Mindy Moore’s Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season 11 Top 11 Singers

I am still on vacation, so Mindy has written a very perceptive Vocal Masterclass article for last evening’s Top 11 Performances. I managed to view the majority of them today online and thought that, overall, it was a tremendous show.

Joshua blew me away with his passionate performance – it was singular and last night’s show belonged to him. He does scream though, so I find this problematic from a technical standpoint.

Also, Hollie’s performance was ridiculously underestimated, as was Jessica’s and DeAndre’s. Colton was impressive as well.

Well, enough of me. Here is Mindy’s vocal masterclass article for the Top 11 performances.

Philippe – “Hard to Handle” – I don’t know this song at all. It was nice to see Philippe without his guitar and just singing with a mic. He connected with the song and the audience. I still think there was too much backup, but at least I could hear his voice this time. Congratulations for coming out there and performing less than a week after surgery. Great job! He has this distinctive rough, growly edge to his voice which makes him immediately recognizable. I didn’t think there was much range in this song and at times I worried that he might be pushing too much from this throat, but overall this was a much more fully realized performance.

Jessica – “Turm the Beat Around” – What a great entrance on stage! This song was a big change from last week, going with an uptempo song. It gave Jessica a chance to show off her performing skills by moving around that stage and engaging the audience. I thought the backup singers and band were a little too much in parts and te song didn’t give her much of a chance to show off the range in her voice. I commend her for trying to do something different and show us more of her stage presence. I thought she had a bit of trouble keeping up with that melody and she was clearly out of her comfort zone, but she showed her poise and did a great job.

Heejun – “Right Here Waiting” – Heejun has a lovely tone in his voice and so much emotion. It is what makes him so compelling. I did hear better diction, so he worked on that. However, I really feel that the technical issues are hindering his performance. He sounded breathy from the very beginning, and was struggling to stay on key. I think he needs to learn to use his diaphragm muscles to support his voice. That way he won’t lose the words and sound breathy. The judges thought the song was the problem. It was a difficult one, but when you are grounded in solid vocal technique, then everything can come together. He did raise his head at the end and that’s not the way to access those high notes. If he can work on some of his technical issues, I think it would greatly enhance his performances.

Elise – “Let’s Stay Together” – First, thank you to Will.i.am for telling Elise to smile! Yes! He also told her to try to hold the notes longer. This was an ideal song choice for Elise’s husky r&b soul voice. She was sitting on a stool for the beginning and then came off and moved toward the audience, as though she was reaching out and caressing them. She was so committed and engaged throughout this performance. I loved her phrasing and the tenderness and nuance as she sang the words. I have been waiting to hear this young woman show off her voice. Well, hello Elise! It’s so nice to meet you. Great way to come back and give an outstanding performance!

DeAndre – “Endless Love” – He really seemed to struggle with his song choice this week. I don’t know that Jimmy Iovine did him any favors with this song. However, I loved the beginning with Deandre standing at the piano. Beautifully done. His stage presence is so extraordinary that it almost doesn’t matter what he sings. I heard his vocals as pitch perfect. I think the judges were too hard on him. Even if the song wasn’t the best choice, he still came out and managed to showcase some good vocals. I loved the little falsetto bits here and there. I liked this much more than the judges. I think Deandre is learning about his voice. He doesn’t yet know what it can do and he is on a journey. I am looking forward to seeing hiim progress. He has so much talent!

Shannon – “One Sweet Day” – This girl loves her power ballads. I think she wasn’t nearly as nervous this week. Her voice was much improved as a result. She has such a wonderful tone and it was nice to see her doing much better. Now I would like her to try and connect with the words of the song, the emotion and feeling. She should try to let it all flow effortlessly and be in the moment.

Colton – “Broken Heart” – He picked a song that nobody knew and it may have been a stroke of genius. I loved the beginning, seeing him off to the side of the stage with the mic and the lights. His vocals were much stronger, no breathiness or pitch issues. I think he connected with this song, was comfortable with it and that came across in his performance. I kind of wish he kept it soft, but there was a good contrast when he moved to center stage and started building momentum. I think he did a great job and showed off some strong vocals. He has great stage presence and seemed to have the audience in the palm of his hand.

Erika – “Heaven” – This song was ideally suited to Erika’s gorgeous contralto. I think she brings such passion to her performances. I really didn’t understand why the judges didn’t like this performance. I thought the vocals were outstanding. I had some real differences of opinion with the judges on some of these performances. I think this girl didn’t get the credit she deserved. Good job!

Skylar – “Love Sneakikng Up On You” – She did the song she wanted to do. Good for her for sticking to her guns. I didn’t love the song, but I am not the one singing it. She has tremendous stage presence. This girl was made to be on stage singing her heart out. She loves being out there and that makes her so appealing. I also think she has a unique sound that is easily recogizable. So much confidence! A real crowd pleaser.

Joshua – ” When a Man Loves a Woman” – When someone asks what it means to tell a story with a song and convey emotion and feeling, I would tell them to watch this performance. Wow! This young man came out there and just sang his face off! He left his heart and soul out on that stage and also his jacket, at one point! Great stage presence, amazing connection to the song, brilliant vocals, the performance of the night! Standing “O”! Bravo! Now that’s r&b!

Hollie – “The Power of Love” – This girl isn’t afraid to take on Whitney or Celine. When you listen to her, you realize that this girl has a God given gift. To hear the power and that sound, the richness, the tone, everything just blows me away. The judges were picking way too picky with her. She makes it look effortless. My one criticism is once again, the raising of that head for the high note at the end. Sweet girl, you won’t find it looking up. You have to see it, envision singing over the note, access your head voice. If you keep that head level, then the sound will be even more magnificent! Another outstanding performance from a girl with so much voice that it takes my breath away!

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

4 Responses to “Mindy Moore’s Vocal Masterclass Article For American Idol Season 11 Top 11 Singers”

  1. MCL,

    I thought that Joshua was getting a little shouty, but the performance was so powerful that I overlooked it. However, I am glad that you mentioned it, because it confirms what I was hearing. I am also glad that you thought the judges were too hard on a few of them. I didn’t get that at all.

    I may go back and listen to the performances again with my eyes closed. I didn’t hear Hollie as being pitchy in parts of the song. It was only that last note because she raised her head again. She is phenomenal. I hope she goes in a different direction next week, because I truly think she can sing anything.

    I am very concerned for Deandre after reading the reviews online. His performance hasn’t been well received. I guess we will have to see what the viewers thought. I was disappointed in the judges comments. I thought his vocals were quite good.

    I cannot wait until you come back from vacation and we will be treated to your vocal mastercall articles once again.

    I hope you are having a wonderful vacation.


  2. I think Hollie has a ton of talent, but I wish she’d ease up on the gas pedal a bit, and sing with a little more nuance.


  3. Katillac – yes, she must do this. Totally agree.

    Mindy – as always thank you for your support and strong contributions to the MCL community.

    I am disheartened to hear all the negative feedback over DeAndre. It worries me. I really thought the public would embrace him. The judges’ lukewarm comments are not helping his cause. Very sad.


  4. I agree with Katillac about Hollie taking her foot off the gas pedal. That’s why I hope she goes in a different direction next week. She doesn’t have to be at full blast with the power all the time. She has the voice to do justice to a different kind of song.

    I listened to some of the performances today with my eyes closed. It’s very interesting. Deandre’s vocals were even better just listening with my ears. I think he is getting criticized because of the song. People are sick of hearing “Endless Love”. He wanted to do an Elton John song, but Jimmy talked him out of it. JLo did say that he sang it beautifull, but then she launched into this long thing about the song. If the song choice wasn’t right, but he still brought the vocals, then focus on that.

    Many people online are saying he will be in the bottom three. I hope not. I am also worried for Erika. There is this sense that she didn’t really bring the goods with her performance. The arrangement did her no favors. Then some people are talking about “older” females on the show not doing well. What? If being 28 is old, then I am ancient!

    So much depends on fan base. There is also talk online that they may not send anyone home, because of the Jermaine disqualification.


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