American Idol: What (Unexpected) Songs Should the Top 3 Cover for Hometown Visits Week?

We’ve reached that point in the American Idol season guaranteed to bring the average Idoloonie to tears. Yep, it’s Top 3 Week — AKA “Hometown Visits” — and there’ll be parades, adorable parents, throngs of adoring fans, and uncontrollable sobbing from Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, and Phillip Phillips.

Still, with each finalist performing three songs — “Judges’ Choice”; “Jimmy’s Choice”; and “Their Choice” — there’s also the possibility that we’ll be crying over unfortunate song selection.

VIDEO | Idology: Elise Testone on ‘Vienna,’ ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and the Moment J.Lo ‘Crossed the Line’

In my mind, it’s the time of the season for pushing boundaries (but not “No Boundaries”) and taking risks, so without a narrow theme confining me, I’ve brainstormed four songs per contestant that might force viewers to look at them in a new light, and also give these cats the chance for an Idol Moment.

RELATED | American Idol Top 4 Results Recap: Always Gonna Be an Uphill Battle 

What should Jessica, Joshua, and Phillip sing? Check out my suggestions below, then hit the comments with the fruits of your own brainstorming sessions!

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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187 Comments
  1. brandy says:

    I love your recaps and Idology, Slezak, but your song-picking is not so great. :)

    • KathyF says:

      Sorry, but I have to agree. While I’m a real fan of Slezak’s Idol recaps and commentaries, I’m not a fan of these song choices. I’d only heard of “Toxic” and “Hey Ya” so I decided to take a listen to the songs I didn’t know. (I couldn’t even get through most of the Jessica Simpson one.) I tried to come up with some song choices myself, but the trouble with picking songs for the top three is that they all had Big Moments in the last episode that will be really hard to top.

      • TinyTim says:

        Here is what Idol needs to do this week, I hope they are listening.

        Philips can’t use a guitar or piano or any instrument but has to sing only and show us he is worthy of winning due to his voice. No instrument crutches like he has usedmany times to get this far, no other band members backing him up on stage, just Philip showing us he can sing.

        Josh has to sing modern songs only, nothing before 2000. He has shown he is an old school singer, we get that so far. But now we have to see what Josh has in him to do for a modern album. Jimmy better wake up and show us what he has too.

        Jennifer has been excellent in both of those categories, showing us she is modern and doesn’t need instruments to carry her. I would like for her to do a cappella songs and blow us away like she has already done many times before.

        I am hoping for great performances this week so everybody is happy with all three, but let’s at least see what all three have in them as far as making a possible album is concerned. That is what this week should be about, a mini preview of possible modern albums and who deserves to get one.

        • p123 says:

          if you want Idol to do you any favors, at least get the contestants first names right. Its Jessica!

        • Brt says:

          Using a guitar isn’t a crutch, just his style and he is amazing…keep singing with your guitar, I would love to see you at a club singing your heart out with guitar in hand. Joshua not my pick, but do agree, do something else, I have heard your voice and style of singing on Idol before…Jessica is unbelievable! Such a fluid beautiful voice! My pick, Phil should win, he is all around best singer/performer….but maybe Jessica?

    • taftcod says:

      agree !! Sleazak, all the songs u selected are SUCKS !!

    • ejones says:

      At least they seem to be getting to do longer versions of songs, for the final songs of top 4 they got near 3 minutes, Haley had 1’40” for I Who Had Nothing at the same stage. Maybe Nigel took notice of her idoloonies interview point of the problems of having build a performance for a song in 90 seconds. That additional time makes a mockery of comparing performances for this season against previous seasons. Would Joshua and Jessia have had such rave reviews if they had had to truncate their songs to 100 seconds.

    • randy says:

      I suggest Jessica sings “Loving You” the one popularized by Minnie Ripperton and “Better Days”

    • jam says:

      Jessica: Listen(Beyonce)

  2. johnn says:

    you want a heartless moment for phillip then it has to be not afraid by eminem would be genius

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      I love that song. That would rock.

    • Peggy says:

      I think Pillip shoud do The Lazy Song. Upbeat and fun, and I would love to see what he does to it.

    • Maverick says:

      Phillip is really awesome, I have enjoyed most all of his performances and he truely outshines the other two in uniqueness and individuality, I have noticed this throughout the season. I was looking forward to a Colton/Skylar/Phillip top 3 ………. however that was scorched sadly. I’ll be expecting a great deal this coming show – with preferably no oversinging or screeching and no copying!

  3. yep says:

    The top 3 look so awkward, especially Joshua

    • zaza says:

      I don’t know how they could look anything but awkward in these execution style photos (stand them up against a wall and shoot ‘em.).

  4. Toxic aside, these are mostly obscure tunes from the forgotten corner of Slezak’s iPod.

  5. Abby says:

    Joshua singing Stay With Me Baby would be awesome.

  6. Marko says:

    They will cover a list of 9 songs from uncle Nigel.

  7. Tim says:

    I want to see Jessica do How Come You Don’t Call Me.

    • Lee says:

      I would like to see Jessica do How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore too. Either that or the Nina Simone version of Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. (In other words an acoustic and slowed down version of the Animals song.) I also wouldn’t mind her singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face a cappella.

      I can see Phillip doing the Animals version of Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. Either that or a Leonard Cohen song but not Hallelujah.

  8. Nichole says:

    Phillip on “All I want is you” would be beautiful. I’d like to see him try Kid Cudi – Erase Me.

  9. angelstorm says:

    Jessica Simpson ? lol oh Michael . . . your choices are certainly . . . interesting !

  10. MamaLis says:

    I like the idea of a Mariah for Joshua. It’s a gender switch, obviously and it will allow him to blow his range out, too. We Belong Together is interesting. But I also like “I Still Believe.” Really moving song and would allow him to go off and riff, which he’s so good at.

  11. ashley says:

    Slezak, “Hey Ya” is such a brilliant idea. Can you tell PP? i tried to tell him on twitter but with all of the millions of tiny girls tweeting him, i’m sure he missed it. whoopsy!

  12. GDV says:

    P2 would do really great on Obediah Parker’s version of “Hey Ya.”

  13. Louie says:

    Wow… I’d forgotten that Jessica Simpson was once a singer. But despite the fact that it’s her singing, the song sounds like a good choice for Jessica (Pearls too)

  14. john t. says:

    i actually think I Wanna Love You Forever is a great song choice for jessica. it’s a really difficult song to sing and with the right arrangement, it could be a moment.

  15. deedee says:

    For Joshua:

    1) “Sign Your Name” – Terrence Trent D’Arby
    2) “Beautiful” – Christina Aguilera
    3) “Sara Smile” – Hall and Oats (Brian McKnight version)
    4) “Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green

    • Marsaili says:

      But Elise already did Let’s Stay Together—although I would love to hear Joshua try that one, he’s already done a song Elise did. Beautiful—-that could be something!

    • Marie says:

      Joshua could kick butt singing Gnarles Barkley “Crazy”. It’s a cool and current song and would shut all his critics up that say he doesn’t do anything current

  16. she says:

    Michael I think Power of the Dream by Celine Dion will be a nice song for Jessica :) that’s a nice song for her

  17. darcy's evil twin says:

    Phillip – I like Mr. Slezak’s choice of Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacey’s Mom”. or Faith Hill’s “The Lucky One”.
    Joshua – Otis Redding’s “Love Man”. yea!
    Jessica – Martina McBride’s “Whatever You Say”.

  18. JASon says:

    They want to sabotage Phili so my prediction for Judges choice will be You Ought To Know by Alanis Morisette! it worked last year!!!

    • Mary B says:

      I agree they want a Jessica, Joshua finale so the are going to sock it tp P2. Just like they did to Haley last year. I hoping Jimmy doesn’t sabotage him but the judges are just not to be trusted. Funny how they seem to have themes for the finale. Last year it was country and this year it is leaning towards R&B if they have their way. I am just thrilled Phillip got to 3rd place and to me he has already won.

      • Maverick says:

        A Jessica/Joshua finale will completely wreck the whole concept of the show – neither of them are unique nor yet great singers imo – I can listen to Mariah & Whitney and get the real thing, not over sung or impersonal imitations.

  19. Sandy says:

    In an interview, Jessica said that her ‘dream’ song to perform in AI is “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore” which I guess she heard first the version of Alicia Keys. However, I still prefer “Purple Rain” as her song choice and she could have another ‘moment’ with that song. I am just worried if the song can be condensed enough to the required time length in their performances as well as I am not sure if she can sing a Prince song since there are clearing issues in AI.

    • Tim says:

      That is so weird that I posted that suggestion earlier without even knowing that HCYDCM was her dream song. I had just watched Eva Avila’s version from Canadian Idol and thought it would be a great way for Jessica to show off her range and power.

  20. samy says:

    How about PP covering Jack Johnson? or Andy Grammer?

  21. Frank O'File says:

    P2: The Cure’s (aka Adele’s) LOVESONG. Maybe Joshua could do some Ray Charles like YOU DONT KNOW ME or CRYING TIME (too obvious?). Have no idea what to give Jessica except something gospel-y like BLESSED ASSURANCE or HIGHER GROUND. Dont know why.

    • phil for the win says:

      311’s cover of The Cure’s “Love Song” could be an Idol Moment for P2. One of my all-time favorites. He would kill it!

  22. Templar says:

    I’m going old school here.
    Joshua – Find 100 Ways by James Ingram
    Get Up Offa That Thing by James Brown
    Chances Are by Johnny Mathis
    Phil – I Put A Spell On You by CCR
    Back Home Again by John Denver
    Who Says You Can’t Go Home by Bon Jovi

    • tarc says:

      I love the idea of I Put a Spell On You – but it’s a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (hardcore blues) song, best known sung by Nina Simone (total genius). I like the CCR version, but I think Phil would do even better with the original. Great pick!

    • Glynn says:

      I guess Jessica is just going to watch?

  23. deedee says:

    For Joshua: How about “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” by Etta James.

    Very hot, and everybody would recognize the beginning from that Flo Rida song, “Good Feelin'”.

    • Sha says:

      this would be perfect, an old classic which was later sampled into a well-known rap song, Joshua could put his twist on the classic and it could be awesome. I wouldn’t say everybody would recognize it though, I mean Shannon magrane brought up the rap version in her idology and Slezak didn’t have a clue about Flo rida (who nearly ruined “Something’s got a hold on me” for me) lol

  24. kf says:

    Also goin’ old school:
    Joshua — “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles
    P2 — “Walking on the Sun” by Smash Mouth
    Jessica — “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band

  25. deedee says:

    For Phil: “What Goes Around” by Justin Timberlake.

  26. lalunafour says:

    i would love for phillip to sing philadelphia by bruce springsteen (or anything by bruce springsteen). anything written by george harrison would be awesome.

    IMHO jessica can’t sing anything with a faster beat well. but i’d like her to keep trying. i’d like to hear her do something by the go go’s.

    i think joshua can do anything but i’d like to hear him do something written by bill withers. grandma’s hands would be an idol moment for sure.

  27. fiona says:

    next week will not be about who is going to make it to the finale..it will be about whos going to join phillip in the finale..because i think phillip is going to win.. he has never been in the bottom two.. and he has a pretty big fan base.. so why bother -_-

    • Templar says:

      Works for me. I have 2 favorites, Hollie and whoever beats Jessica.

    • deedee says:

      I’m fine with Phil winning, although I truly think Jessica would benefit most from a win out of the remaining three. All I wanted was for Joshua to get the hometown visit, and I he got it! So, I’m good now.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        @deedee: Thinking that Jessica would benefit most from win, is an interesting statement, and it makes me wonder.

        ****

        Jessica has a phenomenal voice, and, at this point, what she seems to want to sing seems in sync with what the Interscope wants/needs, thus a win-win situation. I wonder what will happen when her emotional/intellectual maturity grows up to match that voice.

  28. JC says:

    Jessica will be doing a Beyonce song. Jimmy give her something she can sink her teeth into I hope they don’t mess her up there is an article in mtv.com about female ai winners never been dropped by their label while male winners are being dropped except for Scotty and Kris :)

    • Peggy says:

      Kris hasn’t been dropped YET. He is on his 2nd album. David Cook had a 2 album deal with them and they parted ways after the 2nd album. Scotty hasn’t even started his 2nd album yet. Lee was dropped after 1, but it was something Lee wanted due to not having any creative control. The jury is still out on Kris and Scotty.

  29. Sha says:

    hmm Hey Ya is interesting.. Lindsay Pavao from the voice has done an acoustic version that is on youtube.. she slowed it down and made it like a different song, good different. but Stacey’s mom? you’re kidding right, every time I think of that song i picture the awful music video for it lol.

  30. MamaLis says:

    Hey, what about “She’s Dope” by Down With Webster – for Phil? That could be totally cool.

  31. triple says:

    Jessica Sanchez halo or if I were a b oy by Beyonce?

  32. Lo says:

    Jessica – Songbird (Fleetwood Mac), Unpretty (TLC)
    Joshua- When I Get You Alone (Robin Thicke), If I Can Dream (Elvis Presley)
    Phillip- Shattered (Turn the Car Around) (O.A.R.), Scar Tissue (Red Hot Chili Peppers), When the Stars Go Blue (Ryan Adams)

  33. Davey says:

    I guess you want Jessica to lose because all those choices wouldn’t work for her.

    • Frank O'File says:

      The thing is…what would work for her? She’s got a big voice, suggesting diva ballads, but she’s sixteen…suggesting something peppy and innocent….they don’t mix.

      • Tom22 says:

        Landslide (see blelow0
        I’m not sure she could sing it in the key linked though.. kinda low ?

      • noa says:

        how about some old school Xtina for Jessica? maybe come on over or something. that way she gets the big voice songs, and they were originally sung by a 16 year old. win win.

    • lalunafour says:

      I thought she could sing anything?

  34. Joe Strummer says:

    I think Phillip Phillips should sing “Sea of Love” by the original Phil Phillips. That would blow my mind.

  35. Sheena says:

    who told you that you’re not even a musician..you’re not credible to say that

  36. Sheena says:

    record producers wanted jessica…

    • Lalaland says:

      Jessica is phenomenal! I LOVE HER!!!! I really want her to win! The last woman standing. yeah!

    • Marife says:

      They bash Jessica because she has a God-given amazing voice. I’ll vote harder for her!

    • Marife says:

      I agree Sheena, and what worries me is they want Jessica to be voted off to the degree of campaigning to others not to vote for Jessica but for her male rivals. I’ll campaign and vote harder for Jessica!

  37. Sheena says:

    sorry, she’s unbeatable

  38. Freeman says:

    Look forward to your recaps every week and love Idology-even if I don’t agree with everything you say :-).

    Need some opinions on this on. Do you think a song that incorporated good vocals but also some rap would be too risky at this point? Jessica can pull off something like Love the Way You Lie, but doing both the Rih and Eminem parts or Empire State of Mind.doing Alicia and JZ parts. She has youtubes of both songs that are quite good. Most of the songs she sings are of this genre and the old and big songs she does for contests, I wish she should of experimented with this earlier in the season to test the waters and be safe over the fodder.

  39. Freeman says:

    How is for pushing boundaries :-)

    Phillip- All By Myself- Celine Dion
    Josh- Hallowed Be Thy Name- Iron Maiden
    Jessica- Two Step- Dave Matthews Band

  40. Lalaland says:

    My suggestions for JESSICA:

    – Through The Rain (Mariah Carey)
    – Saving all my love for you (Whitney Houston)
    – Purple Rain (Prince)
    – Listen (Beyonce)
    – I am changing (Jennifer Hudson)

    Jessica for the win!

  41. Blanche says:

    I want Jessica to sing “Bust your windows” by Jazmine Sullivan… But any song is ok for me.. Jessica is the best no matter what… We love you Jessica…

  42. AMERICAN IDOL is like THE HUNGER GAMES…

    I hope Jessica will be the Katniss Everdeen of Idol….

    or AMERICAN IDOL is like THE X-FACTOR USA

    JESSICA- Melanie Amaro
    Joshua Ledet- Josh Krajcik
    Philip Philips- Chris Rene

    My dream is to see Jessica winning..
    I’m your no. 1 fan Jessica… all the way here in Australia…

  43. MARVEN says:

    CONGRADULATION PHILIPS YOU IN THE TOP3 YOU A THE WINER YOU A VERY UNIQUE

    • ecc says:

      Very Unique, hahaha… yeah, you want a link to other singers on youtube who are almost like him?

      No one is original. No one is unique. Just reinventions and combinations.
      Lets talk about delivery & performance.

      These kids are totally talented for sure. But not really unique. Just that!

  44. ALY says:

    HELLO PHILIPS YOU A THE VOICE OF AMERICA IDOL 2012 MAY VOTE GO TO PHILIPS

    • Yuan says:

      Philip, The Voice of American Idol? Performance, songs, yeah, sure, but not the voice.
      There are tons outside the bars/cafes along the strip like his voice. Admit it.

      • jaxguy says:

        Love that, and you are so right!

      • Marsaili says:

        Yeah, and there are thousands of little girls singing like their Diva Idols just like Jessica. Stop with the freakin insults—now you’ve stooped into Jax territory and that makes you nothing better than a troll.

        • Yuan says:

          Just like others said, no one is unique or original nowadays.

          Its just the mixed of elements from here and there, if its the right DNA, then its special.

          These kids are talented. No doubt about it.

          I prefer Joshua and Jessica. PP doesnt really care, but he will be huge also.

      • MamaLis says:

        Ya, I hear this a lot so I’m gonna step in. Sure there are a lot of talented people in “bars and cafes along the strip.” I even know some. But those people didn’t take the step to travel to wherever and stand in line for – forever – to try out for Idol. Those people didn’t then pack up their life to travel to CA and duke it out in Vegas and Hollywood and finally, the Idol stage. And those people aren’t currently under the pressure cooker and microscope of Big Stage Idol – Top 3. A place where if some part of their look or personality or voice were not universally appealing – (and dissected from here to Saigon everyday) – they would be OUT. These kids get credit for putting “dreams” into action. Which besides talent – is what separates them from those still on ‘the strip.’

        • Yuan says:

          easy… My point was about THE VOICE! if you prefer a single dynamic, one octave, one tone, one-themed voice and musicality as THE VOICE of AMERICA, then I am not with you.

          J or J, THE VOICE of AMERICAN IDOL fits the title.

      • tarc says:

        Why would anyone with a working brain and ears?

  45. Tang says:

    WE LOVE YOU JESSICA SANCHEZ!!!
    WE WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR YOU!
    JESSICA FOR THE WIN!

  46. KP says:

    One Part Love by Jeffrey Foucault for Phillip or Empty by Ray LaMontagne
    Up To The Mountain for Jessica
    I Put a Spell on You by Joss Stone and Jeff Beck for Joshua

  47. Sima Cohen says:

    how great would a duet of Jessica with Maria Carey singing when you believe be in the finale show

    • Zsetyy says:

      I totally agree with you.. I hope Jessica makes it to the finale and i hope she will have a duet with Mariah Carey “When You Believe”… Just keep on voting for Jessica. She deserves to win! She should be the next female american idol after Jordin… TEAM Blujays. Team JESSICA!

  48. Joseph says:

    “I am changing” and “CLIMB every mountain” would be great on jessica., but actually whatever she chose to sing i know she will murder it.. GO TEAM JESSICA!

  49. givemeglenn says:

    At Phillip’s homecoming concert in Leesburg today, will update everyone on his judges’ song choice as soon as I find out.

  50. kapooley says:

    ‘A deeper love’ for Joshua is the absolute call of the century – bang on, Michael! He would blow it out of the water!

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