Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 12 Show

American Idol Season 10 Top 12

American Idol Season 10 Top 12


And so we continue the slow countdown toward the crowning of the American Idol Season 10 winner. 

Tonight’s show will feature songs made famous during the birth year of each Top 12 Finalist. 

Similar to last week’s personal choice theme, this generic theme should permit easy access to a song suitable to each singer’s personal style – be it pop, country, R&B or jazz. 

I am hoping that each singer does a flip performance – fast vs. slow, loud vs. soft- of  last week’s song selections. 

I think all of the performers have to emerge from their warm fuzzy place and select songs with elements of surprise and artistic creativity. 

A handful of singers – and only a small handful – have shown evidence that they are not one-trick ponies, exhibiting stellar vocal gifts and performing abilities. 

The majority, however,  have not changed since I first saw them during the preliminary rounds in their respective cities. Same old, same old.  

We need to see new and different from these singers or this is going to be another long, drawn-out season. 

As I am on March Break and enjoying the Florida sunshine, I will do my best to add a Top 12 Vocal Masterclass article. I managed a small one for the Top 13, but this week is Family Week, so I can’t say that the same will happen after this evening’s show.  I will do my best, however. 

But, please come back and comment. I find all of your reviews just wonderful and the atmosphere brimming with positive energy and support for these talented singers. Kudos to all the MCL readers! 

UPDATE FROM MCL READER, MINDY, courtesy of MJsBig Blog.Com 

The Idols’ Birth Years are listed below. Nigel revelaed that there will not be a live audience for future dress rehearsals, so no more spoilers  re song choice and performances will be available before the live show 

  • Casey Abrams – 1991 
  • Haley Reinhart – 1991
  • Jacob Lusk – 1987
  • James Durbin – 1989
  • Karen Rodriguez – 1989
  • Lauren Alaina – 1994
  • Naima Adedapo – 1984
  • Paul McDonald – 1984
  • Pia Toscano – 1988
  • Scotty McCreery – 1993
  • Stefano Langone – 1989
  • Thia Megia – 1995

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

90 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 12 Show”

  1. Mindy,

    “so no more spoilers re song choice and performances will be available before the live show”

    Does this mean that just before the show Nigel will release this information OR will we have no song spoilers all together?

    So we can only guess what they will be singing!!! I couldn’t even begin to guess, my only guess is that paul nor Naima will be doing Van Halen’s song Jump from 1984!!!


  2. Jessica Turner March 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I just wanted to put up some songs for some of the contestants. I think guessing the songs is one of my favorite parts of the season. I agree with MCL-please mix it up. Obviously James Durbin is already thinking in that mode. Good for his young self.

    1st: I can’t believe I was 21 the year Casey Abrams was born. Scary that wookie could be my child!

    2nd: 1991 in music: Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_in_music#January
    is a vertible motherlode if they can get clearances:
    Sting – The Soul Cages
    REM – Out of Time (possibly their best later album)
    Lenny Kravitz – Mama Said
    EMF – “Unbelievable” (remember that song?)
    Elvis Costello
    Paula Abdul
    Indigo Girls – did “All Along the Watchtower” by Dylan. Would that be eligible?
    Natalie Cole – the album she used her Dad’s voiceover on “Unforgettable.” Would all these old classics be eligible?
    Bonnie Raitt – Luck of the Draw
    Seal – Seal
    Tom Petty – Into the Great Wide Open: “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” title track, “Learning to Fly”
    Metallica – self titled (black album) “Enter Sandman”
    Spin Doctors – Pocket Full of Kryptonite
    Pearl Jame – Ten: “Even Flow,” “Jeremy,” “Alive”
    fear – Toad the Wet Sprocket: you might not think you know them, but you would probably recognize some of the singles: “All I Want (Is to Feel This Way)” and “Walk on the Ocean” (I saw them play live in Providence, RI at a club. It was great!
    Garth Brooks – Ropin’ the Wind: “The River” among others
    Tom Cochrane – “Life Is a Highway” and “Mad Mad World” (different than the one Adam did?)
    Bryan Adamas: “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”
    Van Morrison: “Why Must I Always Explain?”
    Nirvana – Nevermind
    Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik: “Give It Away” and “Under the Bridge”
    Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this album, but probably not mainstream enough for the rest of America
    INXS – Live, Baby, Live – Don’t know if live albums count.
    U2 – ACHTUNG BABY – It doesn’t get much better than this!
    Michael Jackson – Dangerous

    Casey Abrams – 1991 – I have it for him!!! From Sting, a bass player himself, “All This Time” from The Soul Cages! It’s a very melodic song but it has a little jazzy feel, though less than Sting’s songs on Dream of the Blue Turtles. Sting turns his songs around a lot so my best is a good musician can do a lot with them. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE CASEY DO STING OR THE POLICE THIS YEAR!!!!

    REM would be good for Casey as they are well known, easy to sing along to in come cases, and Michael Stipe’s voices is not traditional so no one would be comparing Casey’s unusual style to a pure vocalist. Casey would rock an arrangement of “Radio Song” by REM. It is recognizable, but not “Losing My Religion.” I don’t know how anyone could redo that, but possible Casey could. This song has a little rap part that I could see Casey doing. “Shiny Happy People” – NO. “Near Wild Heaven” is a great song and has great harmonies.

    “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” – Lenny Kravitz
    “I Can’t Make You Love Me” or “Something To Talk About” – Bonnie Raitt. I could really see Casey getting sensitive in the first or rocking out to the second. Because he’s a guy he wouldn’t suffer from karaoke comparisons to the original artist, which I’m afraid Haley might.

    Pearl Jam – I could see Casey taking on one of these top songs. He might even make the words more understandable!

    Nirvana – Nevermind: Essentially untouchable. But like David Cook and Adam Lambert, I pretty much have trust that Casey can musically take on just about anything. “Come As You Are” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” are the singles. (Poor James Durbin!)

    U2 – Achtung Baby! – Ditto above. I could see him doing a version of One with the stand up bass. Mysterious Ways? Who’s Going to Ride Your Wild Horses?

    Haley Reinhart – 1991 – Would they let her do a rockabilly version of the Divinyls “Touch Myself”? “Shiny Happy People”? Maybe a young girl could pull this off. Does she play guitar? Tom Petty might be good for her. Trisha Yearwood’s “She’s in love with the Boy.” Can she pull off a Garth Brooks song? “Into the Fire” by Sarah McLachan? Might be interesting to hear a girl pull off Nirvana.


  3. Vonnie,

    Have no fear! I just checked MJ’s blog and there are a few spoilers!

    Nigel confirmed on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show that Casey will be singing “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. This is the first time that anyone will be singing a Nirvana song.

    Thia will be singing the theme from Pocahontas ,”Colors of the Wind”.

    Also, Melissa Etheridge tweeted yesterday that one of her songs will be performed tonight.

    That’s it for spoilers. If anything else should be revealed, I will be sure to let everyone know!


    Good work on the choices for Casey. You did have Nirvana! Now I have to go check out youtube and listen to the song that Casey will sing. Nirvana is not my thing.


  4. MJ of MjsBigBlog.com posted that Casey has chosen Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” while Thia chose “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas.

    Casey’s taking a huge risk, and whether he pulls it off or not will determine whether he has enough versatility to tackle songs not in his comfort zone. As for Thia… another predictable, safe choice. She clearly doesn’t want to take a risk right now.


  5. I also wanted to tell everyone that Casey has revealed that he suffers from ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic condition. I read this information on MJ’s blog from an interview that Casey gave after all of the speculation and questions.

    I know something about this disease and it’s a difficult and painful condition. I sincerely hope that Casey will be able to stay healthy enough so that he can get through this competition.


    I guess you didn’t see my post when you posted your comments.


  6. Jessica Turner March 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Vonnie – I’d rather see them try “Hot for Teacher” – LOL

    Here’s a link to popular singles of 1984: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_in_music#Significant_hits

    So Naima and Paul, what are you going to take on from my freshman year of high school …

    Naima? Dare you touch Tina Turner? At least you got the moves, baby! Paul, can you touch Bruce Springsteen? John Mayer did a great cover of I’m On Fire, but then again, he is John Mayer.

    Here are my best memories of 1984:
    Cyndi Lauper
    Bruce Springsteen
    Billy Idol
    The Footloose soundtrack
    The Cars – “Drive”
    Bryan Adams – Heaven album – how many times I listened to that
    aha – “Take On Me”
    Corey Hart –
    Huey Lewis
    Rod Stewart – Infatuation (Paul if you do this now, you will never live down Rod Stewart comparisons
    2 Jumps – Pointer Sisters and Van Halen
    Boy George – Karma Chameleon
    Madonna – “Like a Virgin”
    Prince – Purple Rain
    Pretenders – Learning to Crawl: “Middle of the Road”, “Back on the Chain Gang”
    Thompson Twins – “Hold Me Now”
    99 Luft Balloons
    Scorpions -Rock Me Like a Hurricane
    Ratt – Round and Round
    REM – Reckoning (So. Central Rain, (Don’t Go Back to) Rockville
    Steve Perry – Oh Sherrie, Foolish Heart
    Legend – the Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers – IS NAIMA LUCKY OR WHAT? THIS IS HER WHEELHOUSE … will they let her use it???
    Stevie Ray Vaughn – Couldn’t Stand the Weather
    Tina Turner – Private Dancer
    Born in the U.S.A.- Bruce Springsteen: I think Paul could pull of Glory Days, with a guitar in hand.
    Elton John – “Sad Songs (They Say)”
    Twisted Sister!
    David Bowie – “Blue Jean”
    Survivor – “I Can’t Hold Back” “The Search Is Over”
    U2 – The Unforgettable Fire (not sure Paul could do this)
    Stop Making Sense Talking Heads
    Valotte Julian Lennon
    Give My Regards to Broad Street Paul McCartney
    “Relax” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
    “I Feel for You” – Chakka Khan
    “Boys of Summer” – Don Henley
    “Can’t Fight This Feelin'” – REO Speedwagon

    Obviously there is a lot of tacky stuff too.


  7. Jessica Turner March 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Tom, I think I mentioned in my very long post is that taking on Nirvana is something I’d like to see him try. I don’t think he’ll do karaoke. If he is in some pain, poor thing, it is an angsty song. I wrote that David Cook, Adam Lambert, and Casey are the AIs that I look forward to taking on challenges. I also have confidence that they’ll do something unique with it (and style appropriate), even if I have no idea where they’re going with it.


  8. Jessica Turner March 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Thia – bo-o-o-o-oring. Is this a Broadway/musical singing content or a pop vocalist contest?


  9. Well, Jessica, I graduated from high school in 1984. LOL!


  10. Jessica Turner March 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Is Paul’s voice high enough to take on Steve Perry’s “Oh, Sherrie”? I know it requires more than “high,” but vocal control, a consistently round mouth, etc. (Thank you all here for teaching me.) I think it is the kind of “story song” that would suit his style, but I’m not sure if he can pull off the power ballad. The Elton John anthem “Sad Songs (They Say So Much)” would be another good one for Paul, probably closer to his range, as long as he didn’t come out in a barbershop quartet outfit. The song “A Sort of Homecoming” is an amazing song. It starts quietly and drives towards the end, but finishes quietly. Here are the lyrics: http://www.asklyrics.com/display/u2/a-sort-of-homecoming-lyrics.htm

    I just read on a bulletin board that the title song is about Hiroshima. I think Paul is a special man and think he is brave enough to pick an odd song in honor of the disasters in Japan.


  11. Jessica Turner and Mindy,

    Jessica, Thanks for the lists…wow the 1984 list brings back alot of great memories, I was and still am a huge fan of the 80’s music…I loved Corey Hart…Sunglasses at night!

    I could see Paul singing Don Henley’s Boys of Summer! Gosh! I loved the Thompson Twins too, seen them in concert several times. Great list Jessica…I pretty much love everyone on that list!!! Prince, Cyndi, Bryan Adams…MCL, should be proud, two canadians on there, Bryan and Corey Hart!


    Thanks for the spoilers, Thia please! girl this ain’t the Mickey Mouse club, step it up! Break out some Alicia Keyes, Brittany (can’t believe I just said that), you gotta get current if you want to stay on this show!

    I can see Haley singing the Melissa Etheridge song, “come into my window, would settle in nicley with the rasp in her voice!

    You know for not having any themes; we sure are hearing the same old, same old aren’t we???


  12. Jessica Turner March 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    For James Durbin, some of my picks:

    Fine Young Cannibals
    “She Drives Me Crazy”
    “Good Thing”

    Indigo Girls
    “Closer To Fine”

    “Like a Prayer” (ever heard the acoustic, stripped down version by John Wesley Harding? Not the character in a song by Dylan, but a real person who probably named himself after that song …)
    “Express Yourself”

    Bonnie Raitt
    “A Thing Called Love” – though I would love Pia to try something like this. She needs something upbeat.

    Allannah Myles
    “Black Velvet”

    10,000 Maniacs
    “Trouble Me” (good for Pia too)

    I personally would love to hear James sing some blues. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s last album with his band Double Trouble appeared this year … he did record with his brother on the album Family Style. Then he perished in that horrible helicopter accident. So sad as he was finally clean and sober.
    SRV – In Step (won Grammy award)
    “The House is a-Rockin'”


  13. Dearest Mindy,

    Thanks for the spoilers! You’re always so quick to notice them. :) I’ve been so busy since Saturday, and the busyness is not going to let up anytime soon—until noon of Friday or so. And I have so much more to do! But I digress. Thank you! Hehe, I think I’ve grown too accustomed to these spoilers; I admit to thinking, “Oh no! How am I going to survive till Wednesday?” once Nigel revealed that live audiences would no longer be allowed at the dress rehearsals. Any small bit of spoiler is delightful! 😀 😉


    Jessica Turner,

    Thia’s arrangement did her no favors at all. Yikes. I’ve heard this song done much better with piano alone (Ashley Leitao’s version comes to mind).

    I wonder if others are correct in speculating that Thia’s youth makes her less assertive about the band’s musical choices? I agree that the arrangement was very boring. (The first adjective that came to mind was more along the lines of “horrific.”) It was very cheesy and lacked a pulse.


    Snapshot reaction: Oh, no! I wonder if Karen realizes that “Love Will Lead You Back” has a horrible track record on American Idol. Carmen Rasmusen and Mikalah Gordon performed it to dismal reviews and were eliminated the day after. Yikes.
    http://whatnottosing.com/songs.asp?id=176 <– oh, how I love this website. 😉


  14. I’m on West Coast time! I’ve never even heard of Pia (you are speaking of Pia?)’s song. She’s so young. Why is she choosing all these adult contemporary songs. I know she’s a Wedding Singer and all, but take a lesson from Robbie (Adam Sandler). Shake up the crowd a little bit!


  15. Well, it wasn’t a total train wreck there were a couple that I found entertaining!
    That’s all I’m going to say about that! 🙂


  16. Scotty!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  17. Stefano was terrific tonight–my favorite one of the night!


  18. Here’s my quick breakdown of tonight’s performances

    Naimi: Missed her performance. I was watching my Leafs beat Carolina 🙂

    Paul: I honestly did not like it. I felt he was way too raspy and it took away from the song.

    Thia: a total yawnfest. She played it way too safe. We are at the point in competition now where singers need to challenge themselves and as the judges keep saying “make songs their own”. Thia was just too boring for me.

    Karen: She was good. But I’m tired of her singing in Spanish. I really like it, but I feel she is playing it safe as well and staying within her comfort zone.

    Casey: loved that he did Nirvana! It seemed to work out…although I agree with Jennifer that there were some parts where he was pushing it.

    Lauren: Loved her tonight (even if she was sick). As someone who use to sing, I felt that I also sang better when I was sick. This is because you have no choice but to sing with proper technique (perhaps MCL can correct me on this…)

    Hailey: not bad…didnt’ leave a lasting impression on me.

    Scotty: Oh my…I loved hiim! (But I’m part biased towards him because I just love him!!) He is by far my favourite!! 🙂 🙂

    Jacob: meh…it was okay. He’s not my favourite, but he did it the song justice.

    Pia: switched back to my hockey game, so I missed her. 🙂

    Stefano: I just loved him!! He sang so well tonight!

    James: switched back to my hockey game again 🙂

    overall, it wasn’t that bad of a show. I was a bit distracted between switching back and forth between teh show and the hockey game….but as a Leaf’s faithful, I am hoping they make it into the playoffs. 🙂


  19. Hi! I am in the process of voting but I wanted to ask two things. Did anyone catch Thia’s explanation on why she choose her song. She said something to the effect that the way that the world is today, I thought it fit. (My words, not exactly hers). I assume that this was in erefence to the tragedy in Japan. What do you think?

    Also, did anyone see James go over to Stefano (right side of the screen) and they were kinda of pretending to box? It was so cute!

    Both Stefano and James did a great job. There were several that were really sick. Talk to you later! GOOD SHOW!!


  20. Hi, Jessica! No, I was talking about Thia’s song, “Colors of the Wind.” Their names are awfully similar, aren’t they? =P

    I’m on West Coast time too, but I watch the live feed and/or refresh Rickey.org over and over again! 😉 I’m not keen on a few of the other arrangements now that I’ve seen them, but oh well. Interesting.

    Speaking of Pia, she received positive judge’s comments for her performance tonight! I am glad; I hope she keeps it up. Some of her notes were not as precise as in the past, but overall, I thought her vocal production sounded freer than last week. I’m still hoping she picks a younger song in the future, though!


    Some thoughts: I liked pieces of Haley’s performance. It’s the oddest thing; after seeing a few of her pre-Idol performances, I’m finding that Haley is growing on me. There’s something immensely likable about her when she’s singing organically, and that vulnerability is what I would love to see from her all the time.

    Now, the nasality in the beginning was off-putting (and there was some breathiness and lack of focus in her tone), but overall, I found her vocal performance much less affected than in previous weeks: she minimized the growling, the overdone runs, and some of her other affections. I even found her on-stage movements more genuine and less “vamped-up” than usual. I don’t know if the performance completely gelled, but I like the moments where we got to glimpse “authentic Haley.” I hope she learns that that’s the side of her we find most appealing: pure and unaffected. She doesn’t need to try too hard. She’s a talented girl, and I hope she comes to better understand when her voice shines the most because more so than I believed before, I’m realizing that she does have a voice in there worth hearing.

    For the first time, I’m hoping she sticks around. I would love to see her grow as an artist before our eyes. I really believe she just needs a poke in the right direction and someone to tell her, “You don’t need to do all of these extra things. Just be comfortable being Haley.” I like that Haley, the one I see deep down there somewhere.


  21. So – how many untouchables were patted down tonight?
    Whitney x2
    Tina Turner
    Vanessa Williams
    Elton John

    Oh geez. The first half of the show was a trainwreck. I asked Naima if she dared touch Tina Turner. Boy, did she dare. Seriously. And the truth is, she sucked. Big Time. She does not deserve to stay after that one. Why not do Bob Marley? When the song changed key, she was totally lost. That transition was worse than awkward.

    Thia – The Pocohontos choice … very sweet, but it didn’t do you any favors. Nor is wearing nude colored dresses every week. It looked like you were trying to recreate the Pocohontas costume. But it wasn’t age appropriate. Do something fun and poppy, girl! The low notes were too low, or at least were not supported. I couldn’t understand the words and if you were trying to get across a message, those are pretty important. You weren’t really flat anywhere, just ho-hum.

    Paul. Once again his iTunes recording is impeccable. Can he hear that he is flat? If he’s been touring as long as he has, you’d think … He needs to put it together on stage. And he needs to stop moving around. It’s getting really annoying. I still like him. That’s why he’s still a disappointment to me. I did pretty well on my prediction though. I did predict a different Elton John song from the same album.

    James – was he flat the entire time (well, almost the entire time)? Geesh! Yuk.

    Haley? Whitney? Seriously? Will you contestants ever learn???

    Pia – beautiful. But how old are you? Don’t you want to do something age appropriate instead of standards you could be singing in a baby boomer’s old folks home?

    Stefano – Was. Mind boggling. STELLAR. Pitch. Phrasing. Tone. Connection. The boy has the whole package. It’s not my type of music, but if he keeps this up, he deserves to win.

    Scotty – I’m not a c&w girl, but I loved it. He sings beyond his years and not just because his voice is low. You can tell he connects to the songs and he’s learning to connect to the audience (and cameras). I think we may just see this boy grow into a man before our very eyes. And I think he has a chance to be in the Top 5 because I think he will have middle America/flyover states on his side.

    Karen – adult contemporary. Yawn.

    Jacob – at least it wasn’t too adult contemporary. Heart is pretty hard rocking, he changed it up. Fixed the couple pitch problems he had. He really captured that song within his spirit. Bizee, you’re right. He did it justice. Not my thing, but well done

    Casey – you are great! I just don’t think that song was abridged properly. It didn’t have a beginning, middle, and an end. I think Come As You Are would’ve been better. (Called this one, too, didn’t I!? I feel good about myself tonight!) I didn’t mind the screaming. He was intense, but we didn’t get enough of the melodic parts of the song to contrast the intense choruses. I don’t know how he played bass through that. Was it a 5-string bass to boot??? I hope he’s feeling better.


  22. Am I the only one who hears Thia being consistently under pitch? Girl’s got a great voice, but she needs to raise that soft palate and think higher!

    Stefano’s voice blew me away tonight, and Pia was just behind. I wouldn’t mind seeing these two go all the way.


  23. I was watching tennis tonight. It’s the Indian Wells tournament in Palm Springs, Ca. I am a fanatic and my favorite Rafa Nadal was playing tonight. Then I watched Federer! I just had a quick first listen with the sound low because it was late and I didn’t want to disturb the neighbors in my apartment building. I will listen again tomorrow and see if my initial impressions hold up!

    Naima Adedapo – 1984 – “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner – I wouldn’t touch this song with a ten foot pole! Sometimes you simple cannot improve on the original when it has been done to perfection by the great Tina Turner. I also think this was totally wrong for her musically and stylistically. This time the attempt to kind of reggae it up a little or whatever, just didn’t work. Her vocals were all over the place, the pitch went as she was dancing around the stage. She is better that what she showed us tonight!

    Paul McDonald – 1984 – “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” by Elton John – This just wasn’t good at all. I think Paul needs some serious technical vocal lessons, because I fear that he will wreck his voice. He has that distinctive sound going for him and that smile and the charm, but those awkward moves are beyond distracting. They seem totally affected and really are interfering with his vocals. He is almost contorting himself into weird positions, and with the poor vocal technique and the strange positions, it just makes it worse. He seemed to be fighting the song all the way.

    Thia Megia – 1995 – “Colors of the Wind” by Vanessa Williams – Oh dear, this song was just not good on any level. It’s almost a cliche and much too old for her. I didn’t like the arrangement at all, it did nothing to show off her stellar tone and pitch. She really needs to choose a younger song, also something that will allow her voice to soar. This young lady should be taking a few risks and challenging that voice.

    James Durbin – “I’ll Be There for You” by Bon Jovi – I don’t love this song to begin with, so I had to fight that. I thought that James has been in better voice and maybe all of the moving around and going off the stage into the audience kind of made the vocals go off a little. He is a superb entertainer and always manages to engage the audience. I thought that one high scream near the end was pretty raspy and off totally. Not his best vocal, but he is such a strong performer that I don’t see it really hurting him.

    Haley Reinhart – 1990 – “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston – I won’t be questioning this young lady’s talent, because this was a terrible song choice. Not right for her at all. She seems to be struggling to find the right song for her voice. She did tone down some of the vocal acrobatics and that was very nice, because then you can hear that great voice. I feel comfortable in calling her out for the mannerisms because Jennifer did it and also said that it doesn’t seem natural. That’s just what I have been trying to say. She doesn’t need it, because her voice is good enough without all of that. She seemed to struggle a bit in parts, but overall I think she is going in the right direction. I think J really said it all best. This girl should just be herself, get to know what works for her and then go out and do it the way she sang “Night and Day”!

    Stefano Langone – 1989 – If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red – This was the performance of the night! Yes, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes did this way back then. I am giving away my age by not immediately knowing that Simply Red did this, too. I cannot emphasize how difficult a song this is to pull off. Stefano was pitch perfect on every note and his emotion and passion just draws you in to him. What a performer! He puts his heart and soul into a performance and this showed off his vocals beautifully! Great job!

    Pia Toscano – 1988 – “Where do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston – At first I thought I would scream when I realized she went for another Whitney song, but once I heard her sing it in an uptempo arrangement, I breathed a sigh of relief. Her voice is simply astonishing. She really needed an uptempo song, but I would like her to really take a risk next week and go out of her comfort zone. She has the vocals to pull it off. Also, please no more raising the head! It’s compromising those big notes at the end and they come off a little screechy. The sound would be so much fuller and richer if she would keep her head level. That is my only criticism of this extraordinary talent.

    Scotty McCreery – 1995 – “Can I Trust You With My Heart” by Travis Tritt – Oh my sweet little Elvis! I love him even more now that I know how much he idolized the King! He is staying in his comfort zone, doing what he does best, what feels right to him. I thought this week his vocals were better. He did try to extend his voice a little, hold those notes a tiny bit longer. He can do even better if he uses his diaphragm and pushes from there. I loved, loved that ending, what a gorgeous changeup, so sweet and soft and perfect. Now I really want to hear Scotty go out of his comfort zone – how about some Frank Sinatra? With some vocal technical skill, he could do even more with that amazing voice. The moment he starts singing, I get chills down my spine! I knew that I loved bass/baritone voices, but don’t often get to hear them

    Karen Rodriguez – 1989 – “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne – Not the best song choice for her. Taylor Dayne has a powerful voice and I don’t think that Karen has quite enough power for the song. However, I thought she was much better than last week. She stayed on pitch, fought for the notes and seemed to connect with the meaning of the song. I fear that she will suffer by comparison to Pia, because they have similar styles. Jennifer gave her some great advice about not going for those notes if you are nervous.

    Casey Abrams – 1991 – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana – This is hard because it’s not my kind of music, baby boomer that I am. Nevertheless, I really admired Kurt Cobain. I think that Casey is screaming and shouting a bit too much at times for my liking. Not his best vocal. I don’t know that it matters, because he is such a great performer and always surprises. I want to hear more of his softer voice and not all the wailing. He needs help with his vocal technique so as not to strain his voice.

    Lauren Alaina – 1994 – “I’m the Only One” by Melissa Etheridge – I have to admit that I am struggling to like this girl. There is something about her that doesn’t sit well with me. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. This was better than last week’s performance, but I wasn’t jumping up and down. Sometimes I hear her as screaming the notes rather than singing them. She is a great performer, but something is missing for me.

    Jacob Lusk – 1987 – “Alone” by Heart – I don’t know what they are doing with the arrangements of Jacob’s songs, but it’s not working to his advantage. There was another weird key change and he seemed to go off pitch again. However, he managed to get it together and the softer ending was just right. I think they want him to show that he can sing other music genres. With a voice as good as his, less is more please!

    I think that the best tonight were Stefano, Pia, Scotty with Casey and James right behind. I think the weakest tonight were Paul, Karen, and Naima.


  24. I’ll be very surprised if Naima isn’t the person voted off tonight. I like Naima, but her performance last night just wasn’t very good.

    If not Naima, then I could see Paul, Karen, or Thia being in the bottom three. I actually like Paul, and I understand he was sick last night, but I’ve come to realize that his style is a bit too quirky for AI. And I love Thia’s voice, but I also don’t see her going very far in this competition either. She just can’t compete with some of the others’ performance skills.

    Besides Stefano’s performance last night, the most enjoyable to me were Scotty and Casey. I’m too old to appreciate Nirvana, but Casey is just so musically talented and likeable. And Scotty always makes me smile–he is one very likeable Kid!!! Pia has a beautiful voice, but I’m getting a little bored with the type of music she sings. And then there is James–I think he’s very talented but I don’t always like the kind of music he sings.

    That leaves Haley, Karen, Lauren, and Jacob and I’m lukewarm about all of them. Haley has possibilities, but at this point I wouldn’t be sorry to see her go. Karen is boring to me. Lauren is very talented, but there’s something about her that doesn’t appeal to me personally although I’m sure she appeals to a lot of people. And Jacob just needs to tone it down. He certainly connects with what he is singing and he has a beautiful sound most of the time, but his tendency to oversing and to be off key is a downer for me.

    I obviously am just an amateur listener who has no musical background like many of you. I just know what appeals to me and what does not. I’m probably a fairly average AI listener.


  25. I am very busy today, enjoying my family during this March Break. But not too busy to add a few brief comments. Stefano and Pia were the absolute best last night. Their technical skills, their passion and performing ability are years ahead of the other singers.

    However, there were also some wonderful performances by James, Scotty and Haley but it was pretty difficult to match Pia and Stefano. They are in a class all by themselves and, of the two, Stefano has a slight (very slight) edge.


  26. Naima Adedapo – She just didn’t sing well enough. The backing track was supporting her however she got lost in it sometimes.
    Paul McDonald – Again sung really bad, he had a cold and it really affected him. I wonder if he would be better if they anchored him with a mike stand to stop it distracting weird movements.
    Thia Megia – Boring, she didn’t sound like she really like the song either. Someone said “you’re not at a beauty pagent” – hit the nail on the head – the song choice was like my ambition is to achieve world peace.
    James Durbin – First song tonight I enjoyed listening to. It wasn’t as good as his previous two, but much better than other people.
    Haley Reinhart – This was just OK, it wasn’t as bad as the first 3 tonight, but she needed to knock it out tonight.
    Stefano Langone – This boy is stepping up to the challenge.
    Pia Toscano – I don’t really get Pia – Yes she sounds great but I don’t feel anything when she sings.
    Scotty McCreery – Yes he did exactly what he needed at this point and changed it up a bit, it was really good and I enjoyed it, especially when he breaks into the “higher” part as a change. They are right, he needs to push himself and work on his voice. Now I know where he gets the funny lip curl/head tilt from – Elvis.
    Karen Rodriguez – Beautifully sung but not outstanding, also being in the bottom 3 last week she also needed a knockout performance
    Casey Abrams – He’s great because he’ll try anything – parts were not good but he puts everything into it – he doesn’t hold back. However he is trying lots in the earlier stages while he is safe, hopefully he get the Jazz back later on.
    Lauren Alaina – Much better, and very comfortable, working the crowd – she’s a great live performer. Some bits went off pitch though, and her voice sounds a bit strained – guess that’s the flu.
    Jacob Lusk – Beats last week performance by a mile, liked the change to up tempo, much more contemporary. However I still think that his voice is not shown off very well.

    Faves Scotty/Stefano

    In Danger – Naima, Haley, Karen – I would add Paul but think there’s too much fan base to go at this point.


  27. Oh forgot to say – JLo’s remembered she’s a judge and has stepped up her comments with a mix of good/bad – glad to see it. I like the way she does it.

    Looks like Steve is not going to judge anything – you only know he likes something because he is more animated. If he just says beautiful without any more – you know he didn’t like it.


  28. Interesting to see who will be gone tonight. I think Thia or Karen. Both played it way too safe last night. At this point, I want to see the performers “wow” me.


  29. Okay! My approach to last night’s performance’s, is going to be what appeals to me as a non-musical person…so I’m calling this as if the style and songs were something I would want to hear on my radio; not from a technical standpoint!

    I am going from my best down to my least favorite of the night!

    Scotty ~ Everybody knows, I love this one, love this kid, and love that he is an Elvis fan! If I could make a prediction about Scotty; win or lose, this kid is going to take the Country music scene by storm…everyone who is winning all of the music awards now; move over cause Scotty is coming to your town! I’m not sure who said that Scotty gave them goose bumps when he starts to sing…me too! When he opens his mouth I’m there! A+

    Stephano ~ I simply love Simply Red, and while I will admit there were times through Stephano’s performance that I was comparing him to Simply Red, I had to remind myself that Stephano not only chose and artist who is nearly impossible to sing, but he was singing this artists song and was doing an amazing job with it…his emotional connection to a song is what pulls me in more than the vocals. A

    James ~ While I didn’t like his song choice and I thought he sounded off for some reason, I’m not sure what he was doing vocally that he sounded that way, but his voice didn’t have the same tone as he did last week…some of you guys who know the terms for this can help me out with this one! But all in all, I am really starting to like James; I think his personality is winning me over more! B+

    Haley ~ I just like Haley’s voice, I think with the right song choices she could do great! I really would like to hear her do some Stevie Nicks. All in all I really liked her last night and hope she sticks around for awhile. B

    Thia ~ This girl can sing! What a beautiful voice, but what awful songs! I would love to see her break out and do a song by Kesha…maybe Tick Tock? I hope she stays for awhile longer too! B

    Casey ~ While I do not like Nirvana, I like Casey, so he gets a hall pass from me for the night! Just please don’t scream at me like that ever again! C +

    Paul ~ Where to put Paul…when I close my eyes and listen to him sing, I love the rasp and the softness to his voice, but when I open my eyes and watch him dance, the two do not go together. I think he needs his guitar to keep him grounded! C

    Pia ~ Beautiful girl, beautiful voice…wrong songs! She is a boring performer! C

    Jacob ~ I’m not sure about this one; I think he is singing way over the top! But I like him! C-

    Karen ~ I’m not sure about her either, her comment with Jimmy when she said she can sing anything; left me a little put off with her! D+

    Naima ~ She is not one of my favorites and I didn’t like the song or the performance! D

    Lauren ~ vocally, this girl is ready for the idol stage…maturity; not even close, she could not even carry on a conversation with Ryan for her sit down without acting like my 7 yr old niece (actually, my 7 yr old niece is way more composed and polished than Lauren)! Come on Lauren, you’re not making us southern girls look so good to the American public! Some of us can chew gum and walk at the same time! I didn’t like this personality trait from Kelli Pickler and I don’t like it from Lauren. Sorry, hope I don’t offend anyone…just sayin’! D-

    I’m starting to have issues with JLo…at first she didn’t want to talk, now, no one else can get a word in edge wise. I would have liked to have known where Steven was going with his question to Thia…I think he was trying to pull her out of the shark tank, but was cut off before he could extend a hand to her!


  30. You can listen to the full-length studio versions on the page below (but they can’t be downloaded):



  31. Is it just me, or does it seem like the media does a good job at prying into the lives of Idol contestants every year to dig up dirt on them?? Anything to have a story on them…



  32. Now that I have listened again to the performances with the volume turned up enough to hear it, I have a few more thoughts.

    Naima really was even worse this time. She was off pitch almost throughout the whole song and the changeup and different take on this iconic song just did not work on any level.

    Paul was much worse on a second listen. I know that he had a cold, but that was only part of the problem. He doesn’t have the voice for this song and those movements are really hurting both the vocals and the performance value. He seemed uncomfortable all through the performance, but I sense that he has a big fan base and don’t seem him going home.

    Thia’s vocals sounded worse this time. This song was just completely all kinds of wrong. Why aren’t the producers letting her sing something fun and young? She does have a gorgeous tone to her voice, but this song didn’t let that quality shine. I fear she may in the bottom tonight.

    James Durbin’s vocals were off in this performance. I am not sure exactly why. There may be a technical issue, but he started off with a few bad notes and then towards the end when he was coming back to the stage he just sounded completely off. The high note was raspy and harsh. However, he has done so well and shown such originality and superb command of the stage, that I don’t think it will matter.

    Haley just didn’t pick a good song for her voice. I see her as more of a bluesy, soul, r&b singer with maybe some soft rock. I thought she was off key in parts of the song and struggled with it. It was very good in parts but the whole thing didn’t quite come together. The arm movements and performance affectations were less so this time, but she could just lose it completely and sing her heart out and it would be great. I don’t know what’s going to happen with her. She may have America confused about what kind of artist she wants to be.

    Stefano was truly magnificent. I thought again how hard this song is to sing. He puts everything into his performance and totally connects with the audience. This kid could be a dark horse here.

    Pia managed to sing a very difficult arrangement. First she started it off slow like a ballad and then she transitioned into the uptempo version and then went back to singing it more slowly. Her voice is good enough to handle it and she makes it look easy. If she stops raising her head for those high notes, it will be perfection.

    Scotty is such a lock to go deep here. No matter what happens, this kid is getting signed as the newest country singing star. He is trying to do more with his voice and I like hearing the higher register of that bass/baritone. The moment he starts singing is when I get the chills. He can do a lot more with that voice, but now I really do want to hear him go a little out of his comfort zone.

    Karen may be in trouble after that performance. I forgot that she was in the bottom last week. She needed to do something that would make her stand out and be memorable. I don’t think this was enough. She may be in the bottom again.

    Casey didn’t give his best vocal performance. Too much screaming. One of the judges pointed out that Kurt Cobain sang that way, but it sounded much richer because it came from deep inside him. I also don’t think it matters with Casey because he is such a great performer, has taken risks and shown originality and creativity. I do want to hear him actually sing and just forget the shouting for one night.

    Lauren did sound much better this week. However I do have to agree with Vonnie about her sounding as immature as a young child. That is what has been bothering me about her. I am trying not to let it get in the way, but it’s really hard. I still hear her voice as harsh and screaming in parts and it hurts my ears, but this was definitely a better vocal. She is a great performer, but can’t take criticism and has an attitude that is annoying. Sorry, but that’s just how I feel.

    Jacob has a tremendous voice and I think the producers are trying to make him more commercially relevant. However, I don’t know that this arrangement really worked for him with a rock song and I do think he is getting into that oversinging thing again. He just doesn’t need it.

    I can’t really predict who will be in the bottom three, but I think that Naima, Karen, and Thia are at risk. I don’t know about Haley. I hope she stays.


  33. I think both James and Stefano had the cold thing going. I loved Stefano’s song! As to who is going home. I had to split my votes between Haley, Karen, and Naima. I believe it will defintely be a girl!


  34. Just returned from a great day at Disney with my family> Who was eliminated?


  35. MCL, Karen was eliminated but it really should’ve been Naima!!


  36. ^ Glad to hear it, MCL! I enjoyed Disney World immensely during my one visit there! 😀 Especially Epcot.

    The eliminated contestant was Karen Rodriguez. Grammie Kari completely nailed tonight’s bottom 3. I can’t say that I’m surprised by tonight’s elimination (fan reception of Karen’s song choices have not been positive), but I have to say she seems like a lovely person, inside and out! I wish her the best.


    Other thoughts: I’m glad Thia has managed to stay out of the bottom 3 these past two weeks, but I really hope she steps it up next week. I feel that she might be on the bubble, and if she doesn’t raise her game (and/or her fans become complacent), she might be blind-sided by a premature elimination.

    Pia’s holding her own well, so as long as one of my favorites does well, I can remain optimistic about the outcome of the season. I still like Thia quite a bit, though, and it saddens me that she’s been floundering lately (at least in some people’s eyes).


  37. Vonnie,

    I also feel Scotty should have a promising career ahead of him in Country Music. I love what you said about other Country musicians making room for Scotty! That was cute! Maybe it’s just me, I feel even the name Scotty McCreery sounds Counrry! I can’t say I’m a Scotty fan, but I’ve certainly have been very impressed with that voice of his even though! He deserves to stay on Idol for quite some time yet!


  38. Thanks J and Erin. Karen is not a surprising elimination and I expect Haley or Naima will be gone next week. Neither have strong fan bases.

    J – like you, I think Thia must step up her game or she will be eliminated far too early. I think she is just not ready for this competition – she is approaching it all wrong.

    It’s late now and I must sleep, but will add more comments tomorrow.


  39. Rosanne,

    As impressive as the talent has been this season, what I find kind of strange is that there isn’t a single contestant that I’m all excited about. I find that kind of sad. During season 6, it was both Melinda and Jordin for me. Oh, was I crushed when Melinda missed out on the Finale! Season 7 was David Archuleta, who of course is my top favorite, Season 8 was Adam. Both Seasons 9 and 10, I have found no one who I’ve gotten very excited about.


  40. I think Haley is in real trouble after being in the bottom two weeks in a row. She just doesn’t seem to be connecting with the voters. I also noticed that, once again, it’s been all girls in the bottom for two weeks now! That doesn’t look good for them. It always seems to go like this, with the guys staying in it and the girls going first.

    If Naima doesn’t get it together, she could be the next one gone. I thought that Thia might be in the bottom three, but she was spared. She has to really step it up next week or she will be in trouble. I am thinking along similar lines as MCL and J regarding Thia. I also agree that she is going at it all wrong. Her song choices have just done her no favors. I would love to see her do something uptempo, fun and young for a change.

    For now the guys are just sailing through the competition. It’s obvious that Paul has a decent fan base, because both this week and last week’s performances were below par, as far as I am concerned. I get a sense that he could stay on longer and a few who have better voices could go before him.


  41. Mindy said, “It’s obvious that Paul has a decent fan base, because both this week and last week’s performances were below par, as far as I am concerned. I get a sense that he could stay on longer and a few who have better voices could go before him.”

    Unfortunately the Vote for the Worst website has Paul as the contestant to vote for. So that could be helping him to stay around too.

    I just checked out The VFTW website and they also said “This was an easy one to predict, . . . the majority of Idol voters hate anyone who speaks a foreign language. . . Singing boring ballads each week wasn’t going to endear her to us or to the other voters.” The entire statement is offensive which is why I left some of it out. I also predicted to my husband the first week that Karen wouldn’t stick around very long because of the fact that she was singing in Spanish. I personally didn’t have a problem with it at all, but that just wasn’t a smart thing to do when she was trying to get “everyone” in America to vote for her. Unless we’re wearing rose-colored glasses, I think most of us realize that some Americans just aren’t that open-minded and receptive to anyone foreign. Sad, but true. (Of course, Karen’s ballads weren’t going to make her the new Idol either.)

    I was just trying to remember contestants from previous years who were either from foreign countries or who had ethnicities other than white or black American–Carly and Michael come to mind. Wasn’t Carly from Ireland, and Michael from Australia? They were both terrific and were voted off early as I remember. At the time, I remember wondering if some of it had to do with the fact that they weren’t originally from America.


  42. Anita…Thank you!!! 🙂

    It’s really funny that I would be so “all about Scotty”, I’m not a country music fan! I can listen to it, but couldn’t begin to tell you other than Carrie Underwood who’s even singing country music now!

    His voice just blows me away, when you look at that cute young man standing on stage, you can’t imagine that a voice like that would come out of him, but when he opens his mouth to sing, well, it’s just spell-bounding.

    I will buy what ever this kid puts out!

    To All…!

    I wasn’t shocked to see Karen go home, but sad, I don’t like the save, I feel so bad for these kids, the emotional roller coaster that they ride each week is bad enough, why put insult to injury? The votes should be the final voice!


  43. I would like to add about Karen…I think she will do very well singing Latino music! With the loss of Selena, there has been a great void in this line of music; could she possibly fill that void?


  44. Anita – I think we have almost become jaded abou the show. But, Stefano and Pia have me very excited. They are the best technical singers I have seen on this show and, when added to their incredible performing ability, are quite extraordinary. Following close behind – Scotty and Jason. The rest have some ways to go!


  45. Vonnie,

    I said to my Mom Wednesday how amazing it is that Scotty has such a deep voice at only 17!!! I am a Country fan. Carrie Underwood is one of my favorites. But, as much as I like her, I’m getting a bit tired of she and Taylor Swift winning all the Country Awards year after year. It would be so nice to see other Country Artists win for a change. I wasn’t surprised either about Karen. I was most impressed with her during Hollywood Week when she sang a Selena song. Vonnie, I totally get your point regarding the save. I find myself feeling bad for the contestants also. First America says No, then the judges say No. That’s a double whammy, ouch!!!


  46. I was kind of glad to see Karen go (although I do wish that it had been Naima). The thing with Karen is that I think the public got tired of her singing in Spanish and English – even if it was superb and was her style. It was like she kept reminding people that “I’m good because I sing in Spanish”. Even in her clip before the show last night, she made a comment about how she speaks Spanish (even though we all already know that). It was like she was letting it go to her head, and the AI public just got tired of it so she began to not resonate with voters.

    I’m not a fan of Hailey or Naima and do wish one of them had left yesterday. They are both very hard to connect with. Both of them better step up next week, or I’m sure we will see them in the bottom 3 again. The problem with Hailey is that she always seems so confused when she’s up on stage and talking with Ryan and the judges. When the judges ask her what type of singer she is, she doesn’t know what to answer because she doesnt even know. I wonder if age has something to do with it. As for Naima, she hasn’t sung well and therefore is just not connecting with the audience.


  47. I am anxious to see what you have to say about the top 12 this week. I have a link to your site on Adamofficial.com where I started a thread on this year’s Idol.


  48. No-one in the finals is a bad singer – however some have had outstanding moments of magic, and people remember them even when there are bad weeks afterwards.

    Casey & the double bass
    Paul singing Blackbird
    Jacob & God Bless this child (even if I disliked that it – lots of people did like it)
    Thia – Semi-finals – beautiful voice singing a capella
    Stefano – Singing for a wild card place
    James – Stand-out for the previous 2 weeks

    Karen/Haley/Ashton/Niami have not really had standouts – they have had good moments but not really anything that has made everyone go wow. And the trouble is because of this they go first, whether or not someone else is worse on the actual night.

    For Haley/Niami they really need a knockout song/preformance to stay next week now.


  49. Anita,

    I know exactly what you are talking about with Taylor Swift…she really needs to thank Kanya (? spelling??), had he not interupted her ONE win, she would not be winning everything now…! Sorry Taylor Swift fans!

    Agreed about the “save”, it’s one of the worst things idol has ever come up with! We know and you know the contestants know, they aren’t going to use the save this early, they will save it for a more “worthy” contestant. I don’t think the save should even be brought up, if the judges feel they want to use it, present it when they have a person they want to save, other wise don’t put them throught the torture!


  50. LauriEllen – I am on vacation this week and will not be able to write a Top 12 Masterclass article. I did have some comments after the show in the Top 12 performance blog topic. Thanks for the thread on Adam’s site. Much appreciated.


  51. I agree totally about the save. I am with Vonnie and think it should only be brought up when the judges think the contestant is worth saving. Then let them sing for their lives when they know that there is a real chance to be saved! This way it’s a charade, a farce and only prolongs the agony. I have no desire to see someone who has already been voted off, have to go through an essentially pointless performance which will end in just another rejection.

    Don’t anyone get me started on Taylor Swift. Talk about pitch problems! Yes, sorry to her fans, but it’s the truth.


  52. A dark horse is one that slowly but surely takes over the competition by taking some votes from each other horse as they are eliminated. Stefano will do this. I’m lovin’ it.


  53. Edmond – Stefano is gaining steam. And Pia is following close behind. At this stage of the competition, these two singers have continuously demonstrated incredible passion and artistry, not to mention the stellar vocal skills they demonstrate each and every week.


  54. Rosanne,

    Stefano and Pia have both certainly been stellar week after week. I felt Stefano was even more impressive this past week than Pia. My favorite Stefano performance though, was his Wild Card performance. To me, he’s a cross between David A. and Elliott Yamin. What did you think of Casey’s performance? I kind of liked it. Certainly, it was an interesting performance. I’m not a fan of the song, but I could not get that performance out of my head after Wednesday night for some reason. I love how Casey takes such big risks week after week, and he’s definately a contender. I know people have been making predictions as to who is going to win this season, but not me. With the talent this season, it’s very difficult to say. It could go several ways.


  55. Mindy,

    Any word on what the kids are singing this week?


  56. Vonnie,

    I checked out MJ’s blog and there is nothing yet, not even any info about the theme for next week. I will keep my eye out for anything and make sure that it gets posted here or have MCL put it up.

    I am really curious to see what the theme will be and what it might mean for the contestants.


  57. I think it’s the music of Motown.

    I’m still rather ambivalent about this current season. I’m most interested in Pia, Stefano, James, and Scotty. I’m still not voting at all, though.


  58. Motown, it is. I hope these people can work with the theme and be creative. “The Big Chill” soundtrack it is!


  59. Thanks guys for the info…Motown!

    Hey Jessica Turner…Do you have a Motown list? I loved your lists from last week, that was great!


  60. I found this article about suggestions for Motown songs:



  61. Thanks Louise…alot of Marvin Gaye in that suggestion list; which I love! I actually would rather hear James try What’s Going On, than Casey.

    Motown means Scotty gotta change lanes, but he don’t need to change cars!!! I’m sure there are some great country covers out there of some great Motown songs! 🙂


  62. I played around with this question, and came up with a few of the same answers as the list that Louise posted a link to. Forgive the all caps format, the list of contestants that I copied from the net was like that and I didn’t bother to change it, so the format transferred to my song choices as well. I can’t imagine Thia singing anything that Thelma Houston sang or having the sway with the producers to get a better arrangement than the disco sound of the original. Thelma had one really good album with a jazz group called Pressure Cooker, but that was post Motown and would not be eligible. I tried to stay away from the Supremes for the girls, but I would have chosen the Vanilla Fudge version of “Set Me Free” for James if it were not so long. There is more than one song choice for most contestants.













  63. I found this list:

    1. I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
    2. My Girl – Temptations
    3. Reach Out I’ll Be There – Four Tops
    4. Where Did Our Love Go? – Supremes
    5. What’s Goin’ On? – Marvin Gaye
    6. Dancing in the Street – Martha & The Vandellas
    7. I Want You Back – Jackson 5
    8. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
    9. Please Mr. Postman – Marvelettes
    10. My Guy – Mary Wells
    11. (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave – Martha & The Vandellas
    12. Do You Love Me? – Contours
    13. Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye
    14. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    15. The Tracks of My Tears – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    16. Shotgun – Jr. Walker & The All Stars
    17. I’ll Be There – Jackson 5
    18. Baby Love – Supremes
    19. Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone – Temptations
    20. Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Stevie Wonder
    21. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) – Four Tops
    22. The Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    23. Stop! In the Name of Love – Supremes
    24. You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me – Miracles
    25. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – Temptations
    26. Baby I Need Your Lovin’ – Four Tops
    27. You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder
    28. Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    29. Money (That’s What I Want) – Barrett Strong
    30. Leavin’ Here – Eddie Holland
    31. Shop Around – Miracles
    32. You Keep Me Hangin’ On – Supremes
    33. You Can’t Hurry Love – Supremes
    34. Endless Love – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
    35. Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder
    36. Ooo Baby Baby – Miracles
    37. Nowhere To Run – Martha & The Vandellas
    38. It Takes Two – Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston
    39. War – Edwin Starr
    40. I Second That Emotion – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    41. Super Freak Part I – Rick James
    42. Living For the City – Stevie Wonder
    43. I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Gladys Knight & The Pips
    44. Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder
    45. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – Temptations
    46. I Can’t Get Next To You – Temptations
    47. Cloud Nine – Temptations
    48. Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) – Temptations
    49. Smiling Faces Sometimes – Undisputed Truth
    50. This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You) – Isley Brothers
    51. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted? – Jimmy Ruffin
    52. Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) – Marvin Gaye
    53. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – Marvin Gaye
    54. Playboy – Marvelettes
    55. Jimmy Mack – Martha & The Vandellas
    56. Don’t Mess With Bill – Marvelettes
    57. Since I Lost My Baby – Temptations
    58. Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston
    59. All Night Long (All Night) – Lionel Richie
    60. Going To a Go-Go – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
    61. Fingertips Part II – Stevie Wonder
    62. The One Who Really Loves You – Mary Wells
    63. Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye) – Gladys Knight & The Pips
    64. Love Hangover – Diana Ross
    65. Upside Down (Inside Out) – Diana Ross
    66. Brick House – Commodores
    67. I Wish It Would Rain – Temptations
    68. Beechwood 4-5789 – Marvelettes
    69. The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game – Marvelettes
    70. Bernadette – Four Tops
    71. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
    72. Hello – Lionel Richie
    73. It’s the Same Old Song – Four Tops
    74. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy – Brenda Holloway
    75. Jamie – Eddie Holland
    76. Your Precious Love – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    77. Quicksand – Martha & The Vandellas
    78. Come and Get These Memories – Martha & The Vandellas
    79. Keep on Truckin’ Part I – Eddie Kendricks
    80. Needle In a Haystack – Velvelettes
    81. (I’m a) Roadrunner – Junior Walker & The All-Stars
    82. ABC – Jackson 5
    83. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross
    84. Give It To Me Baby – Rick James
    85. Cruisin’ – Smokey Robinson
    86. My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) – David Ruffin
    87. Three Times a Lady – Commodores
    88. Heaven Must Have Sent You – Bonnie Pointer/The Elgins
    89. Let It Whip – Dazz Band
    90. It’s a Shame – Spinners
    91. Baby I’m For Real – Originals
    92. The Bells – Originals
    93. He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’ – Velvelettes
    94. Come To Me – Marv Johnson
    95. I Need Your Lovin’ – Teena Marie
    96. The Love You Save – Jackson 5
    97. What Does It Take (To Win Your Love?) – Jr. Walker
    98. Function At The Junction – Shorty Long
    99. Does Your Mama Know About Me? – Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers
    100. Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) – Monitors/Valadiers


  64. Jessica Turner March 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I am at the college now. I am supposed to be doing a bio lab. I will write more tonight after I teach my writing class.

    I love Casey, but I hope he pulls a David Cook/Adam Lambert and is smart enough to change things up (tone, beat, genre). He can have an innocent sweetness to his voice that is a nice contrast to the the gravely. Not grave-ly, but gravel-y. I just hope he doesn’t do Rick James “SuperFreak” or something. I think he’d do a great “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”


  65. I see that the theme has been posted. Thanks! I saw it earlier today and then realized that everyone already had the information. Now this is my music! This is what I listened to in my early teens! YAY Motown!

    However, as is always the case, there are pitfalls and land mines aplenty in these songs that were made famous by some of the best singers that ever lived. That list Vonnie posted is like a blueprint for my youth. I know every single one of these songs by heart.

    Neither One of Us Wants to Say Goodbye by Gladys Knight is probably one of my all-time favorite songs. It’s beautiful and would be a great choice for one of the girls. I actually would like to see Pia try something like this or maybe even Haley.

    Baby I’m For Real by The Originals would be good for Jacob or maybe even Stephano.

    What Becomes of the BrokenHearted by James Ruffin would be really great for Jacob.

    Ooh Baby Baby by The Miracles is a gorgeous song which could be good even for Pia for a change of pace or Haley or maybe even Naima or Thia. It would sound beautiful done by one of the girls.

    I’ll Be There is one of my favorite songs by the Jackson Five. Gene suggested it for Pia and that would be a great choice. I would love to see someone sing it.

    I am praying that they try to stay away from some of these songs that have been done so much and really can’t be improved. Marvin Gaye songs are very, very hard to pull off. I think that only Casey or James might be able to pull it off because they have shown the ability to be original and make a classic song their own. It’s still extremely risky.

    I am also hoping that they stay away from Diana Ross and especially Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Lil tried to do a Martha Reeves song and it was a disaster. You need a good deal of power and have to sing it the right way.

    What Does it Take to Win Your Love by Junior Walker is another great song that I hope someone chooses to do. Jacob or Stefano could easily do it.

    I don’t have one yet for Scotty or Paul. I have to think a bit more about it.

    This is one time when I don’t need to listen to any of these songs on youtube!


  66. Mindy,
    I had Thia matched with the Jackson 5’s Be There and one of the following for Pia.



  67. Gene,

    I thought I wrote a response to you, but either I didn’t hit POST or it disappeared. I glanced over your suggestions before I wrote mine, so I did get that wrong with Thia.

    We do seem to be on the same page with some of our suggestions. I am listening to Michael McDonald’s version of Since I Lost My Baby. He is one of my favorite singers, but I didn’t recall this one. I think this could really work very well for Scotty. Great choice! That’s the way to do it, change it up and make it your own.

    I started listening to Marvin Gaye on youtube and it became very emotional for me. Someone managed to post a video of him singing acappella, with the background taken away. They had a few songs with him singing alone and of course, I know that he had one of the greatest voices of all time, but that was when I lost it. It made me miss him so much more. I also watched him with Tammi Terrell, also acappella and it just was overwhelming. I know she died young, but didn’t realize that she collapsed in Marvin Gaye’s arms while they were onstage performing in 1967. They she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, had eight surgeries but could not be saved. She died right before her 25th birthday. I remember Marvin Gaye talking about her once when he made a tv appearance. He supposedly went into a depression and stopped performing live and got into drugs. They were so unbelievable together. Someone posted a comment on youtube to the effect that they had real voices then! So true.

    I listened to Rod Stewart’s version of Same Old Song and think that would work for Paul, but it would be more of the same. I don’t know if he has the voice to pull off Let’s Stay Together. I guess he could rework it, because he is not Al Green. I can’t see Paul being able to sing You Are the Sunshine of My Life. That one is a bit Steve Wonder hit and I don’t know how he would rework it.

    You picked a few Marvin Gaye songs. I have never yet heard anyone do his songs justice on this show. It will be a tough task. James might be able to pull it off if he changes it up, but I just don’t know.

    I didn’t come up with anything for Lauren. I was thinking of I Need Your Lovin’ by Teena Marie.

    I like your suggestion for Naima. There is this remix version of Heaven Must have Sent You that I had to listen to by Bonnie Pointer and the Elgins, but I am not sure.

    That’s about it. My brain is tired.

    Final word – no Thelma Houston!


  68. Oops, typos! I meant to say that Paul would be doing Rod Stewart again, meaning more of the same.

    Also Sunshine of My Life is a BIG hit for Stevie Wonder!

    I really am tired, so that will be it for me tonight.


  69. Jessica Turner March 22, 2011 at 4:21 am

    This is the track listing for The Big Chill soundtrack. Not all are Motown, but many are. I’ve added asteriks to ones I’m not sure if they are Motown or not.

    Track Listings Disc: 1
    Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
    The Temptations – My Girl
    The Rascals – Good Lovin’
    Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – The Tracks Of My Tears
    Three Dog Night – Joy To The World
    The Temptations – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg
    Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman
    Smokey Robinson & The Miracles -I Second That Emotion
    ***Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale
    The Exciters – Tell Him
    Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising
    Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman
    The Rascals – In The Midnight Hour
    The Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’
    The Band – The Weight
    The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice
    Bert Kaempfert – Strangers In The Night
    Church Version – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
    J.T. Lancer Theme

    Disc: 2
    Four Tops – It’s The Same Old Song
    Martha & The Vandellas – Dancing In The Street
    Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
    The Marvalettes – Too Many Fish In The Sea
    Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing
    Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
    Jr. Walker & The All Stars – Shotgun
    Doobie Brothers – Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)
    The Supremes – Ask Any Girl
    Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me
    Spanky & Our Gang – Like To Get To Know You
    The Mamas And The Papas – Monday, Monday
    Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin (The Night)
    Joe Cocker – Feeling Alright
    Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – Game Of Love
    James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good)
    Blues Magoos – (We Ain’t Got) Nothing Yet
    The Zombies – Time Of The Season
    Howard Tate – Get It While You Can

    Here’s a Motown Covers compilation: http://www.discogs.com/Various-You-Cant-Hurry-Love-The-Motown-Covers-Album/master/187521
    You Can’t Hurry Love – Phil Collins
    Easy – Faith No More
    The Way You Do The Things You Do – UB40
    This Old Heart Of Mine – Rod Stewart
    Mercy Mercy Me/ I Want You – Robert Palmer
    Little Darling (I Need You) – The Doobie Brothers
    Tracks Of My Tears- Go West
    What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted? – Dave Stewart (Eurythmics,right?)
    Ball Of Confusion – Tina Turner
    Papa Was A Rolling Stone – Was (Not Was)
    They Won’t Go When I Go – George Michael
    I Second That Emotion – Japan
    How Sweet It Is – James Taylor
    Never Can Say Goodbye – The Communards
    Nathan Jones – Bananarama ???
    You Keep Me Hanging On – Kim Wilde
    Tears Of A Clown- The Beat
    Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) – Paul Young

    I’m not saying these are all good, or even that I’ve heard of them, but just some ideas for remakes.
    Another link for covers/remakes: http://members.fortunecity.com/luvnruffin/id14.htm
    Some very recent folks doing covers (sample tracks on website: http://www.standingintheshadowsofmotown.com/soundtrack.htm
    — Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – Ben Harper
    — What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted – Joan Osborne
    — I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Ben Harper
    — (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave – Joan Osborne

    Casey Abrams – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
    I think this song has a great bass line and he could play it with the stand up bass. It has plenty of room to add individuality. I’d hope he’d use different tones and ranges in his voice as the song proffers many opportunities.
    I could also see him doing “Joy To the World,” but it would also be interesting to see him do a ballad like “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” or “Brother,Brother” (the one written by Carole King).

    Haley Reinhart – If she takes advice and goes in the bluesy direction, this could be a slam dunk for her. Think she could rock “I Feel the Earth Move”? I think so. Or “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” perhaps. I think her voice has enough “character” or she can create a little bit of rasp in the particularly emotional parts to give it that little extra.

    Jacob Lusk – I give up.

    James Durbin – Of course he has enough falsetto he can do justice to some of the songs in Motown that have that high male part. Or he could do a more rock/pop version of “Dancing in the Street” a la Mick Jagger and David Bowie (1985 or 6?). He could so a song to make the girls swoon, like “My Girl.” “Good Lovin'”?

    Lauren Alaina – Do a fun, age-appropriate song. “Tell Him,” “I Feel the Earth Move,” and she might be able to pull off “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

    Naima Adedapo – I think if she sings reasonably on tune she will do well. “Will You Still Love Me?”

    Paul McDonald – I think anything Carole King wrote and was done for Motown, Paul could convert to pop/rock. That is the nature of Carol King … it’s quite universal. (And when are they going to have a Carol King night???) Again, if he signs in tune he’ll be ok. I’d really like to see him stop doing the crab walk. If he plays the guitar and does a stripped down version of something, I’d be really excited. On YouTube I saw that Roberta Flack and Michael Jackson both did “You’ve Got a Friend.” I could really see him doing that a la James Taylor.

    Pia Toscano – I think she can probably do most songs technically. I really would like her to break out of the Wedding Singer facade. It is getting very boring to me. Can she be modern, pop? Sing with soul?
    “I Second That Emotion”
    “You Can’t Hurry Love”
    “These Arms of Mine”

    Scotty McCreery – I don’t think he has the maturity to pull of Marvin Gaye, but I think there are other songs that would fit his voice. “My Girl,” “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” as done by Johnny Cash on AmericanIV: The Man Comes Around.

    I am falling asleep at the wheel here! That’s all I can handle!


  70. I am horrible at picking songs for contestants to sing…but here goes my picks for Motown!

    Casey Abrams: Hello ~ Lionel Richie ~ I want to hear Casey do something very soft and less Jazz…him playing the piano would be great; he does play the piano, right?

    Haley Reinhart : I Need Your Lovin’ ~ Teena Marie ~ This song would give Haley a chance to just stand and sing, especially if she slowed it down a little.

    Jacob Lusk: You Are the Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder ~ I think Jacob would do well with this song!

    James Durbin: What’s Goin’ On ~ Marvin Gaye ~ If he did this like he did Maybe I Amazed, with that same passion and tone…could be great!

    Lauren Alaina : You Can’t Hurry Love ~ Supremes ~ I just picked one for Lauren, I really have no interest in hearing her sing it! I’m sorry that sounds mean and I don’t mean for it too, just don’t care to hear her sing and whine or vis-versa!

    Naima Adedapo: I Heard It Through the Grapevine ~ Gladys Knight & The Pips ~ Same as Lauren! Just without the whinning part!

    Paul McDonald: Crusin’ ~ Smokey Robinson ~ I can see Paul pulling off a little smokey! Just no Dancing!!!

    Pia Toscano: I Can’t Help Myself ~ Four Tops ~ Come on Pia, break out with this song!

    Scotty McCreery: What Becomes of the Brokenhearted ~ Jimmy Ruffin ~ This is the only song that I thought would be a fair match for Scotty’s voice! Plus it will give him the opportunity to go outside of his lane, but at the same time keep on the same road!!!

    Stefano Langone: Just my Imagination ~ Tempations ~ He’s done ballads for the last two weeks, step out and have fun!

    Thia Megia: Dancing in the Street ~ Martha & the Vandellas ~ Okay Thia, as far as I’m concerned you are the girl with the chops, but you tend to be, well…boring! Throw on a wild hairdo, dress like a teenager, and bring it like Bowie/Jagger!!!


  71. Mindy,

    The Michael McDonald song is from an album of his which is appropriately named “Motown.” As the name implies, it’s all Motown covers. It’s pretty good stuff, but IMHO, “Since I Lost My Baby” is the best cut on the album. You’re right about his making it his own. I would like to see this years’ contestants do that, but so far we have only seen the producers’ vision for them. Michael McDonald did another album of Motown covers the following year named Motown 2.

    I had no idea (or maybe no memory) of Tammi Terrell’s tragic death. That’s a real shame. She and Marvin were so good together. I will have to dig out the acappella edits on You Tube. I agree that most Marvin Gaye songs would be tough for the majority of these contestants. I choose “Can I Get a Witness” for James more for the style of the song that could be a vehicle for him to do his rock thing, rather than a suggestion that he could match Marvin Gaye’s vocals. You are correct, that won’t happen. This song is a lot less challenging in that regard than some of the others though. Stefano should be able to do a decent job with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and he really has no choice but to make it his own as a solo singer. I can only remember the Supremes and MG & TT doing it. He will get a nice boost from the backup singers with this song. Speaking of backup singers, have you noticed they have two sets? It’s probably because of the variety of voices they have this year. I like the older group that sang with Lauren Turner much better than the teeny bop group.

    If I could have my wish come true from any singer / song combination on my list it would be for Pia to do “Ooo Baby Baby.” I think that would be very nice. I would add “Tracks of my Tears” to my list for Pia. Either of these could break her out of her current diva mold.

    I wondered what happened to my Gladys Knight albums! I love her too. You may have seen my post a month ago about taking my wife to see her on Valentine’s Day. She’s still got her pipes, but no Pips. It was a great show. I didn’t feel like we had a GK style singer in the group this year but Pia has said she covers all kinds of music when she sings with her band, so maybe she could do something with it. I would love to see it if she did. I can’t feature the others pulling it off though. I could see Haley doing it, in theory maybe, but not in practice. I will predict that Pia will touch Idol’s third rail this year… and live to tell about it. That’s right, I think she will sing a Kelly Clarkson song and the Dawg will say “yo, yo, Pia knocked it out da box.” It will not be a horrible blood fest like poor little Julie, who was slain by the evil Kelly just 15 seconds into her cover. No, Pia will take on Idol’s own diva and survive.

    Paul, what can you say? He’s on my list of disappointments for this season. One of my daughters knows the guy and said she is surprised by his poor performance so far. He does have an unusual and limited voice but he has missed opportunities to use it to best effect. She says that he is an excellent pianist and guitarist and his specialty is making songs his own. I was surprised that he did nothing at all with Sir Elton’s “Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” last week. I would have sat him on a stool with his guitar, nailed his feet to the floor, and had him do a stripped down, slowed down, self accompanied version of the song. But I’m not an award winning music producer; what do I know. He is at his last chance to wow me. It’s true that he isn’t Al Green or Stevie, but he doesn’t have to be. No one will confuse his version with an attempt to copy them. If he does his best with any of these songs, he could have a good night.

    I like your suggestion of “Baby I’m For Real” for Jacob. In Jacob’s case, I think he should stay very close to the original. I know many of us here have expressed the “less is more sentiment” about his performances. You may have more confidence in Jacob than I do at this point. After the mess he made out of “Alone” last week, I’ve pretty much given up hope at this point that he will change his style, especially when the judges continue to encourage him in it.

    I liked your suggestion of the remixed version of “Heaven Must have Sent You.” by Bonnie Pointer and the Elgins. I’ve got a new suggestion for Naima to add to the list. The Shirelles “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” but in the Amy Winehouse style. If she pulled this off, I think it would be a home run for her. She is also on my short list of disappointments this season, especially after Grammie Kari’s info about her music and dance education and experience. It’s a lot easier to over look a few rough edges from someone on the janitor’s staff than it is from music major.

    You mentioned Lil Rounds performance of “Heat Wave.” How embarrassing it must have been for her to have Barry Gordy and Smokey Robinson in the audience and to sing that poorly. Lil was another big disappointment for me. She had it all, looked nice, nice, good stage presence, an appreciation of the music she was singing but in the end, her singing skills were not up to par at the time that opportunity was knocking. I don’t know what has happened to her but I hope she went home having learned the correct lesson and began to hone her skills. She could own a big part of the throw back R&B market if she ever gets it right.

    Your right though, “Heat Wave” would eat Lauren alive. My thinking was that it would give her a lot of dancing and prancing around to hide behind. The two Diana Ross songs have a country flavor to them and aren’t very challenging. Lauren makes no connection with me.

    So why did they show Carly Smithson several times behind Randy in the audience, last week, and even interview the two girls next to her, but never mention her name or say hello to her?


  72. Jessica,
    From your list of songs from the Big Chill Soundtrack album, the following songs are not Motown. The scary part is I only had to look up two of them.

    Tell me about your soundtrack album. I bought mine in the last century and it has only one CD and only has 14 songs. What really irritated me was that the definitive song of the movie, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” was omitted.

    The Rascals – Good Lovin’

    Three Dog Night – Joy To The World

    Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale

    Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising

    Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman

    The Rascals – In The Midnight Hour

    The Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’

    The Band – The Weight

    The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice

    Bert Kaempfert – Strangers In The Night

    Church Version – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

    J.T. Lancer Theme

    Disc 2
    Doobie Brothers – Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)

    Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me

    Spanky & Our Gang – Like To Get To Know You

    The Mamas And The Papas – Monday, Monday

    Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin

    Joe Cocker – Feeling Alright

    Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – Game Of Love

    James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good)

    Blues Magoos – (We Ain’t Got) Nothing Yet

    The Zombies – Time Of The Season

    Howard Tate- Get It While You Can


  73. Jessica Turner March 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Gene –

    I didn’t mean to mislead people. I just cut and paste the tracks from Wikipedia. That seemed to be some kind of double edition/extended edition? Here you go: 15th Anniversary edition with amazon.com link. 😉


    Whaddya mean the JT Lancer theme isn’t Motown?!


  74. Jessica Turner March 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Gene –

    I have to admit I don’t know some of the songs you suggested. I’m not quite Motown generation – my mom is – but I was in middle school when the The Big Chill came out … and then there was California Raisins commercial .

    I totally agree with you about Paul. I hope he’s getting some feedback from SOMEONE on what NOT to do on stage. And I don’t mean song choice. Yes, I mean the funky chicken. Why aren’t the producers letting him play instruments on stage? They don’t want him to go on? With the beard he does look a little old to be an “idol.” If I didn’t know they had an age limit I would have him pegged for early to mid-30s. Are they sabotaging him? He seems too smart a guy not to know what works best for him. I remember some one posting that the producers bow out at some point. If he makes it that far, it could be a good thing.

    Now, I’m hear because I love good vocals, and I love learning more about music and vocals. However, this competition isn’t just about finding the best vocalist. An “American Idol” is a casserole of traits that add up to a successful pop singer. The recipe is different for everyone, though. If they allow contestants to sing music originated by bands, why do they not put a band on stage with the singer? It’s just weird to see Casey doing Nirvana with no band, or James do Bon Jovi with no band. Part the “je ne sais quoi” of being a pop idol is the feel and you can’t quite get that “lovin’ feeling” for a band song without the band. I’ll have to go back and look at David Cook’s performances bc. he’s definitely the band type.

    Please Paul, I love you. Sit down tomorrow night. Crook your heel on a support rung of a stool. And DON’T MOVE AGAIN. I hope you are no longer sick. Is that why there is a report of people moving out of the mansion on MJ’s Big Blog? Be the innovation singer-songwriter we know you can.

    So, of other picks, Gene, I like yours for Scotty. I could care less about Jacob. He can’t go home soon enough for me. I could totally here Pia do “oooo, Baby baby,” but she needs to sound less dated, younger, hipper, upbeat. SHE needs to do an something a la Amy Winehouse, although maybe not her specifically. Any other recent female singers you think she compares to vocally? Sinead O’Connor is not recent, but her voice was higher but powerful. Kristina Perri – Jar of Hearts (love that song, haven’t heard others), Sara Bareilles?


  75. Jessica,

    Does this mean I can’t borrow your Big Chill album? There is some pretty good stuff on the Deluxe version you referenced. Some of it isn’t from the movie. I was in love with Leslie Gore when I was about 6.
    Pia does excellent covers of the following songs:

    American Boy by Estell,

    Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna,

    Just Dance – Paparazzi by Gaga,

    Rehab by Amy Winehouse (no kidding),

    The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson

    Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis

    Since You Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

    Check her stuff out on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/user/TeamPiaToscano#p/u/16/tbxsJNhYty0

    Of course she is a cover artist and as such, doesn’t make the songs her own, but does them as close as possible to the originals. This list alone, if performed as well as they are in the videos, would be sufficient to get her into the finales, but for the themes. I thought we weren’t having themes this year? It’s hard to do current songs with a Beatles theme, songs of your birth year and now Motown.

    It sounds like you have the best of both worlds; old enough to have an appreciation of a great era of music and young enough to enjoy it. The California Raisins, that’s funny. I agree completely with what you said about the competition for the American Idol title. It isn’t just a singing competition and it isn’t always the best singer who wins. The two things I would like to see Pia do would be, as we have said already, open up her song choices a little and be a little more engaging and personable with Ryan and the judges. She is polite and reserved to a fault and I believe the fans like to get the sense that they know the contestants. She may be playing a very smart strategy of not peaking too soon.


  76. Gene,

    I must echo your comments and Jessica’s regarding Paul, especially the one about putting him in a chair and nailing him to the floor if necessary! NO MOVING, PERIOD! Just sit there with your guitar and sing! Please! It’s not only the moving around, it’s the WAY he moves around, with all those spastic movements and jerking his body around in weird positions. It is killing his vocals.

    I really don’t have any connectionw with Lauren, so it was hard for me to pick a song that might work for her. She just doesn’t do anything for me. I guess Heat Wave might be as good as any song. Lil tried to do it like Martha Reeves and it was a disaster. Forget that! No one could possibly even try to match that lady’s powerhouse voice and that distinctive sound she had.

    I really wasn’t sure about Heaven Must Have Sent You by Bonnie Pointer and the Elgins, but if you think it might work, well it could. Right now I am listening to Amy Winehouse’s version of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Now this is the way to rework a great classic. Don’t even try to be the Shirelles! This is terrific and I think Naima could really do a great job in this style. However, she is another one who simply must stop the dancing around! Stand there and just sing, girl! I don’t care if she was a dancer, this girl cannot get her vocals to stay on pitch. She must do that this week or I fear she will be gone. I think this song is a great suggestion! You are good at this!

    Jacob needs to just tone it down. I would like him to do a stripped down version of one of the great soul songs on that list. I don’t know what the producers and judges are doing by encouraging him to oversing and the arrangements are horrible. They are actually hurting, rather than helping him. It may be too late for him anyway.

    I promise not to compare anyone to the original artist. If someone is going to do a Marvin Gaye song, then they will have to do it their way. They will never match the original and shouldn’t even try. As far as the acappella vocals, I think what some people are doing with these youtube videos is taking out the background vocals and instruments and just letting us hear the vocal tracks. I was reading the comments section and I think that is what they did. Someone said that in those days they had the musicians lay down their track first and then did the vocals separately. I think it saved money. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell even recorded their vocals separately at times.

    I knew that Marvin Gaye was devastated by Tammi’s death, but I didn’t know that she collapsed in his arms on stage. It seems that Marvin Gaye was very shy and didn’t like performing live and Tammi was very outgoing and animated and she helped him a lot. You can just see in the few live performances that they have of them, how close they were and how much they liked singing together. It was a singing marriage made in heaven. He went into seclusion after her death in 1970 and into a severe depression and supposedly even attempted suicide. That was when he started to get into drugs. At the funeral he was distraught and, in his eulogy, he was talking to her as though she was still alive and would answer him.

    I think it was on Soul Train some years later when he started performing again, when he was asked about Tammi. He only spoke briefly about it, but it was clear that it was a really terrible blow to him. He had a lot of tough times in his life, but somehow he was still a genius right to the end. I think James could pull it off by making it his own. That will work. In the past, the contestants who did Marvin Gaye songs tried to do it like he did, but of course it was a disaster.

    As far as the backup singers, I just don’t like them much. I think at time they are really detracting from the performances. I will have to check out the two sets of backup singers tomorrow night. I actually do remember that Michael McDonald did covers of Motown songs in two albums and have a few of them downloaded. However, the one you mention I had not heard. Of course, it’s great. Scotty could kill it.

    Don’t you think that it’s time for Casey to tone it down a little and just sing? I am getting a little tired of the screaming. I wish he would go softer.

    I have a feeling that Haley is singing for her life this week. Allison did Papa Was a Rolling Stone quite memorably two seasons ago, but she certainly has the voice to pull it off. She is another one who should just stand there or sit down and focus on the words of the song and keep it simple.

    Stefano has the voice to pull off Aint No Mountain High Enough. I think he will do very well with Motown.

    It’s funny, but I have been thinking the same thing about Pia. I do think she will violate the third rail of Idol and succeed! She has already tackled some forbidden songs by legendary female singers. She has the pipes to do just about anything. I am really hoping that she goes soft and simple and just tones it all down. I heard a lovely softer aspect of her voice and would really enjoy more of it.

    I actually think your song choices were very good. It will all depend on how they do them and no one said this will be easy. It’s hard to know when to change up a great classic and when to leave it alone.

    If I happen to get any info on the songs from MJ’s blog, then I will let you all know.


  77. Looking forward to this, I like this theme a lot, as it allows a great variety to choose from – even the cut down lists the singers are allowed.

    My early faves are disappointing me – and I so want to love them again.

    Really hope Thia chooses something fun and moves a little – maybe wear something “age appropriate” rather than long dresses.

    Desperately want Casey do do something as good as his two songs with the bass, so I become interested again. I want him to take a song and change it into his style.

    Scotty – not disappointed yet, but do want some variety now – again some fun and movement – (I am probably the only one who liked “I say No”). Variety does not mean doing rock or soul rather than country style – but mixing it up within his home. Then go back the week after to a soul stirring ballard.

    Judges – start calling the shots properly – just watched MICHAEL SLEZAK – so funny – he cut in with videos of Simon saying what should have said.


  78. Okay! So I was over playing in Mj’s yard, and she say’s that Paul is gonna break out the guitar this week; and that his band has done a Motown cover, they didn’t say which one; but this is good news for Paul, cause it sounds like he is coming this week with a plan.

    I agree Gene, I too am disappointed with Paul…I loved his audition “clip” if you can call it that, (what did they show all of 2 seconds of him) and Black Bird…!

    Jessica Turner,

    I was born in the early 60’s, so motown was in full swing while I was still in diapers! My first recollection of the fact that there was other music on the radio, (other than Hank Williams and Elvis Presley), was when I was in elementary school and the girls in my class would bring 45’s to play on our class record player during recess. This crazy young artist in 1972 came out with a little tune called “Crocodile Rock”…I was hooked!

    I really didn’t come to appreciate Motown music until much later, I heard Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” and fell in love with his voice…in 1984 Diana Ross and Lionel Richie did a song called “Missing You”, Lionel wrote it Diana sang it…after that I was a Diana Ross fan, that was the most beautiful song and she sang it so beautiful…I have always been a Lionel Richie fan; had one of his songs sang at my wedding!!!

    So anyways, to make a long story short, Motown was before my time too! But I have come to appreciate alot of the songs and artists! As for the rest of the 70’s music, well that leaves alot to be desired on my part, the 80’s is where it is at for me. LOL


  79. Oh! Louise…do you like who your boy Max is paired up with this year!!! I love those two together…Kirsti will def keep him in line, she is hilarious!

    Great line-up this year!


  80. Hi, Vonnie,

    Yes, Maks is my boy!!! I like your boy, Tony, too. But it looks like Maks will probably get to stay on a little longer than Tony this season. Wendy wasn’t very good on Monday night, but Kristie was terrific. Poor Tony! Why do they always give him the bad dancers (I’m especially remembering Kate Gosselin!)?


  81. Louise,

    Ugh…Blah, Kate was awful, I don’t understand it either; poor Tony! But, Max and Kirstie were really good last night, she really looked great! They should go deep into this competition!

    Yeah, Wendy needs to bring some sass to the floor, why the tears???


  82. Hello everyone. I am going to take some quality time tonight & read all these wonderful comments. I just wanted to do a quick recap of what I saw last week. Also, for the record, I didn’t start watching until 2 weeks ago so I have little history with these people. I actually liked what Lauren did & felt much more connected to her than the previous week when I thought she was awful. I like Pia’s voice but I think she needs to move more on stage. It might help if she wasn’t wearing 6-inch heels LOL. I love Casey but I worry about him. He’s not well – after he finished last week he looked genuinely tired & he also looks pale to me. I LOVE Scotty – what a voice for someone so young & he has genuine stage presence & connects to what he is singing. He does need better breath control but I think he could get that in a skinny minute with the right teacher. I would buy a CD from him & I think he has a bright future in the business. I think Thia has a beautiful voice but she has been too safe in her choices and, as MCL is fond of absolutely rightly pointing out, she does not maintain a round mouth position – way too much smiling.

    The good news, in a way, is I do not see myself getting too attached to any of these people. So I can be more objective. Those of you who are aware of my history from last season will be glad to hear that. One Siobhan Magnus experience is enough. And then there was the Project Runway fiasco (I may never watch the show again, I am still so angry that Mondo didn’t win). OK, enough digression. More later. Thanks for all the effort put into these thoughtful posts. Love to y’all.


  83. Forgot to say…the song “Missing You” was written in memory of Marvin Gaye!


  84. Darlene,

    How great to see you here again! I have missed hearing from you, but appreciate your brief recap of thoughts about this season’s contestants.

    I am feeling exactly the way you do now. I like a few of these singers very much, but don’t have one special favorite. Like you, I have no desire to relive the experience I had with Siobhan last season. That just took too much out of me. However, I don’t think we will see the judges so blatantly try to take down any contestant.

    Also, I didn’t know you watch Project Runway! I am totally with you about what happened like season with Mondo not winning. I cannot remember the last time I was so furious. I even wrote the show and also on some blogs that were sent to the producers of the show. I just may be done with Project Runway. That was a total farce and a disgrace. Also, speaking about rude judges, Micheal Kors and Nina did not acquit themselves properly at all. Talk about agendas!

    Also, to Vonnie and Louise, I watch DWTS, too! I love, love Maks and Kirstie was fantastic. Thanks to her for representing for all of us older women. Way to go!

    Also, Vonnie, thanks for reminding me that Missing You was written for Marvin Gaye. So many of his fellow artists were devastated to see him leave us too soon. I remember exactly when I heard about his death. I was still married at the time and my husband and I were driving home from a day at the beach. We had the radio on and they announced that he was dead and for a moment, I thought it was some kind of practical joke. Once I realized that it was true, I totally fell apart. My husband even pulled over to try and comfort me because I was so overwrought. I adored Marvin Gaye from the time I was in my teens. It also freaked me out because, next to the great Sam Cooke, he was my favorite r&b singer. Sam Cooke was killed in 1964 when he was in his early 30’s and then to lose Marvin Gaye the day before he would have turned 45, was simply too much at that time.

    It’s a beautiful song that I have always loved because it says what so many felt when this legendary man blessed with true greatness was taken in such a violent way. We were deprived of the pleasure of watching him grow older and maybe come to a place of peace and happiness and bless us with more of his exceptional gift. When I watched him singing again on youtube, somehow all the sadness came rushing back. I don’t know that you ever really get over a great artist that you loved being taken away too young.


  85. Mindy,

    WooHoo! Another DWTS’s fan!!! 🙂

    Louise’s boy is Maks, mine is Tony (Poor Tony, he never gets a break), well, once he did when he and Melissa were partners; but anyways, you should have been on here last summer we chatted about Dancing till it went off, then chatted about America’s got talent!

    We’ve never figured out who Gene W. liked other than Jennifer Gray, I tried to give him a hard time about liking her, but he was a great sport and didn’t argue back too much!

    Yes! Kirstie was great last night, she will most definitely keep Maks under control; I think he has met his match with that one!

    The song missing you…I can’t remember what the occasion was, but Diana Ross was singing, it was some concert of hers I think, she sat down on the steps and sang “missing you” for Marvin and that was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard!


  86. Ooops sorry!!! Hi Darlene! 🙂


  87. Vonnie,
    You’ve reminded me of all of our discussions about Jennifer Grey and DWTS. By the performances this past Monday night, it doesn’t seem like any one in particular will be the runaway winner like Jennifer was last season. I like it better that way–we’ll get to watch them improve–or not!

    Since we’re talking about other reality TV shows, I hate to ask, but did anyone here happen to watch the Bachelor this past season? I am really not a fan of that show at all, but several years ago I watched it because the bachelor was from my sister’s home town and she knew his mother, etc. So naturally I was hooked for the season. Then the next season, I watched it because one of the contestants was from my area too. I swore I would never watch it again the year that Brad Womack didn’t choose either girl. But when I found out that he was going to be the bachelor again this past season, I just had to see if he picked anyone this time. So I was hooked again.


  88. Hi Vonnie, Hi Mindy. Yes, I absolutely loved Project Runway. Notice that I used the past tense. Michael Kors has become progressively more ugly over the past several years but I was still liking Nina until the fiasco. I will miss Tim Gunn but I will have to catch him in other venues because I genuinely have no intention of watching PR again.

    Also, for the record, I love the new judges. What a pleasure it is to hear such positive comments but also accurate critiques, especially from JLo. They make a good team. American Idol, in my opinion, is back from the brink & I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

    Finally, I totally agree with comments regarding Paul. In contrast to what I said about Pia’s needing to move more, I say: Paul, STOP moving so much. STAND STILL. Movement does not help your vocals.

    Glad to be back!


  89. Mindy,

    The Amy Winehouse version of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow was bad to the bone, wasn’t it? Slim chance of hearing it tonight, but we can always hope. I haven’t seen the ability in this year’s group to make a song their own in this way. I have to agree with you, Naima needs the nail-in-foot treatment when Paul gets his and she needs to spend more time on song choice, arrangement and pitch and less time on clothing design. I still have a glimmer of hope for her, but it’s fading fast. If she does this song, she comes off smelling like a rose.

    I guess I’ve already given up on Jacob changing direction. Based on past performances, he would be my pick to go home tonight, but anyone can turn around.

    Allison was my inspiration for choosing “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” for Haley. I love Allison and she knocked this one out of the park, so it wasn’t easy choosing a song she had done for hit or miss Haley. To Haley’s credit, I considered last week a good showing. It wasn’t one of those memorable Idol moments, but parts of the song she sang had a lot of lyrics in a short space at the same time that she was walking quickly around the judges table quickly. She didn’t do a lot of growling, stooping, bumping or grinding, but gave a fairly restrained performance that was pretty much on pitch throughout. All in all, she showed improvement. This theme is a good opportunity for her to connect with a good song and pull herself out of the hole she is in. The odds are against her though.

    I expect to see several guitars the week. Gibson just gave each contestant a new Gibson guitar so they will likely be encouraged to bring them out. I know Paul plays, maybe James and Scotty as well. Casey is said to play 10 instruments, so guitar may be on his list as well. Motown isn’t the best genre to debut guitars on, “unless you are making it your own.”

    The “grown up girl” was bringing it last night on DWTS, ehh. (I said ehh because I’m missing MCL) I hope Kirsty doesn’t push herself too hard, too fast. It took her way to long to regain her ability to speak and stop breathing hard after her dance. I would hate to see her hurt herself.

    Enjoy the show everybody! We will see if any of us are psychic or just psychotic tomorrow.


  90. Gene,

    When you get it right, I will be the first to give you credit. That was a brilliant choice for Naima and I was quite blown away by Ame Winehouse’s version of the song. She did it her way, made it her own and didn’t try to emulate the Shirelles. I think Amy is a great talent, but I just hope she survives!

    I really would like to see Naima stay in the competition. She has something unique and special and it would be nice to see her continue, however, as we both agree the focus has to go back to the vocals and not the dancing!

    It may well be too late for Jacob. If he doesn’t tone it down tonight, he might be the bottom. He is bursting America’s eardrums and I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    The first time I really liked Allison was when she did Papa Was a Rolling Stone. It was simply wonderful. Yes, Haley could rock the house with that one. It is true that she is trying to tone down the affectations and mannerisms. Somehow it hasn’t quite all come together yet. I just thought she went for the wrong song with Whitney. That’s not her thing. However, she has a chance to do well tonight if she really tries to connect with the audience and just let her voice shine. I think she is singing for her life in this competition. It’s do or die.

    So we are all fans of DWTS! I wish that I had known, because I would have loved to come here and share my thoughts with all of you. I am So proud of Kirstie! However, she did look very winded so I hope she takes it easy. Good grief, what on earth will she do when she has to do the jive? Yikes!


    I do love Tony. He and Maks are my two favorites! Poor Tony seems to get stuck with partners that are not only poor dancers, but head cases, too! Melissa was one time he got lucky and he really make the most of it.

    Thanks for making me think of happy things. I got really sad listening to Marvin Gaye, much more so than I expected. I thought it was all behind me, but just hearing him again made me cry lots of tears. I should be grateful for the time he was with us and the beautiful singing he brought into this world. He has left a legacy and will never be forgotten.


    Yes, you and I are now ex-Project Runway fans. I made sure to let the producers know that I am done with the show. It was a travesty. I hope Mondo will find his success, even though he was robbed. I have never seen such outrage as I did online after he lost. Michael and Nina reminded me of the bad judging we saw on Idol last season. I am having none of it. I also agree with you about the positive comments from the judges this season. JLo is doing surprisingly well. She is also now starting to give some constructive criticism to the contestants. She did rightly call out Naima for her inability to stay on pitch, but did it with kindness and a genuine concern for her to come out and do her best. I am enjoying this season more than I could have thought possible!

    I will eagerly await hearing your thoughts as we move forward!


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