American Idol: What Should the Top 11 Sing for Elton John Week?

Wednesday night’s episode of American Idol will see the Top 11 dive headlong into the Elton John songbook — alas, those ’80s Night rumors proved to be untrue — and I’d say it’s even-money that somebody’s going to follow in the footsteps of Bo Bice, David Archuleta, Justin Guarini, Jorge Nuñez, Clay Aiken and Jasmine Trias and break out yet another rendition of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” (Really, Cecile Frot-Coutaz ought to secretly deduct 250,000 votes from whichever finalist dares to go there.)

But hey, ever the optimist, I’m going to go ahead and brainstorm some ideas for the Season 10 hopefuls, also carefully avoiding “Cirrrrrrcle of Liiiiiiife” (always and forever owned by Jennifer Hudson — in the Idoleverse, anyway) and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (still recovering from the unspeakable horrors Camile Velasco subjected it to back in season 3).

Check out my picks, then head to the comments to suggest your own. (And for all my Idol ridiculata, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.)

Naima Adedapo: “Sacrifice
James Durbin: “I Want Love
Pia Toscano: “Your Song” (check out Elle Goulding’s version for a slightly different arrangement)
Stefano Langone: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (Note: No woman should cover this on Idol in the post-La Toya London era)
Haley Reinhart: “Honky Cat
Jacob Lusk: “I’m Still Standing
Lauren Alaina: “The One
Scotty McCreery: “Ballad of a Well-Known Gun
Paul McDonald: “Tiny Dancer
Thia Megia: “Believe
Casey Abrams: “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)

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148 Comments
  1. Rebecca Parker says:

    Just putting it out there: whoever sings “Candle in the Wind” is DEAD to me.

  2. flyaway says:

    I watched the Almost Famous video of Tiny Dancer and think it has the “cool vibe” Paul mentioned in a tweet. Especially cool if he intentionally messes up the lyrics and sings “hold me close, Tony Danza” for Phoebe (Friends episode).

  3. Lali says:

    Scotty McCreery: Blue Eyes

  4. amor825 says:

    Honky Cat is nice, looks like you want Haley to sing the best song. And you’re throwing Thia under the bus with that awful song Believe.

  5. Nick says:

    Casey must sing “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”, with his bass.

  6. leo says:

    Michael,
    I’m a big Ellie Goulding fan, so big love for the shout out to her version of “Your Song”. Check out Kate Bush’s version of “Rocket Man” for another different arrangement, which I think Naima could pull off… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYSCHKmvcIY
    x

  7. Binoy says:

    Here’s my pick.
    Naima Adedapo: “Sacrifice” (I can’t fault Michael’s choice there – but I would love it if she did the Sinead O’connor version…so haunting)
    James Durbin: “Kiss the bride” (Hey, it’s the closest thing to 80′s rock and cheesy enough. “Saturday night” seems too obvious a choice)
    Pia Toscano: “Rocket man” (think of Kate Bush’s version to make it work for a girl)
    Stefano Langone: “Nikita” (Although ‘Someone saved my life” was a good call,I think he might choose something more up-tempo after 2 weeks.)
    Haley Reinhart: “Blue Eyes” (Hey, another song with blue in the title for her…but that’s not why I chose it)
    Jacob Lusk: “Tonight” or “Philadelphia Freedom” (Sorry, but “I’m still standing” is a crap song)
    Lauren Alaina: “Sad songs (say so much)”
    Scotty McCreery: “Ballad of a Well-Known Gun” (this is a good choice, but since it’s not very well known I have a feeling he will sing “Levon” since it’s a story type song…very country style lyrics)
    Paul McDonald: “Tiny Dancer” (perfect choice)
    Thia Megia: “Believe” (Good choice…..but I’m placing my bets on her picking “Can you feel the love tonight”)
    Casey Abrams: “Come down in time” with an upright bass….would be classic and the perfect way to redeem himself and tip a hat to his save

  8. noa says:

    totally with you on the chiose for James. that should be a great Performance!

  9. leo says:

    I know she didn’t do this on Idol, but when she made Elton cry, Fantasia OWNED “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” with this performance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSQt_X2AUak

  10. karen says:

    what happened to the idea of new theme nights? idol is doing the same thing over and over again after promising a “new” idol season.

  11. S. Lee Stack says:

    wait, Paul doing “Tiny Dancer”?
    ’cause he’s all little with his skinny-leg jeans and dances like a monkey on rollerskates having a seizure? Brilliant!

    seriously, Tiny Dancer is one of Sir Elton’s worst and most over-rated songs, so it would be a perfect fit for Paul in that regard…major train-wreck potential, and I’m all for that…

  12. Terrell says:

    Casey at the piano for “Benny & the Jets” would rock! I still get chills watching the youTube of Archuleta’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” … would be cool if someone, anyone, this year could bring that kinda connection and magic.

  13. Nick says:

    Elton John Week? Punch me in the face now!

  14. Donna says:

    Remember that most of those who sang ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ had it picked for them by Clive Davis. George Huff sang a gospel ‘Take Me to the Pilot’–when was that? Season 5?

  15. Tee says:

    Keep the saccarine recent Elton out of this competition…let’s hear it for the oldies!

    Naima Adedapo: “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – she needs to do slow it down a bit
    James Durbin: “Funeral for a Friend” – woot!
    Pia Toscano: “The Bitch is Back” – needs to show something besides boring
    Stefano Langone: “Pinball Wizard” – the Elton Version – a little crazed
    Haley Reinhart: “Honkey Cat” or “Take Me to the Pilot”
    Jacob Lusk: “Border Song” – whoever chose this is so right.
    Lauren Alaina: “Daniel” – gorgeous melody, she needs to show some maturity
    Scotty McCreery: “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” – hit the high notes and show some energy Scotty!
    Paul McDonald: “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy”
    Thia Megia: “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” – show some soul sister because until now you are a ROBOT
    Casey Abrams: “Levon” – yep…a crowd pleaser and fun to hear Jewish boys sing about Jesus (LOL)

    • Katillac says:

      I was JUST thinking the SAME thing. I want Elton’s OLDIES… they’re the BEST. I’d never even heard of “Sacrifice” that people are mentioning, and BLAH, how generic and boring! I was a teen of the 70s, and Elton was one of my favorites!

  16. Kim R says:

    I would love to hear “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” just because you don’t hear it much anymore. Wow…flashback Grade 8 dances! Levon would be great too. I guess I like the oldies. :)

  17. Donna says:

    You KNOW Thea and Pia are both desperate to sing Circle of Life…I really hope they read this column and avoid it!

  18. Tee says:

    Just thought of another gem that would be gorgeous if sung by the right person – Harmony.

    Who could do it – Pia, James, Haley – it’s dark and sweeping and needs a very complex voice who can hit the high notes and low notes.

  19. Cat says:

    How about “Baby’s Got Blue Eyes” for Scotty?

  20. Idolbamaman says:

    James- Pinball Wizard… DEFINITELY!!!
    Scotty- Roy Rogers
    Jacob- Can You Feel the Love Tonight
    Paul- I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues
    Stefano- Candle in the Wind
    Casey- Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
    Lauren- Crocodile Rock
    Pia- Tiny Dancer
    Thia- Someone Saved My Life Tonight
    Haley- Your Song
    Naima- Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

    • Tee says:

      Whaaaaaaaaaa?

      Didn’t Paul already Butcher “i guess that’s why they call it the blues”? Such a beautiful emotional song and he mugged and whispered its way through it?

    • idolbamafan says:

      2 changes to my previous recommendations…

      Paul- Yes, I forgot about his awful version of I Guess Why They Call it the Blues. Sorry about that. I will change my selection for Paul to “Levon”

      Casey- I just now hear EJ do Razor Face, and Casey would slay that song. So my song suggestion for Casey is now “Razor Face”.

  21. PatD says:

    Everyone’s been slamming Pia for doing too many ballads, yet that’s all that’s been suggested for EJ week? I’d like to see her do a subtly slowed down version (not slow) of “Benny and The Jets.” There’s a lot that can be done with the verse sections of that song.

    “Tiny Dancer” has too many high notes for Paul.

    Some suggestions:

    Paul – “Come Down in Time” or “Love Song”

    Scotty – “Country Comfort”

    James – “Madman Across the Water”

    Stefano – “Little Jeannie”

    Naima – “Island Girl”

    Pia – “Bennie and The Jets”

    I don’t really care about the others. I love you, Slezak, but, Haley? Really? Um, no.

  22. Volcfom says:

    Yeah, seeing how Paul already sang “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues”, that song should be off the table.

    I hope someone does “Something about the Way You Look Tonight”. I just hope that someone doesn’t ruin it for me.

  23. PatD says:

    You know what would be really brilliant for Pia?

    If the producers stepped up their game, did their job, and gave a reggae flavor to You’ve Got to Love Someone.

  24. Robin Lemke says:

    I’m pretty sure we’re in for someone doing Candle in the Wind (Thia in her grand return to ballads after a week’s respite?) and a rendition of Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (Casey?)

    I’m gonna give I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That to Durbin. I would love someone to do Belfast – Paul McDonald, maybe? Because I’m secretly wanting him to go more ‘indie singer songwriter ala Once’, rather than ‘second coming of Rod Stewart’

    Scotty should do Ballad of a Well Known Gun and I’d love someone to do Crocodile Rock – Lauren?

  25. darcy's evil twin says:

    Haley should sing “I’m Still Standing”. :-)

    James should sing “Kiss the Bride”.

    If anyone sings “Circle of Life” or “Don’t Let the Sun go Down on Me”, I’ll barf.

  26. Katillac says:

    Pia could sing “Where to Now St. Peter?”. Awesome song! Starts off a little slow, but is definitely mid-tempo, and I can just hear Pia singing the line “I took myself a blue canoe”.

  27. Media Ho says:

    I’m loving the love for EJ’s “Sacrifice”!

    My list of songs (some original ideas, others stolen from other posters):

    Naima Adedapo: “Island Girl”
    James Durbin: “Tiny Dancer”
    Pia Toscano: “Harmony”
    Stefano Langone: “You’re So Static”
    Haley Reinhart: “Honky Cat” (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)
    Jacob Lusk: “Take Me to the Pilot”
    Lauren Alaina: “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues”
    Scotty McCreery: “I Feel Like a Bullet (in the Gun of Robert Ford)”
    Paul McDonald: “Philadelphia Freedom”
    Thia Megia: “Crocodile Rock”
    Casey Abrams: “Young Man’s Blues”

    These are from the older half of EJ’s catalog, but let’s face it — much of EJ’s stuff will be new for this group!

    • Katillac says:

      I hope we don’t hear “Sacrifice”. I’ve listened to it once on youtube, and it’s a bland, easy-listening Elton song. I ADORE his older stuff… CLASSIC ELTON!

    • idolbamafan says:

      Media Ho… Honky Cat was from the 1972 album Honky Chateau, not Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Just sayin…

      • Media Ho says:

        My bad — I had cut and pasted an earlier list, replacing with my list. I thought I’d deleted the album reference, but guess not. You are correct about “Honky Chateau”!

  28. Lee says:

    Elton John is really famous for his ballads right?
    For me, 3 contestants will have that advantage…
    Pia, Stefano, and Thia….but Pia have been told to at least sing with an uptempo song, right?
    My Song Choices for them…
    Pia-I’m Still Standing/Crocodile Rock…(crocodile rock wouldn’t be that awful)
    Stefano-Levon
    Thia-Circle of Life(another disney song after colors of the wind)

  29. Elisabeth says:

    Wish Paul had done Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters!