American Iol Season 11 Top 9 Singers

Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Performance Show: Personal Idols Showcase


I can’t believe we are down to only nine singers already. It must mean that my March vacation is coming to an end.

But, it also means that I will resume my regular Vocal Masterclass articles next week and I am anxious to get back at it.

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Mindy Moore for adding her Vocal Masterclass articles in my absence. I thought her insight into these singers was “spot-on” and I would welcome her to continue this journey as long as she is able.

Also, it would be great to gain ideas and perspective from someone other than myself on a weekly basis – this allows all of us and, hopefully, the singers to grow and develop.

I welcome anyone interested in submitting a topic for publication on this blog to do so at

Good luck to the singers this evening. It sounds to me like it is going to be a great show. DeAndre tweeted that he is singing a song suitable to his style on this Top 9 show. Finally!

Join me in the comments. I won’t stray far this evening. I am busy packing for the three-day journey home tomorrow.

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

62 Responses to “Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Performance Show: Personal Idols Showcase”

  1. MCL,

    I am happy to hear that you will be back with us next week. I look forward to finally reading your vocal masterclass articles on these contestants.

    I also think it’s a great idea to have guest bloggers. I think there are some wonderful people on this site who have a lot to contribute.

    I don’t know if you need me to do another vocal masterclass article for this week. I will be happy to do so. It would be great to hear from others here.

    It’s been an interesting experience. I held myself to a higher standard, knowing that you were entrusting me with doing this in your absence. I didn’t go into too much of the vocal technical issues, just a few things that I heard. That is your area of expertise. I made a conscious effort to have something positive to say about everyone. I wasn’t as opinionated as I have been in the past. I didn’t want it to be about me, but about the contestants. It has been enjoyable to realize that there is always something good to be found in every performance.

    I hope that everyone comes on and posts their thoughts on tonight’s performances. Mine is usually late because I am on the west coast and see it later.

    Here’s to a great night of singing!


  2. It must make a difference hearing some of these singers live, vs on my tv in my living room…just sayin’


  3. Ok! Elise OMG…that was AWESOME!!!

    Hands down the best of the night for me…the best of this season so far.


  4. I’m trying to imagine how great every week could be if the contestants could sing songs they feel passionate about instead of having themes like Billy Joel night, etc. Tonight was really a terrific night!!!!


  5. Hi Mindy:

    We had unexpected company tonight so I was half listening to Idol. However, if you feel like writing an article for the Top 9 please do so and I will publish it once I hit a wireless location tomorrow.

    If you wish, you can email it to me at

    Thank you do much for having my back during the month of March. The readers so appreciated it and so did I.

    Off to bed – morning comes early! 🙂


  6. I thought tonight was a really special evening for everyone. But someone must go and the question is – who? The results show will be very intriguing and stressful.


  7. Wow! I loved everyone but Hollie and HunJoon (sp?).I also heard some clips of his. Those two are a like. Hollie did sound heartful, but doesn’t do it for me.

    I thought Phillip, Joshua, and Elise were in the stratosphere. Elise was my fav. I hope the reason they didn’t gush more was because it was at the end of the show. I do miss Simon’s one line compliments sometimes. Singing “Whole Lotta Love” was crazy, but she was pitch perfect to this girl with an imperfect ear. She is so confident and what she does with the melodies is so darn subtle. I was thinking she should sing with Stephen! I hope she gets proper kudos from the voting public. I don’t think the young ones quite understand how good she is. They certainly didn’t know there was more to the song.

    Only the second or third time I’ve posted all season I loved tonight so much. And I am looking forward to your critiques, Madame La Voix! (I wish you would do this week retroactively. It was so good!)


  8. Vonnie and Louise,

    What a show tonight. Stevie Nicks did a great job mentoring this week. I can’t begin to imagin what it must be like for some unknown kid to sing for a mega star and make them cry, or have them say that you would have been chosen along with she and Lynsey to join Fleetwood Mac or for her to just want to sing with you because she likes your voice and would hire you today. It blows me away to imagine what it must be like to be in that position. I said to my wife that I had finally figured out who Phil’s contorted movements reminded me of when he was singing in the first trio. Lindsey Buckingham, duh. Then later in the show Stevie said he looked like Lynsey to her. She was very generous with her compliments to him and Elise.

    Everyone had a chance to show what they had tonight. I think my pairings theory is showing some merit. Jessica topping Hollie in the power vocalist group, Joshua over DeAnder in the R&B category, Phil over Colton in the WGW_ (G or P) catagory. WGWG is always a top contender for the win, so keep your eye on these two. Elise currently has topped her direct rival with Erica’s departure last week and Skylar, as the competition’s only country artist, is uncontested at this stage. Hee Jun gave a decent performance tonight but I don’t see him as a serious contender. He strikes me as more of a Karaoke singer who is reasonably skilled at doing vocal impersonations of well known artist. That’s not necessarily bad, it’s just not original or what the best American idols have to offer. If he remains I would like to hear him sing something in his own voice.

    I couldn’t be more proud of Elise. Zep was a perfect choice for her because of rocks royalty, they are among the most heavily influenced by traditional American Blues, which is right down Elise’s alley. It gave her a chance to show another side of herself win some rock fan votes and remain true to her roots at the same time. Robert Plants vocals have to be among the most challenging of rockers as well. Very thoughtful choice. So now two years in a row my girls have brought a little Led for our head(s). I love it.

    Mindy, I hope you do write an article again this week. I think MCL will be on the road for the next few days. I’m looking forward to it if you do.


  9. I think that Elise, Jessica, and Joshua were the best of the night by far. Honorable mention to DeAndre.


  10. Here are my thoughts on the performances tonight –

    Colton – “Everything” – I think this song was a good choice for Colton. At the beginning, I thought he sounded kind of breathy and lost the words. Singing softly can be a real challenge and you must enunciate and have good diction so that we can hear the words that you are singing. Once he got into his power range, he sounded much better. I didn’t love all the backup because I thought it almost drowned him out at points. I liked the progression from starting softly to building the momentum and then ending softly. However, again there was breathiness and the words were kind of lost. It’s a great idea but the performance value suffers if you can’t pull off the softer vocals. I do think Colton has a good voice and picks songs that work for him. Maybe his style isn’t all that appealing to me, because I am left feeling like I want something more.

    Skylar – “Gunpowder and Lead” – Stevie Nicks was such a great mentor this week. She gave Skylar good advice – tell a story! Yes! I thought that Skylar again showed us why she is such a great performer. She commands the stage with such confidence and presence. I do think she connected with the song and told a story. She has sass, that is the word I would use to describe her. However, I noticed that again when she was moving around the stage, she went off key. Vocals can never be sacrificed for the sake of movement. I think she likes being animated and moving around, but she’s got to make sure to get the vocals perfect and then incorporate the movement.

    Heejun – “A Song For You” – He was standing still and singing with the mic! Yay! This is the way he needs to perform to show off his vocals best. The less movement for him right now, the better. I thought he showed great emotion and feeling and really connected with this song. His vocals were much better, however I did still hear some breathiness that needs to be addressed.

    Hollie – “Jesus Take the Wheel” – Thank you, Stevie Nicks for telling Hollie to give emotion in her performance! I thought that Hollie heeded her advice and really connected with this song. Her voice is absolutely brilliant and when she has the feeling, it’s a much more satisfying experience. I thought she came back strong this week. I did not agree with the comments from the judges, in particular Randy. Sorry, Randy, my pitch perfect ears trump you! I heard her voice on key throughout. I could have done without all the backup on the chorus, but her voice still came through loud and clear. She did not get her due from the judges, who were jumping up and down with standing”O”s, but not for her.

    Deandre – “Sometimes I Cry” – Great song choice! Also, more good advice from Stevie about slowing down the song and connecting with the audience. Deandre seems to soak up this great mentoring. He has an amazing falsetto. I loved the emotion he brought to this performance. Deandre with the mic and the spotlight equals one great performance. For the first time, I thought that he seemed comfortable on that stage. His charisma and vocals were just magical. Well done!

    Jessica – “Sweet Dreams” – This was a great song choice. I love her command of the stage and her vocals when she is performing. She showed such nuance and inflections in her voice. Is there anything this girl cannot do with that voice? I thought she gave another stellar performance. Brava!

    Phillip – “Still Rainin” – This was a good song choice for him. He has that unique sound that is instantly recognizable. I think his vocals were strong, but sometimes I hear him as shouting. I am interested to hear what MCL thinks of him. For me there is a sameness to his performances that has been underwhelming. Maybe his style if just not that appealing to me. I give him credit for his artistry and commitment in his performances.

    Joshua – “Without You” – I loved how he started off softly with very little accompaniment. His softer vocals are so good. I loved how he was able to build the momentum in this song, taking his time and getting more emotional at the end of the performance. Obviously, there was something very intense going on with him and a real connection to a powerful song. Emotion is such a key with him. He has the most powerful voice and can sing anything, but when he brings that passion then it’s a moment. He is absolutely brilliant.

    Elise – “Whole Lotta Love” – The last person to sing this song on this show was none other than Adam Lambert. This is such a hard song to sing. Robert Plant made it seem easy, because he was a genius. I would not have thought that Elise had the power for this ultimate rock song, but this girl really rocked the house! It was a great choice and showed us a whole different side of her. She seemed to love every single minute of that performance. She had the raspy thing going on and her husky, growly vocals were killer. This was great! Rock on, Elise!

    I thought this was a really strong night and it will be tough to see someone go. I was not that happy with some of the judges comments in a few instances, but will leave that for a later discussion.


  11. Gene,

    Elise was da bomb last night…she and phillip have been the only reason that I have been tuning in at all, and my ears were greatly blessed for it last night. I am so glad that I have this taped…WOW!!!

    I will buy what ever this girl puts out…and I do agree with you on her being a close match to Adele…I love Adele, and maybe that is what attracted me to Elise in the top 24 when she was sitting at the piano, as soon as she started to sing, I loved her voice.

    I just hope that the voters get this girl, and can see what a God given talent she has.

    I shall start watching and voting faithfully now for Elise’s duration on this show!


  12. Vonnie,
    I’m glad you are enjoying her as much as I am. I was surprised to see her closing last night and also surprised to see Jessica performing fifth. She didn’t get a lot of judge love either. She has super star potential and I enjoy watching her perform but I’m more than likely not in her target audience.

    You might want to dig around on You Tube or at the AI site and see if you can find the video of her doing James Brown’s “This is a Man’s World.” That was went she went from being noticed to being my favorite.

    I think the whole field is talented this year, each in in their own way, but I tend to look at them as a prospective fan and, so far anyway, Elise is the only one who I would buy. I am just now beginning to get Philip. He had one good performance earlier in the season but I haven’t really connected with him since. He was pretty solid last night though.

    All in all t was a very good show, but I felt like the judges did a lot of over praising last night.

    You ask in another thread about the new ABC show. They announced it during Dancing With The Stars. It’s coming in May and I think the name was “Duets.” The judges will be Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland, Robin Thicke, Kelly Clarkson and Lionel Richie. Interestingly, the last three are all serving as team mentors on NBC’s The Voice, which I thought was very odd.


  13. Wow, Jessica and Elise are amazing… cant wait for their next performance. they deserve to win..


  14. Gene,

    I was a little perplexed with the judges last night too! I would have thought that they would have been up on their feet right away for Elise…but they hesitated, and then Jennifer babbling something somewhat coherent about not wanting to stand up???

    Also have not watched any DWTS, I was watching the Voice and House on Monday nights, but think that I am going to have to give up on the Voice, meh, not liking the feel of that show anymore! So maybe I can jump in on dancing now and see what’s going on!


    I enjoyed your recap…Thank You!!! 🙂


    Praying for your safe travels…!!!


  15. Harold Lefkowitz March 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Only one to mention – Elize – Musicality, tone, stage presence, everything. The best.


  16. I thought Jennifer Lopez was kind of rude in her response to Elise’s performance with commenting 3X about having to stand. Jennifer Lopez also had the same stunned look on her face after Elise’s performance that she had after Erika’s performance last week. However, she praised Hollie’s performance last night, the first time in weeks. I’m not sure what is going on with the judges and Hollie because Hollie chooses much more difficult songs to sing yet they never acknowledge this. I enjoyed Colton’s performance for the first time and it happened on the group song! I would buy that! I know HeeJun has some difficulty with enunciation but I understand him better than Colton and P2. I have a lot of difficulty understanding what Colton and P2 are saying when they sing.

    At the dialidol predictions, Hollie is #1 and the bottom 3 are Deandre, Jessica and Hee Jun.

    I really enjoyed Elise’s performance! Love to hear Led Zep on AI!


  17. Harold,

    Yep! Elise put her face on the map last night!


    I loved me some Scotty last year, but I have not been this excited about a singer since Adam Lambert!!!

    I loved Elise and Stevie singing together, and greatly enjoyed Elise in the group song covering Stevie’$ song!

    When did they start doing the group thing?


    I too thought Jennifer was rude to Elise last night.

    Bear with me all..I got a new gadget and can’t as of yet run the darn thing! 😉


  18. Just checking into Starbucks for a coffee and wireless service. Hope to make it to our destination in time for the Results show. Should be a good one! Thanks for all your comments.


  19. Sad to see Heejun leave the competition but there are so many others who are much stronger and more unique singers.

    And thank you Steven Tyler for being so gracious to him. I thought that Randy has been uncharacteristically cold to the singers after their “sing for your life” songs. The change was most welcome!


  20. Although I believe the right person was sent home tonight, I was sorry to see Heejun go. He has a wonderful sense of humor and a nice voice, I wish him well and hope that some opportunities come his way in the entertainment business.


  21. Louise,

    I too feel that the right person was sent home, but like you am sad to see him go…I loved his personality.

    I just really do not like the save, these guys have to know that the judges are not going to save them, it just seems cruel.


  22. Vonnie,
    I completely agree with you about the save. Don’t like it one bit.


  23. I think America got it right. Heejun was funny and had a great personality, but he was struggling every week with his vocals. In a group of such talented contestants, it would have been a travesty if anyone else went home.

    The theme for next week is 80’s music. I hope that these contestants can find great songs to show them off at their very best. Hollie really needs to find the kind of song that can show off another side of her and maybe let her go uptempo and have some fun.

    The best news is that MCL will be back next week and we will be able to hear her thoughts and evaluation once again! 🙂


  24. MCL thank you for having the most constructive site discussing the positives and negatives of the preformances, I have a close friend in this competition, and your comments have not always been what i’d like to hear, BUT they have been correct, and for that I thank you, keep up the good work i’m looking forward to your comments for next week, and MM you did a wonderful job the past few weeks and look forward to your comments also. Thanks Again for a constructive site.


  25. Mindy,
    Thank you so much for doing the heavy lifting while MCL has been away. Your articles have been very thoughtful and well written. I felt like DeAnder was torturing me with the falsetto. In the battle of the R&B singers, I think Joshua ate his lunch. Joshua just touched on his falsetto in a very tasteful way. Although his trip to “Ebenezer Baptist” bordered on too much and he does a bit more “Mantasia” (his word) than I care to see, he is still very solid. I agree with you that his emotional connection improved the performance. It didn’t bother me that he became “verclipsed” at the end. Would I buy it? Probably not, but I have Harry Nielsen’s version in my collection? 🙂 One other thought regarding Skylar’s song choice. I think Miranda was a good artist for her but I would have liked to have heard her sing one of Miranda’s more thoughtful songs like maybe “Greyhound Bound For Nowhere,” “She’s Beautiful” “ or “The House That Built Me.” Skylar is in a good position as the only country artist, male or female, but she needs to be more diverse in her song selection, especially on a night when they got to choose any song or artist. She’s growing on me but remains my least favorite of the females.

    I think the bottom three were correct for this week and Heejun was overdue.

    I think females have an uphill battle for recognition on Idol. Jennifer fits right into the historical mold for Idol judges that over praise the boys and under praise the girls. The standing O for Heejun was ridicules, especially in the light of how the females were treated. He had a decent performance, and he was finally taking his opportunity more seriously, but standing O? No way. I like the guy as much as everyone else but he was overdue for the bus ride home. Keep in mind that everyone in the top Ten will have earned at least $100,000.00 before the year is out. I don’t know if the bias against the female singers is intentional because they sell more tour tickets and more CDs with a male Idol or if it’s the same thing we all saw and experienced growing up in school as well as raising our children. Teachers will fawn over a little boy who writes his name in the correct spot on his test paper while ignoring the little girl who aced the exam and had perfect penman ship to boot. It could be the Prodigal son syndrome perhaps?

    I’m feeling uncomfortable about Elise’s new found popularity. My girls always struggle and fight and are lucky to get faint praise while all the ink is being spilled on the WGWG for the year. On the other hand, it’s a good year for raspy voiced females in the recording industry with Adele and Miranda Lambert topping their respective fields. Anything could happen, but women, especially a grown woman, winning Idol is likely a thing of the past.

    It’s very odd the way they are using Jimmy this year. I agree with nearly all of his points but to have him making these comments after the votes are in is nothing short of cruel in some cases. I really felt bad for Hollie last night. I think we can find a better use for the head of a major record label than to make tender hearted young girls cry on national TV. My suggestion would be to add him to the judge’s panel or better yet, replace Randy with Jimmy. Unfortunately, I share his thoughts about Hollie. She is a very good technical singer, as MCL herself pointed out, but her voice lacks character or distinction, for this listener anyway. I think it is there but she hasn’t learned how to deliver it. When I first heard the British accent flavored by her time in Texas my thoughts were that this girl is going to be good. I think she is losing that flavor in her quest for the perfect note.

    You mentioned DWTS. It’s a good group this year, with several standouts. They did something this season that I liked, and if my feeble memory serves, it was you who said you would like to see I Idol do something like this. They had two rounds of competition with judges’ scores and viewer votes before the first elimination. I record the voice and watch DWTS live. I’m not sure if it affects the ratings or not, but if so, I’m on their side.


  26. Hey Gene,

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts and whole heartedly agree with you! The girls are way outsinging the guys this year! But are definitely running uphill, backwards…I too felt bad for Holly, what a cutie she is, and also has a great voice.

    I am kind of out of my element this year, I usually like at least one of the girls, but my fav is usually always a guy…but this year my fav is a girl…Elise.

    Skylar has not yet impressed me! Not to say that she won’t wow me at some point. By not watching the audition and hollywood rounds, I didn’t get to get emotionally involved with some of these contestants. When I watched the top 24 Elise and Phillip stood out to me, and I still like both of them!

    There are times when I do miss Simon, although he was pompass, he still had a uncanny scope for talent, and I have to believe that he would have been a huge supporter of Elise. Could be wrong about that thought though, and could possibly be yelling and throwing things at my tv if he were still there. I too feel that Jennifer is way more biased in her comments…

    Also will try to watch DWTS…I love the two rounds before elimination, and yes I have wished for a long while that Idol would do that too.

    I guess I will hang in for at least the first night of top 24 on the Voice…I haven’t heard too many on there yet that I liked, so we will see.


  27. Gene,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I did what I could in MCL’s absence and it was a challenge to remember to find positive things to say about everyone and try to be a bit more neutral and objective than I normally am. People here know how passionate I can get with these contestants. But it kind of opened my eyes being in that position. I felt a great sense of responsibility to this site stepping in for MCL. I am thankful that she was pleased with what I wrote. I would not want to embarrass her.

    You have such great thoughts. It’s a pleasure to read your posts. You have a great deal of knowledge and a good sense of how this show works, the machinations behind the scenes and a good sense of what you like and do not like.

    Someone on another blog site did suggest “The House That Built Me”. I listend to it and it would have been a great choice. I am wondering if this is just not going to be a country season on Idol. With both Scotty and Lauren getting into the finale, there may be a sense of wanting something different this time. I do think that Skylar’s last two peerformances haven’t been as strong. She can get by on her spunk and great performing style, but I think that she is not doing herself or her voice any favors with her choices recently.

    I also wonder if Elise coming on strong has shifted the balance among the female singers. This was unexpected and I agree with you that it’s an unfamiliar feeling. A few weeks ago people were talking online about Elise like she was roadkill and it made me furious. Now she seems to have blown everyone away and has some real momentum. That may be why Skylar was in the bottom three. It also may not bode well for my sweet Hollie. I am ready to strangle the judges over their petty criticism of her. Pitchy in her lower register? Was Randy kidding with that? There were a few who had pitch problems, but the judges didn’t call them on it.

    I have to say that I love Joshua. I have said that pop is my favorite genre of music with r&b a close second. I think his voice is phenomenal. He is the best pure singer out of all the guys. Now that doesn’t mean that he will get to the end. I know that r&b singers can have a tough time in this competition. But I loved his performance this week. He started off singing softly and let the song build to a crescendo. When he gospelized it, that was the right time to do it and the song called for it. I didn’t have a problem with him breaking down right at the end on the next to last note. This is a guy with the power, the technical brilliance, the emotion and feeling and a good sense of what works for him. I like Deandre, but he is only 17 and just finding his way. He has a very different voice than Joshua and not nearly as much confidence in himself. He is like a babe in the woods.

    I felt bad for Hollie when the judges were talking to her. I wanted to scream. They don’t have much to criticize because her voice is amazing and technically strong. Steven was the only one who got it right in saying that he wished she sang a different song. So did I. But she is learning and needs some guidance.

    I am watching DWTS and it is a very good group this year. From now on I am going to watch it live and record The Voice. I recorded DWTS and watched The Voice live and felt kind of cheated. So now I am going to do it the way that you are!


  28. Oh, it is so good to see so many friends here! Thank you Mindy for filling in for MCL – nice job! I have enjoyed reading everyone’s opinion, and agree 100% about Elise’s outstanding presentation. I was so happy she wasn’t in the Bottom 3. I do think some of Erika’s fans helped in voting for her.

    Gene, I do so enjoy your perspective and look upon you as THAT Guest Blogger Mindy is talking about. Your reviews have always been thoughtful and thorough!

    There will definitely be some success stories from this season! I ask that every one go to YOUTUBE and listen to Jessica’s version of, “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James. I think Jessica was 15 when she did this. Please don’t look at her, but rather listen to her voice. WOW! I do see her getting a recording contract!

    I really enjoyed Colton’s performance. Talk about singing from the heart. I believe both Joshua and Colton ran into the same problem Jimmy Iovine mentioned. Their emotionalism affected their performances. He mentioned the tightening of the throat. I do like both of them.

    When I see Phillip, I see a very good looking guy. He reminds me of Bruce Springsteen or Dave Matthews. I am just not sure if he’ll have a “moment” on the show. He is not the most talented but has a good chance to win to be in the TOP 2.

    I love Skylar’s spirit and do see her opening the show on the tour. Not really a Country Music fan, but she’s enjoyable!

    Right now, Holly has been a bit of a disappointment. She absolutely must come out with an uptempo song if she wants to avoid elimination. Such a pretty voice…needs more heart and soul.

    DeAndre, the sweetheart of the group. I am not fond of a totally falsetto performance unless the guy happens to be Barry Gibb. I love his bounciness in past performances -good energy! I do think his time is limited.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the show, but disliked Nikki’s performance on Results Night.


  29. I am really late with my comments because of two deaths in our family. One was my Grandbabies’ doggie. :o(

    Finally getting to Heejun. Yes, it was his time to go, but he went out in style. It was a nice performance but not deserving of a standing ovation. His sense of humor will pay off in the future. He will be an asset on the tour.

    The GOOD news is that Randy gave him the card of an agent who is interested in finding a role for him on a television show. Many members of Glee will be graduating this season. Maybe an opening there? Or maybe he can appear on Rachel Crow’s Nickoloden show? :o)

    Right now, Idol is using Jimmy Iovine properly…in the studio with a wonderful mentor! I am happy he gives his opinion AFTER the voting, but it may carry over to the following week. I am just not sure what I think about him, but Stevie was able to bring out a softer side of him. Yes, I laughed when I saw all that hair!

    There was no need for all those Standing Ovations. Come on, Judges!

    I LOVE the theme shows the best and the 1980s will give the Finalists a lot of room to explore and come up with their own unique “moment”!! We need an uptempo song from Hollie and Jessica. I would like to see a ballad from Skylar. Now is the time for DeAndre to sing a Reggae/Bob Marley number. I would like to see Elsie delve into some Queen. Of course, my favorite group from the 1980s is JOURNEY! I hope someone will go there.

    Some are mentioning PRINCE but so far he hasn’t cleared a song for anyone. If he does, it would probably be for Jessica. Remember he celared “Kiss” for Paris Bennett to sing in Season 5, and appeared in the Finale?

    Really excited about Wednesday’s show!


  30. Thanks Mindy for your excellent evaluations. I am still on the road here but will be home sometime today. Thank heavens!! It has been a long three days in the car.

    But, I will be back to write my Vocal Masterclass articles for the Top 8 and onward.

    And, as Mindy mentioned, it would be wonderful to feature guest bloggers in this site. Please contact me if you are interested.

    And, Mindy, of course your evaluations are always welcome – they apply a different perspective and are a valuable read.

    Off to the car I go with my java. Homeward bound!

    Thanks everyone for your feedback.


  31. Kariann,

    I listen to contemporary christian rock in my car…(never have the radio on in the house,lol) but, I am sure Colton will be a future voice I hear on my station.

    I always listen to artists and wish that they sang christian rock…like Elise!!! I do so enjoy her voice!

    I get to hear my sweet Jason quit often! They play him alot on the station I listen too!

    Now, in the hubbies car we listen to classic rock, in the sons car, we listen to country, classic rock, jazz, top 40, and contemp christian…you never know when you climb in the car with him. Usually doesn’t matter what he has on the radio, I never hear it anyways, I’m always pushing my imaginary brakes and ducking…it is always a white knuckle ride!!! Needless to say I don’t jump in the car with him too often!

    Okay…where is Darlene and Anita??? I miss you guys!!! 😦


  32. Vonnie,
    I have a feeling that Hollie will bring her best effort this week. That’s what usually happens once a contestant gets beaten down like she did last week by Jimmy’s comments. I wouldn’t mind a torch song from her but what I really want to hear is the distinctive side of her voice and her style; that thing that makes you say “that’s Hollie” when you hear her on the radio. Did you see Jennifer mouth the word “hurt” to Steven when Jimmy’s remarks about Hollie were being aired and Hollie began looking at the floor?

    I’m not a Skylar fan, in fact I was somewhat put off by her earlier in the season. I like the girl a lot, the performer is growing on me and the jury is still out on the singer. I think part of her performance last week was at the expense of her vocal. I think she has more to offer than what we’ve seen so far but it’s down to someone with more to offer is going home every week.

    I figured you for a Phil Phil fan but I’m glad you’re on board the Elise fan wagon considering your win record the last few years. I don’t think anything is a given for her and that’s how I like it. Front runners are who the others are shooting at.

    How ‘bout Scotty on Idol last Thursday?


  33. Mindy,
    Early in the season (I’m not sure if you were watching then) they would show 2 and 3 second glimpses of DeAndre. I spotted him and remembered how good he was from last season. They continued to show the glimpse, golden ticket, a little more in Hollywood and so on and I never could understand why they didn’t show his audition or mention his name. I had high hopes for him being the front runner this year but after seeing several of his performances it has become clear, IMHO anyway, that he wasn’t ready for this season. He is nervous and self conscious and he needs an older mentor with good taste in music to help him learn how to use the wealth of skills that he possesses. I think we probably agree there.

    Hollie had a similar introduction this year. I don’t think they showed her audition either and then there were the glimpses. It didn’t go on as long with her though, maybe a couple of episodes. I noticed in the trio last week that she was loose and comfortable looking, dare I say a little bit sexy. It looked good on her. I would like to hear her sing something with some meat on the bone. I have been watching several of her You Tube videos. I don’t know if it is the themes that are catching her out or her own restraint but she is capable of exactly what I would like to hear her do. She does a decent job with “Stay” by Sugarland and Adele’s “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep.” Her mic work is better in her room than on TV too. You can see her mouth, which is important for me in a live performance. There is a viewer’s comment below one of her songs that says “can you imagine hearing that coming from behind your daughter’s bedroom door?” Indeed. I love that.

    Colton is the third to come back kid from last season and the way they added him to the roster seemed about as authentic as Simon showing up at Melanie’s house to confess his mistake. To be honest, I don’t care for Colton’s style very much and I prefer more traditional Christian music to Christian rock. That said, I think Colton has a good voice and is a very capable musician and entertainer. I agree with you about him being hard to understand during the opening of his song. That’s not good for any singer but in his chosen genre his listeners have to be able to hear his message loud and clear.

    I enjoyed Heejun this season and I think if he is very clever he can find a special niche in the entertainment business with his name on it. It’s been a long time since we have had an entertainer that successfully combined comedy and music. He could do something in a standup fashion like the Smothers Brothers or, if he has any writing skills, he could write and performs songs with a comedic bent. There are several practitioners of that art form like John Prine, Wyn Varble, Dan Hicks, Leon Redbone or Paul Thorne. Miranda Lambert has a great sense of humor in her writing and shares that special “dropped on your head” style of humor that each of the afore mentioned have. Heejun has it as well and could probably do well in this area.

    I mis-stated the name of one of Miranda’s songs. “More Like Her” is the correct title of the song that I referred to as “She’s Beautiful” I’m glad you listened to “House That Build Me” but what I want to know is did you cry? Even a little? That song represents for me that there are still good record companies that can get it right now and then. I had the song on her Revolution album for over a year, maybe two before it was released as a single. I loved it the first time I heard it and the part about the” hand prints on the porch are mine” and “my dog is buried in the yard” touch me because my hand prints are in a lot of stranger’s concrete and I’ve left a few dog’s behind as well. It’s so universal, it touches everybody I guess. As far as it being a country year goes, you are probably right, but should the countries taste be leaning that way, Skylar is in a strong position. Keep in mind that there are four times as many country stations as there are pop in the US today, so who knows. The fans can pick pretty much anything they want from this group.

    Steven was right about Hollie’s song choice, as you said previously. I would have chosen “I Told You So” if she wanted to sing a Carrie Underwood song. It has a lot more “meat” than “Jesus Take the Wheel.” I think Steven has been the voice of reason throughout this season. His comments have been much more thoughtful than last year and the way he dismissed Hee Jun was exactly right. He spoke to him like a man at first but showed an appropriate level of empathy for him. Count me among the folks who don’t like the save or the sing for your life. I like the kids to have the opportunity to sing their way out because we have seen some of the best performances in Idol history during that segment but the sing for your life should be removed from the program and the save should be relegated to the small print of the rule book to be used on rare occasions, like a major storm or outages of major portions of the phone system or electric grid etc. It should be basically an “Acts of God” clause used only when events outside of Idol’s control have skewed the vote significantly from the norm. Otherwise the fan vote is what it is.


  34. Hi Kariann,
    I’m sorry to hear about the losses in your family. I have a beagle that I will deliver anywhere in the country to your grandbaby.

    Thank you so much for the compliment. I enjoy reading your perspective as well. I don’t think I’m qualified for the guest blogger spot but thank you for saying so. I like just being one of the many great members of the Masterclass family and am thankful to be tolerated as such.

    I haven’t thought about Erica’s votes helping Elise but I think you are right about that.

    Thanks for recommending Jessica’s You Tube cover of Etta James’ “I’d Rather go Blind.” She does a great job with it. I liked watching her singing it as well. She seems to be one of those rare young singers who “get” what they are singing and are able to express that connection well. Having said that, I think this is a song more suited for a grown woman. I watched several of her videos while I was at it. I think she has covered every song from the last ten years and then some. Her Adele covers were decent as well. Jessica is one of those rare contestants that are so good that they can be overlooked for some reason. I imagine that she would be a dream student for a vocal coach. She seems to be able to do anything they ask of her.

    I also watched several of Hollie’s videos while I was at it and she there is more depth and character to her voice than what we have seen from her so far. Both girls have some very good covers but their You Tube videos have a common characteristic on the negative side as well and that is they are somewhat copy cat. One example is Hollie singing Sugarland’s “Stay” sounds like Jennifer Nettles singing with Hollie’s accent. It has all of the inflections and twang of Nettles but the mostly British accent of Hollie. Even though it’s a very good cover, I would like to hear her sing it as if someone handed her the sheet music for the first time and she was singing it as if it was to be her next single with her own feel to it. I’m sure both ladies would probably take a different approach to an Idol performance than a You Tube cover.

    Speaking of Etta James, I have a movie recommendation for you and Mindy in particular. Other’s may enjoy it as well. You because of your R&RHoF connection and Mindy because of our discussion last year about American Blues being the root of other genres of music. It’s called “Cadillac Records” and is a docudrama like Labamba or Ray but this one is the story of Chess Records that brought a lot of black blues artist to prominence. Depicted are Muddy Waters, Etta James, Little Walter (considered by many to be the best blues harp player of all time) Willie Dixon, Howling Wolf, Chuck Berry and the owner of Chess Records, Leonard Chess. Beyonce’ is outstanding in the role of Etta James and is also the Executive Producer. All of the music was covered by the actors and was very well done. Beyonce’ was exception with her EJ covers. Most of these were Blues artist, although there music was commonly referred to as “race music” in that time, but at the end of the movie they show each of their accomplishments during their career, each and every one of them were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You may have seen the movie already, it’s been out several years, and I would offer one caveat, I saw it on TV so if you should rent a full version, the subject matter has the potential to be a little rough. The TV version was fine.

    You made another good point about Heejun’s value to the tour. He will probably keep the troops in good spirits when they are practicing and traveling as well as being entertaining for the fans.


  35. Hi Gene,

    I loved Scotty on idol the other night…that boy just ooossseeesss confidence!

    I read over at mj’s that he is up for new artist of the year for the country awards tonight…not only will he win, but this is just the beginning of many awards for that kid…I also read that he has went back to school to finish out his senior year, look out after graduation, he will come on strong then!!!

    I would love to take that confetti bath again this year…Elise for the win!


  36. Elise BLEW me away. That was her moment. That wonderful a capella riff at the end left me breathless. She was beyond brave for taking that song on, which if you remember was one of Adam Lambert’s biggest. Elise was CRAZY good. I also love Jessica – she is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. She can sing across genres equally well. I was impressed with Hollie as well and I think the judges were pickier with her than they should have been. And I have a soft spot for Skylar. She brings such pure energy & wholesomeness to her performances. She’s so darned likable :)!!

    I think the women were strong strong strong. I actually think Colton was the weakest this week – his diction is very problematic, in my opinion.

    Hello Vonnie!! Thank you so much for thinking of me :). And yes, I agree with you – I think Elise’s performance was the best of the season. The runner-up is Jessica last week – I forget what she sang but I loved it. So for me it’s between Jessica & Elise at this point.

    I think the singers are all interesting this year. Bravo to all of them!!


  37. Gene,

    I remember the movie “Cadillac Records” but never saw it. I knew that it was about the late, great Etta James but somehow I never got around to seeing it. Now that you have told me that it’s also about Chess records and the black blues artists, I just have to see it! Thanks!

    Oh and I did cry when I watched Miranda Lambert sing “The House That Built Me”. In fact, I really became overwhelmed at the end. That doesn’t happen often. The words touched me in some very deep and emotional places. I don’t always like to say how emotional I get when I listen to a song. People will think I cry all the time and the truth is that I am not moved to tears as much now that I am older. I am not sure why, because I have lived life and known heartache, anguish, loss and terrible sorrow. It just takes something really special to move me to tears. I think that Skylar might have had a moment with that song.

    I also listened to Hollie singing “I Told You So” and that was something special. To see this little girl in her own home with just amateur recording doing a youtube video of herself singing her heart out on this song, was quite extraordinary. For those who say online that she can’t connect with a song, this shows us otherwise. I truly hope that she can get the song choice right this week and show us just how special she really is.

    I would love to see some of the great people who comment here, be a guest blogger for one week. It would be great to get their perspective.


    Scotty did win for best new artist of the year tonight! It was so great to see him back on Idol! He seems so much more confident and comfortable as a performer now. I am thrilled over his success. Not that there was any doubt! 🙂

    I think he will achieve true greatness in the country music world. He has that special something that you just don’t see that often. After all, I loved him and that was the first time in the history of this show that a country singer got me!

    I like Elise a lot and she is among my favorites. I also love Hollie but fear that she may go the way of Pia. I love her voice. Hopefully, she can get that song choice down and deliver a performance that will show everyone what she’s got. Jessica is also another favorite. I think her performance last week really showed that she has this amazing maturity and poise at such a young age. Whether she wins or not, I think she will definitely get a record deal.

    I am not a fan of Colton. I just don’t like his style. He has a good voice, but his music is just not my thing. I also struggle with that when it comes to Philipp. I can understand that he has this passion and a distinctive style, but it’s not my kind of music.

    Of course, I also love Joshua. I would love to see him do well here. His voice is absolutely unbelievable. I love me some r&b, so he is my guy.


  38. Mindy,

    I watched the awards last night up until they gave the new artist award…yep! He’s got that “it” thang so going on!!!

    I can say for me as far as Phillip is concerned, I do like his sound and style…that said however, I do wish that he would start changing things up and not making each song sound the same. That is going to eventually go against him when so many are coming on strong.


    I’m so glad you liked Elise too…! I like Jessica too, she sometimes sounds like Whitney Houston. She does have a great voice.

    You are right…with this years idol contestants, so many genre’s are being covered, that there is a contestant for everyone; and this year we all seem to like a different mixture so it makes it alot of fun.


  39. Mindy,
    Her is your foutune cookie for the evening.

    “You will be richly rewarded for watching DWTS tonight.”



  40. Omigosh!! Yes I’m Darlene. Jrzgrl1 is my alter ego :).

    Kariann, I’m so sorry to hear about the deaths in your family. We lost our beautiful 5-year-old miniature dachshund very suddenly on February 17. It’s been very hard. My heart goes out to your grandbabies.


  41. Gene, Mindy, Kariann, Vonnie, etc . . . thanks so much for so many interesting observations about Idol this year. In addition to reading MCL’s reviews of each show (which I’m looking forward to), your comments really add to my enjoyment of watching Idol.

    As for the other shows this season, I’m watching DWTS live, and recording the Voice, but I may not have time to watch the Voice until later in the week because I’m celebrating my 65th birthday today! One more year ’til retirement!!!!!!!


  42. Happy Birthday Louise!

    I hope it’s a very special day for you.

    We are creating a movement of DWTS watchers and Voice recorders here I think which is sort of odd for a site about singing. I have no idea if it helps their ratings but I hope so. I don’t a special interest in ballroom dancing but I really enjoy that show just for the human interest aspects of it as well as the entertainment value. I wish I didn’t have to look at all of those pretty girls just to in order to watch people growing as human beings, but that’s my burden I guess. Last night was an especially good program. Len was on drugs and even some of the professionals were crying.

    Thank you for my part of your kind words, and the feeling is certainly mutual. I wish I could talk you into editing my comments for me! You are always so concise and on point.


  43. Happy Birthday, Louise!!

    I think DWTS is an incredible show – I watched the season opener while I was visiting a friend in Washington DC. I can’t quite make the investment of time that it would take to watch it regularly. But it’s good to hear it’s doing well this year.

    If this comes through as JRZGRL1, it’s because WordPress is making me log in every time I post.


  44. OK, it did it again. I’m Darlene. Darlene = JRZGRL1


  45. Thanks very much, Gene and Darlene.

    Poor Gene! What you have to endure to get a good human interest story on DWTS!!! How sad. 🙂 That’s like the men who say they read Playboy for the good articles!!!

    And, Gene, I’m usually concise because I just don’t have anything else to add to the conversation. You, on the other hand, have all sorts of interesting musical knowledge to contribute.


  46. Hi Gene,

    Late to the comments like MCL I was away and I did enjoy you comments. Where I disagree is I think for the R&B guy DeAndre tops Joshua by tons. Sure he is a kid and needs more experience but he has the voice, look, style, charisma and dance ability all of which are important. IMO in todays music business a recording star needs to be the whole package. DreAndre has the package and Joshua just doesn’t.

    While I do not think Dre will win, I do believe some label exec is chopping to get their hands on Dre and groom him.

    Joshua to my ears is a straight to Broadway type of singer.


  47. Happy 65th, Louise!! And I am impressed that you are still working. More power to you. I just bet that you are looking forward to 2013 when your time will truly be your own.

    I will indeed back at it tomorrow. Cannot wait!


  48. Darlene – for some reason your email is associated with your new user name. Weird. The only suggestion I have is to create a new email address via gmail or or hotmail and use it with your real name when you login.


  49. Hi Aubry,
    Actually I agree with you pretty much completely, and have said so in past discussions about DeAndre. He does have all of the qualities that you mention, but he’s not a complete pot of stew yet, and that’s where I think Joshua is beating him. Joshua is a much more seasoned performer in my view. I think he will outlast DeAndre in the competition if they both stay on their present course. With time D has what he needs to become a star. The record companies don’t seem to be in the mood or have the budget to develop young performers anymore. DeAndre has the opportunity to appeal to a larger market than Joshua though. He can go pop as well as R&B where Josh is more R&B / gospel or as you suggest he might go Broadway, so I think DeAndre has a greater potential market than Joshua.

    I recommend that you support Demander, or any other competitor that you like, with votes, blog comments and iTunes purchases if you are inclined. The same people who decided to sign Haley and Pia last year are looking over this year’s crop as well. I think they look at every measure of popularity they can before they commit to spending their dollars.

    Keep in mind that I am wrong more than I’m right. If you want to know who will win, ask Vonnie . 🙂


  50. OK, I’m back. Same lovely picture of my wonderful dog, Daisi, but now I’m more identifiable. Thanks, MCL!!


  51. And for the record, I am now somewhat committed to voting for Elise since I learned that she is from Mt. Pleasant, SC, which is across the Cooper from Charleston. I did not know that until a few days ago. And even more interestingly she grew up in NJ.


  52. Hi Darlene,
    I’m glad you solved your identity crisis and that you are (somewhat) voting for Elise.

    When she sang James Brown’s “This is a Man’s World” was when I really became interested in her. She had a pretty good audition but it was that performance that got me digging a little deeper. In addition to being a vocal teacher at a school of rock, she also sings with both a Blues band and a larger Soul review style band, sort of like the Flames that backed James Brown.

    So as it turns out she’s Jack Black, Muddy Waters and James Brown all rolled into one and wearing Steven Tyler’s pants! How can you beat a deal like that? There is a lot of talent in this group but Elise is the only one that interests me as a fan.

    It should be a good year for the tour as well.


  53. Agree, Gene!! My singing teacher actually knows Elise, not really well, but has heard her sing & describes her as “fearless”. And I’ve totally solved my identity crisis now – I went into my profile & am now “Darlene” unmodified by my user name. :).


  54. I had the same problem as Darlene when I came back on this site. WordPress was signing me in as Nativenewyorker. I finally just decided to sign in using my facebook account and that worked, but I am Mindy Moore, not just Mindy. Crazy!

    So the gang’s all here!


    You are a good fortune teller! I said on the other blog for The Voice that I was recording it and watching DWTS live! I am so glad that I did. I love this theme when all the contestants talk about their most memorable year. Some of the stories are quite extraordinary and touching. The judges went a little batty with their scoring, but I guess this is a week when they let the emotion and the moment shine.


    Happy 65th birthday! 🙂 What a milestone! Soon you will be in retirement and have time to really savor life. You always have something wonderful to contribute here and your comments are very much appreciated.

    We really do have a special group here. No hate, no pettiness, none of the stuff that you read on other blog sites that are covering Idol. There is so much love and support here for all the contestants on their Idol journey.

    I was ready to scream reading comments online about Erika and Elise being too “old”! What? You never hear any of the guys trashed for being old and we have some in their late twenties on this show in the past. I don’t get it. If that is old, then I am an absolute dinosaur! There is something to be said for maturity and experience. Elise showed what she had when she blew the roof off the place singing WLL. She has a confidence, a wisdom that only being a bit older and having lived and learn, can bring. I am so happy for her!

    I agree with Gene about Deandre. It is true that record companies don’t seem to want to spend the money to develop young talent. Deandre is incredibly talented, but doesn’t quite know how to use his voice yet. Joshua has the experience and the command of his voice. He has a magnificent voice and is a confident performer, but being an r&b singer usually means not getting the win. I hope he goes deep in this competition. There is a large r&b fanbase which somehow doesn’t get its due.

    This is such a fascinating season. So many good singers. Every elimination now is going to be tough, because a very talented singer will be leaving.


  55. Happy Birthday Louise!!!

    I hope you had a wonderful day! 🙂

    When my father in law retired, he said “the only way to officially retire is to take off your watch, and limit the amount of time you look at wall clocks. There is no longer a need to have to be somewhere.”


  56. Vonnie – I love your father’s description of retirement. Pure wisdom.


  57. Thanks very much for the birthday wishes! And, yes, I did have a wonderful birthday.


  58. Mindy,
    You’re not going to mention Sam Cooke? Dwts had a special episode for sure but when Gladys talked about how much she had learned directly from Sam Cooke and then danced to his song it made me think of your passionate description to J about growing up on Cooke’s music. I took advantage of the time difference to “tell your fortune” because I knew you wouldn’t want to miss that.

    I’ve been wondering what has become of J. She said she was interested in competing on one of these shows.

    I watched my recording of the voice results show late last night and, not to give too much away if you haven’t seen it, but there are performances that are more stripped down. I hope idol doesn’t take the wrong message from X and The Voice and begin to over produce their performances. They bordered on doing so last year.


  59. Okay! Just watched DWTS…WOWZA! OMGosh! Everyone danced so well, and to be week 3! This is going to be a close rece for the mirrored ball this year!

    My favorite of the night was the last dance of the evening, I actually cried through that dance…on April 10 it will be one year since my brother passed away from cancer, that song was beautiful; does anyone know what the name of that song was?

    Cudos to the band and singers as well, they too did an awesome job with each of the songs!

    Loved the sam cooke song, Gene!


  60. Vonnie,
    Thank you for reminding us about you having lost your brother last year. I remember it well now that you have jogged the gray matter. Mariah Carrie “One Sweet Day” was the name they offered for the song. I had not heard it before either.

    If you haven’t seen the results show yet, Anna and her husband do a special tribute dance for a fellow dancer who they compete against in ballroom dance competitions, who is battling cancer.

    I am glad you mentioned the band and the singers. They agree with you that they do an outstanding job. I think the Idol band has been very good this year as well. They have a good horn section and featured one of the sax players a lot during the Vegas round.


  61. Vonnie,
    “I agree with you” not they.


  62. Thank you Gene!


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