American Idol Exclusive: Top 3 Week Details -- Find Out Who's in Charge of Song Choice!

011434American Idol‘s Top 3 will be officially out of control when they take the stage for next Wednesday’s milestone 500th episode (8/7c on Fox). And that’s because their song choices will be entirely in other people’s hands.

RELATED | American Idol Top 4 Recap: Darling So It Goes, Some Things Are Meant to Be [Plus: Season 14’s a Go!]

TVLine has learned exclusively that whichever trio emerges from tonight’s Top 4 results telecast — either Caleb, Jessica, Alex or Jena will fall short of a hometown visit — can look forward to the following three-pronged challenge (which differs slightly from previous seasons).

RELATED | 2014 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Getting Cancelled? What’s Returning? What’s on the Bubble?

Judges’ Choice
Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. choose songs — AKA “tunes” — for the Top 3 (please, Lord J.Lo, no “I Luh Ya Papi” or “Louboutins,” OK?)

Randy’s Choice
“Mentor” Randy Jackson doles out assignments to his charges (I’m on the record as vetoing “I Believe in You and Me,” OK, Dawg?)

“Hometown’s Choice”
According to a Fox source, “each contestant’s hometown has also picked one encore from all the songs the Idol has performed this season.” (I officially nominate “Blue Eyed Lie” for Jessica, “Fairytale” for Alex, “Unbreakable Me” for Jena and “Skyfall” for Caleb! Also: Is it too late for me to move to Slapout, AL?)

What do you think of Idol’s Top 3 Week plan? Bummed about the presence of encores? Worried about WWRD (What Will Randy Do)? And which judge would you pair with which contestant? Sound off below!


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. Ange says:

    Slight slip, you named Keith Urban twice as a judge.

    • Ange says:

      And I only point it out because leaving out HCJr messes up the “tunes” reference. :)

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Good catch!

      • Just saw on u tube videos of calebs hometown visit. He got a key to the city and then he got a key to the whole county. The mayor is hot according to the guys whistling and his fans picked dazed and confused for wed night. Some hometown videos of jena are up on u tube also.

  2. Amber says:

    interesting. I’m glad they dont choose for themselves what ever they like, since they have been doing that pretty much all season with those silly genres

  3. Timmah says:

    I’m surprised J-Lo doesn’t get to choose all the songs. After the all, the show is all about her.

  4. Steve says:

    God no why hand randy any kind of power

    • Julie Anderson says:

      My sentiments exactly. A lot of manipulation could happen here both with his choice and the judges.

  5. I am holding on to hope that Jena will do Video Games for top 3.
    We’ve already heard Unbreakable Me twice, and while I love that song, I want her to do a full version (well, as much as “full” can be during the lives) of Video Games.

  6. Julie Anderson says:

    We were already asked to vote for Alex’s songs and they only let us choose between two: The A Team and Story do My Life. The latter was winning by a lot last time I checked.

    I was bummed because my choice would have been for him to do another original. He has a few I really love.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      UGH! How unimaginative of them! Anyone else from a contestant’s hometown want to weigh in with deets on voting?

      • Tommyo2000 says:

        Perhaps they will let him use it as his coronation song?

      • Ann Marie says:

        I was at Jena’s hometown “concert” in Farmington Hills today and the audience was asked to pick between Clarity and Creep and Creep was chosen. Unfortunately, Unbreakable Me was not a choice. She only sang three songs today at North Farmington High School but she sounded great and was super appreciative of the support. She invited her choir teacher to attend the finale and it was a touching moment the first time lol. They made her do 2 additional takes which was kind of awkward but I guess they missed the first one and had to redo it. I have to admit I’m biased (my daughter went to high school with Jena) but I hope she wins. To me, Alex is a one trick pony even though he has a good voice. But, really, they all have good voices at this level of the show. I like Caleb and he has shown some versatility but I think Jena is the most marketable overall. She has shown an ability to sing original songs, slow songs, rock songs, jazzy songs, electronic songs all of which the younger music buyers seem to want.

      • I really dont Like the idea Of Demons by Imagine Dragons, because last year Jeff Gutt and Will Champlin both already did that one. Do all of these shows copy song choices? Geez Getting sick of hearing that song on these shows.

        • I hope randy gives Caleb a nice slow song, because he was given 2 powerhouse songs by fans, and judges. Open arms by Journey, or I want to know what love is by Foreigner would be good slower songs. Come on randy, pick him a good one. So sick of Imagine Dragons. Not happy with that song choice. I have always wanted to hear someone do “Cry Little Sister” from Lost Boys. I wonder if anyone has ever done that on a singing competition?

    • PoopyPants says:

      That is insane! Shows how limiting TPTB are! Can you imagine the song selection for this week? They probably only got 2 songs choices for each performances. I am about done with this show!

  7. Forwardad says:

    Scared for Randys choice :-(

  8. danin says:

    What was the song Caleb was singing when he dropped the mic? That was a very strong performance.

  9. Tommi says:

    Sometimes it shocks me how little I care about the outcome of this year’s Idol. TPTB Have turned me off so much with their manipulation, so obvious, that It’s not American Idol anymore. Last great season was #8 because #9 talent sucked, and from then till now it’s all about the judges and producers. I look back so fondly on the fun with Adam, Kris, Allison, Matt. It’s like all the innocence is gone. Yes, I guess I’m naive, but I want Simon and Paula back, even Kara. No to Randy. He has overstayed his welcome by 5 years or so. Anyway, whoever wins, it will take second place to attention-wh*#^*, JLo, so whatever!

  10. Name This Tune says:

    Seven Bridges Road for Caleb.

    • becca says:

      Yes I went and looked at that on u tube. He did a very good job on that. He ha short hair, he must have been younger

  11. Zoey says:

    Whatever happened to contestant’s choice in top 3? God I miss those days.

    • Kevin c says:

      Last time we had contestant’s choice in the Top 3 Jessica and Joshua somehow thought voluntarily choosing Imagine and the asteroid song was smart. Even Randy can’t choose that poorly…right?

    • Amber says:

      They have basically had contestant choice all season with the wide open theme’s they have had.

    • twnkltoze says:

      I think that’s been done.

    • Yah I miss that! The contestants choice! Also whatever happened to them singing with their favorite artist? I wonder if they are to cheap to hire the acts to come on the show? We shall see. Durbin went out at top 4, and they had a guest for him on the show( Zach Wild played guitar along side him during “heavy Metal performance”) before he was eliminated.

  12. Kaba says:

    Mentors choice?
    Oh my God I think I might be sick.
    Basically the formatting is:
    Judges Choice
    Judges Choice
    Hometown Choice.
    I need a drink.

    • becca says:

      OMG They are going to screw everyone up and none of them can afford to have bad choices right now. But because the judges choose , what if they pick a great one for jena (cause they want her to win) and terrible ones for alex and caleb.

  13. Mike.....from Florida.... says:

    Michael….Since, after your last recap, you have officially joined the ranks of the ‘Jessica Trashers’…..YES, it is too late for you to move to Slapout, AL……

  14. Mark Twain says:

    “(please, Lord J.Lo, no “I Luh Ya Papi” or “Louboutins,” OK?)”
    LOLOLOLOLOLOL…oh you crack me up. Would you believe they played this on Dancing With the Stars the other night. I needed one of those airplane bags.

  15. Erika says:

    Well, this could spell bad news for Jena and Caleb if they get the hometown visits and their towns want them to reprise Can’t Help Falling in Love and Maybe I’m Amazed. No one wants to hear the same song two weeks in a row.

  16. BrazenSongBird says:

    My dream list:

    Caleb – Silent Lucidity
    Jess-Edge of Seventeen
    Alex-Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    Jena-What About Love?

  17. twnkltoze says:

    I can’t wait to hear what Harry Connick Jr. picks. He’s gonna throw ’em for a loop with some jazzy stuff, which I love. I can only see Jena and Alex coming even close to pulling that off. Randy will pick something current. So glad the producers aren’t picking anything. What do they know about music anyway? I’m glad the contestants have been able to sing mostly current songs this Season. Isn’t that what everybody has wanted forever? Skyfall is the most current thing Caleb has sung so I don’t see him landing in the Final two. It’s gonna be Jena and Alex with Jena winning by a hair.

    • becca says:

      Wait, are they each picking one for everyone, or harry picks for a contestant and j-lo for a contestant and the keith for one. or are they each getting one from each judge?

    • becca says:

      Kings of Leon “Family tree” is current, “Pressure and Time” by rival sons is current, Skyfall, adele and,. lady gaga Edge of glory was current. Jena has done old songs also. Heartbreaker by pat benatar, barracuda by heart, joan jett “i love rock and roll” and elvis “i cant help falling in love. None of those are current songs either. and creep by radiohead is also old and released before jena was born as well as all the other songs I have listed. Lets be fair here. I keep hearing from lots of people saying that caleb isnt current and jena is doing the same amount of really old songs. Obviously some people dont know how old some of this music is that jena is doing . Lets be fair. All of those songs I listed were around way before jena was born ( the ones she sang)

      • becca says:

        Of course younger people arent going to know that some of those songs I listed above are 20, 30 years ago and that jena is doing very old songs too.

      • The Other Leah says:

        Yes BECCA! You are right! Why hasn’t anyone else said this?

        • becca says:

          “The Other Leah”, Well I dont know, maybe they are to young to know that the some of the songs that Jena does are just as old as the ones caleb does, which are not current, but yet they say jena is more current. That is why I listed most of their songs above in comparison. No one is more current than the other.

          • NJIdoloonie says:

            Maybe there isn’t a lot of great current music being made or played, esp. when so many songs are autotuned or dance songs with vapid lyrics

        • I want caleb to do skyfall because then it will be available on i tunes. It isnt because he did it in top 11 week and they didnt start making recordings until top 10 week.

  18. JJ says:

    It would have been nice to see Jessica make it to the top 3. I must say this has to be the best top 4 on American Idol!!

    Hey Ryan, you really should shave it is kind of patchy……

    • Jerry says:

      I would have to disagree actually. I thought Season 5 had a great and very diverse top 4 (Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Elliot Yamin and Katherine McPhee) and Season 8 too with Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta and even Danny Gokey. Season 10 and Season 11 is also not too bad.

      But I do agree that the best 4 became the top 4 (one of the rare times I think the voting audience got it absolutely right). Many seasons the top 4 are filled with talent, but there is always a clear “weak link” that prevents it from being a very good top 4, like Season 1 with Nikki McKibbin, Season 2 with Josh Gracin, Season 3 with Jasmine Trias, Season 4 with Anthony Federov. Season 6 has quite a good top 4, but by then LaKisha and Blake were starting to fall apart in performances. Same with Season 7, and I think all of the top 4 are talented, but Jason Castro just gave up towards the end.

      • Idolhead Ed says:

        Did you say Hicks? Did you Say Gokey? Go to your room! Now!

      • AO says:

        I don’t think there is actually a good overall Top 4 in all seasons of AI.. Surprisingly, most good singers are eliminated in Top 4 or Top 3 spot… The most I can say however, is a good Top 3.. Season 4 – Carrie, Bo & Vonzell, Season 7 – David Cook, David Archuleta & Syesha, Season 8 – Kris Allen, Adam Lambert & Danny Gokey, Season 11 – Philip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez & Joshua Ledet and Season 12 – Candice, Kree and Angie… But personally, best seasons with great talent would be Season 4, Season 5, Season 7 and Season 11.. This season 13 is just the worst.. But I think America got the Top 3 right and I hope Caleb wins considering overall body of work..

  19. oriolemom says:

    Encores…ugh. The only thing that could possibly be worse than encores is the idea of Randy choosing songs. Idol powers behind the curtain really are completely unconcerned with the viewing audience, aren’t they…

    • AlyB says:

      I think it might be a small mercy for the contestants really. They have hometowns which takes a few days out of their schedule between the travel & the actual festivities. They still have to learn two new songs and get into the studio to record one, never mind the rehearsals & Ford Video. The schedule they’re on is almost impossibly tight hometown visit week so I’m sure they’re relieved that at least one of the songs they’re doing is something they already know.

  20. Lisa says:

    I just want to say that Caleb is bound to have a fit about the fact that the judges are picking his music. Just sayin.

  21. lululime says:

    Who is getting Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and who is getting the song from the penguin movie?

  22. S. says:

    Huh. Exactly how did people in the hometowns go about voting on it? Did they use some local radio thing? The contestants’ high schools? What? Presumably they’ve already picked the song because the contestants start working on them like now.

  23. becca says:

    I just watched the results show over again and I like the way the girls looked at the park rather than how “gussied up” they are on the show. I liked their hair better too. Since alex and caleb are “roomies” I wonder if they are going to sit up at night and try to figure out how to beat jena? Since she is the one to beat. They prob dont want to break up their bromance! LOL

  24. my krav is bettah says:

    this will work out for the person that they want to win. I think we all know who that person is.

  25. syb says:

    I expand the request to Randy to disqualify any song with the word “Believe” in its title. That would include ‘I Believe I Can Fly” “I Believe” (by Fantasia) “Don’t Stop Believin'”… Just say no.

  26. Kays says:

    I wish Caleb and Jena would sing their songs again from Top 4 week that inexplicably were NOT the ones available on iTunes this week, maybe THEN they would be available on iTunes! Maybe I’m Amazed and Jena’s piano song.