Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 7 Performance Show: Songs From The 21st Century

Once again, I added another one of my Vlogs to get the thought processes rolling for tonight’s Top 7 American Idol show.

As this is Holy Week,  I am very busy with Church services, so this was a bit of a rush job.

And, oh dear, the video lighting changed toward the end of this clip and I didn’t have time to correct this error.

However, I did manage to address my thoughts on all the remaining singers on the show.

Again, I am loving the genre this week. It leaves the singers open to interpret songs suited to their particular style of singing.  I am hoping for another great show. I feel that there has been improvement in all the singers over the last two weeks.   Do you agree or no?

Enjoy the show everyone and share the love after the show ends.

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

19 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 10 Top 7 Performance Show: Songs From The 21st Century”

  1. I loved this vlog! Very concise and entertaining. I really like your brief, to-the-point rundown of the remaining singers’ strengths and weaknesses and how they’ve been progressing over the season. I definitely agree with you that all the singers have shown improvement in different areas over the last two weeks; I have them written in my notes! =P

    Like you, I am so glad that Haley showed her jazz chops last week! I knew from her pre-Idol performance of “Night and Day” that her voice was most compelling in that genre, but now the rest of the Idol viewers get to see that side of her as well!

    She’s so much more authentic in this zone. The critiques of her being affected and forced evaporate, and instead, we have this very earthy side of Haley that I wish we saw more often.

    One of the aspects of Haley’s voice I admire most is how nimble it is; I don’t think most viewers realize how high she sings! The head voice scatting section peaked at an Eb6 (the E-flat above Soprano C). Haley has the raw ingredients. They don’t always come together, but I like that she’s finding her stride, and as a result, the performances are starting to gel more. I found her highly watchable last week, and that’s a huge contrast to her first few live performances.


    P.S. This past week taught me that American Idol recaps need to be written the night of and/or morning after or else the motivation and relevance factor die. I’m gearing up for tonight and hoping I can churn my recap out in that time period! 😉


  2. It seems that every week I’ve been enjoying Idol this season–I honestly have no idea who should go home becase to me they were all good. As much as I really like Scotty and James, I found that my favorites tonight were Casey, Stefano and Haley. I look forward to hearing other viewers’ comments.


  3. Louise- this was one of the best shows I seen on the AI stage. I think each and every singer performed exceptionally well. This was the week for the judges to act like cheerleaders. No one deserved negative comments.


  4. I’m a frequent lurker, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted. MCL, I would like to say, first off, that I really appreciate your commentary every week. I don’t have a background in singing, but I really appreciate your helpful and kind critique of the singers. So thanks!

    About your vlog. I mean no disrespect, but I find it very difficult to listen to with the musical background. It’s very distracting. Do you think you could do it without that next time? It’s quite distracting.

    Thanks again for everything, and please keep the commentary coming. 🙂



  5. Karin- thanks for your kind comments. I will try to lower the volume. I like the music, so you are the first one to comment on it. I will consider it, though, so thank you for your input.


  6. I am watching on West Coast time. Haley just finished. I am so stunned. They should’ve propped her up soooooo much more. I posted this on facebook:
    AI Judges?! Whaaat? You did not give Haley enough props for that song. It’s black diamond difficulty, plus currently #1, and she did an incredible job. I was on my feet. She brought the attitude!

    LOFFFFED it! Haley. Loved Scotty too.


  7. I was so happy to see Stefano do so well with an UPTEMPO number! I have heard the song a few times. I listen to the Oldies But Goodies stations. Was it sung differently? Idol really is looking for a Teen Idol. He seemed a bit embarassed by it, but did what he was told. Love that smile!

    Those more familiar with the music of the 21st Century probably enjoyed the show more than I did, but the performances were (overall) good. I was happy to see that the judges being a bit more critical. Jennifer does love to be “fangirlish” doesn’t she. I really likie the job she’s been doing on the show!

    Bottom three will be tough to predict. Maybe Jacob, Casey, Haley and/or Stefano? Scotty recorded an older Country song which was rerecorded by LeAnn Rhimes. If the producers approve, then it must be OK. I think Idol would love Lauren to win this whole thing.

    MCL, with dial-up service, I am unable to hear what you have said. :frown:

    Good show tonight!


  8. There was a discussion last year when Siobhan hit (pitch perfect) an extremely high note. Someone was able to obtain information on the musical scale of the high notes. I believe Adam had the highest, then Siobhan, and then Diana DeGarmo. I am wondering how James places on that list?

    I know nothing about notes, but I believe it was an “E” note. Does anyone have this information? MCL, do you remember the discussion. People are tal;king about that high note that Steven mentioned in James’ performance.

    Hitting those high notes was said to be WAILING not screaming. Right?


  9. Here is a by play-by-play (watching and listening tonight).
    The show opens with clips of contestants – all affable.
    Get on your feet for the American Idol 10 Top 7 – how can we NOT like them!
    The bottom six perform Rock Star – Rock On Pia, Karen, Thia, Ashton, Naima
    Is this a Preview of the AI10 Tour group numbers?
    Paul sounds awful – he needs to rest those cords.
    I love the girls, though – they all look and sound great…
    Pia – love and miss you…
    These young ladies could have been in the top five last year.
    Scotty sings a Lee Ann Rimes song Swingin’
    Rocker feel…Horns…Upbeat country sound
    Scotty just has such a natural sound but seems to be drowned out by the background music and vocals.Low key almost a chant…Upper range…Fun song…
    James … Uprising …Modern arrangement…
    He can sing and move without seeming breathless and perform the monotone! What a pure sound for a harsh song…Scary GOOD…Scream…Lower range…Wail…
    He should be good at the concert…love you James
    Haley… like the jazzy sound…Sitting is tough…Standing is better…Use the Arm less, though…Like the jazz.. low high low high
    We could had it aaaaallll.You played it…
    Adele… LOVE Adele and Haley almost did it better…
    Jacob does Luther …Dance with My Father…
    When he is sincere he is good…Emotion shows…
    Starts at bottom of range..Change key…Change key
    He is GOOD when he just sings it from the heart.
    Casey…Hard to Believe…Higher range pure sound not a growl
    His diction is good – I can understand the words of this song for the first time…
    Modern sound – baby it’s cold outside – getting’ harder and harder to breathe
    Some nice scat, then a nice Rocker sound – is there anyone out there?
    Ends with a good Breathless sound BREATHE…
    Stefano – Closer Ne-Yo
    There is still a disconnect between what you see and what you hear on the screen. That is, Stefano wins the night for the pure sound, but the picture doesn’t always match the sound. HE IS GOOD on this number…I think he will be GREAT in the large venue – he just comes across as over the top on the small screen.
    Lauren – Southern Belle…Country – a little rough in the Low range..Brown eyed boy in my future

    Replay clips of all singers:
    Scott – Smile – Garth Brooks
    James – Wow!
    Haley – Jazz queen.
    Jacob – Sincere.
    Casey – Rock IT!
    Stefano – BEST vocalist of the night
    Lauren – She’s got that IT factor.
    Really was a great show — I agree that all of the contestants gave very, very good performances Wednesday.


  10. I forgot to mention when I posted last night that I was a little surprised by Randy’s comment to Jacob about wanting to see him let go instead of restraining himself so much. We’ve seen Jacob “let go” before and it was so over the top that it was ridiculous. I hope he doesn’t go back to that again. Of course, maybe that’s what they were hoping he will do so that he gets eliminated.


  11. I don’t know what the judges were thinking about in their comments about Jacob. He needs to sing from the heart and he did. Soul is all about sincere gut-wrenching feelings — reaching down deep — and perfecting your technique so you can project the story. As always, MCL has it right — work the diaphragm and pull it up from your feet and legs — all the embellishments in the world cannot top that in a SOUL-FULL piece of work.


  12. Grammie Kari,

    The high note in this performance was an F5, which is not James’ highest note. Idolranges.com has expired as a domain, so I can’t tell you what his highest note is off the top of my head, but I’m pretty sure he’s reached at least a G#5.

    I think what Jennifer was picking up on was the thickness of James’ coordination on that note. Usually, his high notes are more thinned out than that. (And for the record, so are Adam’s.) I’m covering this in my recap, so keep an eye out for it! 🙂



    I love your play-by-play! Your reactions are so honest and sincere but also encouraging. Last night, I read some recaps by bloggers I don’t usually read (trying to get inspiration for my first recap!), and I had to wash out the negative taste from my mouth and wonder if I was going crazy for liking some of the performances I did.

    Then, this morning, I read your recap and Michael Slezak’s and felt loads better! 😉 I’m definitely sticking to these main sources: Masterclasslady.com and Slezak’s commentary. What I admire about Slezak (besides him being a straight-up good writer!) is that he is honest in the most loving way and not elitist in any bit. He wants to like the contestants’ performances, and that genuineness really makes all the difference. When he’s excited about a performance (even with its flaws), he isn’t ashamed to show his enthusiasm! When he dislikes a performance, he sounds disappointed more than anything else. He knows the contestant can do better, so it’s more as if he’s mourning the lost opportunity or wasted potential. I never get the sense that he holds any personal vendettas against contestants, and that’s something I can’t say about the recappers who just seem negative or mean-spirited for the heck of it.

    I guess at heart Slezak is an optimist or idealist. I know I’m definitely one, so I connect with that! 😉 He keeps it real, though, and that’s what I like about him: the way his writing finds the right blend between the two.

    P.S. Your thoughts on Jacob tie into some of mine too! Good food for thought. 😀


  13. Here’s my thoughts on Wednesday Night:

    James-At the beginning of the song, his voice sounded too quiet. Then James’ voice sounded stronger, and spot on for the rest of his performance. I love his creativity and the fact that he challenges himself.

    Stephano-Stephano did a fantastic job with his performance. I have to say, though, I’ve been a bit disappointed with it. I’m looking for a “stunning” performance from Stephano. Something as wonderful as his Hollywood Week performance of
    “Come Home.” COME ON STEPHANO, I know you can do it!!! Also, PLEASE, PLEASE change your mind, and play the piano next time!! I want to see some “magic” if you are still around next week!!!!!!

    Casey-I was thinking the same thing as Randy when hearing Casey chose a Maroon 5 song. Casey sounded amazing, and changed it up to sound rock all the way through. I really can’t think of any vocal flaws in Casey’s performance. He doesn’t cease to amaze me with his creativity. He and James both are certainly the most creative of the bunch.

    Jacob-I DON’T agree with Randy regarding Jacob’s cover of that beautiful, heart stirring Luther Vandross ballad. This is the Jacob I like much better, not getting so carried away and dramatic. I think that took away the magic in some of his other perfomances. He sounded so wonderful, and showed such beautiful emotion in his voice. Jacob, please don’t listen to Randy!!! You sound best when you don’t go overboard with the dramatics!!!

    Scotty-I agreed with the judges about Scotty. Sure, this was an upbeat song, but he needs to challenge himself so much more than he has been. I want him to try something with more vocal range to it. Scotty dd sing the song well, though.

    Haley-I was so impressed with Haley’s performance! She sounded so lovely, and she had me humming along. Certainly, this was one of Haley’s best. I loved that fact also, that she sat on a chair at the beginning. It was a nice, simple touch.

    Lauren-I loved Lauren’s performance this week. Her vocals were so beautiful! I found this much better than last week, and was one of her best performances overall. One other Lauren performance that I’ve always remembered is “Candle In The Wind”. I agree with everyone who says that Miley can’t hold a candle to Lauren’s singing!!!!

    I’m looking so forward to David Cook tonight!! I bought his brand new single on Itunes, and LOVE IT!! His new album will be released June 28th. Yes!!! Yes!!!


  14. SurelyBSerious April 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    bout Jacob’s performance “not letting go”…..geez….I thought the judges told him not to “lose control” when he used to “let go” Must be frustrating 4 him. Hey, about the earpiece…he ripped it out. Can anyone please explain how the earpiece helps? I noticed who was it? did not wear an earpiece.

    I really liked it when they “made fun of each other”…sure looked like they are having the time of their lives!!!


  15. This week was different for me, with all these new songs. I had to listen to most of them on youtube! Here goes with my thoughts.

    Scotty – With all the country songs recorded in the first decade of this century, I think there must have been something better than “Swingin”. It was a cute uptempo song and Scotty had fun with it. He showed off that charm and stage presence as he always does. So he is aware that he holds the mic in a weird position. What about his head tilting sideways? I still think he missed a huge opportunity last week with “Everybody’s Talking”. I can’t get over the judges doing a complete aboutface and now telling him to give them more! Why should he if they have been showering him with praise every week? I just think there are better songs that may give him the opportunity to show off that voice.

    James – I did have to listen to “Uprising”. For a heavy metal song, it was actually listenable. It’s interesting that the lead singer Matt Bellamy told James to go up an octave at the end. I thought the Muse version lacked some drama by not changing it up at the end. The beginning of this started off shaky, with James losing the first few sentences of the song in his lower register. I don’t know if he was in the wrong key or what, but he could barely be heard. Then he went up to a more normal singing key and it took off from there. He is always the showman, owning the stage and communicating his infectious excitement and joy. He does take risks and also stays true to himself. I like the idea of going up an octave, but am not sure that James really hit it at the end. It sounded a bit harsh and screechy. However, there is no denying the brilliance of this performance.

    Haley – Shame on me for not knowing Adele! Now I have listened to her and am encouraged to hear such a great voice in contemporary music. All is not lost! I loved how Haley started off the performance, just sitting on a stool in close proximity to the audience. I think it helped her to focus on just singing and not those weird movements she does on stage. I liked how she changed it up and tried to make it her own. The falsetto seemed to be off key and there were one or two little blips, but overall I thought that she finally connected to the emotion and feeling of the song. It took a bit for her to get into it and lose that smiley face she always has, but she did connect with the song and gave a really impressive performance. I think now she knows who she is as an artist and watching her grow and develop during this competition has been a real pleasure. I don’t know what is going on with the judges in their critiques of her performances. This was the week to just cheer!

    Jacob – Something obviously went wrong early in his performance. He was hearing some drums or something weird and had to take his ear bud out. He managed to stay composed and continued on like a pro. I really liked how he was so restrained throughout much of this performance. He was feeling the emotion of the song and it came through in his vocals. What on earth was Randy thinking when he told Jacob to go full out and bring it to church? This poor young man will end up slightly schizophrenic by the end of this competition! Please do NOT tell him to sing full out! Jimmy has been working with Jacob and getting him to dial it back. Randy, sometimes you need to zip it!

    Casey – I like Maroon 5, but had to check out this song on youtube. Casey left the bass behind this week and good for him! He seemed to engage the audience more with this guitar. I thought he went a little too much into the growling again, which sounds harsh to me. I also don’t like the faces he makes while he is singing. I do love how he takes risks and does something different. This was more of the rocker, but I still love the jazzy Casey.

    Stefano – Finally he sang an uptempo song and smiled and had fun! I think this was a great song for Stefano to show his more flirtatious, charming personality. He even put in some great dance moves. There was a lot of moving around and going into the audience and I think Stefano’s vocals stayed pretty much on key. He really has such great vocals. Well done!

    Lauren – I wish the judges would remember that this girl is only sixteen! She doesn’t yet have the confidence and poise of someone a bit older. I think she has gotten more comfortable on that stage as the weeks have gone on. I think there were some lovely notes in this performance. She has a great sound in her voice, a wonderful tone that is appealing. I thought she did very well.


  16. Mindy,

    You mentioned about Casey’s growling. I don’t quite remember that. I’ll have to watch his performance again. It could be that he tends to do that, so now I’m oblivious to it!


  17. Anita,

    I liked the first part of Casey’s performance where he was using his distinctive vocals. Then I felt that he lapsed back into the harsher, raw vocals that I call growling. Maybe that’s not the right word. It sounded like he was shouting in parts of the song and that was what kind of bothered me.

    I know that this is more a rocker song and maybe the raspy, shouting vocals are necessary. It’s not what I love best about Casey. I really liked his performance of Elton John’s ” Your Song” and also last week’s “Nature Boy”. Even though I thought Casey’s voice was uneven last week in some parts, I really liked the risk of taking this old, classic song that many may not even know. This was more like the jazzy Casey that I really like the best.


  18. So – IMHO – the two singers with the best vocals – PIA and STEFANO – are gone now.
    However, Television is a Visual medium first…

    Sorry about Stefano – I thought that he was getting better every week — but we will enjoy him on the tour – his swan song was FABULOUS – I heard traces of Manhattan Transfer and Earth Wind and Fire – tough material – and he made it sound easy tonight.

    All (especially James) were obviously shaken — sad when you have to say good-bye to friends.

    I liked the group numbers and I am sure that they will have time to polish these numbers when they get ready for the tour.

    Poor Jacob … drums in his ear pods…but he was good last night and he will have a chance to recover next week if he can pull it up from mother earth — along with
    James, Lauren, Scotty, Haley, and Casey.

    Again, IMHO – I still think any one of these could win this — and this may sound like a cliche – ALL are WINNERS now.


  19. I just finally saw the results show out here on the west coast. Even knowing the result beforehand, it still made my tear up. Stefano sang his heart out so beautifully with that last song. He barely had time to finish before James came up and just grabbed him. He was crying from the moment he heard that Stefano was leaving. I just wanted to give James a big hug and tell him it will be okay. These kids get so attached to each other. He was still distraught at the very end.

    So now it’s down to six. Still two girls!


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