Exclusive

American Idol Exclusive: Top 6 Song Spoilers!

american-idol-top-6-song-spoilers-alex-jena-caleb-jessica-sam-cjIt’ll be a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll — but without any Donnie and Marie ridiculata — when American Idol‘s Top 6 hit the stage and tackle two songs apiece on Wednesday night (8/7c on Fox).

But what will Jena, Jessica, Alex, Caleb, C.J. and Sam tackle for their dual-themed evening of music? TVLine’s got the exclusive scoop!

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The final set list is as follows:

Jena Irene
Country: Carrie Underwood’s “So Small” (previously covered by Matt Giraud)
Rock: Heart’s “Barracuda” (never performed on Idol)

Alex Preston
Country: Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” (previously covered by Fantasia Barrino, Anoop Desai and Scotty McCreery)
Rock: Neon Trees’ “Animal” (never performed on Idol)

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Caleb Johnson
Country: Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It” (never performed on Idol)
Rock: The Black Crowes’ “Sting Me” (never performed on Idol)

C.J. Harris
Country: Zac Brown Band’s “Whatever It Is” (never performed on Idol)
Rock: The Guess Who’s “American Woman” (previously covered by Tyler Grady)

Jessica Meuse
Country: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (previously covered by Brooke White and Alexis Grace)
Rock: Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” (never performed on Idol)

Sam Woolf
Country: Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” (previously covered by Lee DeWyze)
Rock: Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time” (never performed on Idol)

My Snap Judgment: The good news is that 7 of the night’s 12 songs have never been tackled during Idol‘s live voting rounds, so let’s tip our imaginary hats, yes? On the other hand, with the exception of Sam’s wacky Shania Twain pick (¡!), I have a sinking feeling I already know exactly how these performances will sound and look. I mean, haven’t these kids read their Idol Handbooks and realized that Adam Lambert’s “Ring of Fire” or Kris Allen’s “Heartless” or Candice Glover’s “Lovesong” or Blake Lewis’ “You Give Love a Bad Name” — picks that, on paper, you’d never, ever anticipate — are they keys to an exciting Idol trajectory?

That said, I’m pretty stoked to hear Caleb “Undo It,” and Jessica’s “Somebody to Love” could be amazing — if she uses last week’s cantankerous judges’ feedback to fuel her competitive fire.

C.J.’s “American Woman,” meanwhile, represents a definite departure in terms of tempo and intensity, but is he really capable of rocking out? Likewise, Sam’s choices may expose his limitations as an artist.

And while, personally, I’d have liked to see Alex and Jena use their front-runner banners as an excuse to take bigger, crazier risks, none of their song selections appear to put them at risk of imminent danger. Then again, arrangement, staging and conviction will be the true tests.

Your turn.

What do you think of the Top 6′s song selections? Who’s most likely to succeed? Whose choice puts ‘em most at risk going into the night? Sound off in the comments!

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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212 Comments
  1. Kaba says:

    I refuse to invest premature hope into them.
    They have this bad trend of good week, bad week.
    I’ll just wait and see, the end. Nobody for me has warranted my impending excitement at all this season.

    • Timmah says:

      Are we due for a good week or a bad week? I’ve lost track.

      • Kaba says:

        I’m guessing bad

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        With the exception of a few choices, I’m optimistic!

        One choice in particular scares me – CJ’s “American Woman” has me putting bourbon on the oatmeal this morning.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          Maybe this will be the week that Jessica can shine, both songs seem perfect for her, especially Somebody to Love, that’s an inspired choice. Be interested to see if they give her the “pimp” spot for that song, I don’t think she has gone last all year if my memory serves me.And much as I think Sam is as boring as aluminum siding, You’re Still the One could be a really good song for him too. Also surprised that Barracuda has never been performed on Idol previously, seems like a logical choice. Jena doing Annie Wilson? Could be dangerous for her.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Contestants have auditioned with “Barracuda” but it’s never been performed on the program. Should be interesting.
            I just hope they don’t turn the fan on for Jess this week. This is American Idol, not America’s Top Model. That was just annoying.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            I guess they figured “what the hell she never moves at all, let’s at least move her hair” Darcy :)

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Okay, bobsaccamanna, that was funny.
            But as I’ve said, Carrie Underwood never moved either on the program!

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            Oh I like Jess, Darcy, and I can care less if she moves around or not as long as she sings well. I just think she looks more and more uncomfortable on stage each week, but I’m hoping with these two songs she has a moment, get pissed off at the damn judges and let it rip, especially on Somebody to Love.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            That’s kind of what I said about Casey James. I wanted him to cut loose on a song, slam his guitar into the stage,set it on fire, plant a big kiss on Kara, and walk off, LOL.

        • marie says:

          If he can sing it on key, could be pretty good.
          But of course that’s a very BIG “if.”
          Enjoy your breakfast!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I’m hoping I’m wrong, marie. Not only does he need to sing on key, but he needs to be on the beat. Randy Bachman is one of the writers on “American Woman” and all of his songs have a very strong beat. CJ takes a somewhat casual approach to the beat of a song (important in rock and roll) and doesn’t really attack the beat, although the judges only mention his being off key.
            OH well, we shall see. I hope he doesn’t screw up one of my favorite songs. The intro to that song is amazing!

          • Stormy says:

            I’m more concerned with CJ singing an anti-american song on Idol. Do the producers even understand the lyrics? It’s a song directed at the Statue of Liberty protesting the US involvement in the Vietnam War. It makes sense for a Canadian band, but not sung by an American on Idol. WTF?

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Good question, stormy. I hadn’t made it that far yet in my concerns.

        • JM says:

          LOL! I did a double-take as well!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            yeah, I thought “Oh heck, that’s a mistake. Surely Caleb will sing American Woman”

        • Kaba says:

          Jesus…I must have been mighty tired last night because I think I’ll need a bowl of that oatmeal myself.

      • Mary says:

        The minute I see Randy in the show, i get negative. And after Jessica’s performance, which I think was phenomenal , and Keith, who thinks she connects unless he looks in her eyes (then,c lose your eyes, you dip, and JLo who can’t sing talks about connecting after that Papi fiasco, I get negative, but mostly can’t we just get rid of Randy, ever?
        ,

    • Flicker says:

      quick question. was there no reality check this week? am i missing something? was it vacay related?

    • Kevin says:

      Well, at least no one chooses a Taylor Swift’s song.

      • AngD says:

        I would have loved to have heard someone do a TS song. She has really good songs. People just love to be haters. Although no one there probably could tackle one. Jena might have been able to do Red or one of her larger songs – maybe Haunted.

        • Jo says:

          Everyone on there could tackle one. It’s not like her stuff is hard to sing.

        • JM says:

          I agree. Taylor’s songs are good. People have a hard time separating artist’s private lives from their artistry. Heck, I can’t stand Miley Cyrus as a person, but I can admit that ‘Wrecking Ball’ is a good song.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Taylor’s songs are good – she just can’t sing.
          I think Taylor Swift week could be interesting!

  2. Tom says:

    A ton of good stuff here. Nothing to complain about, especially with the thought of Miss Jena Irene slaying “Barracuda.”

  3. David says:

    I miss Majesty.

  4. -I think we are at the point that I don’t know if anyone is going to go out on a limb. As much as I want them to, I think that some of them don’t want to rock the boat in fear of taking a chance and falling on their face. In the season of Kris Allen and Adam Lambert they were both challenging each other week after week which brought out the best in them and brought out the best performances. I think this season has been the “play it safe” season. The majority of them don’t take risks and do the same thing week after week and aren’t getting penalized for it. It took Dexter 5 weeks to leave after doing that, CJ is still there, Sam is still there. They haven’t done anything to make moments. Sure Alex rearranges things and Jena has had some nice performances but this season has felt very safe and I don’t know if things are going to change.
    -I mean if I’m Jena or Alex or even Caleb and I see that if I go 80% while everyone else is going about 50% and I don’t have to go out on a ledge to make Top 3 or even Top 2 then why would I? There is strategy in seeing what your competitor’s are doing and not doing something that can upset your spot. I would love if Caleb, Jena or Alex saw that they are the front runners and just went for it, but in this kind of season hanging on and just doing a good performance, maybe not entirely memorable or “Idol moment” worthy is enough to win the whole thing. That’s the kind of season we have going here.

    • Ben says:

      I actually don’t feel that is fair at all. In those seasons, there weren’t multiple people who took those risks, and David and Adam only took them each about 4 or 5 times in the season (amongst a sea of otherwise great performances, that weren’t mixed up that much).

      Alex has done exactly that this season. For me, he has demonstrated the artistry of David Cook. I get so frustrated when he does No Doubt, or the Police, turns them into something that is completely and utterly different, and gets roasted for it. He IS going out on limbs, and keeps doing it.

      • veronica says:

        I have to respectfully disagree with you when it comes to Alex. I don’t think his rearrangements are indicative of artistry, but instead make clear just how lacking he is in comparison to David Cook or Adam Lambert or Kris Allen, etc. He is certainly making attempts, which is good, but too often his rearrangements either do nothing or in fact impede the storytelling of the song he is singing. The Police song, for instance, is a song of intensity, of obsessive and dangerous behavior, and the way he sang it completely neutered the song. When Sting sings it he’s a creepy stalker. When Alex sang it, he’s that annoying Nice Guy in high school who hangs around you all the time and then gets mad when you don’t want to date him. Similarly, the duet he sang with Sam last week is a song about lost love and lost dreams, of having your soul crushed and knowing it’s your fault, and yet they came across like two frat guys who just smoked a bowl, and are screwing around on guitars celebrating the end of finals week. For me, that’s not artistry. He’s a decent singer and a decent guitar player, but he doesn’t know how to tell a story. Rearrangement and taking risks, just for the sake of taking risks, doesn’t pay off if you can’t tell the story.

        • iluvcandy says:

          amen ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ amen

        • Ben says:

          So whats your point – that Alex isn’t going out on a limb?

          You don’t get to have it both ways. Either this season people aren’t going out on a limb, or they are – whether or not they are doing it well is entirely besides my point. People are criticising this season as though there is a lack of risk taking; but that’s simply not good analysis.

          I also disagree with your reason for distinguishing Alex from the others, Adam and David’s rearrangements didn’t tell the story any better (in Ring of Fire, I’d actually argue it lost the story) – but they were completely different singers from Alex. I don’t think the reason you believe they worked is because they told the story well – its just because they were awesome. Alex’s style is exactly what you just described, but it’s also exactly what he is trying to be. People are either going to love it or hate it. But please don’t say it isn’t about taking risks.

          • Name This Tune says:

            No, her point is this:

            Alex is a music nerd. He plays around with notes and sounds. It’s not coming from a soulful place. It’s coming from the place of a 20 year old without a lot of life experiences – so he makes things “happy and sappy”.

            The Willie Nelson song is going to be a test for him. Because he’s going to change it and we are not going to get the yearning for a lost love because that’s not something he’s comfortable with.

          • The Orginal Lemon says:

            I’m a fan of Alex’s voice and musicality–very much so, but I have to agree with Name That Tune here. Playing around with sounds and notes….but no soul. That is Alex. However, the potential is really there as he gets some life experience.

          • sarah nixon says:

            You are all shallow! To be able to do what Alex does-insightfully change a song-music & lyric arragements takes a soul! I think what is missing is when he us not as comfortable with a song it probably takes him more than a week to show the ‘soulfulness’. Take Sam & Jess: Sam same type of singer, gorgeous voice, deer in headlights, no soul. Jess is an artist, awesome voice, deer in headlights, no soul (but getting better). Alex is not like this (maybe more in the beginning of the show), maybe he has to get comfortable-?? But now if u watch his expressions, see how he changes the songs to peek & wane at the right times- that is soulful. Take it from Harry- a soul singer himself!

          • HTGR says:

            Just because you are able to change something up doesn’t mean you are a great artist, if the change produces something that doesn’t work at all.

    • Sandee says:

      Jena changed up her song last week and took risks with it.

      • -True. That’s what is frustrating, those that have taken risks like Jena and Alex(a couple times) have gone out on a limb and gotten rewarded for it. You don’t want to a risk or do something crazy just because it’s crazy, if you do it for a purpose and to put your spin on it then it’s more authentic. In fact, those that have taken the most risks have been doing really well and not landed in the Bottom 3 or 2, Jena landed there early at Top 11 week but hasn’t been there since. That’s why I don’t understand the contestant’s not wanting to take more risks or do things different. Every week you hear at least a couple of these contestant’s say they chose the song because they have performed it before and know they can do well with it.
        -They haven’t been fair a few times to Alex, but I don’t think anyone would ever take anything away from his creativity. Sometimes it comes down to taste. I think that Jennifer specifically loves CJ’s deal a whole lot more than Alex even though CJ does the same thing week after week. She never blasts CJ and if she ever says anything “bad” she always softens it. They’ve been very tough on Jessica, which i don’t really get. Sure she wasn’t the best last week but I give her credit for trying to move around and go outside her comfort zone. Some of these contestant’s CJ and Sam and formerly Dexter really never get hit for that and I’m not sure why.

      • Ben says:

        Jena also does it a bundle. Plenty of risk taking this season.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          The funny thing is that the person who seems to be the most popular this year, Caleb, has played it completely safe and not taken any risks. I am not a huge Alex fan, but I loved what he did with Every Breath you Take and was surprised he received so much negative response on it. For me I prefer the risk taking even if it results in a disaster,at least it makes it more interesting than the same old cookie cutter versions of the same old same old songs.

          • Stormy says:

            Hi Bob. I so wanted Alex to choose “I Put a Spell On You”/CCR for his rock song this week. To continue the creepy stalker vibe from EBYT. I’m not optimistic for any “Moment” this week.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            But Caleb can belt out a song and he’s and entertainer. Tons of stage presence.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            Hi Stormy,
            Well in terms of this season I’m never optimistic for a moment, but I am hopeful.
            I would love it if someone surprises me this week with an amazing performance,

          • The Beach says:

            I would say Caleb singing Skyfall was definitely a departure from his norm and a bit of a risk.

          • Matrix says:

            I guess if you are good, you don’t need to take risks. Just do what you’re good at and keep entertaining people – if it’s working. Seems to be for Caleb.

          • The Orginal Lemon says:

            Dazed and Confused was a risk also. That is not an easy song to sing.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            True, Original Lemon. Nothing of Led Zeppelin’s is “easy to sing”.

          • The Orginal Lemon says:

            It’s true Darcy. Caleb made it look so easy, though. Most people don’t realize how good a singer has to be to pull that off.

          • Ben says:

            Very true Bob – which just goes to really demonstrate the point I am trying to make – people aren’t necessarily particularly good at analysing what it is they want. It’s not ‘taking a risk’ that makes something good – its just being good!

          • sarah nixon says:

            I totally agree. I think it’s a sign of a true artist. Remember he also mentioned on the show that he listened to the lyrics over & over & interpreted them into what he thought they might mean. The song was about a stalker for Sting but Alex was able to turn it into a love song—-funny thing is that I got it when I was listening! They way he changed the music & phrasing of the words changed the meaning of the song. And I was a kid of the 80s- knowing that hit!

    • tealeaves says:

      I don’t think this season gets enough credit yet for what it is. We have heard really good original songs from Jessica, Alex, Jena, and Sam (in Hollywood.) This is the first season the contestants have been able to perform their own songs for a live peformance.
      Alex is not a dynamic performer like Cook or Adam or Haley. I would not compare him to that type of contestant. But he is very talented in his own right. I might compare him to a Jason Castro where his style is laid back so you are not going to get anything that is not laid back. But he is still a good contestant and might win.
      Gena has been a very strong contestant. I can’t think of any previous contestant I would compare her to. She has a powerful voice yet also has the stage presence and personality to perform current pop songs on the show.
      Caleb always goes for the high notes. But Skyfall was unexpected and was very good. With Family Tree he showed he can perform current rock very well. I was pleasantly surprised.
      Jessica was one of my favorites from the beginning. I hope she can knock something out of the park this week because I know she has it in her. She is the contestant this year that has gotten a lot of not-so-great feedback from the judges and has tried too hard to please them.
      Sam and CJ each have their own lanes they stay in. Their style will not vary much. But if you compare them to 4th-6th place finishers on other shows, I think they hold up. In fact, if Sam had been more comfortable with the camera all along, he’d be a contender for top 3.

      • karyn says:

        I don’t claim to be great with the Idol trivia, but I think you’re wrong on contestants not being able to do original songs before. Angie did one and so did Colton Dixon from a season or 2 earlier.

        • tealeaves says:

          @karyn, I think I have my trivia right. I think this is the first time anyone has performed an original song during the live rounds. Jessica and Alex both performed originals for top 8 where the theme was their audition songs. Jena performed hers for the wild card pick. Sam and other contestants performed originals in Hollywood or in auditions, but that was before the live voting rounds.
          Crystal was on season 9 and she repeatedly commented that she wished they could sing originals on the show. As far as I know, as of the end of season 9, we had not heard any originals. As I recall season 10 was the first year we heard part of an original in Hollywood. I think Tim Halperin, for one, sang part of an original in Hollywood in season 10. In season 12 Angie’s original was performed in Hollywood and was very memorable. There was talk of her performing it live later in the season but I think that never did happen.

  5. Steven says:

    More boring Idol.

  6. danin says:

    None of them took my suggestions…hahaa

  7. John Amper says:

    Jessica’s Jolene perf is what I’m most excited about in the live shows.. can’t wait!

  8. danin says:

    Jena doesn’t have the depth of voice as Anne Wilson hence the range. I wish her luck w/this song.

    • Idolheade Ed says:

      Huh,What!If there was ever an idol who could take her on it’s Jena. Look for some serious slaying going on. I am more curious about “So Small”. I think that will be the surprise of the night. I am psyched.

    • Matrix says:

      I agree, I think the high notes will be a challenge for her unless she lowers the key quite a bit. She’s good with these high energy rockers though, so it will be interesting. Kat on the Voice could nail it though.

      • ady says:

        did you not hear her high notes on gimme shelter, she absolutely nailed those, so while i agree Ann Wilson is untouchable, i believe Jena will be able to handle barracuda just fine.

        • Matrix says:

          You may be right. We shall see. There’s high – then there is Ann Wilson high. I will be surprised if Jena does the song in its original key.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      She will do fine. I just hope she doesn’t rearrange the melody into an unrecognizable mess.

      • danin says:

        Oh she can hit higher notes, but she doesn’t have a strong lower register that’s what I mean by depth of range.

    • HTGR says:

      I haven’t tuned in much this season, but I checked out Jena’s Barracuda and she did a good job. And from what little I’ve seen of this season I felt suspect about it coming in. But she didn’t have any trouble at all. She pulled it off well.
      .
      Also heard Sam right after, he was good but didn’t have a rock bite, not enough hard edged for rock.

  9. Jenna says:

    Will be interesting to see how Sam tackles Shania Twain. I did notice that he took Harry’s advice and chose a very well known, current rock song. I hope he nails it, because he has yet to experience a true breakout performance. I’m rooting for him, and I hope he can silence all of his critics once and for all.

    • tealeaves says:

      The problem with Harry’s advice is I am not sure it is sound advice. Until they were performed on Idol, I had never heard Kelly’s Stull Like that There, Bo’s In a Dream, Jordan’s I (Who Have Nothing), Kris’s Falling Slowly, Casey’s Jealous Guy, Haley’s You and I, or Phillip’s Volcano. A lot of people were also unfamiliar with Cook’s The World I Know, and Adam’s Mad World. A popular song can be a safe pick if people like the performance just because they like the song. But an uncommon song can be a great pick. In fact, Sam and Caleb both sang songs last week that I did not know and I think they were their best performances.

      • Mary says:

        I agree, I think a unknown song, if sung in key, can really make a contestant stand out. It is hard to compare to original if you don’t know it.

      • JM says:

        You’re right, tealeaves. Why would I download a song currently being played on the radio by the original singer? But an older song that’s been updated and redone? Absolutely.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        There are so many songs in country music with interesting, compelling lyrics. Sam could take an older song with interesting lyrics. If he could just infuse a bit of emotion and sound compelling he could really do well! Some songs that come to mind are TG Sheppard’s “Devil in the Bottle”, a song originally recorded on Melodyland’s label (a division of Motown) or David Lee Murphy’s “Dust on the Bottle”.
        Okay, on second thought, let me go back to the drawing board. I’m not sure either song is appropriate for Sam’s age.

        • The Beach says:

          Got a little bottle fetish goin’ on there, Darcy? ;-)

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            LOL, well, no kidding. How about if I throw in “Time in Bottle” for good measure? Except it’s not country!
            “Dust on the Bottle” would probably be okay but not “Devil in the Bottle”.

  10. Annie says:

    Tuning in just to hear Caleb tackle one of my favourite Carrie Underwood tunes. Also, I’m really excited to hear some more Imagine Dragons on the show. All I ask is for Sam to bring some energy tomorrow!

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  12. Justin says:

    ” I have a sinking feeling I already know exactly how these performances will sound and look. I mean, haven’t these kids read their Idol Handbooks and realized that Adam Lambert’s “Ring of Fire” or Kris Allen’s “Heartless” or Candice Glover’s “Lovesong” or Blake Lewis’ “You Give Love a Bad Name” — picks that, on paper, you’d never, ever anticipate — are they keys to an exciting Idol trajectory?”

    Looks like they are reading the Voice handbooks instead(ie staying in your lane taking no risks). Although, the Voice contestants aren’t ripped apart for it like the idol kids.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      HA! When you have a train of thought, you are relentless. Man, you REALLY hate The Voice! Not only do you hate The Voice, but you hate when anyone says anything good about it. I’d almost venture to say you hate people who like it.
      That’s cool. I feel the same about people with cats. God I hate cats. And cat people. [sorry cat lovers, but I'm a dog kind of gal]

      • Matrix says:

        LOL!!!

      • Stormy says:

        I hate asparagus, but I’m in favor of soup.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        Baxter and Ben will be very upset Angie :)

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          :) In fairness, the reason I hate them is because I’m deathly allergic to them. Especially as a singer, I have to avoid them like the plague. I tense up anytime I see one.

      • Jo March says:

        Why do you have to hate in order to like? Can’t you like dogs and be ambivalent about cats? Your attitude is pretty stupid. That’s like saying “I like apples, but I hate oranges because I’m an apple kind of gal”. Two different things; oh, wait; I guess you’re narrow mind can’t differentiate between things. Sorry!

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Showing your stupidity much, Jo March? Read my response to Bob. Would you like some wine with that foot in your mouth?

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            No worries Angie, you know I took it in the spirit it was written, trust me if you weren’t allergic, you would love Baxter, he’s as big as a small sized dog anyhow, he just doesn’t bark.

          • Angie_overrated says:

            Bob, if u ever consider a name change for your cats, would you please consider Birney for Ben? I’d gladly play with Baxter and Birney all day long if nothing but for the novelty value. And if there is a Meredith in your household, I would implode. Id simply implode.

  13. Sandee says:

    I don’t think you can say Caleb singing any Carrie Underwood is predictable. And I’ve never heard Sam or Alex rock pics. I think Jena doing Heart and Jess doing Jefferson Airplane are risky. Ring of Fire was my least favorite Adam performance.

  14. MAB says:

    I am going to stay optimistic and am looking forward to it.

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  16. Adam Fachry says:

    Carrie Underwood seems to be a go-to pick for country night since season 6. I like Carrie, but her post-show efforts, while commercially successful, are not stuff that I’d call great (with the exception of Two Black Cadilliacs).

    The choices in the rock category are more interesting despite one that I truly despise (lookin’ at you Neon Trees’ Animal).

    Still wish Caleb would do Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” or anything from the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Hey, Adam, I’m reluctant to criticize Carrie Underwood since I was the one that predicted she wouldn’t have much of a career after Idol, LOL.
      I’m really looking forward to Jess’ Jefferson Airplane and Jena’s “Barracuda”.
      I like your Bowie picks for Caleb. I think he’d do a great job with “Life on Mars”. :-)

      • Adam Fachry says:

        I’m just not a fan of country pop in general. But if Carrie didn’t take such a direction, she wouldn’t have sold as much as she has over the course of her career. Moonage Daydream is such a great song to demonstrate how good a classic rocker’s vocal is. However, if one were to perform the song on Idol, they have to be confident with its not-so-subtextual meaning of having an anal sex (lol, that would make Harry faint!). Or ignore the meaning altogether.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Hey, the way they chop up songs on this program they could just cut that portion of the lyrics right out of the performance. Problem solved!

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  19. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I get four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
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    • karyn says:

      I did the same thing my first comment. I don’t think you can stop the emails unless your isp can block them. If it helps, I’m pretty sure it only applies on this post, so you can comment on future Slezak blogs w/o getting comments. Good luck.

  20. Olivia says:

    Is there going to be a Reality Check this week???

  21. Emgee says:

    Carrie Underwood’s “So Small”
    Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It”
    Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One”

    Those songs are pop, not country.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Exactly. There is so much crossover between pop and country it makes this a somewhat odd theme. The Elvis version of “You Were Always on My Mind” is definitely more pop (or anthem-like) than country. that said, I’m not a fan of Willie Nelson but that’s one of my very favorite songs. I love the lyrics.
      .
      I believe I suggested “Undo It” for Caleb in a previous week (I don’t recall the theme -it may have been “Top Ten Billboard Songs Since 2010″). That said, I’d rather hear Caleb sing “American Woman” than hear CJ perform the song. I just hope they don’t screw up the arrangement and get rid of the kick-a** electric guitar intro. That would be criminal and I will cry. :-(
      .
      CJ should stay in the country-rock (early) Eagles/Marshall Tucker Band/Allman Brothers lane of music.

    • Random Person says:

      I could have sworn Lauren Alaina performed Undo It already

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I think Carrie performed the song on Idol the season Lauren Alaina was on the show.

      • Leticia Prado says:

        Nope, but she did Flat On the Floor.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          According to my search she sang it on May 6, 2010 on Idol. I seem to recall they made a big to-do out of it because Kara was one of the writers. Now, that doesn’t mean she didn’t also sing “Flat on the Floor” at some point.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      Well I can’t imagine Sam taking on Waylon Jennings, or George Jones, isn’t all current country really pop. Or as my friend who is a real country fan says, it’s all “big hat, no cattle”

      • Stormy says:

        It’s not even big hat anymore. It’s seed/feed cap worn backwards. LOL

      • Emgee says:

        There’s still real country music out there. SOMETIMES it’s even played on the radio:
        George Strait
        Alan Jackson
        Tim McGraw (sans “Lookin’ For That Girl” and “Truck Yeah,” he actually does still sing country music)
        Easton Corbin
        Kip Moore (sans “Somethin’ Bout a Truck”)
        Josh Turner
        Miranda Lambert
        Lindi Ortega

        Idol just has no imagination.

  22. Mary says:

    Interesting choices, I hope for the best. Alex and Sam will slow down their rock song and make it a jam. CJ will be out of tune for both, but critiques will be you make us feel the song. Jessica will be critique harshly even if she knocks it out of the park, she need to be comfortable with these songs, and don’t dance around the stage. Caleb country song is more pop country, will sing like Carrie and Steven duet. I am curious on Jena country song, could go either way sometimes her lower register gets lost but could also make her stand out if she pulls it off – which I hope she does. Both will do find with the rock portion.

  23. Kim R says:

    Jolene. My least favorite DP song. I hope somehow Jessica has tapped into some emoting. It must be hard to muster up things that may not be in your nature to do and not look false but she basically has the same face no matter what she is singing. I am really looking forward to see what Alex does with his songs. After the most excellent revamping of Every Breath You Take, I am totally in his camp. Such an artistically talented person. :)

  24. David H says:

    I’m intrigued (and a little frightened) by what Alex intends to do with ‘Always on My Mind’.

  25. JayNC says:

    I am excited to hear Jena do Barracuda, Jessica do Jolene, and Alex do Animal.

  26. Ceng says:

    For those who are spreading negative comments on AI, stop watching! This kind of people can never be satisfied. And Michael i know who have a bet in this, be fair enough on your blog! Even. Melinda sometimes disagree on you…

  27. Christine S. says:

    I know this will have some in a tizzy but I believe HARDLY ANYBODY is thinking of Idol’s TRUE VOTERS AS THE RACE TO THE FINISH LINE GETS TIGHTER. i remember being devastated when Crystal Bowersox was beat by Lee DeWyze. As the show winds down seems to me everybody including in my own city where Vegas odds aren’t considering Sam Woolf is underestimating the power of the tween vote!! Sam has a great quiet style like Ricky Nelson and he looks exactly like a young Tom Cruise identical from his role in Risky Business. Get ready for him to surge and shock everybody! Sam Woolf is likely to be in the final and win the whole thing! I can see a Jena and Sam finale and if so, the girl vote would surge and it wouldn’t matter how much Jena potentially could do performance wise, she would still lose. Crystal had the most amazing finish on finale night but every girl who thought Lee was cute got their sister and baby sister voting off the hook. Don’t get me wrong..Lee is talented but Crystal more so! Sam Woolf is by far the cutest boy Idol has ever had on the show. Check out early on Youtube videos of Justin Bieber simply playing his guitar song after song before he was discovered. It has the subtle feel of Sam. Nobody has ever come from the save to winning yet. Hence there is always a first time and the law of averages has me saying that finally that is going to happen. Check out Idol’s history of voting the WBWG (white boy with guitar) only broken last year when finally a woman won but no boy last year was nearly as cute as Sam!

    • Stormy says:

      You’re kidding about Sam looking like Tom Cruise, right? He looks like Sweets on Bones. He looks like his teeth are trying to get out of his mouth. I’m not saying he isn’t kind of cute, but Tom Cruise? Get real.

      • Christine S. says:

        Exactly like a young Tom Cruise in the film Risky Business, If you have not seen the movie watch it before you decide.

      • Christine S. says:

        Oh I just looked up Sweets from Bones because I never saw that show before and you are right that he looks like him also but check out Risky Business..a young Tom Cruise from that film, too

        • Stormy says:

          Eye of the beholder, I guess. To me he looks nothing like Tom in RB, Legend, The Outsiders or any other film when Tom was young. From a distance, regarding size and build maybe, but facially, not at all. JMO

          • Mary says:

            I agree with you do not see TC at all in Sam. I don’t think he is that cute to be honest but to each their own.

          • Stormy says:

            True. I guess what’s missing in Sam IMO is the Cruise charisma which he had at a very early age.

    • davey says:

      Sam’s song last week did fairly well on iTunes. Maybe he’s getting a following.

    • Idolhead Ed says:

      Sorry to say, for you that is, the tween vote has been neutered since the new voting system went into effect.I use to never vote until this year.

      • Christine S. says:

        Where do you come up with what you say? I still say ultimately the young girls have all the power and Sam will win and of course I see you are a guy saying this, that figures.

        • karyn says:

          Saying the “tween vote has been neutered” is overstating, but so is “the young girls have all the power.” Tween girls still vote more than the rest of us and so Sam probably has more staying power than he would if he weren’t cute (and he is cute but nothing like Tom Cruise). But this season the tweens haven’t been able to keep the cute boy on top regardless of performance. I too hope we will never again experience another tragedy like Crystal being beaten by Lee DeWyze after she clearly trounced him in the finale.

          • GuitarBlue says:

            That’s a good indication that the ladies between 30 and 60 really are the biggest voting block for Idol. And ladies tend to vote more for males than girls.

          • Christine S. says:

            Anybody please realize this. THE TWEEN VOTE DIDN’T KICK IN BEFORE WHICH IS WHY SAM WAS ON THE BOTTOM THREE AND OUT (SAVED) HOWEVER IT’S NOW KICKED IN!!

        • Idolhead Ed says:

          If they did he would not have been in the bottom 3 times and voted off once already. He is tween gold. and he still can’t get the votes.

    • tealeaves says:

      Sam has already been in the bottom several times and was even sent home and saved by the judges.

  28. Christine S. says:

    Also wanted to mention that Sam Woolf has not yet had a breakout moment and that is bound to happen tonight or soon. Sam is going to be safe the rest of the way to winning.

    • Mary says:

      Hard to have a break out moment when you look monotone on stage. He is slightly and I mean slightly getting better, but I don’t see it happening before the final. I could be surprised but I doubt it.

  29. davey says:

    Jessica’s two choices have been done to death on Idol. Poor choices.

    • marie says:

      “Somebody to Love” has never been performed on Idol, as Michael notes.

      • Name This Tune says:

        Maybe not, but it is a definite Get Your Groove On song. We’ll see if she takes Harry’s advice and shows us she can at least tap her foot to the beat.

        • marie says:

          ? I don’t hear that. Are you maybe thinking of the Queen song of the same name? That one has a definite triple-meter foot-tapping rhythm. The Jefferson Airplane song does not strike me as particularly beat-driven (it’s propelled more by the locomotive of Grace Slick’s voice, the way I hear it).

          • Name This Tune says:

            Jeez, I grew up listening to Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane. There’s a driving beat throughout the whole song. Go back and watch Airplane’s Woodstock performance. (And that’s hard to believe they performed it in 1969). If that beat doesn’t make you feel like moving, then you are not connecting to the song.
            Queen’s version doesn’t give me the same vibe at all. It’s certainly upbeat, but it’s not the rocker song. It’s much more slick, almost a Broadway performance.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            ok name that tune I guess you and I just have different opinions on what constitutes “toe tapping” To me toe tapping music is Andy Griffith sitting in the back of a pick up truck playing bluegrass music with Briscoe Darling and his family :)
            (how’s that for an obscure pop culture reference)
            But you’re absolutely right, it’s a driving beat as many of the Airplane’s songs were back then,and if Jess is going to perform correctly she has to be animated, this is not a folk song.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          Somebody To Love is not a foot tapping, get your groove on kind of song, do you even know the song?
          It’s a rock song with a powerhouse female vocal by Grace Slick, one of the iconic female voices of the late 60’s early 70’s. It could be a turning point moment for Jessica if she finally decides to deliver a song with some fire and emotion. If she doesn’t, well it’s fall flat on her face time.

          • Name This Tune says:

            It’s not a foot-tapping song?
            My friend, you need to YouTube the performance by Airplane on The Smothers Brothers. They sang White Rabbit and Somebody To Love. The guys in the band couldn’t help themselves – they were tapping their feet. Because it has a strong beat.
            Musically, you have to find that place inside of your muscles that feels the beat. And we need to see that from Jessica.

          • marie says:

            LOL, ok, I guess I’m outvoted! BTW, yes, I do know the song; been singing it for 47 years: fairly well for the first 20 of them, and pretty miserably for the later 27! I just don’t hear it the way you other folks do, it seems; for me, it was always all about Grace’s soaring vocal and Jorma’s searing guitar lines.

          • marie says:

            BTW, I am quite familiar with those Smothers Brothers performances, as well.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            you’re not hearing it wrong Marie, you’re absolutely right, the song is all about Jorma and Paul Kantner’s great guitar work and Grace Slick’s powerful vocals. Jesus, it’s acid rock, , if people were tapping their feet it was because the LSD had kicked in.

        • Matrix says:

          I went and watched Grace Slick in these videos and it’s interesting to note that she doesn’t move around at all in her performances. She has rhythm and passion, but is basically standing in one place. the judges are making too big a deal about “being all over the stage” IMO.

    • davey says:

      Sam’s songs on the other hand are going to be fun.

  30. marie says:

    Hmmm. The pick that I’m most intrigued to hear is Jena’s “Barracuda” – and I’m not even a Jena fan. I think she might do very well with this. And it’s a great song.
    I am NOT really looking forward to hearing Jessica tackle another great song, “Somebody to Love,” unless she changes it significantly. She has nowhere near the vocal horsepower of Grace Slick, whose voice on the recording was an absolute laser beam. I can see it working if Jessica sings a quieter, more contemplative version – maybe.
    Several weeks ago, Keith likened Jena’s voice to Grace Slick’s – a comparison I don’t hear at all – while Jessica is the contestant who has in the end chosen a Grace Slick number.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I didn’t get the Grace Slick comparison either, marie.
      I am looking forward to hearing Jess sing “Somebody to Love”.

      • marie says:

        I think the only performance of Jessica’s that I really enjoyed was her original song, which I thought was terrific. I hope she surprises me tonight!

        • Stormy says:

          I’m thinking that CJ is going to p-off a lot of patriotic southerners by singing an anti-american song and that will work in Jess’ favor. I hope so, anyway.

  31. Christine S. says:

    I wanted to add regarding Caleb that he is extremely talented, reminds me of a young Meatloaf, however lest I remind you of James Durbin, Adam Lambert, Chris Daltrey,Bo Bice and so forth. Idol is not geared towards heavy rock wins and I think that will continue this year, in other words I do not think Caleb will be the next rock win since David Cook. He won’t have the tween vote at all and more and more that is the vote that will surge and be the deciding factor.

  32. Christine S. says:

    Also wanted to add that while I adore Alex Preston’s style I just see him ultimately losing. My personal favorites are Sam Woolf, Alex Preston Jena and Jessica.

  33. Tommyo2000 says:

    American Woamn by CJ?? I hope he is a bit smarter than Skyler Lane, its a war protest song from a Canadian band … the lyrics are harsh, and the singing style is fast and angry … can CJ pull this off or will it by Skyler smiling through fortunate son

    • Stormy says:

      I agree. If he could carry a tune, he’d be better off singing “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing”, the Coke jingle that became a hit in the US and the UK.

  34. brandon says:

    I’m just relieved that Dexter’s gone!

  35. sheba says:

    I expect that CJ will be covering the Lenny Kravitz cover of American Woman, which is slowed down and bluesy.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I thought about that. I don’t like that arrangement nearly as well.

    • Stormy says:

      It’s still a diatribe against the Statue of Liberty and the USA by a Canadian band protesting our involvement in Vietnam. What is CJ thinking?

  36. Ryan P. says:

    I think Jena has made the best picks this week. Caleb’s “Undo It” should be good too. On another note, why would Candice Glover’s “Lovesong” be such an unexpected pick? Yes, it’s by The Cure, but when Adele has already popularized a version similar to Candice’s, the risk doesn’t seem to be so big.

    • Holeigh says:

      I feel like people aren’t familiar with Adele’s cover, so it came off as shocking.

      Kind of like CJ getting props for changing up Free Fallin’/Gravity a little from their originals, when in reality, all he was doing was covering the covers by John Mayer. His live versions of Gravity sound very much like what CJ did.

      That said, I really loved Candice’s version.

  37. I would love to hear Caleb sing Bohemian Rhapsody

    • Stormy says:

      Which part? It’s 6 minutes long and even Queen doesn’t do it completely live. There are so many tracks overlaying each other that it can’t be done live. They show a video behind the band during the more complex sections. It’s a mini opera that would be a disaster for Caleb.

  38. Brookecb says:

    Thanks for the down-low on what we can expect tonight, and the little glimpse into what you thought of the judges’ feedback for Jessica last week (I’m still fuming about that!). I didn’t realize how addicted I was to your weekly Reality Check video, but I can’t find it posted this week and I am checking obsessively throughout the day for it!

  39. amber says:

    Alex is by far the most original and talented of the group. I love listening to his music. I have bought all his songs on itunes. Team alex.

  40. Tam says:

    Can’t wait to see what Alex does this week- well any week for that matter. He keeps surprising me. He makes it all look effortless- some crazy mad skill. Makes me think of a young Lyle Lovitt. lol- Cracks me up watching him perform. Pulling for him this season.

    • Stormy says:

      I’m certainly getting the crazy mad part. Especially when he dances like a fly rubbing it’s legs together. Would you let him baby-sit your child?

      • That’s not a very helpful post, Stormy. Alex is a sensitive and idiosyncratic performer. It does not surprise me that the three judges have consistently regarded him as having a superior performing style, even if it’s not bombastic like one competitor, or cool like another, or over-the-top like a third. Alex has his own style, which he is using as a filter for a wide variety of songs, each of which come out sounding like a song in his style. That’s the essence of artistry. You can focus on babysitting issues. I for one look forward to the career Alex will have, no matter how much farther he goes on this popularity contest that every now and then masquerades as a musical talent show.

        • Stormy says:

          I know, I was just being a PITA. He is a bit creepy to me, but I apologize if my sick humor offended anyone.

      • Mary says:

        I call it the peepee dance. I give him credit for being creative, but I don’t like his voice and his stage presence. He is starting to sound the same each week for me.

  41. GuitarBlue says:

    Tonight the battle for survival is between CJ, Sam and Jessica. The others will sail through unless they really mess-up bad………………………………………………………………………….

    Song choices can make the difference, as having one of your songs a worn-out old song choice can drop ‘em tonight.

  42. keef says:

    @Michael Slezak: You write: “Haven’t these kids read their Idol Handbooks and realized that Adam Lambert’s “Ring of Fire” or (three others) — picks that, on paper, you’d never, ever anticipate — are the keys to an exciting Idol trajectory?”

    I recently watched Adam’s “Ring of Fire” again and I have to say he was blasted by the judges (well, Simon at least) for the way he treated that song. Contestants — especially those who are good enough to be Top Six — can see very well what happens to their image when they take real chances on this show. Is it a surprise that most of them decide to go the “better safe than sorry” route?

    • GuitarBlue says:

      That’s how Scotty won it, he stayed true to his style, did little running-around and trying to be dancing-dynamic; because it wasn’t his style…………………………..Jena and Caleb can do the stage-run dynamics and it fits them fine. …………………………… Pia Toscano was a stand & sing ballad girl, the Judges kept pushing her to “take some chances” so she tried running around in a cow-print dress (nature print) designed by Gwen Stefani and was thrown-out by the voters.

  43. Julie says:

    It was only when I saw Jessica perform Islands In The Stream during 80’s week that I feel like I finally “got” her voice. I’m excited to hear her sing Dolly tonight as I feel it’s very well suited. A heavy song though! I hope she really conveys the lyrics – desperation! don’t steal my man! I wasn’t crazy about her for the longest time but am kind of rooting for her now!

    Caleb & Jena, are they the only 2 that have never been in the bottom? And am I right in thinking they are both getting way too cocky? It feels like they know they are the best of the bunch and are untouchable, and well maybe that’s the truth. I also totally think they are into one another haha.

  44. Mary says:

    Jena has been in the bottom start of the live shows. Alex and Caleb have been the only ones that have not hit the stools yet. I don’t think of them as cocky, but I do think they are close friends.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      Yes, I think Jena asked Caleb to take her to her Prom. Sam and Alex seem to be really clicking as a duo and will likely work together on and after the tour, as they can.

  45. BooBoo says:

    Excited for Caleb doing Undo It and curious on Sam’s You’re Still The One.

    • BooBoo says:

      Performance order:

      Barracuda
      American Women
      It’s Time
      Animal
      Sting Me
      Somebody To Love
      You’re Still The One
      Undo It
      Always On My Mind
      So Small
      Whatever It Is
      Jolene

  46. CK from DC says:

    At the rate this show is going, Keith and JLo will stop Jessica while she’s singing her coronation song to tell her what she’s doing wrong.

    Sam Woolf could strangle a kitten instead of singing, and still get high marks and goosies from the judges.

    I just went from the natural high of watching Caleb pay homage to the Black Crowes to being PO’ed at the judges for yet another obvious anti Jess set of comments. PRODUCERS. STOP HATING. YOURE DRIVING THE FEW REMAINING VIEWERS AWAY.

  47. sarah nixon says:

    Did ANYONE mention how the keyboards came in off key on Alex Preston’s ‘You Were Always on My Mind’ & how he made it through the song with such an awful distraction??? Very professional not to give up, shows a true musician! Way to go Alex!

  48. Lbarry says:

    I wish Sam would go home. He is so boring! The judges think he is so cute with his zHorse teeth. He would be great at six flags job.
    Alex and Caleb are the best.
    I can’t understand Jena’s lyrics.

  49. Bradly says:

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