[Spoiler] Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Performance Show Part Two: Now And Then


Update: The “now and then” song list is shown at the end of this blog topic. Any guesses as to who is singing what? Personally, I detest most of these songs.

On Wednesday, April 18th, we will have another listen to the Top 7, thanks to the sensational and controversial use of the Judges’ Save on Jessica Sanchez during last week’s Results Show.

Now, do not get me wrong here. I absolutely believe that this save was truly crucial. This young lady is a future superstar and whether the confetti bath is in her future does not matter. She will be signed to a major – and I do mean major – recording contract once this show is over.

She is one of the greatest young talents to ever grace the American Idol stage and I really hope that the public rally around this young lady and support her special brand of musicianship.

However, there are still some stellar vocalists left in this competition.

Colton has proven to be a strong contender for the prize, gaining momentum with each passing week. His voice and presence have gone through noticeable improvement and his star quotient is rising. However, he needs to quicken the pace in his songs – he has been too keen on ballads lately.

Skylar is a confident, spunky country artist with gorgeous vocal ability. I can see her making a strong dent in the race to the Finale. Plus, she has a relentless fan base of viewers who rally around their country Idols.

Hollie also has a strong fan base and deservedly so. However, more than that, she has attracted viewers who have become very upset over the judges’ negative, harsh treatment of her performances. Count me among one of them!

Joshua has a pretty good support base but obviously not strong enough if you believe that he was truly in that Bottom 3 last week. I am a tad skeptical.

Phillip and Elise are probably the weakest performers left in this line-up but don’t look for Phillip’s exit anytime soon. He has a strong fan base.

This week, the singers will perform two numbers: one chosen from 2000 – 2012 and the other from the soulful genre pre- 21st Century. Not a cake walk for some – but for others? Very good indeed.

Hit the comments everyone. Let’s get this ball rolling.

Good luck to the Top 7 once again!


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

42 Responses to “[Spoiler] Vocal Masterclass Discussion For American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Performance Show Part Two: Now And Then”

  1. MCL, I hope that America rallies around Jessica as well. It would be a shame to loose Deandre and then Jessica way to soon. Like you I believe both are young stars and wonder why America isn’t voting for stars vs the same ole same ole.

    I also agree Phil2 and Elise are weak. But America seemingly loves Phil2. When he needs to actually sing, it is evident that he has a weak voice.

    The fact that Deandre is gone is still upsetting and baffeling to me.


  2. Here’s my “Then and Now” list:

    Elise – Then: Prince ~ Purple Rain
    Now: Neon Trees ~ Animal

    Hollie – Then: Minnie Riperton ~ Loving You OR Close you eyes and Remember
    Now: Fergie ~ Big Girls Don’t Cry

    Phillip – Then: Marvin Gaye ~ What’s Going On
    Now: Kings of Leon ~ Use Somebody

    Joshua – Then: Something from Luther Vandross
    Now: Sean Kingston ~ Beautiful Girls

    Jessica – Then: Stephanie Mills ~ Never Knew Love Like This Before
    Now: Alicia Keys ~ No One OR Fallin’

    Colton – Then: Michael Jackson ~ Rock With You
    Now: Plain White T’s ~ Hey There Delila

    Skylar – Then: Toni Braxton ~ Un-Break My Heart
    Now: Leona Lewis ~ Bleeding Love OR Rhianna ~ Umberella
    Without the twang…PLEASE!!!


  3. Great list, Vonnie. But I must confess – I don’t know many of these songs unless I am not connecting the melody with the name. Ha!

    Thanks for your suggestions!


  4. Aubry – it should be an interesting night indeed. 🙂


  5. MCL…This is my wishful thinking list, I’m a little late getting it out, seein’s that they sing tonight, lol.

    Maybe they will make a last minute change!!! 😉


  6. Audrey Lefkowitz April 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    In my opinion Elise is one of the strongest performers left. I love her play on the notes and her tone is like honey. She is current and believable. Jessica to me looks like a young girl singing grown up songs. Hollie has a beautiful voice but there is a sheet of glass between her and the audience. Colton and Phillip hold no charm for me because once there has been a David Cook in my past, nobody compares for me. He could take an unknown Neil Diamond song and make it current and change a ballad into a rock song and vice versa. He was so exciting and I waited each week with bated breath to see what he would take on. Now Skyler is another matter, as despite not being a country and western music fan, she has a lovely voice and the IT factor and I am pulling for her and Elise. Joshua is a wonderful singer but the screaming and his style does not do it for me either.


  7. Audrey – very interesting take. I see similarities between Colton and David Cook, but David had a stronger command of technique I feel. Plus, his performances were varied from week to week. He is still on my favorite AI contestants of all time.

    I love Skylar. In fact, I think TPTB don’t care if she wins because she is a girl and a country gal at that. A win-win situation. They just want a gal to win.

    I still think that, of all those remaining, Jessica is the most refined and polished singer left. She is 16 – a very difficult age for some.


  8. Well…2 of my Alicia Keys songs made the list, and I’m sure not due to a last minute change!

    I like my list better! Will be interesting to see who sings what!


  9. Louise,

    I think that’s the best article I have read about the Idol judges. Very insightful and thoughtful! I do agree that the viewers are the ones who have become more critical and discerning than the judges. They have lost whatever credibility they had.

    It’s all that ridiculous pimping and the excessive standing ovations. The audience is smarter than the judges.


  10. Tonight is going to be crucial for each one of these kids…cause thanks to the judges save, two go home tomorrow!!

    Mcl…Loved the vid of Hollie singing Rolling in the Deep, I wonder if she will sing it tonight or lf Jessica will?


  11. Vonnie – it will be Hollie. I will be surprised if not. We shall soon see.


  12. Here is Jessica singing “Bad Romance”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E70K-fkSX54 Will she sing it tonight? Hmmm. If so, I hope the pitch is a little more centered. This song doesn’t work for her, similar to that Pink song that Hollie sang last week. But, she may surprise us.


  13. This is what Idol has come down to. A screaming match between the contestants.


  14. Well, I wish I had something profound to say about tonight, but I don’t…I am more convinced than ever that Skylar will win, makes me happy it does not!


  15. If Skylar wins I will be upset. I do not like her nasal singing at all. So much real talent this year and if she wins I will be pissed.


  16. Aubry…LOL! I HEAR YA!!! I really hope Skylar goes home tomorrow!!!


  17. I do not get the Joshua love either. His Change is Gonna Come was no where near as good as Glamberts. But on Dial it looks like Colton is toast and I like him. Sad
    I wanted a Jessica, Colton Phil top 3. Joshua will NOT sell records. Sometimes this show is silly. They should know what it takes to be a recording star. But they already voted off Deandre who had it all, voice, looks, style and performance. UGH He was current too.


  18. MCL said,
    “This is what Idol has come down to. A screaming match between the contestants.”

    You said it all. Unfortunately, that’s what they keep encouraging them to do. I keep saying to the TV, “NO don’t do that” but they don’t seem to be able to her me. Several good songs were ruined tonight.


  19. America voted off Deandre. Joshua will not win. Dial idol does not measure text/online votes which is I think where he fails miserably. He is probably around 4th in votes (notice dial idol has him at 1-4) and will be out at around 3-5th place. Colton has the teens text voting which will put him out off the bottom (although he may be still in the bottom 3). The winner will be one of Phillip/Colton/Skylar/Hollie (yes Hollie is she keeps improving)


  20. So glad that DeAndre is out of there. Can you imagine what he would have had to endure these past two weeks?


  21. Oh goodness, what a night! My head is pounding from all that screaming! This is insane! They have the volume turned way up on this show and it’s not producing good performances.

    I loved the first half of the show and hated the second half. Those soul songs are the blueprint of my life and it didn’t make me happy to see some of them absolutely ruined.

    Where to start? Oh, Hollie! My sweet girl! When she started “RITD” singing acappella I got up and cheered! Wow! She sang her face off, which is exactly what I was hoping and praying would happen. She lost the nerves or whatever and just got out there and connected in a way that hasn’t happened. This is a version of Adele that even she might approve. I don’t want anyone singing Adele and all day I was a nervous wreck until I came here and saw that youtube video MCL put up on a blog. Then I told myself – this will work if she can come out and sing it like that. She gave her best performance tonight.

    I wanted her to sing Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, but I realized that after RITD, she had to go a bit uptempo. I don’t love “Son of a Preacher Man”, but I thought she sang it very well. I had forgotten how hard that song is to sing. I am so proud of her, even as I am here still voting after seeing the west coast show. Whatever happens, she did her best. They did put her first in the death spot, but maybe she managed to outdo them by singing so well.

    I figured out what is bothering me about Skylar. She doesn’t pull back and try to show some restraint. She is always at full power throttle and it gets overwhelming and just too much in your face at times. I don’t like that. I also did not like hearing “Heard It Through the Grapevine” sung country style. I understand why she did it, but that doesn’t mean it worked. Maybe for the country music fans but not for me. Her version of “Born This Way” seemed to work better but again, can this girl ever slow down? It’s not being nasal, it’s the twang in her voice that puts me off.

    I thought that Colton was the worst tonight. Neither performance worked for me on any level. His cover of “Bad Romance” didn’t sound good at all, especially those lower notes that were way off. Wrong key? Not good. I know that MCL didn’t want Jessica to sing this song. It’s a hard one to pull off. I never thought that Colton was comfortable with it. But the worst, the absolute worst, was what he did to “September”. Earth, Wind and Fire are so special to me. But making it an emo song? I was literally holding my head in my hands all through the performance. I don’t understand destroying the melody totally. There were so many other soul songs from which to choose. He should be in the bottom, but it won’t happen for reasons we all know too well.

    I think Elise is feeling the pressure. I really liked her version of “No One”. I thought she brought some beautiful runs and phrasing to her performance. However, if I am being hhonest, her version of “Let’s Get It On” seemed so oversung. She was growling and uusing every vocal trick in the book. It just did not work. What was so unfortunate was her face when the judges gave her some criticism. You can’t have attitude and you really can’t talk back. That never works. I think she will again be in trouble tomorrow night.

    Jessica seemed to be pushing really hard tonight. I think Jimmy telling her over and over that she has to connect, has to push, has to do this, do that, really put the pressure on her. I didn’t think her performance of “Fallin” totally worked. Let me say that she always gives a technically strong vocal. However something seemed off with her. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Why are they pushing her so hard? When she sang “Try a Little Tenderness”, first it was slow and then it went uptempo. It was all over the place. I didn’t like the arrangement. I think that she was doing what Hollie has been doing recently. I think she was trying so hard to give it everything that she just lost sight of making the connection.

    This show is not doing these people any favors with their advice.


  22. More thoughts on the performances.

    I thought that Philip’s first performance was one of this best. I didn’t know that Usher song, so I had no point of reference. However, his facial muscles seemed less tense and his vocals sounded much better. He did something that seemed to justify the artistic integrity that he likes to talk about. However, I have mixed feelings about his seond performance, “The Midnight Hour”. He went back to that raspy, growly voice again. I thought he was walking a tightrope all through the performance. It was a bit over the top for me. Too screamy. There was a lot of that going around tonight! 🙂

    Joshua sang a Fantasia song that I don’t really like. He did well, but is it me or is he still doing the shouting? The worst of all was this version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”. Everyone here knows how I feel about Sam Cooke. No one should ever sing this song again. That caterwauling and screaming and all the embellishments really destroyed an iconic song. Sam Cooke always understood how to sing. He didn’t sing it that way, but it was even more powerful. The pimping at the end was insane.

    My only concern is if going first will hurt Hollie. But at least she went out there and did her best. Who knows what will happen tomorrow night. Colton and Philip haven’t been in the bottom yet. I think they could go on stage and just stand there and they would be safe.

    I have no idea what will happen tomorrow night. i am just voting my fingers off.


  23. MCL, yes it is probably good Deandre is gone because that bus would have kept coming hard. Unlike you and I Lovine did not see the kid is a star and did not hear what a beautiful unique voice he had. Shrugs. But I would have liked to have heard Deandre be able to sing current themes.

    Going in the first part of the night always hurts the contestants which is why fans love their fav to have the pimp spot or the last performance of the night. Why is this spot reserved for Joshua? If they want to have Jessica win, why is Joshua always pimped and paraded and praised to the high heavens? Confused.

    I think Colton is in trouble. The bus came at him hard. Not his best night but he is current and could sell records.

    Hopefully Elise and her stankface goes. That girl has an ego the size of Mars and cannot stand to be critiqued.


  24. Vonnie said:
    “Tonight is going to be crucial for each one of these kids…cause thanks to the judges save, two go home tomorrow.”

    After a judges save, two people normally go home the next week. But this year, Jermaine was disqualified, so only one person will go home tonight.


  25. I have read only 1 goes home. That the end date of the show proves this. The save was factored in.


  26. Hollie’s performances last night were her best of the season and I loved them. Yeah, Hollie!!!!

    I also enjoyed Philip more than any other time this season. It was good to see him without the guitar to see that he can actually perform. I don’t think he has the best voice of any of the contestants, but his style has its own appeal.

    My least favorite of the night was again Skylar and Colton. I understand that there are posters here, including MCL, who do like these two. I’ll agree that they both have a lot of talent, but I’m just not a fan of their style of music. I can, however, see Skylar having a great career in country music, and I can see Colton having a great career in Christian rock.

    Elise is an interesting performer. Sometimes I like her, and other times I think she just has a voice for a local club.

    Jessica tried very hard to show a different side. She is definitely an amazing singer. And that leaves Joshua. I understand that there are people who don’t like him because he “screams,” but I love Joshua. His music moves me and I think out of all of the singers, I like Joshua and Hollie the most.


  27. One thing that came to mind as I watched Elise last night was that I thought she was trying to emulate Haley Reinhart–especially in her last song. I don’t think she compares to Haley.


  28. Mindy said:

    “[Elise] has an ego the size of Mars and cannot stand to be critiqued.”

    For many weeks it has appeared to me that Elise does not have the necessary temperament or attitude to go deep into the Idol competition, regardless of how well she performed. More evidence came out today in this article:


    Quote from Elise:

    “I feel like all these [favorable] comments are going out to all the young contestants when I’m more deserving…”

    Her poor attitude is a shame because I really like her voice, despite numerous flaws in her performances. I like voices with “character,” that have a unique, distinctive sound. If I heard Elise’s voice on the radio, I would instantly recognize it as her.

    This is the problem I’m having with Jessica. She has an exceptional vocal talent, but her voice to me has a “generic” sound almost indistinguishable from numerous other female singers. If I heard her singing on the radio, I would not recognize it as Jessica. To me, her voice is pleasant but lacks character. After she performs, I don’t feel anything.

    Jessica reminds me of an experience I had in college. One week, I got the chance to date the prettiest girl on campus. Had a pleasant time, but when I gave her a good night kiss, I felt nothing. The next week, I dated a much plainer girl, and after the good night kiss I felt a major sparkle. We are still together after 38 years.


  29. No one but an ego maniac would ever say I deserve more praise than I am getting. Elise please. IMO Elise has a recognizable voice yes true but she lacks sparkle and star quality. One either has it, Phil2 or doesn’t. Jessica has the voice but lacks the charisma. Phil2 lacks the voice but has the style, charisma, and he is the music so he
    is doing well.

    Being a recording star is more about charisma and style than perfect pitch or vocal gymnastics. Just look at Ke$ha, Katy, Rhiannah etc. They kill the charts but are not the worlds best singers. They just have that “IT” factor.


  30. So glad to hear that only one goes home tonight…boy! If I had to pick who it would be; hmmm! Elise, Colton or Skylar.

    Colton and Skylar were the weakest for me last night, I put Elise in there cause I don’t think her personality is doing her any favors. I still love her voice, but I did see a window into her soul last night, I don’ t know if it is frustration or truley her personality.

    Now if I were voting on personality alone, it would be Phillip, Hollie, Joshua and Colton.

    If I were voting on voice alone, Phillip,Hollie, and Elise.

    If I were voting on voice and personality, Phillip and Hollie.


    Loved your story; 38 years, that is awesome…the hubby and I will be 23 years this year!

    Jessica oversang both of her songs last night, there is no denying the girl can sing, but how pretty would it have been last night for her to sing a soft melody with no runs and no growls…then I would be impressed!!!

    Same thing with Joshua, two great voices that over sing!!!


  31. malden,

    I just had to come on here to correct the record. I was not the one who said that Elise has an ego the size of Mars and can’t stand to be critiqued. That was someone else.


  32. Mindy,

    I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’m so happy you’ve been back commenting here! I missed ya! Hollie was phenomenal last night, and am so proud of her for letting go of her nerves. I voted up a storm for her last night! I feel it was Colton’s weakest night. His cover of Bad Romance was very good, but not one of my favorites from him. He changed September so much, that I could barely recognize the song, and it just didn’t work very well. I give him props for trying though. I have to say, I enjoyed Phillip’s performances more than I ever have before.

    I didn’t like Joshua’s A Change Is Gonna Come. He was whining and shouting too much for me. I remember how much Sam Cooke means to you. Jessica did a wonderful job, but I feel she was oversinging. I loke Skylar so but was thinking the same thing as you, that she needs to cool it down a bit, and not attac


  33. Mindy,

    As I was saying, I love Skylar, but have been feeing the same way. She needs to show restraint. I think Skylar has done so much better than Lauren did last season!


  34. What’s the deal with only 1 going home? How does that work? Will we have 2 going home in a later week? Inquiring minds want to know :)!!


  35. OK, I just pulled up the comments by Elise about “being more deserving”. When taken in context, I think what she was saying (or trying to say) wasn’t that inflammatory. This is a very tense competition (always has been I guess) & I think we should cut her a little slack.


  36. My thoughts on the show, I placed in the discussion thread for tonight’s elimination episode. A few things I’d like to share though;

    Dial Idol does not have merit, at all, anymore. It measures the busy signal, but it measures the busy signal of rotary phones, or push-button telephones. Who uses them now, except the population, over 65. Voting is now online, by text, or by Facebook. I would say, Dial Idol probably furnishes about 20% accuracy of total votes by America. Also, for those worried about Colton – his performances tonight were definitely a step back for him, but, on Dial Idol, he has been in the Bottom 3 for the past 7 weeks. The same can be said for Skylar, and Phillip has generally been in the lower 5 also.

    On that note, some of the best winner’s on the show; Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia Barrino, David Cook & Jordin Sparks all had week(s) where people felt they were “bussed” or, performed less than expected. Most times, it just makes their fanbase vote more ferociously.

    Tonight will be interesting, to say the least, but I don’t think the attitude Elise displayed won her any votes, or any new fans. Regardless if the comments were taken out of context or not, or, just simply misunderstood, they’re “out there”, for people (the voters) to interpret as they will, and, Jimmy told her she’s starts fresh ever week, with a clean slate – well, her slate this week is most likely a little empty.


  37. Darlene,

    They are on track for the finale, with one contestant to be voted off in the next four weeks, including tonight. The Top 3 will be revealed May 10, the top 2 on the 17th, and the Finale will be on the 23rd & 24th.


  38. Chad, thanks for the clarification re: time frame/how contestants are going to be voted off. Regarding Elise, I guess I’m biased. I like her & she’s from Charleston (which is where I live). Additionally, we are both originally from New Jersey. If Idol limited voters to a set number of votes, we would have some real idea what the American public really thought about these singers. But that’s not the case. I voted about 100 times (by text) last night for Elise. There were probably people out there who voted thousands of times for Phillip or Colton or Skylar or Jessica. It’s all pretty relative. I’m not thrilled with what Elise said but I understand it and I think at this point she probably doesn’t think she has a lot to lose. The “judging” on Idol is not competent and hasn’t been for quite a while. I can understand why she’s frustrated.


  39. Vonnie, I so wish that Elise had sung “Purple Rain”. I did not like her “then” choice. She would have sounded good doing one of Prince’s tunes.


  40. OK, last post for a while (work calls) – if Elise gets voted off, I will use my 100 (or so) text votes for Hollie. :).


  41. Darlene,
    I agree with you about Elise. While I would have preferred for her to have remained quite (apparently she couldn’t her me saying “shut up Elise…”) it’s not that hard to understand someone becoming fed up with being one of a few who are criticized when several others deserve it. Jenifer’s comments to her were just not accurate at all. Elise puts a great deal of emotion in her song delivery. Steven was more on target with his comments about her song choice. Elise blew the assignment. Soul music is one of the genres she performs with her band so she could have easily picked a better song. I would have liked to hear her sing Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay” in either of the two styles that Sara Bareillas performed the song at the Philmore. One was videoed in a room off stage with only guitar accompaniment and the other is her stage performance where she accompanies herself on piano. Both are excellent and I can hear elements of Elise’s vocal style in each performance. That’s only one of a hundred songs that would have been better for her. I have to say that she should have let the subject drop tonight instead of taking the bait from Ryan tonight

    I think the extra week in the schedule comes from the fact that Jermaine had to leave the competition early this year. I’m glad it worked out to have a single elimination this week. The double elimination is one of several reasons that I am opposed to the judges save. Some of Idol’s best performers could find the stools blindfolded so the double elimination can deprive the audience of those comeback performance attempts.


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