Lauren, I don’t think.

    Didn’t someone else do “Smile” years ago, and didn’t it fail miserably?

    Two songs I want to hear: “Maybe I’m Amazed” — the mere fact that James has chosen this song tells me that he’s got the versatility and savvy needed to win this thing. If he pulls it off, all bets are off. And “Lately”, which may possibly be my favorite Stevie Wonder song, is absolutely perfect for Stefano’s pure high tenor. Can’t wait.

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  50. Mindy,

    Thanks for the list! Is this also the singing order?

    1. Lauren Alaina – Any Man of Mine ~ She should do pretty good with this choice!

    2. Casey Abrams – With A Little Help From My Friends ~ I can see him really making this a jazzy rendition!

    3. Ashthon Jones – When You Tell Me That You Love Me ~ She’s really gonna play up the DIVA role isn’t she? Could be really bad or really good…I am still un-decided about Ashton!

    4. Paul McDonald – Come Pick Me Up ~ I don’t know this song, so hopefully I will love it!

    5. Pia Toscano – All By Myself ~ Celine done by anyone is risky, but, I think Pia can pull this off! I’m looking forward to loving this!

    6. James Durbin – Maybe I’m Amazed ~ Interesting choice, I’m really anxious to hear this, I really like this song!

    7. Haley Reinhart – Blue ~ Wow! I remember when LeAnn came out with this song and took the world by storm; Haley, I think can pull this off if she just stands and sings the song, no flirty stage antics! She has that Stevie Nicks kind of feel to me, so I hope she brings it on this song…I like Haley!

    8. Jacob Lusk – I Believe I Can Fly ~ I can see Jacob doing very well with this song, he has that emotional connection to songs that make you believe that he believes he can fly!

    9. Thia Megia – Smile ~ This is a beautiful song, being done by a truly beautiful voice! Hopefully Randy doesn’t compare her to hard on the fact that it is a Michael Jackson song; after all he did compare her to him initially.

    10. Stefano Langone – Lately ~ Not familiar with this Stevie song, again it could be great or not! If Stefano sings like he did last week, he will do fine!

    11. Karen Rodriguez – I Could Fall In Love ~ I like this song, so, if she changes it up a bit and does not make it feel karaoke, she should do very well with this, “Her Lane”!

    12. Scott McCreery – The River ~ At’s my boy! This kid could stay in his lane all the way to the finish line! I’m looking forward to this song more than any of the others! I’m a fan!

    13. Naima Adedapo – Umbrella ~ Another interesting choice; I must admit that Naima was not one of my favorites, so I really have not been paying much attention to her, but if she can pull this song off, I will totally be paying attention to her. Rihanna, has such a distinct voice, that makes it hard for someone to sing her songs and make them sound good; just my opinion!

    Great line-up; I am really looking forward to tonight! If everyone is on their game tonight, America is going to have a battle for the voting lines!

    Like

  51. MCL,

    I was worried that you might not appreciate me putting up the song choices, however I did e-mail you and then remembered that you might not be able to access your e-mail. Needless to say, I am relieved that it’s all good with you!

    Jeanne,

    Someone did do Smile and failed miserably. I must have blocked it out because I can’t remember who it was, but I think it happened last season. This is just one of those truly great songs that has become kind of a legend in its own right. This is one of a few songs that I can’t hear without tearing up. It has a great deal of personal meaning for me. Michael Jackson’s version is so beautiful that it can break your heart. Thia has such a great voice, but I fear this is going to be tough to pull off.

    I don’t know why Haley chose Blue, but I cannot see her singing it country. She’s not going to top Leann Rimes. It’s an odd choice, but maybe she will do it her own way. If she gets too focused on her mannerisms, then this may not be good.

    Pia definitely has the voice to pull of the Celine Dion song. She is the closest I have to a real favorite at this point, but I always get nervous when anyone does Mariah, Whitney or Celine.

    I think Casey may just be a young genius with his song choice. The more I think about this, the more I think it could be a memorable performance.

    I am also feeling better and better about Stefano’s choice of Lately. Since it isn’t a well know Stevie Wonder song and it is simply gorgeous, he could really shine.

    Ashthon is going to have a lot of trouble with that Diana Ross song. I listened to it on youtube a few times and it is not an easy song to sing. I would not have chosen this for her at all.

    Vonnie,

    To answer your question, I am not sure if this is the order in which they will perform. MJ had someone who was in the audience for the taping and that’s how she got the song spoilers so early. Also, this person gave his own recap of the taped show on her site. He did reveal the judges comments about each of the performers along with his own opinions. As a cautionary note – if you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t go to MJ’s site. I don’t remember her having someone actually reveal so much about the show, but this is the risk when you have taped performances in advance.

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  52. Sorry, but there are a few typos in my last post. I think everyone can figure out what I was trying to say.

    I also think that I remember who sang Smile with such disastrous results. It was the last performance in the semifinals and they were singing to get into the top 10. It was an African American girl, but for the life of me I cannot remember her name. She was off key throughout the whole song and it was a total disaster. I also think that somehow she got into the top ten, but was voted out very quickly.

    I know that Thia has the capability to do much better with this song, but it’s still a big risk.

    A few more thoughts. I think Jacob will pull off I Believe I Can Fly. In lesser hands it would come off as cliched and hokey, but I think he has the voice and pure emotion to do it right. If he can sing it the way Yolanda Adams did, then it could be another great moment for him.

    I don’t like Lauren going with Any Man of Mine. It’s not a great song to begin with, won’t do much to show off her voice. It’s more of a performance song. She has charisma to spare, so maybe it will work. There were so many songs that might have worked better for her.

    James Durbin already has my attention with that song choice. I will be watching and listening.

    Like

  53. Mindy,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the spoilers from Mj’s for tonight…I will wait for the show to hear what the judges comments are! Thank you for all your work in bringing us the song spoilers, it is nice to know in advance what they will be singing.

    I don’t get on Mj’s sight very often, once in awhile I will go read up on Adam and some of the other idols, but I don’t blog there;

    MCL’s is my one stop shopping!!! 🙂

    Like

  54. Vonnie,

    I actually don’t usually go there, except when Idol is on. I am not a regular. This is my site of choice, if you will!

    The only reason I really check on the site is for the song spoilers. That gives us a chance to think it over and chat about it before the performances. I was very surprised to see someone giving a recap about the taped show this time. I just wanted to warn anyone who might go over there, because many may choose to wait and watch for themselves.

    Once I saw that there was a recap, I didn’t even bother to read it. I just left immediately. Not that knowing the judges comments in advance would influence me, but I just prefer to look at the performances for the first time with an open mind. I don’t mind song spoilers, but I am not thrilled with a full recap complete with judges comments.

    I call this site my home base when it comes to Idol!

    Like

  55. Jessica Turner March 9, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    A couple of questions:

    Is “The River” Bruce Springsteen’s?
    Is “All By Myself” the cheezie pop song from the 70s/80s?
    Is there a theme?

    A couple of comments:
    James D. I think can do something great with “Maybe I’m Amazed.”
    I’m always interested in what Casey will do. He’ll toss it up, no matter what. I don’t love Joe Cocker’s rendition of anything so I’m hoping that Casey make it “completely his own.”

    Like

  56. Jessica Turner,

    (1) “The River” is by Garth Brooks.
    (2) Yes. The original version is Eric Carmen’s from 1975, but Pia is doing the Celine Dion version, which came out in 1996.
    (3) The theme is each contestant’s “personal idol.” The themes this year are meant to be more flexible.

    Hope that helps! 😉

    Like

  57. Oh, my! I have so many comments that I began responding to but haven’t finished; forgive me if I’ve left any of you with loose ends. Know that I’ve read all of your comments and found many of them very insightful and thought-provoking. 😀

    Dearest Mindy,

    Thanks for these spoilers! I am very excited for tonight’s show, and I love the preview.

    I’m glad you enjoyed Yolanda Adams’ version! I simply love her voice. She has remarkable restraint for a gospel singer, and her vocal control is stunning. I don’t know if you heard her sing at this year’s Grammy’s for the Arethra tribute, but her solo was my favorite! No hint of strain whatsoever. I hope my vocal cords are in as good condition as hers when I reach her age; she’s unstoppable!

    “I Believe I Can Fly” definitely can seem hokey and saccharine; it’s one of those song choices that makes people scratch their heads, but once you hear what Yolanda did with it, you understand why others choose it. I love how you described it: “Yolanda is giving the power and emotion with her voice and that’s how it should be done.” Amen! 😀

    I liked Casey’s audition a LOT, and I love his sense of humor, but definitely the more of Casey’s singing I have heard, the more his technical flaws have been revealing themselves. I absolutely think you’re asking the right question here: will his vocals be good enough in the long run? We’ll see. He is certainly a lot of fun, though!

    “Lately” is a beautiful song. I’m looking forward to seeing how Stefano handles it! If he sings it as well as his wildcard performance, he’ll definitely wring all the emotion out of it. Can’t wait!

    Apparently, Haley yodels, so she might surprise us with her ability to sing country! Here’s an Entertainment Weekly interview where she mentioned not being scared of a country theme:
    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20312226_20471464_4,00.html

    I agree that Ashton might have trouble with her song choice. The spoilers also agree.

    And yes, Michael Jackson had such a special voice! I know my father, who doesn’t listen to too much contemporary American music, was really saddened by Michael’s passing. His version of “Smile” touched me very much as well; thank you for sending me off to listen to it. ❤

    *

    MCL — Yay! A new iPad sounds exciting! I hope to see you conquering the blogosphere in an all-new fashion come Friday. 😀

    *

    Jeanne — Wonderful to have you back! Thanks for the shout-out above among the people you missed; my response was most definitely an “Awwww!” 🙂

    I always love your commentary; you’re so articulate and concise!

    Lauren’s audition song was actually a country song by Faith Hill (but Faith does have country-pop crossover flair).

    Yes, Paige Miles did “Smile” last year. Like Mindy, I COMPLETELY blocked that performance out of my memory. Completely. The only reason I was able to figure out who sang it was my favorite site for this type of thing: http://www.whatnottosing.com/

    (Contestants should really use that site if they have access to it!)

    *

    Vonnie — I love how encouraging and optimistic your predictions are! Awww, it’s good to see you and read your commentary again. 😀

    *

    I love everyone’s commentary! I’m constantly refreshing this page for updates. =P

    Like

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