American Idol: Advice and Dream Set Lists for the Season 12 Top 10

The American Idol Top 10 kick off the Season 12 finals tonight (8/7c on Fox), and if this year’s crop of contenders get innovative and avoid the same old boring ballads (like, say, “I Have Nothing” or that Phil Collins chestnut whose title shall not be uttered), we could be in for two months of great performances and nail-biting competition.

Alas, though, there are numerous sinkholes and blind curves on the road to Idol glory. Which is why I put together a gallery laying out the strengths and weaknesses of every Season 12 contestant, along with actionable advice for improvement (hear me, fools!) and a list of unexpected songs they’ll want to consider.

VIDEO | Idology: Who Broke Out of the Pack This Week on Idol? And Who Merely Shot the Peacock?

So click through the 10 photos below, then hit the comments with your own tips and dream set lists for the contestants! And for all my Idol news, interviews, videos and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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. Marianne says:

    For Kree — anything Bonnie Raitt!! Ahhhh!

    • noa says:

      +100. and i want to hear more Susan Tedeschi. maybe something by Tedeschi Trucks Band. they have incredible songs that she could sing. Midnight In Harlem or Don’t Let Me Slide.
      maybe k.d. lang too. if she does rock-blues-folk songs, and it sound a little country because of her voice- she’s going to have a big and varied fan base. a nice combination of Elise-Crystal-Carrie fans that will carry her to the top.

      • The Beach says:

        Yes, yes to both above. Her voice has always seemed to be the love child of k.d. lang and Bonnie Raitt…which ain’t a bad thing to be.

  2. lisa says:

    put something on tvline about the veronica mars movie!!!

  3. Alan says:

    i can’t be the only person who likes how Burnell dresses?….. Can I?…. Plus I’d love to here him take on Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion”, Gil Scott Heron’s “New York is Killing Me”, Minnie Ripperton’s “Inside My Love” or Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar”.

  4. Julian says:

    Oh my God. They Say Vision for Burnell! YESSSSS! Nobody knows that song, you are a music freak!

  5. Nat says:

    I don’t know why you have it in for Burnell’s fashion sense, I kinda love it! Early ’90s throwback with a modern twist. Not everybody needs to wear plaid shirts Slezak :P I kid, I kid…

  6. Sue says:

    “Sweet Jane” for Kree Harrison would be AMAZING though we all know there will be something like Barry Manilow night or Elton John night so we won’t get anything current and/or interesting.

  7. karen says:

    Michael, those are horrible song choices for Kree. Gads. Cowboy Junkies would put people to sleep. My City is Gone by Pretenders? Back to the drawing board, buddy.

  8. marie says:

    I have just started reading this but right off the bat, on Angie’s page: “moreso,” one word? Please tell me that’s just a typo. (On second thought, I KNOW that’s a typo; Michael will recoil in horror, and fix it.)

  9. marie says:

    The accompanying photos are exceptionally well done. Wish I’d taken (and processed) them.

  10. tara d says:

    if heather nova’s walk the world is on idol, i will cream my pants. it will never happen, but that was your best suggestion ever michael

  11. bbl says:

    I really, really, really want Candice or Amber to sing some blues! Maybe Gary Moore’s “Still Got the Blues” or Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s “Cold Shot”. I would literally rub my fingerprints off voting for them.

  12. ceebee says:

    LOL…even that picture of Curtis annoys me!! ;-)

  13. Jake says:

    Janelle Arthur – “One Heart Missing” (Grace Potter and the Nocturnals)
    Candice Glover – “Déjà Vu” (Beyoncé Knowles)
    Amber Holcomb – “More Than Anyone” (Gavin DeGraw)
    Angela Miller – “Love Song” (Sara Bareilles)
    Kree Harrison – “Undone” (Haley Reinhart)

    Burnell Taylor – “I’m Yours” (Jason Mraz)
    Deven Velez – “Carry On” (fun.)
    Lazaro Arbos – “To Where You Are” (Josh Groban)
    Paul Jolley – “I Knew You Were Trouble” (Taylor Swift) [more acoustic]
    Curtis Finch, Jr. – “What Kind Of Love Are You On” (Aerosmith)

    • Johnny says:

      Man I think YOUR list, Jake is one of the best song suggestion lists I have seen on here. And thanks for suggesting a crappy song choice only for Curtis because for me it doesn’t matter what he does it will not be good and will likely have the same high note point fixed into it for the songs climax. I only would like to hear Jolly do blown away with the wholr band live before he does the one you suggested tho.

      • Jake says:

        Haha, thanks. And while I wouldn’t mind seeing Curtis booted, I think a bluesier version of the song could possibly work.

    • Harvey says:

      Carry On is a GENIUS choice for Devin. And if Paul doesn’t cover Taylor at some point, he’s not even trying to win.

  14. PattyWilla says:

    My advise is that all these contestants need to read Michael Slezak’s recommendations every week = he pretty much speaks for the masses!

    • Johnny says:

      Umm I like Michaels site here and everything, but he does NOT speak for the masses. I tend to think he chooses crappy choices in his articles just to stir people up to go against them and therefore give his site more attention. SMART MOVE! :D

  15. ChellemaBelle says:

    I’d just put some Alabama Shakes in there for Candice Glover. She could totally rock “Hold On” or “Rise to the Sun.”

    • teatime says:

      I hope someone does Alabama Shakes! I was listening to Hold On yesterday on the radio and did not know who it was from. I tried to remember some of the lyrics to look it up when I got home, but then I forgot to do it. So I looked up Alabama Shakes today because of your comment and now I know who they are! I honestly thought Hold On sounded like it could have been a Mick Jagger song from the albums he did several years. Now I have listened to their album today and I really like it.

  16. karen says:

    Kree knows who she is as artist, flat out. She’ll pick the right songs for her voice. It won’t be a predictable choice, like “Evidence” proved. She is influenced by Otis Redding. She likes to wail on country blues. With all the buzz about Evidence last week, she do well to choose another uptempo blues/rock/country song tonight. Fingers crossed.

  17. Angie’s biggest weakness is her Miley Cyrus face. Do we REALLY need ANOTHER one of those?

  18. karen says:

    Sequence of elimination prediction: Amber, Curtis, Devin, Paul, Janelle, Candice, Angie, Burnell, Kree

  19. karen says:

    oops, forgot Lazaro. Revised sequence: Amber, Curtis, Devin, Paul, Janelle, Lazaro, Candice, Angie, Burnell, Kree

  20. Joe says:

    Really think Paul Jolley should do some Journey songs. I hear a lot of Steve Perry in his voice. He could have a dare I say “moment” doing that.

  21. Kait says:

    Burnell would DEFINITELY have to drink like, 3 red bulls if he ever decided to sing “Potential Breakup Song”! (surprised, and not gonna lie, pretty excited to see an Aly and A.J. gem on this list!

  22. sg54 says:

    Really love these suggestions! Here’s how I would love things to pan out:
    10. Curtis 9. Janelle 8. Paul 7. Lazaro 6. Amber 5. Devin 4. Burnell 3. Angie 2. Candice 1. Kree. Of course, this will probably not happen at all, especially since the public has been going crazy about lazaro and angie. im guessing their top 2 :/

  23. grace2552 says:

    I’m usually with you, Michael, but I completely disagree with your advice to Janelle. I think that going quiet and restrained is the opposite of what she needs to do – that’s what got her into this slump in the first place! The main reason Home was a vast improvement over her other Vegas round travesties was that at least it had some ENERGY, and that’s what I think she needs to work on. I want a return to the Janelle from the auditions where she showed that great grit and power. If I could pick Janelle’s songs for her, I’d have her do a country twist on a crowd-pleasing classic rock anthem, something like Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker or Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory or Beatles’ Come Together.

  24. Dan says:

    Kree has a great advantage. After Janelle and Paul are inevitably eliminated, the country vote will go to her, and the country vote is VERY important. She seems to be the closest thing to an Elise, so people who want rock will probably go to her. If she continues to be so con distance, she might just win. PLEASE God, LET THAT HAPPEN!

  25. Harvey says:

    You really hit the kind of songs Angela should be covering, but she’ll definitely stick to more traditional idol fare.

    And I agree Candice needs to inject a little pop into her choices.

    And Love Interruption for Kree? Perfect.

  26. Guitar Blue says:

    Curtis likely first out. Almost certain. 99 1/2% a done deal that he’s on the road home tomorrow

  27. Shaunna says:

    I hope they start having guest coaches, diferent guest coaches they change evry week.

    otherwise the ontestants get stuck in a groove which hurts soem and elps others. Change the coaches and mentors every week.