American Idol: What Should the Top 10 Sing for 'Music of the Idols' Week?

idol-season-12-top-10Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has heard our pleas for spankin’ new theme weeks on American Idol, but when the Top 10 take the stage Wednesday night (8/7 c, on Fox) the results could be beautiful or they could be disastrous.

You see, “Music of the American Idols” is a two-pronged beast, encompassing the songs previous Idol winners covered during their respective seasons, and also the songs that these champs have released in their post-show careers.

The key for the Season 12 Top 10 will be choosing songs that fit their voices — but not trying to recreate iconic Idol moments that they’ll never be able to match. In other words, Fantasia’s “Summertime,” Kris Allen’s “Heartless,” David Cook’s “The World I Know” and Carrie Underwood’s “Alone” (among others) should all be strictly verboten. Lesser-known covers or radio hits that the contestants can reinvent? That’s where it’s at!

With that in mind, here are my picks for what the Top 10 should tackle on Wednesday. Peruse the list, then hit the comments with your own suggestions!

Candice Glover: Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs” (I stole this idea from Twitter follower @alxander_tango) or The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” (covered by Lee DeWyze in S9…and done brilliantly by Bette Midler in 1983)

Kree Harrison: Kris Allen’s “I Need to Know” or Johnny Lang’s “Still Rainin'” (covered by Phillip Phillips in S11)

Amber Holcomb: Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up” or Rose Royce’s “Wishing on a Star” (covered by Jordin Sparks in S6)

Janelle Arthur: Jordin Sparks’ “Tattoo” (acoustic version) or a stripped-down countrified twist on Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money” (covered by Kris Allen in S8)

Angie Miller: David Cook’s “Fade Into Me” or One Republic’s “Apologize” (covered by Kris Allen in S8)

Devin Velez: Kelly Clarkson’s “The Trouble With Love Is” or U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (covered by David Cook in S7)

Burnell Taylor: Fantasia’s “Bittersweet” or Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” (covered by Jordin Sparks in S6)

Lazaro Arbos: Kelly Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster” or Roy Orbison’s “Crying” (covered by Carrie Underwood in S4)

Curtis Finch Jr.: Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield” or Tina Turner’s “A Fool in Love” (covered by Fantasia in S3)

Paul Jolley: Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It” or Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” (covered by Carrie Underwood in S4)

Any of my picks sound good to you? Any of ’em miss the mark? Let me know down in the comments, and do share the results of your own brainstorms, too!

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. Emma says:

    Someone needs to do ‘Superstar’ (covered by Ruben season 2 winner)
    Don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby

  2. Amadeu says:

    if anyone sings “Permanent”, David Cook, I’ll cry my eyes out

  3. sonsogues says:

    Paul should do Kris’s “Teach Me How Love Goes”…I really love that song.

  4. Leigh says:

    that’s a terrible song choices for Janelle. Also, I can’t figure out why it seems like everybody wants Janelle to cover “You’re Still the One” it’s not like it’s the only country song that’s ever been sang on the Idol stage! That’s a really bad song choice for her. I’d actually really like to hear her sing “Can I Trust You With My Heart” (sang by Scotty McCreery on S10). It could be really nice touch with her tone.

  5. HTGRWHOM says:

    I wonder if Amber could handle “The World I Knew” from Jordin Sparks well. Maybe that would work well for her on a few levels.

  6. teatime says:

    We might get a night free of Whitney and Mariah songs. David Cook sang Always Be My Baby the night they all sang Mariah that season. I suppose someone could do that one. It might work out well if they sing something close to Cook’s version without just imitating it. Jordan’s I Who Have Nothing was covered by Whitney. Other than that, I don’t think an eventual winner has ever sung a Whitney or Mariah song, have they?

    • Leigh says:

      The song that Jordin covered is “I Who Have Nothing” (by Shirley Bassey) not “I Have Nothing”. It’s not the same song.

      • teatime says:

        Thank you for clearing that up! I did not think it was a Whitney song when Jordin sang it. Then more recently I thought I heard it called a Whitner song. I must have misunderstood. So, lol, as far as I know Cook’s Always Be My Baby is the only time a winner sang a Whitney or Mariah song.

    • xx says:

      Fantasia did a Whitney song.

  7. Lia says:

    I don’t know why I can’t get Indepence Day out of my head. I haven’t seen any mentions of it and Carrie rocked it.
    Love Kelly’s Sober but I don’t think it’s a song that works in 90 seconds.

  8. Johnny says:

    I wonder really what is it with all of the emotional songs though? Is that the only “moments” they think can exist in music? I remember Mariah saying on the show (the one time she made sense lol) how right now seems to be a time a lot of emotional songs are becoming big hits. I understand that, however, I fear if these contestants ONLY are good at emotional gimmicks “trying” to make us cry every week, by the time the winner get to release music we won’t be into that type of crying game anymore.

  9. JR says:

    Candice Glover – “Respect” (covered by Kelly Clarkson)
    Curtis Finch Jr. – “A House Is Not A Home” (covered by Ruben Studdard)
    Amber Holcomb – “Summertime” (covered by Fantasia)
    Paul Jolley – “Independence Day” (covered by Carrie Underwood)
    Kree Harrison – “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (covered by David Cook)
    Devin Velez – “Ain’t No Sunshine” (covered by Kris Allen)
    Angie Miller – “Heartless” (covered by Kris Allen)
    Lazaro Arbos – “Hey Jude” (covered by Lee DeWyze)
    Burnell Taylor – “Kiss From A Rose” (covered by Lee DeWyze)
    Janelle Arthur – “The River” (covered by Scotty McCreery)

  10. Steve says:

    LIkea group number to SEASONS OF LOVE if no one does it or any other…Surprised people havent done music from RENT on musical theatre nights. Just watch the last performance movie and was crying . For the first time, I really now understand everything about this play and why it touches so many people

  11. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Kree Harrison – Change by Carrie Underwood or Damaged by TLC
    Candice Glover – Angel of the Morning
    Janelle Arthur – Walkin’ After Midnight
    Amber Holcomb – Each Tear by Mary J. Blige

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Hmm. I could sort of see “Angel of the Morning” for any of the females BUT Candice. Does that match her style and timbre? I mean I’m sure she could sing it though.
      I still like Jordin’s “The World I Knew” for Amber.

  12. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Curtis Finch, Jr. – The Time of My Life (take it to church and then to hell).

  13. CK says:

    I’d love to see one of the ladies do Fallin by Alicia Keys. Haley did a good version of this song:

    • Save the Growler says:

      That’s not an option since Haley Reinhart didn’t win, as much as I wish she had. I remember well when she sang that, it really made me sit up and think, wow this girl is talented. And then when RandyJackass said it was karaoke and she did the little air barf and then flashed that big beautiful smile of hers, I thought wow this girl has a great personality too. I was all in from that point on, through all her ups and downs. It still pains me that she didn’t win. But country rules these shows nowadays unfortunately.

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Yeah but damn she now THAT is what this season seems to be missing. Great voice and artistry and knowing what to do with it all, all the timbre and tone changes and knowing when to add bits extra and when not, etc.
      Pity we didn’t have this year’s judges I can’t believe Mariah or Keith or Nikki woulda be nothing but blown away. Granted that still would not have stopped Randy since Steven loved her in this and JLo like her a lot. But jeez can’t believe Randy was already being his jackass staff from the start here, Karaoke, didn’t get it, what a BS. I knew that season was a total joke of the worst manipulation ever from Randy and Nigel but I forget that it started THAT bad right from the get go.
      And then you got Steven Tyler saying it’s just perfect style, sexy and rasp, awesome and that if he agree with Randy they’d both be wrong haha. That was a good burn on Randy.
      Also loved how Steven actually had the balls to even publicly call out Randy and the production on a talk show the night after they sang somewhere around top 6 week or so for the ultimate over the top BS that week against Haley where Randy picked her out as the only contestant left who absolutely didn’t deserve to still be there (WTH! nevermind she had some of the only standing O’s a few weeks in a row haha what an utter tool Randy let this show make him become). And he (Steven Tyler) seemed legit PO about it when he brought it up.
      Heck even one of Idol’s own vocal coaches (the tough one too, and it shows you something too that Haley managed to get along well and favored working with the tough one) publicly blasted the judging and production at one point as did even fellow contestant Lauren Alaina who also really stuck her neck way out there (and even Lauren, although they were way in her favor and gave her a good cut, they manipulated what she was too, she is actually really funny and has a pretty deep personality and can be sarcastic and bitingly witty but the show editing all of that out of her personality, maybe they thought the little cute baby southern girl thing would grab middle america votes better).
      And this was when JLo was still on her side before the odd suddenly 100% turn on her a few weeks later (Nigel’s prodding? JLo getting jealous and confused and mixing her personal life into it???) and started stink eyeing her all the time. And Randy here going “uhh hahah Ryannn Ryann Ryyyann uhh hahah uhuhuh the judge’s are disagreeing uuh Ryannn” what a tool, totally made up scripted BS for ratings controversy. Also reminds you how the week before JLO whispered something abotu how yeah she’s smiling…. for now until [Randy] next week. WTH. Such scripted nonsense from Nigel.
      Utterly pathetic how the treated who was one of the single best contestants they ever had. Imagine if they had only built her up what maybe could be going on for her now and I bet the ratings would be better since less people would left for the manipulations just getting finally beyond over the top. I used to watch every minute of eery season before myself. Since I’ve seen maybe 30-40% of the hours broadcast and nobody else I personally know has seen more than 5% since that season.
      Sorry for the rant hahaha. Gotta love a good rant haha.
      And to be fair it is early yet and I’m sure we’ll get some really great moments this season even if it might never have that quite certain something of someone really unique.

      • CK says:

        Never mind a good rant. Particularly when it’s for Haley. Love her and she was wronged. But hey, girlfriend made it to #3 and kicked some @ss along the way.

        I love her but it took me a few weeks on get on the Haley bandwagon during her season. I see a few that I might get on board with this season, particularly Kree, Amber and Candice. Takes a little time to see how they evolve. In the words of *the dawg*, “the girls are in it to win it!”. We’ll see since there’s no obvious WGWG frontrunner this season.

        • Terry says:

          And Haley Reinhart released a kick @ss debut album too! “Listen Up!” if you haven’t already, it’s fantastic!!!

  14. ohreli says:

    Michael, you chose David Cook’s “The World I Know” over David Archuleta’s “Imagine”-? I had to google it on YouTube to even remember what song that was!

  15. ohreli says:

    OH, I see why David Cook’s “The World I Know” was an iconic moment–that’s when Paula stood up and said “You’re standing in your truth.”

  16. Nina says:

    It seems Michael really dislikes Lazaro, judging by his song choices for him. If he did either of those songs it would pretty much guarantee that he would get sent home.

    I’m also guessing Michael doesn’t like Curtis. Neither do I, so I really hope Curtis reads the list and picks them. :D

    As for songs I’m a bit stumped, since the only AI album I have heard is Adam Lambert’s first (and he’s not a winner). I’m also struggling to remember any singles.
    Most of the covers the winners did while on the show have either been done lots of times, or are not very good. I don’t envy the contestants having to pick.

    After going through the “What Not To Sing” lists I thought of these for Lazaro, but none of them seem like a perfect fit for him. :(

    “I can’t make you love me” Bonnie Raitt (been done 5 times on the show)
    “Take me home country roads” John Denver (been done once)
    “Trouble” Ray La Montagne (been done 3 times)
    “Hello” Lionel Ritchie (been done twice)
    “The first time ever I saw your face” Peggy Seeger/Roberta Flack (twice)
    “You’re still the one” Shania Twain (once)
    “Wicked Game” Chris Isaak (once)
    “We’ve got tonight” Bob Seger (once)

    • MC says:

      I would bet on Hello as the choice for Lazaro. That seems like the easiest one to learn. We’ve got tonight is easy too, but I don’t know if he can pull off that vocal. It’s a shame Nick Boddington didn’t make the top ten.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        If Lazaro sings “We’ve Got Tonight”, which is one of my favorite songs of all time, I will personally have to destroy my entire Bob Seger collection of CDs, including “Nine Tonight”, which is my favorite live recording of all time.
        Please, people – stop torturing me. I’m old and fragile and I don’t deserve this.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      If Lazaro sings “Wicked Game” he had better have a bus ticket in the pocket of those Godawful pants because he is history.

  17. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Kree – Let It Be Me by Ray LaMontagne

  18. Team Lazaro says:

    Lazaro – If We Hold On Together covered by Jordin Sparks in season 6

  19. Erika says:

    I think Angie should sing Permanent by David Cook. Perfect song for her voice, and she can use the piano.

  20. flutiefan says:

    if anyone did Lee’s “Me and My Jealousy”, i’d be thrilled.

  21. darcy's evil twin says:

    “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman will always belong to Crystal Bowersox. She was the first singer that ever performed a Tracy Chapman song and actually made me like it – I wasn’t hunting for the ‘mute’ button on my remote as I’d been doing for over 20 years whenever I heard a Tracy Chapman song.

  22. JASon says:

    Are you high Slezak? David Cook’s Iconic moment was “Billy Jean”. Possibly Hello. People barely remember the one you listen. No one cares that Cook did a Mariah Carey song but you.

  23. darcy's evil twin says:

    Uh, “Undo It” for Paul Jolley? I guess Mr. Slezak wants him to be the first one to get kicked off the show.

  24. Karen Trumm says:

    I would like the contestants to sing Mariha Carey songs i think that would be a good show.