American Idol: What Should the Top 6 Sing as They Tackle the Carole King Songbook?

I can’t say I’m completely ecstatic about American Idol diving into the Carole King songbook on Wednesday night — if the show wanted to go with an iconic female songwriter, why not the far more prolific Carly Simon, or maybe someone more current, like Sheryl Crow or Madonna or Linda Perry or Beyoncé or even Janet Jackson? But, hey, we’ve got to work with what Uncle Nigel gives us, so I’ve cooked up song suggestions for the Top 6. Ch-ch-check em out, then visit Carole’s Songwriters Hall of Fame bio to get the rundown on the hits she’s written, and brainstorm some ideas of your own in the comments. And for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Slezak’s Dream Set List for “Carole King” Night
Haley Reinhart:Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (Amy Winehouse version)
Scotty McCreery: So Far Away” (paired with Scotty’s deep voice, this could be a true Idol Moment)
Jacob Lusk:Way Over Yonder” or (if he decides to go a little uptempo) “Sweet Seasons
Casey Abrams:Pleasant Valley Sunday” (could work stripped down and jazzed out)
Lauren Alaina:It’s Too Late
James Durbin: “Up on the Roof” (check out the James Taylor version)

Okay, your turn. Head to the comments and offer your dream set list for this week’s Idol performance show!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Yo says:

    I’m with you! Go Carly Simon!

    • Rock Golf says:

      Hey, I’d love to see a Carly Simon night too (especially a full-voiced diva doing an anthemic take on “Let The River Run”), but to call Carly more prolific than Carole King is simply an error too big to ignore.

      Here’s a partial list of Carole King-written hits: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” (Shirelles), “Take Good Care Of My Baby” (Bobby Vee), “Up On the Roof” (The Drifters/ James Taylor), “The Loco-Motion” (Little Eva / Grand Funk / Kylie Minogue), “One Fine Day” (The Chiffons), “Go Away Little Girl” (Steve Lawrence / Donny Osmond), “Don’t Bring Me Down” (The Animals), “I’m Into Something Good” (Herman’s Hermits), “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (The Monkees), “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin), “Chains” (The Beatles), “Crying In the Rain” (Everly Brothers / a-ha), “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby” (Cookies), “Hi-De-Ho” (Blood Sweat & Tears), “It Might as Well Rain Until September” (Gary & Dave), “Hey Girl” (Donny Osmond / Freddie Scott), “You’ve Got A Friend” (James Taylor).

      Plus her own hits “One Fine Day”, “Hard Rock Café”, “Only Love Is Real”, “Nightingale”, “Jazzman”, “Been To Canaan”, “Believe In Humanity”, “Corazón”, “Sweet Seasons”, “Smackwater Jack”, “It’s Too Late”, “So Far Away”. Not to mention “Where You Lead”, a hit for the Sweet Inspirations that became the theme for “Gilmore Girls” sung by Carole & her daughter.

      Carole King is not just one of the most prolific female songwriters of all time, she’s one of the best.

      • Mare says:

        I thought of Smackwater Jack immediately for Haley…but there aren’t really that many lyrics in the song, and it’s not a singer’s song…but if she was a piano player and accompanied herself on that song, that would be a winner.

      • erto says:

        Thank you yo! Carole King is one of our gretest songwriters.

      • Cindy says:

        Thank you, Rock. I’ve often wished that Idol would do Carole King. In my opinion, Tapestry is the best album ever recorded. There’s not a bad track on the entire album.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        I hope Haley does not do Natural Woman (Lauren already did it). It is so overdone.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        Thanks for that comment Rock Golf. Carole Kings not only prolific but she spans decades. The songs you mentioned above are only the icing on the cake too.

        What has Carly Simon done besides Anticipation and You’re So Vain.

        Usually Slezak’s spot on but he just got it wrong this time.

      • Mary says:

        I TOTALLY AGREE! Not sure why Michael Slezak thinks that the awesome Carole King is not very prolific? He must not like her music maybe. I was actually shocked when he said this.

      • Yo says:

        Great information! For some of us, the list of songs is like a list of our historic least favorites. I have never liked Carole King songs, never liked her albums. Would much prefer Carly Simon.

      • dctoronto says:

        I am very much looking forward to this show. Yes Michael, they could have gone more current with a Sheryl Crow night(Beyonce; really???) but given that Carole King is a national treasure and hugley influential, I think Idol should give her her due.

      • Matt says:

        Prolific? Sure. Classic? Absolutely. Current? Not even close.

        Just because Idol can get the rights to something doesn’t mean they should make it a theme night. Most of these kids AREN’T able to update old songs well. Why keep forcing it on them? Let them use a more contemporary writer. Linda Perry would be a great choice, in my opinion.

      • LeslieMac says:

        THANK YOU for stating the obvious. Come one Slezak – Carole King’s songbook is deeper than just about any other female songwriter – to say Carly is more prolific is just nuts.

      • luke2 says:

        I agree – I think Carole King is more prolific than Carly – more wide-ranging when you consider the co-writing she did – She was one of the architects of the Brill Building MIchael! (Although I’d love to hear Haley do “You Belong to Me” by Carly S.)

    • Tego Livi says:

      Carole King is much more prolific than those other named “songwriters.” Carly’s great, but hasn’t written many that she didn’t sing herself. Madonna generally gloms onto songs primarily written by collaborators. Beyonce doesn’t really write *songs* (hers are really more cheerleader chants than actual songs).

  2. Andrew says:

    I agree. This theme certainly favours certain contestants and it feels like it’s going to be a very boring week unless someone has a real moment.
    But it’s hard to have a moment with very few memorable songs to choose from which means contestants may be relying more on established fanbases than winning new fans over.

  3. JimW says:

    These crap theme nights need to go away. The judges always talk about the contestants needing to sound current, then they do Motown night, and Carole King night. Don’t get me wrong, I like listening to music from previous decades, but these theme nights are painful, and need to end.

    • darclyte says:

      I tend to agree. But even going with this “type” of theme, Diane Warren would’ve been better. At least she’s written hit songs within the last 15 years. Linda Perry would have been even more current.

    • Kai says:

      The whole point of giving them themes is to see who can take a song in any genre and make it their own, by turning it into something that sounds like something they would record. Just because it’s Motown week or Carole King week doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

      These contestants have to take a song week after week, make it their own so that it will fit the style of singing that they can do. Not only that, it’s good to be able to see them try to sing different styles of music, because a true artist can do anything. If they can take a song and purify it into something completely different but still keep the beauty of the song then that’s being an artist, and that’s why they should stay another week.

      • Jill says:

        However, it’s seems Jimmy is not really helping them make it their own. Or the contestants just aren’t that creative/talented to rearrange a song, or brave enough to ask for help in doing so.

        • Carolyn says:

          Kai’s got a point. Daughtry stuck to his style regardless of theme. David Cook turned the cheesy Hello into a great rock song, Billy Jean into a current melancholy song (though it was someone else’s version it showed a knowledge of current music), and Always be my baby into a wonderful song.

          • Jason S. says:

            What about Little Sparrow? That is my favorite David Cook song!!!!

          • Matt says:

            Daughtry had the brains to look for covers by other artists that fit each week’s theme. He never really invented his own take on songs, but was a deft enough player of the Idol game to find a way to use what was required and still do what he wanted.

            I wish more of these kids had his thought process. Or knew how to use Google to look for more interesting spins on the songs they’ve got on the list.

      • Jamie says:

        Exactly. The point of the theme nights is to take an old classic and put your own spin on it. That’s what made David Cook, Kris Allen, and Adam Lambert so good. The point is NOT to do a kareoke version of those songs.

        • Lizbeth says:

          I think there are two reasons we are not seeing the contestants “put their own spin on it” this year.

          First, they don’t have the time. The kids are rushed into the studio to record their song choice so the music can be available on itunes immediately after performance night. I think Ken Warwick said something to that effect recently.

          Second, Jimmy I and the producers are pretty much dictating the arrangements. I don’t think there is much the contestants can do about it. Warwick said that the audience doesn’t like to hear different versions of familiar songs when answering a question about this very subject (trying to defend Iovine & friends) Can you believe that? How does he think Cook won Season 7? He basically said that water cooler moments are taboo. Crazy spin on the situation if you ask me.

          • Can't Sleep says:

            But we have two players who have challenged Jimmy I – Casey and James. I can easily see Casey taking a Carole King song and spinning it on its head to a jazz number or trying “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday.” James will go quiet, maybe “Brother, Brother.”

            The one who has shown very little imagination is Lauren. She already gave us a lukewarm performance of “A Natural Woman.” Can’t see her doing that again, but if she does, she’s gonna have to step it up. And she ought to stay away from “I Feel The Earth Move.” Old as it is, she should do something age appropriate, like “Locomotion,” or “One Fine Day” and have fun with it.
            Scotty will find something he can turn country (“Good Mountain People”), but I would love to see him tackle “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” or “Go Away Little Girl.”
            Jacob can go diva with Mariah Carey (“If It’s Over”) or Celine Dion (“The Reason”) covers.
            Haley should try “Jazzman” or “Some Kind of Wonderful.”

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I think Neil Sedaka wrote “Breaking Up is Hard to Do”.

          • Can't Sleep says:

            @Darcy’s evil twin – Neil Sedaka sang “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.” And I love his slow version of this song. But it was written by Carol King.

          • Scott says:

            A-side Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
            B-side As Long As I Live
            Released 1962
            Genre Pop
            Writer(s) Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield

          • Joe Strummer says:

            @can’t sleep

            No, Neil Sedaka wrote the song with Howard Greenfield. Carole King actually covered the song.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Thanks to all the posters that backed me up. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes on these boards, though. I sure can’t fault anyone that makes an error.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Isn’t this the week they usually do country? While I agree with many comments re other female artists, I am happy just for the fact that they are doing a female artist at all. The only other time I can recall that the featured artist was female was Dolly Parton week a few seasons ago. Other than that, if the powers that be decide to focus on a band or artist, it usually is male (Rolling Stones, Elvis, Rod Stewart, Elton John (at least twice), Stevie Wonder, etc.) That said, I’d love to see them do Heart. Even though the song Alone has been done to death on the show, Heart had many more (and better) hits.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Good point about a female songwriter, Snsetblaze! I hadn’t thought about it from that point of view.

        Other famous female songwriters – Lucinda Williams, Laura Nyro, Karla Bonoff, and Ani DeFranco.

      • GinaBallerina says:

        It’s true that they seem to favor male singer/songwriters but the same year that they had Dolly Parton as a mentor they also had Mariah Carey. She writes her own songs as well as songs for others.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        I think it’s proportional to the amount of men songwriters to women songwriters out there. The majority of songwriters are men, it’s as simple as that.

        Oh, they did have Gloria Estefan night and No doubt night which is basically Gwen Stefani night.

  4. Holly says:

    Wow. In the stock photo you’ve run they have Haley completely separated from the group. Another not-so-subtle nudge from Nigel to remind us simpletons that she shouldn’t be there?

    • Bee says:

      Subliminal message in the photo! very interesting and probably true to the idol machine’s intentions. how sad….

    • Cat says:

      Yeah, she looks photoshopped onto the side there. Gross.

    • Annoula says:

      Maybe I’m more positive, but she is the only one wearing colors, and she does stand out, so maybe it means “Look at Haley! Vote for her! Who are all these other people that blend together as losers?” Is that just wishful thinking?

      • H says:

        If Nigel had any brains at all he would like Haley and do something like that to Lauren instead. I love Haley! Lauren is a lame performer. I have daydreamed through a lot of Laurens performances because she was boring. I liked her last week performance though, but that is pretty much the only one.

      • Lisa says:

        Annoula I agree with you whole heartedly! Hailey has blossomed the last few weeks and I hope she blows the rest of the map. Go Hailey!

    • Sati says:

      How about who’s front and center. Dear Nigel’s final-two dream choice.

    • EvilEdit says:

      The evil edit would be to have Haley sing Natural Woman — thereby pissing off a bunch of Lauren and Kelly fans.

  5. Interesting choices Slezak. On RTVC, I suggested these songs:

    Casey Abrams: “Some Kind of Wonderful”
    Haley Reinhart: “If it’s over”
    Jacob Lusk: “You’ve got a Friend”
    James Durbin: “Don’t Bring Me Down”
    Lauren Alaina: “Been to Canaan”
    Scotty McCreery: “Cryin’ in the Rain”

  6. karen Anderson says:

    Michael, at first glance Carole King might sound like a snoozefest, but her catalog is hardly not prolific. She is much more prolific than Carly Simon. In fact she has an incredibly vast depository of songs dating back to Locomotion, etc. Her songs run the gamut from gospel, jazz, folk and rock, to even country. A timeless and gifted songwriter like Carole King can provide all sorts of treasures for the right singer. I think her catalog will definitely even the playing field for all the contestants. The only person who might be at a disadvantage will be James, but he needs to show me some diversity, so this is a good opportunity that will be very revealing. Great songs never lose their luster. Just look at what Haley did with Bennie and the Jets.

    • Cat says:

      Totally agree!

    • G-Mom says:

      I agree!! I have been wanting a “Carole King night” for YEARS!!!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      And James could do “I Feel the Earth Move” which is one of her more rock-oriented songs.

    • Billy says:

      @karen “Great songs never lose their luster. Just look at what Haley did with Bennie and the Jets.”

      I actually groaned out loud when she began singing Bennie and the Jets, and ended up cheering for her when she finished it.
      Haley took on of John’s most lackluster songs and made it exciting to listen to.

  7. sara says:

    Carole King? Seriously?

    • dona says:

      no, no no! “you got a friend” has been done to death! if i hear it again i will have to smash the tv!
      but i loved your slezak’s recommendations, esp the one for haley.

      carole king has wonderful melodies. beyonce’s songs work only because she is hot and can dance– not a good idea for idol…

      btw-where is the interview with paul?! it’s been almost 2 weeks…have i missed it?

  8. Julie says:

    Why do you need to complain about it not being a “modern theme?” Carole is one of the most iconic music figures ever. We got our wish for modern music last week, and most modern music is crap compared to Carole’s music.

    James-I feel the earth move
    Scotty-So far away
    Lauren-You’ve got a friend
    Haley-Will you love me tomorrow

    Not sure about the other two.

    • djm says:

      How could Scotty do So Far Away? He wouldn’t be able to wink and nod so I doubt he’ll choose it.

    • Red in Denver says:

      I’ll addd on:

      Jacob – Way Over Yonder
      Casey – Smackwater Jack

      • Jamie says:

        I agree w/ those two…and would give “Home Again” to Haley or Lauren. Haley may also do well with Tapestry. James could pull back this week with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Scotty should do Take Good Care of My Baby.

        Can’t believe I finally disagree w/ Slezak. Songs from Carole King are some of the best ever written. Finally, a theme I can get behind. Music is timeless and songs are covered, and recovered for eons. The point of Idol is to twist an original and make it your own. There are no bad musical eras (well, except for cRAP) or genres. Music is universal–we all give and take from it something different.

    • CAT says:

      Haley HAS to do “I Feel the Earth Move”. With her growl, she could have a terrific time with that song. Scotty would do really well with “So Far Away” or “You’ve Got a Friend”. Lauren’s not grown up enough to do “It’s Too Late”. It would seem really fake and forced.

  9. Bee says:

    I hope whoever chooses to do “I Feel the Earth Move” does it in a clever, surprising, edgy way. It’s a great song as is, but it will really feel karaoke-like if it’s not done well.

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      I wouldn’t recommend that song for anyone. It was Katelyn Epperly’s swan song last year (Girlfriend was So. Totally. Robbed!) Personally, I’m confident about this theme. We could be getting a nice demonstration of artistry.

    • Mary Sue says:

      Lauren should do it – because it happens everytime she walks.

      • Carolyn says:

        As a woman I am appalled that you said that. She’s not that big, she’d curvy and though I don’t love her she’s young and has talent. There a many things to criticize her but we don’t need to sink to that level.

      • wendeeloo says:

        Oh Mary Sue – I’m so tired of bloggers like you – Who go on these sites just to be mean. That’s all. I hope it makes you feel superior today that you put your little snipe about a teenager who is not really that heavy. It’s people like you who make girls have poor images of themselves. Consider that words hurt next time.

        • Mary Sue says:

          Oh boo hoo. It’s not like Lauren is reading this anyway. But while we are on the subject, I think she’s the first contestant to appear to gain weight during their run on the show. And sorry, she opened herself up to it when she wore a dress that made her look the same size as an actual zebra. And besides, she’s the one choosing to wear clothes that are not flattering – or better yet, allowing her tacky mother to put her in clothes that aren’t flattering.

  10. David says:

    My recommendation for Jacob? “Blessed is the Man”

  11. Owen says:

    Yes, Carly Simon is SO much more prolific a songwriter than Carole King. Oh, by the way, Douche, NOT. Man, why does this guy comment on a music show with young hopefuls? No heart and no music knowledge? Slightly cruel and a little bit deaf? This guy is at the bottom of all the Idol commentators. I’m sure we’d both be happy if I quit reading him. But I can’t, so I’ll continue to complain.

  12. lethargic says:

    Whatever happened to not having themes and letting them sing original songs?

  13. Beth T says:

    I think Haley could do justice to just about anything in the Carol King songbook. :)
    I thought about “Brother, Brother” for Jacob, as well as the ones you mention, Michael. For Casey, “Jazzman” (too obvious?), or maybe “Been to Canaan”. I wasn’t picturing anything in particular for James – but since you brought it up – he, too, could do something with “Pleasenat Valley Sunday”. ;) Or maybe “My, My She Cries”?
    I hope *someone* thinks of “So Far Away” or “Home Again”, or “You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine”.
    And while I agree Scotty could have a real chance at an Idol moment, do I really think he’ll pass up “Smackwater Jack”? :D

  14. happy says:

    There’s about a dozen Dusty Springfield songs for Haley in the Carole King archive. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was a Shirelles song so that might make it doubly appealing to Haley.

    Don’t Forget About Me
    Going Back
    I Can’t Make It Alone
    No Easy Way Down
    Oh No! Not My Baby
    So Much Love
    That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-de-Ho)
    Up on the Roof
    Wasn’t Born to Follow
    Will You Love Me Tomorrow (originally The Shirelles)
    You’ve Got A Friend

    I want to see her make “That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-de-Ho)” work though.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Love, love, love Dusty Springfield.

      Those are all great suggestions.

    • happy says:

      [blockquote]In the 50 years since the Shirelles’ ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ was originally recorded, it’s been covered by dozens of artists, including the Bee Gees and Joe Walsh to Amy Winehouse and Dusty Springfield. But the classic song was nearly spiked when it was introduced to the group back in 1960.

      “It sounded like an old twangy country and western song,” Beverly Lee, one of the four teens who made up the all-girl group, tells Spinner. “We didn’t like it. But Luther Dixon, who was out producer, had a wonderful ear for choosing music for us and said, ‘You’re going to record this.’ When he went into the studio, it was a lush arrangement with strings and cellos and kettle drums. It was awesome.”[/quote]
      (Note: it was originally penned by Carole King)

  15. Cat says:

    I don’t know. I think this week could be epic. Remember how much we doubted the potentials of Dolly Parton and Mariah Carey nights during season 7? Yet, those were some of the most memorable performance shows that season. Past contestants like Kelly, Chris Daughtry, David Cook, and Crystal Bowersox (to name a few) all took potentially train-wrecky theme nights and made them awesome. If certain contestants do poorly on Wednesday, they only have themselves to blame. Carole King’s songbook runs deep and wide.

  16. Karrie says:

    Hopefully a few will choose to finally make a song their own this week. I read that the contestants schedules are so busy with promo stuff that they haven’t yet had time to make a song their own and some of these kids really need that! With that being said, go Haley & James!

  17. Nancy says:

    Would love to hear Casey sing Music or Jazzman.

  18. Amy S. says:

    This is a pretty mellow songweek. Kids are going to have to spice it up a bit! I think Haley will have good luck with CK week. She should sing “I Feel the Earth Move”. Lauren can’t re-sing “Natural Woman” so that one’s out, BUT she could kind of do something country-pop with “It’s Too Late.” Jacob could do an R&B version of “So Far Away” (maybe speed it up a little). Casey could do “Smackwater Jack.”

  19. S. Lee Stack says:

    LOL, you’ve been calling for Scotty to have a true Idol moment for awhile now…more likely he’ll just keep on doing his retreads of babylockthemdoors all the way to the winners circle…

    and those song choices are ambitious but a little too obscure for Uncle Nigel…Scotty (You’ve Got a Friend) and James (I Feel the Earth Move) will get their pick of whatever suits them best and everyone else will get whatever’s left over/forced upon them…I fully expect Haley to get something everyone hates, like “The Loco-motion” ;)

  20. Joy Fountain says:

    I for one love the idea of Carole King week.

    Haley – This should be her week to shine. “Oh No, Not My Baby” (perfect for her growl) or “Up On The Roof” (Maybe too cool for school).

    Casey – “Home Again” or “So Far Away” (both could let him be soulful again and give him that idol moment)

    James – “I Feel the Earth Move” or “Smackwater Jack” (both provide enough scenery for him to chew)

    Lauren – “Where You Lead” or “Nightingale” (both could help utilize her youthful energy)

    Jacob – “Way Over Yonder” (could totally make a comeback with it if he doesn’t over emote) or “Lay Down My Life” (could be uplifting)

    Scotty – “Sweet Seasons” (it has the word “country” in it!) or “Chicken Soup With Rice” (goofy charmer)

    • Amy S. says:

      I thought the same for Jacob, too. Kinda gospel.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Lay Down My Life is a great song from one of her more recent albums. I had forgotten about that. I think it might suit Casey more than Jacob (Jacob needs to do something besides “uplifting.”

    • Colin says:

      Thank goodness someone else sees the potential of Haley singing Oh No Not My Baby – I love this song for her (lover her voice and her treatments). However, also gotta agree that Haley could pick any song from the Carole King library and do a really wonderful job of it.

      Good Luck this week, Haley.

  21. Kiki says:

    Wow, Slezak, do you practice being that offensive? Carole King is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame AND the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (inducted as a songwriter, not a performer) and Tapesty was on the charts for SIX years. Wow. Maybe if these performers could actually embrace the roots of popular music instead of begrudgingly doing it because the producers told them to, they would actually deliver better performances of the tripe that’s being written and performed today.

    • Realist says:

      You know who else is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame? Francis Scott Key, John Phillip Sousa and Scott Joplin. Should we harass Nigel for a “ragtime night” or “revolutionary war hymn night”? Slezak’s got a point.

  22. Mary says:

    What, no mention of ‘Where You Lead’, the GG theme song!?!?! I know it’s a duet, but still…ah, I see Ausiello didn’t write this. Will still be an interesting show to watch.

  23. Andre says:

    It doesn’t matter, whatever the hell they sing the judges will love it anyway, and the 13-yo-girls will eliminate Haley or Jacob.

  24. S. Lee Stack says:

    wow, nobody’s connected the dots with “You Make Me Feel (like a natural woman)” + Jacob?

  25. Wyatt says:

    I don’t know about Carole King week but I would like to hear Scotty sing ty sing “I’ve Got Plenty of Nuttin'” from Porgy And Bess. Great bass aria which the ‘Nuts of Wonder’ could really put his stamp on.

  26. lauren's friend says:

    Lauren MUST do “You’ve Got a Friend”.
    Age-appropriate, and she has trouble emoting on the adult-ish lyrics of other songs. But she could easily sing this to her cousin, the redhead who told her to audition for Idol in the first place.

  27. Jessiekins says:

    I literally did a doubletake when I read that Carly Simon had a more prolific songwriting career. Um, no. Carole King has written songs that transcend generation and style. All you have to do is listen to “Natural Woman” by King and then by Franklin and my point is made.

  28. irby says:

    I hope Lauren does “One Fine Day.” She’s been uber boring lately, and I think a more upbeat, spunky song will help her stand out on Carole King night. Plus it’s age appropriate in a way that other CK songs would not be.

    Haley could slay “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” She doesn’t need to mimic the Winehouse version, but she should definitely give it her own earthy spin.

    Who knows what Durbin will do this week, but I imagine it will not be a good week for him given his week vocals when he’s not powering through a song.

    Are there CK songs with “country” or “grandma” in the title? If so, Scotty’s found a keeper.

    I think Jacob could do well with “So Far Away,” but I’d power vote for even him if he did the “Care A Lot” theme from the Care Bears!

    I’ve been over Casey for weeks…

  29. RTW says:

    Michael, why are you less than enthusiastic? You specifically stated in Idoloonies after praising the jazzy Moanin selection, “Let’s get a little creative with our theme and song choices…” I’m glad the theme is based on a singer many don’t know very well because it will require voters to focus more on talent, singing ability and how well the contestants adapted to their song choice and pay less attention to the cute and popularity factors. This is a perfect opportunity to create some turbulence on the show and see how well the contestants can manage unfamiliar material.

  30. sharona says:

    Carole King has written so many fabulous songs that any or all of the Idols could have a moment if they play their cards right. I grew up listening to her music over the airwaves and IMHO nothing I hear on the radio today can even begin to compare to her artistry.

    That being said it’s probably all a waste of time because all the little tweenies will be texting their little fingers off to make sure boring Josh Turner wannabe Scotty takes the top prize. Ugh.

  31. claudia says:

    I would rather hear Haley do Jazzman than Casey. I don’t want her to do a bubblegum song like Will You Love Me Tomorrow. If it’s legal, I’d love her to sing a song Carole co-wrote with Mariah Carey called If It’s Over. Haley could sing it very bluesy so it would be different from Mariah’s version. Another good one is Back from Canaan.

  32. Robert says:

    It could just be me, but if you’ve heard the Grand Funk version of Locomotion, it seems like it would be a no-brainer for James Durbin. Right in his wheelhouse.

  33. sarahp says:

    Slezak, count me as one more who disagrees with you. Obviously we’re all entitled to our opinions, but I’m excited about Carole King week. I love her, her songs haven’t been done to death on Idol, and her quiet style leaves so much room for these contestants to ‘do their thing,’ to quote my inner Randy.
    I’d love Hayley to do I Feel The Earth Move. That was the first thing I thought of when I heard this was the theme. I think she could really rock it, and maybe the judges would have to finally give her props.

  34. betsy says:

    my other favorite AI recapper, Jacob over at televisionwithoutpity-dot-com writes this about that:

    If Pia were here she could sing “I Feel the Earth Move,” because they always do, while Stefano could have sung “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” For Casey I’m guessing “Smackwater Jack” (since “Jazzman” is unworthy of him). Although I think “It’s Too Late” would suit his voice, or maybe even “So Far Away.” The runs in that one would do a lot to diversify Durbin’s portfolio, but he will probs do the Pia one because it has earthquakes in it. Earthquakes of love.

    Haley or Lauren will sing one of those two, maybe even “Where You Lead,” for Lauren, because of her being a single mom in upstate Connecticut and all. And since she already did “Natural Woman.” Although Lusk could do either of those, probably he will sing whatever has been covered most recently by a contemporary diva artist. Probably the Celine Dion one she wrote that nobody knows about.

    Scotty… Probably will also somehow circumvent the theme altogether. “Home Again” or “You’ve Got A Friend” would be super sexy for him to sing, if he did it the way he does things. But then, on the outside — since he’s never heard of any of these songs anyway — he might pick “Way Over Yonder” sight-unseen, just because of the title.

    I’m guessing the Thursday medley will include “Earth,” “Where You Lead” and possibly “You’ve Got A Friend.” That’s my guess there; that’s something I’ve never ever given thought before, but this (stuff) is important. I never know what the f*** is going on with this show. Carole King is like one of my ten Jeopardy categories, so I’m probably going a little far right now, but: Very Important Stuff. It’s just so exciting!

    I don’t, honestly, care — although picture Casey singing “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” and then picture me doing something drastic; so cross those fingers — because I know that any old way it shakes out, this is going to be great. You can’t — and I can’t wait to eat crow on this assertion, come Wednesday — you cannot f*** up Carole King. Can’t be done.

  35. Sabrina says:

    Carole King is one of my all time favorite song writers. I have Tapestry and Tapestry Revisited as well as a live version on my iPod. Can not believe you think that Carly Simon or Mariah Carey would be a better choice. That said – I literally screamed “NOOOOOOOO” when I read this was the theme this week. There is not a single contestant (refuse to call them artists) left on this show who could do justice to her superb song writing. Oh boy, what hell will Jacob bring to a favorite song…I think he may do “You’ve Got A Friend” because the Winans covered it and that would be where he may know some of these songs. Ugh, not looking forward to this!

  36. agrimesy says:

    I like Slezak’s picks just fine. I definitely support Haley covering Amy Winehouse. She can do it! This week has the potential for many “momentous” performances or it could be the biggest snore fest in Idol history. We’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out.

    On a side note, Adam Lambert tweeted Haley his support and encouragement. Ryan drew attention to Casey claiming that Kelly Clarkson was a fan. If he doesn’t give Haley the same “former Idol” endorsement, the boy bias will be truly undeniable.

    @adamlambert @HReinhartAI10 well diva- listening and watching you makes me smile. Can’t wait to hear your album!

  37. julie says:

    Are you kidding? Since when is Carly Simon more prolific than Carole “Up on the Roof” “It’s Too Late” “You’ve Got a Friend” “Natural Woman” “Locomotion” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” “Where You Lead (I Will Follow)” King? Carole King’s Tapestry was at the top of Billboard’s pop chart for like 15 or 16 weeks in 1971 and stayed on the chart for another ten years after that. She wrote so many hits from the 50s to the 80s… Never mind. But I really thought you were more informed than that, Michael Slezak. Shame on you!

    Anyway, I think this is a fabulous theme with plenty to choose from for all of them. I’m kind of surprised she would let Idol do her stuff — I figure they must’ve asked a million times — but it’s probably because she and James Taylor were touring (huge arenas, sold-out shows, lalala) last year.

    So I would like to see:
    James — I Feel the Earth Move
    Casey — It’s Too Late or Some Kind of Wonderful
    Lauren — Natural Woman. Again.
    Jacob — One Fine Day
    Scotty — Take Good Care of My Baby (Go Away Little Girl? Ha!)
    Haley — Where You Lead or Sweet Seasons

  38. Volcfom says:

    Scotty – “Smackwater Jack” or “Just Once in My Life”
    Lauren – “Way Over Yonder”
    James – “Child of Mine” (Idol Moment!), “Don’t Bring Me Down”, or “Sweet Young Thing”
    Haley – “It’s Too Late”, “Keep Your Hand Off my Baby, or “Smackwater Jack” (Really I think she could pick anything. I think this theme fits her well.)
    Casey – “Pleasant Valley Sunday” or “Halfway to Paradise”
    Jacob – “If It’s Over”, “So Much Love” or “Hey Girl” (to prove his straightness?)

    Anyone’s voice could fit – “Goin’ Back”
    Best for theme – STEFANO
    Of course, Rhianna would make a special appearance – “He Hit Me (it felt like a kiss)”

    This list assumes it’s also songs she’s written.

  39. julie says:

    Correction. “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin'”

    The apostrophe goes where you took the letter out. You need one *after* the O to replace the F and one at the end of Nuttin to replace the G.

    Meanwhile, if they get a Gershwin week on “American Idol” I’ll be shocked. I think they’ve done a few Gershwin tunes during “American Songbook” type weeks, but certainly nothing from “Porgy and Bess.” “Someone to Watch Over Me” has definitely been done a few times. I think Melinda Doolittle sang “I Got Rhythm,” too.

    If you really want Scotty singing any random and inappropriate songs written for deep voices, why not go for Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Ol’ Man River” or Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Pore Jud Is Daid”?

    • Linderella49 says:

      Isn’t Summertime from Porgy ‘n Bess? That was Fantasia’s ticket to ride.

      There is no excuse for this week not being great. They certainly can’t blame the music options. Carole King and James Taylor have been filling up stadiums with their reunion tour singing their own songbook.

      As for being “outdated music” – if Elvis Presley could sing a 100-year-old song (Love Me Tender) and make it a hit, real singers would have no trouble making one of Carole’s many hits their own.

    • Wyatt says:

      Julie, you didn’t post your correction of my correction properly, so it did not show up under my original post. You’re right about the apostrophe after the “o.” I thought I had put it there but made an oversight.

      You then go on to write: “I think they’ve done a few Gershwin tunes during “American Songbook” type weeks, but certainly nothing from “Porgy and Bess.” Of course, as Linderella points out, you are dead wrong about that. “Summertime” is from Porgy and Bess. If you knew more about Gershwin you would know that obvious fact.

      • Wyatt says:

        Baby Lock Them Doors would have a field day with the lyrics:

        “Oh, I got plenty o’ nuttin’
        And nuttin’s plenty for me
        I got no car, got no mule
        I got no misery
        De folks wid plenty o’ plenty
        Got a lock on de door
        ‘Fraid somebody’s a-goin’ to rob ’em
        While dey’s out a-makin’ more
        What for?
        I got no lock on de door
        Dat’s no way to be
        Dey kin steal de rug from de floor
        Dat’s okeh wid me
        ‘Cause de things dat I prize
        Like de stars in de skies
        All are free”

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          okay, Wyatt, that’s amusing. But nothing from “Porgy and Bess”. Please.

          yes, “Summertime” is from “Porgy and Bess”.

          And perhaps Jacob could sing “A Woman is a Sometime Thing”. :-)

        • Yo says:

          Oh, Porgy, I’se yo woman now. I is.

  40. Karen Anderson says:

    Carole King’s “Home Again” is a GREAT song. Who should sing it on the Idol stage?

  41. Sue says:

    I would not have a problem with Carole King week if there was anyone left on AI that could actually change up a song and make it their own. Actually, maybe this week we can someone that is an “artist” and who is a “singer”. Could be an interesting week. I’m not holding out hope though.

    • Erin says:

      Me neither… remember Jimmy Iovine is still there, suggesting things like a beat box in “Old Time Rock and Roll.” So any updates will be hit maker producer inspired, not artist interpreted. I am sure something offensive to Carole King’s sensibility will happen.

  42. Skitty says:

    Sounds like another “songs from back-in-the-day” bore fest coming up. Count me as one who is tired of themes which limit songs choice to songs older than 20 years.

  43. MindyM says:


    Please don’t minimize the considerable contribution made my Carole King with her unbelievable catalogue of great songs. There is something here for everybody and no excuses for not doing well. I also picked “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” for Haley, doing the Amy Winehouse version. I think that “Take Good Care of My Baby” is another good song that the Beatles covered in 1962. I heard a link to it on another site. Good stuff! Scotty might be able to do it. I don’t know about “So Far Away”. He just needs to try to take a risk and challeng himself for once. I do like “Up On the Roof” for James doing the James Taylor version. That would be a nice change and something different from the most often suggested song of “Don’t Bring Me Down”. I thought “Hey Girl” might be good for Jacob or even Scotty. It’s a great song. My favorite is the original Freddie Scott version. I think this just might be a great week.

  44. Chris says:

    Carly Simon more prolific than Carole King? Are you kidding me? Carole King has a deep catalog that spans decades. Carly Simon, while very talented, only has a couple of memorable songs, whereas Carole King has dozens of song that span pop, R&B, soul and rock. She is more than just “Tapestry.” Hopefully the contestants dig a little deeper than to go with just “I Feel the Earth Move” and “Natural Woman.”

  45. Lily says:

    Casey – Smackwater Jack or Bitter With the Sweet
    Haley – So Far Away or One Fine Day
    Jacob – That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho) or I Feel the Earth Move
    James – Don’t Bring Me Down or Pleasant Valley Sunday
    Lauren – You’ve Got a Friend or Up on the Roof
    Scotty – Chains or Home Again

    Don’t Bring Me Down was performed by The Animals but written by Carole King – perfect for James. I’ve decided that with Jacob, if we’re going to get gospel church music from him all the time then let’s go all the way and only choose full-out gospel songs like Mahalia Jackson’s “Oh Happy Day.” For Carole King day, “That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho)” seems like as close to a gospel song as there was in the collection, with a whole stanza about the soul and the Devil. For Casey, Smackwater Jack is bluesy and Bitter with the Sweet is jazzy. I picked two songs for Haley for which the yodel and the growl should work nicely if done right and sparingly. Lauren has an age-appropriate, beautiful song which I think should give her that Idol moment. For Scotty, it was tough to find a song that would work with his low voice, but I think either of these will do, and “Home Again” is the closest to a slow country song.

  46. Zach says:

    Just like Lisa Simpson, Haley should do Jazzman :) The saxophone solo in it is killer!

  47. agrimesy says:

    Reading over the earlier posts, I can’t say that I have much to add. It looks like the same songs (with a few exceptions) are being shuffled and assigned randomly to the “surefire six.”

    1) Haley ~~ I’m sticking with Slezak’s choice “Will You Still Love me Tomorrow” but I could see her choosing “I Feel the Earth Move” and kind of scatting out the ‘tumbling down’ part.
    2) Casey ~~ I like “Some Kind of Wonderful” for him if he will do it with swagger but stop short of serial killer. “Pleasant Valley Sunday” would make me check under my bed for weeks!
    3) Lauren ~~ I’d rather she sing “It’s Too Late” than “One Fine Day” only because I prefer the former over the latter. She could do both very well, though.
    4) Jacob ~~ Please Idoluniverse, don’t let him settle for “You’ve Got a Friend” when he can pull off “Hey Girl” Freddie Scott style!
    5) Scotty ~~ His only shot is “So Far Away” because it’s the only one with the five notes he knows in it.
    6) James ~~ Okay . . . “Up On a Roof” I guess, but honestly his upper register is NOT tender enough for this song. If he chooses “I Feel the Earth Move,” he’ll mug too much to the camera. Adam Lambert sang “Some Kind of Wonderful” during Hollywood week, so he’d have the whole copy cat hat on again if he went that route. I don’t know what ole James is gonna do. Could be his first bottom three.

    • Brandon says:

      Adam sang the Grand Funk Railroad Some Kind of Wonderful. The Carole King song with the same title is completely different — lyrics and everything.

  48. James says:

    As long as Jacob goes home this week…I don’t care what they sing!

  49. Ken Adams says:

    If Haley sings “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” She is a shoe-in for the finale. Think about it. Imagine it.

  50. PHILL says:

    i got a great songchoice for jacob “Go home”