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.

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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.

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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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  1. carter says:

    Jessica Sanchez, – Million Dollar Bill – Whitney Houston – Judges Choice
    I’d rather go Blind – Etta James – Jimmy Iovines Choice
    If I were Boy – Beyonce – Contestants Choice to make the finale

    Joshua Ledet, Smiley Faces – Cee Lo – Judges Choice
    Leave Me Alone – Michael Jackson – Jimmy Iovines Choice
    Arms of the Angel – Sarah Mclaughlin – Contestants Choice to make the finale

    Phil Philips, Say it All Over Again – Judges Choice
    Drown in You – Daughtry – Jimmy Iovines Choice
    Thriller – Michael Jackson – Contestants Choice to make the finale

    • deedee says:

      Are these the actual picks that were revealed today?

      These are not too bad! “Arms of the Angels” is an inspired choice for Joshua, WOW. I hope he keeps it tender and doesn’t push it into his “screech” register. He has such a beautiful tone when he stays in the melody.

      MJ’s “Leave Me Alone” is … not what I would have chosen. Joshua himself said that he dreads an MJ theme. BUT it does have these rhythmic, syncopated verses that he can play with. Actually, I think this suits Philip more. Ah, well.

      Not familiar with the Celo song, although I did think of “Forget You” for Josh. Celo has the right sound.

    • deedee says:

      Nah, these aren’t the real choices, are they? I just checked a couple of Idol sites, and have not seen mention of anything. But “Arms of the Angels” would definitely be cool.

      “Maybe I’m Amazed” for Josh is another good one, I think.

      • MamaLis says:

        I did a search do, Dee. Doesn’t look like anything was “revealed” anywhere.

        • deedee says:

          If Rickey and MJ’s Big Blog don’t have them, then they’ve not been revealed.

          But Kudos to Joshua for confirming what we’ve always suspected. Last night in his Q&A, he was asked if he knows which 3 songs he’s gonna sing and he said “yes” – but laughed because he couldn’t disclose. So, all the drama with the Mayors of the towns doing the big reveal, or the contestants randomly getting texts from the judges – is more TV magic.

          • noa says:

            of course it is… they can’t risk a bad reaction from one of them.
            plus- they already rehearsed and recorded before their trips probably.

          • deedee says:

            Oh, I know, but the Idols have always gone along with the game and “acted” surprised/worried/excited by the song choices on camera. Josh just came out and said, “yeah, I know what my 3 songs are”, lol. It was just a cute and funny bit of truth in this highly staged show.

          • My Alter Ego says:

            @deedee: Oh, I know, but the Idols have always gone along with the game and “acted” surprised/worried/excited by the song choices on camera. Josh just came out and said, “yeah, I know what my 3 songs are”, lol. It was just a cute and funny bit of truth in this highly staged show.”

            Oh how I hope that doesn’t hurt him this week!!!!

  2. dsmith5740 says:

    Slezak, I agree PP should sing U@….always have thought so but I’m thinking more like:
    With or W/O You
    When Love Comes to Town
    A Sort of Homecoming
    Beautiful Day

    • dsmith5740 says:

      Sorry…mis-keyed…meant U2 obviously

    • My Alter Ego says:

      Because, generally, I like U2, I truly do not think that Phillip Phillips should be allowed within a football field of attempting to sing any U2 songs (because he’s that destructive).

  3. Yuan says:

    Here is mine:

    Joshua – Arms of an Angel (lets see how he would tone down more)
    any boyzIImen song (how’d he serenade us maybe, more lovely side though
    belting, but not just powerhouse)
    Jessica – I dont want to miss a thing (very soft start, power at the end)
    Night of Your Life (Jhud song, but test a different arrangement)
    Philip – When love takes over (Im sure he can rearrange it to fit him but
    on a different beat)
    Everythin i do, i do it for you..

  4. TC says:

    I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear Joshua do Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic”. I think he would slay that song

    • deedee says:

      Hmmm, I love Joshua, and I LOVE “into The Mystic”, but … er, not sure that’s a good fit. But who knows! I could be surprised.

      • CMC says:

        I think it’s a perfect fit for him and it’s not over the top which would keep him restrained. I think he’d gain a lot of new fans from that song along with a deeper appreciation for what he could do.

  5. Henry says:

    For some reason I see Jessica having a moment with Cher, but probably not one of her bigger hits. “Save Up All Your Tears” or “Just Like Jesse James” could be unexpected but really great.

    Joshua would do amazing things to an Amy Winehouse song. “Valerie” would be obvious, but I’d also like to see “Tears Dry on their Own.”

    • deedee says:

      Oh, yeah! I also thought of Amy Winehouse, but focused on some of her covers, especially “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. *sigh*

  6. Antonio says:

    I’d like to see what Phillip could do with a classic Radiohead song like “Creep” or “2+2=5”. And I don’t care if it’s expected or not, Jessica could kill Whitney’s “I Have Nothing,” Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy,” or the more obscure “Emotional Rollercoaster” by Vivian Green. I’m not sure about Joshua because I’m getting tired of the gospel choir routine, even though he’s in his zone with them. I guess it might be exciting to hear him sing something more current like Cee Lo’s “Forget You” or something down that same lane. If I’m honest, my favorite performance of his is still “I Wish.”

    • Marie says:

      I suggested that Josh sing Gnarles Barkley “Crazy” . I could be really awesome

      • deedee says:

        Brilliant. I hope someone chose this for him because that could be just nuts.

        • My Alter Ego says:

          @Antonio, Marie, deedee: Specifically regarding Joshua, “Crazy” might be good for Joshua, but frankly the kid can do a whole lot of stuff and “have moments” (exception: his “Billy Joel night” song — of all the good Billy Joel songs, he picked/ended up with that one??).


          Antonio, I, too, loved Joshua’s “I Wish.” It was full of energy, fun, great vocal, etc. Of course, Joshua captivated me with “Blue Suede Shoes” (a song I’d never before paid the slightest bit of attention to) and has, for the most part, held me hostage since then.

          • deedee says:

            Yes, he could have a moment with anything, so it almost doesn’t matter. Although, I thought he’d do good things with the Groban song, and it fell flat for me. I’m just hoping he has one tender, mellow song in the bunch. He definitely didn’t display that side of himself enough on the show.

            I loved “I Wish”, too. In fact, I remember the song starting, and me rolling my eyes, thinking I was going to hate it. Thought it was going to be yet another average singer who prances around stage trying to sound like he could pull off Stevie Wonder. But instead, I was like, “who is this guy!?” It was such a surprise! I wonder if he truly understood before now how gifted he is.

            P.S. Have any songs been announced?

  7. givemeglenn says:

    Just got back from Phillip’s concert; here’s the recap:

    First song; Superstition

    Second song; Still Raining singing /w sister

    Third song was slow; didn’t recognize, but was unbelievable; should play it on AI

    Fourth song; Thriller

    Fifth song; Volcano

    Sixth song; Watchtower (Hendrix) UNBELIEVABLE OMG

    Didn’t announce what his judges choice is


  8. lei says:

    I’d like to hear Jessica sing “Set Fire to the Rain by Adele” this will be super superb to hear from Jessica and will definitely blow the judges head off……Go Jessica!!!!

  9. Croatiana says:

    Hope she sings “Doesn’t matter anymore”
    I love it during the Vegas round…
    we love you JESSICA!!! =)

  10. Jake123 says:

    One moment in time!!! Jessica!

  11. Jake123 says:

    Back to whitney jessica! Sing ONE MOMent in time!!!! Make another momemt with this song!!!!

  12. givemeglenn says:

    Okay, here’s the “final” music listing fom Phillip’s show yesterday at his homecoming:

    1. Jam session

    2. “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder

    3. “Still Rainin'” by Jonny Lang

    4. “Nice and Slow” by Usher

    5. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

    6. “Volcano” by Damien Rice

    7. “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix

    • Bethany L says:

      OMG I wish I could of been there for Phillip’s homecoming, any way these performances can be put on youtube? And I hope the Judges are fair when choosing songs for these contestants as it has been clear from the beginning they want a Jess/Josh finale. But I think Phillip will be one of the finalists, let’s hope!

  13. givemeglenn says:

    Nice and Slow was great, but Watchtown was phenomenal, and if he could shorten his version a bit from the concert, I can guarantee everyone that should shut up all of his critics.

    • Robin says:

      I just watched the video, courtesy from a link provided at Mjsbigblog, and Watchtower was awesome. I would love to see him do this on Idol. Who was the band? People he normally jams with at home or was it Idol musicians? They sounded great!

      • givemeglenn says:

        The band playing with Phillip at his homecoming yesterday was the band he’s been playing with at home, including his brother-in-law.

        I forgot to mention that when Phillip got on stage, he thanked his family, his fans, and everyone in the armed forces. He was as humble as usual.

  14. givemeglenn says:

    I have a couple of more “tidbits” for you regarding Phillip. Don ‘t know if anyone is aware or not, but Phillip’s hometown, Leesburgh, is a small town in SW Georgia, a few miles North of Albany. Dave Mathews’ wife is from Albany, GA. When Phillip sang his Dave Mathews song on Idol, I believe that was the first time one was allowed on the show, and he got personal permission to do so because the fact there is a “personal relationship”. I understand there was some texting going on between Phillip’s Dad and the Dave Mathew’s people this past weekend, so I’m hoping that if Phillip makes it to the finals, they get a chance to perform together for us.

  15. randy says:

    I suggest Jessica Sanchez to sing “Loving You” popularized by Minnie Ripperton and “Better Days”

  16. randy says:

    I SUGGEST JESSICA TO SING “LOVING YOU” as popularized by Minnie Ripperton and also “BETTER DAYS” as popularized by Dianne Reeves! I am sure Jessica will do justice to these songs. i hope and i pray Jessica will win the much coveted American Idol title!

    • CMC says:

      What???? Talk about a song Jessica shouldn’t sing. “Loving You” is much too of a risque’ song for a 16 year old girl to be singing on national television. People criticized her for singing Etta James “Steal Away” last week for the very same reason. I find “Loving You” to be much more of an inappropriate song choice-whether she can sing it well or not.

      • deedee says:

        Totally agree. Lyrics like, “everytime that we ‘ooooh’, I’m more in love with you”. Yikes! No.

  17. Sarrah says:

    Peggi Blu is like the biggest Phillip fan and im the biggest Peggi fan so im rotting for phil

  18. no Britney for Jessica please.. it’s suicide! :D

  19. james allen says:

    i want jessica to sing WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD eva cassidy version

  20. MamaLis says:

    Boy, I wanted a listen to Jessica’s Star Spangled Banner; that’s a difficult and very telling song. And wow! It was amazing. You can’t see her, you can only hear her voice. And truly, she brings it in like one of the best. It was really something.

  21. Joe Strummer says:

    They should all sing the phonebook since Randy seems to think they all can do that anyway.

  22. Lisa tolbert says:

    Phil Phillips – Stray Cat Strut. I was hoping he would pick it for 80’s weeK. With Casey Abrams guesting on bass!

  23. Vincent says:

    I think Jessica should do sone Beyonce like Love On Top. She could also do some Etta James like I’d Rather Go Blind. I’d actually like to see P2 sing with just him and a mic on stage. Well, for Joshua, I think some Mariah would do it. JOSHICA FOR THE FINALE!

    • Anon says:

      or culd be PHILICA… Josh and PP don’t look good on stage… probly josh is… G! hehehe wat u think?

      • Templar says:

        So is Adam Lambert and he’s the best entertainer in the history of American Idol. What is your point?

  24. gerald king says:

    Does anyone here know IT’S GOING TO TAKE SOME TIME THIS TIME by Dishwalla? I think it’s perfect for Philip.

  25. gerald king says:

    I DON’T WANNA WAIT by Paula Cole for Jessica? What do you guys think? Or maybe, Jewel’s PIECES OF YOU or FOOLISH GAMES…

  26. gerald king says:

    Joshua should sing Mariah Carey’s VISION OF LOVE or Lionel Richie’s SAY YOU, SAY ME.

  27. Maggie Phillip says:

    Perfect song for Jessica is ” Listen” by Beyonce and I am 100% percent she will do good with this song. Will support for Jessica till the end of the season!

  28. gerald king says:

    Carly Simon’s LET THE RIVER RUN for Jessica. Madonna’a SOONER OR LATER for Philip. UNDER THE SEA (that song fromThe Little Mermaid) for Joshua.

  29. Norma Delpin says:

    For jessica: A House is not a Home, ‘Till You Come Back to Me, and Jump (Pointer Sisters) or Freeway of Love (Aretha Franklin). For Joshua, That’s Life (Frank Sinatra) or Man in the Middle.

  30. Fernando says:

    Jessica: “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (Roberta Flack); “This Bitter Earth (Dinah Washington); something uptempo and current, but I’m stumped.

    Phillip: “One Step Up” (Bruce Springsteen); “Moon Dance” (Van Morrison); “Right Place, Wrong Time” (Dr. John)

    Joshua: “Love Is a Beautiful Thing” (Al Green); “Hey, Jude” (Beatles, Wilson Pickett); “Start Something Stirring in My Soul (Lou Rawls)

  31. Kristen says:

    I really wanna hear Joshua do “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. I’ve gotten all of my wishes so far this season for Joshua (he did both “A Change is Gonna Come” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s Man’s World”), so hopefully that one comes true too! For something more contemporary, someone suggested Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” which would be brilliant. But Juliet Simms ALSO already did that one on the Voice (just like MMMMW). So to avoid triple-dipping, how about “Forget You”? He’s shown that he can do uptempo just as well (Runaway, I Wish).
    Phillip is going to do Ray – either by Jimmy or the judge’s choice. He’ll probably pick “Trouble” since that’s the one everyone knows, but if he did a TOTALLY stripped down version of “Let it Be Me”, just him and his guitar, he would KILL it. I would love to see that.
    I really don’t give a flying frack what Jessica does at this point – sure, she’s got a great voice, but not much else. I really wish the Judges’ hadn’t saved her. Pagaent queen all the way.

  32. Anon says:

    for jessica she should sing Beyonce’s “Love on Top”, her rendition in YT is great!

  33. jesus says:

    jessica for the song for jesica is i dont wanna miss a thing by steven sure its a unanimous standing ovation……………….

  34. jesus says:

    jessica sanchez is definitely a winner…god bless here in texas………………….

  35. itin says:

    your song choices for the 3 suck! jessica could do better with Tina Arena’s sentimental acoustic ‘Burn’ (mellow), Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing (belting), and Tina Turner’s Simply the Best (uptempo).

  36. john says:

    I know I am late to the game here but yes, Slezak, song choice is not your bag but you are an excellent writer.
    I haven’t read anyone else’s choices so sorry if I repeat, but here goes:

    Philip – Lightning Crashes by Live
    Jessica – How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore by Prince
    Joshua – Lover You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley

    • Templar says:

      My choices, that IMO would give each of them a “Moment” are:
      Phil – Smooth [Santana/Rob Thomas]
      Joshua – Impossible Dream [Luther Vandross]
      Jessica – When You Wish Upon A Star [Disney]
      I know these are very relatable to viewers and would be showstoppers for each of them.

  37. lisa says:

    phillip needs to do the accoustic version of “thriller” that he did during auditions!

  38. two J's all the way says:

    I was not feeling these song choices for Jessica tonight, she should have been given I Rather Go Blind, because she would have tore that up. None of the songs allowed her to showcase herself like Phillp at the end or Joshua at the beginning. This was a sabatoge.