American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Female Singers

Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Female Singers


Last night, the Top 12 male semi-finalists displayed some pretty amazing talent. It is going to be very interesting to see who makes the Top 5 cut. I won’t even wager a guess, because the voting public, in general, throw their votes based on popularity rather than actual singing potential. Spoilers inside.

Additionally, I don’t know why American Idol abandoned the format of eliminating semi-finalists in a slower manner? It is so difficult to pick favorites based on one performance. Plus, many of the singers have not had the same amount of face time on TV. I know – I sound like a broken record but it drives me crazy.

Far too much time and energy is expended during the early auditions. This is one area where The Voice has clobbered American Idol. The former gets right to it from the very first show. We see only the very best from the “get-go”, the show moving forward at a quicker pace.

Even though the early auditions highlighted some of the best Season 11 singers, the producers rare going to have to rethink this process and find a way to fast forward to the semi-finals. As it stands, many people will not invest energy watching American Idol until the Top 24 or 12 are selected, so is it any wonder the ratings are low?

Tonight’s all-star female round-up includes:

Baylie Brown: Houston
Brielle Von Hugel: Savannah
Chelsea Sorrell: Savannah
Elise Testone: Savannah
Erika Van Pelt: Pittsburgh
Haley Johnsen: Portland
Hollie Cavanaugh: Houston
Hallie Day: Pittsburgh
Jen Hirsh: Houston
Jessica Sanchez: San Diego
Shannon Magrane: Savannah
Skylar Laine: Houston

Once again, I will provide live updates during the show, so check back at the commercial break for my comments. And don’t forget to add your own! Good luck to the ladies!

Live Update/Spoilers

Idolspoilers Tweets

  • Jessica Sanchez will be singing a song by Jennifer Hudson
  • Hollie Cavanaugh will be performing “Reflections” by Christina Aguilera
  • Haley Johnson will be performing “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by The Eurythmics
  • Chelsea Sorrell will be performing a song by Carrie Underwood
  • Brielle Von Hugel will be performing “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding
  • Erika Van Pelt – “What About Love” by Heart
  • Elise Testone and Jen Hirsh to perform the same Adele song. Heaven help us!
  • Here we go. Live updates

  • Chelsea Sorrell – Cowboy Casanova
  • I loved your energy and you moved quite effortlessly about the stage. Overall, your voice has a lovely presence, but I sense tightness in your vocal sound. Relax your throat and maintain a circular mouth position on all your vowels. This will alleviate the nasal sound in your vocal mix. Work on your articulation – spit the consonants out crisply – it will add energy and direction to your vocal sound.

  • Erika Van Pelt – What About Love
  • So you are a rocker. You go girl! You have such a gorgeous voice, very distinctive and very rich. You also exuded loads of charisma throughout this performance. Your sustaining ability on the vowels, your phrasing and your energy were absolutely stellar elements throughout this performance. This was a confident and professional performance. Loved it! Loved you!

  • Jen Hirsh – One and Only
  • I’m not sure if this was the best song selection for you. You seemed to struggle with the number. And, your facial features were so tense, really inhibiting the focus and free delivery of your vocal sound. I do appreciate your passion and energy but, overall, the performance lacked an effortlessness in the delivery.

  • Brielle Von Hugel – (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
  • I love this song and I was anxious to see what you would bring to this number. I loved the sultry vocals. I was wondering why you started the number so low and then -bam – you hit me with an upper octave offering in the second half of the song. Wonderful idea! It really accentuated your range. Careful that you don’t push your voice from your throat. Use your diaphragm and let the surrounding muscles support and direct your vocal sound. Otherwise, great work!

  • Hallie Day – Feelin’ Good
  • You created a lovely quiet ambience at the beginning of this song that added perfect contrast to the upbeat portion of this song. This was a pretty flawless performance. Perfect mood, perfect energy and excellent vocals. The only thing that worries me is the song selection – it has been sung to death. So, for me, it was a little underwhelming in this respect. I knew what was coming and, at this point of the competition, we need to be surprised. So choose your songs wisely in the future.

  • Skylar Laine – Stay With Me
  • Here comes mini-Reba! I loved your energy and your voice was resplendent with nuance and expression. And that energy! You are a little spitfire. You truly lived your performance, adding a variety of vocal and physical dimension to this number. Great upper note at the end! This was an outstanding showcase. What’s there not to like? Awesome! Update. So you practice breath control? Bravo!!

  • Baylie Brown – Amazed
  • This was a great song for you, Baylie. And you look like a star on that stage. Such charisma! I loved your gentle approach to this song, effortlessly wrapping you voice around this gorgeous melody. I wanted to hear a more creative approach to the melody – it seemed a little restrained to me. And I was so rooting for you.

  • Hollie Cavanaugh -Reflection
  • I haven’t heard this song in a while so I was interested to hear your rendition of this number. And my goodness you sang this song with so much heart and passion. Your voice is a gorgeous instrument – beautiful presence and a pretty solid technical foundation. Loved your beautifully sustained upper note on the word “inSIDE”. Stellar approach and stellar technique. You are definitely a front-runner in this competition. Mmm – Mmm!

  • Haley Johnson – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
  • I loved this song choice for your dark vocal quality. And I really appreciated your creative approach to the melodic line – lots of superbly executed twists and turns. Be careful that you don’t get over-pumped – you had problems with your pitch here and there during this number. Pace yourself. But great energy and lots of character!

  • Shannon Magrane –
  • You are blessed with star quality and a star’s voice. Thankfully, you have honed your vocal skills via superb training. This was a great song for you and you prepared this song very well. This was an expressive performance backed by stellar vocals. I love the unique, dark quality to your voice – just beautiful. This was an impressive performance. Another MCL favorite!! Love you!

  • Jessica Sanchez – I Love You I Do
  • You are a so, so talented. The musicality just oozes from you. What a performance. This is the performance from which dreams are made of. You tend to push a little too hard when you sing through your power vocals so take care to direct your voice through the powerful support of the diaphragm. However, gave a nuanced performance, loaded with energy and finesse. Very professional! Love you!

  • Elise Testone – One And Only
  • it was a nice treat to see a singer seated at the piano. Good for you, Elise! And you added visual dimension by moving away from the piano. Smart girl. This was a passionate, rich performance and I applaud your passion and energy. You need to work on solidifying your vocals – your pitch wavered at times. And remember to keep your throat relaxed, although I can’t fault your mouth and jaw position. It was perfect. Now let the diaphragm do the rest. Trust it! Good work, though.

    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

    9 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Female Singers”

    1. I agree with Steven Tyler. Her timing is outstanding. However, she was very soft and was somewhat struggling in her lower register. And on the high notes, she seem to be pushing too hard. Other than that, I think a star is on its way. She has done Celine Dion and Jennifer Hudson. So far, so good. I wonder what’s next.


    2. Tonight we saw a group of very talented young women!

      Jessica just blew me away with that song from Dreamgirls – I love you, I do. It’s one of my favorites and Jennifer Hudson did it justice. This young girl is a powerhouse of talent, stage presence and amazing vocals. I think the reason she has the swollen vocal chords is because she pushes those high notes from her throat and not the diaphragm. Listen to Jennifer Hudson sing this song and you will hear the difference. A star in the making!

      I also loved Hollie taking on Christina Aguilera’s Reflection. That is one tough song to sing! I thinks she may have the best pure voice of them all. Unbelievable vocals. This is the kind of voice I look for in this competition. A powerhouse, big voice with great technical skill. This girl is definitely one to watch!

      I cannot believe that two girls sang Adele’s “One and Only”. I love, love, love Adele. She is my hero, but these young people have to stand out on their own. I thought that Elise has the better interpretation of this song. I loved seeing her on the piano and then getting up and walking toward the audience, a great visual. I did think she had pitch issues, but her voice is terrific.

      Hallie was great vocally, but I also have the same concerns about her song choice. “Feelin’ Good” is a great pop standard but it has been done by just about everyone. I hope that this song choice doesn’t hurt her chances.

      I thought that Jen, Chelsea and Haley were the weakest of a very strong group. However, I know that popularity may win the day. I have no idea how to choose five of these incredibly talented young women.


    3. Just a quick note here, I thought the girls were so much better than the guys. I actually enjyed most of the performances. I am concerned about Jessica’s vocal cords. Celion Dion has left her Las Vegas show for awhile do too inflamation of her vocal cords. I hope Jessica can last until the Final 2. She’s just what Idol needs.

      MCL, what do you think about this issue.

      I also liked Elise, Skylar, Haley Day, and Erica. There is a lot of talent here. Maybe Haley Johnsen? Some of these girls are pretty enough to be models. I hope the Judges give 2 or 3 Wild Cards to the girls. It will be exciting tonight!


    4. mcl, thank you for your wonderful critique as usual. it helps so much to know what a professional says, especially when i read comments elsewhere by people who are saying the opposite of what i feel, acting like they know something about singing. i think a performance is great, you love it, and then i read somewhere else where the person is called pitchy.

      i am wondering…they are talking about the judges doing five ‘wild cards’ tonight. what does that mean, they pick people that they’ve already let go? or they pick from the people we didn’t vote through. it seems odd if they would go back to those who’ve already been let go.


    5. Hunter – thank you so much. Now, about the five wild cards? Huh! That would make it a Top 14. I think they pick more wild cards than they need and then they have a sing-off. Pretty sure that’s what they did last year.


    6. and they are different than the singers we’ve seen thus far? that seems counter productive. i’ve googled some with no luck. i guess i’ll just have to wait and see.


    7. i found this in tv guide: America’s votes reveal the first set of finalists; the remaining hopefuls perform for the judges in hope of being chosen as a finalist.


    8. I would like to see Elise Testone, Hollie Cavanaugh, Jessica Sanchez, Hallie Day, Jen Hirsh, and Erica van Pelt to make it through in the first round and maybe Haley Johnsen and Shannon Magrane to get a wild card slot. Elise is probably my current favorite but it’s a close call.

      Hi Mindy 🙂


    9. Hey Gene! 🙂

      I finally got to sign it here, but I had to use my full name. I did something on word press to get back on mj’s blog and changed my user name. What a mess!

      Anyway, yes I am back for another season of Idol. Still can’t stay away from the voices!

      I already love Jessica and Hollie. I think that Hallie might have been done in because of her choice of song. It was something that I feared. Honestly, there is so much talent with these girls this season. We all knew that some good ones wouldn’t make it.

      I am pretty happy with the girls who made it through. I am glad to see that Elise and Ericka are there.


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