American Idol Exclusive: Top 4 Theme Is...

american-idol-top-4-theme-make-up-break-up-season-13You’ll need to buckle your safety belt on the emotional roller coaster for American Idol‘s third-to-last performance show next Wednesday (8/7c on Fox).

TVLine has learned exclusively that the theme for Top 4 week will be “Love: Break-Ups and Make-Ups.” In other words, the remaining Season 13 finalists will “celebrate the agony and the ecstasy of music’s greatest theme.” (Update: Check out our Dream Set List here!)

RELATED | American Idol Top 5 Performance Recap: Pay No Attention to the Kids in Front of the Curtain!

On tonight’s Top 5 results telecast (9/8c), Ryan Seacrest will end the hopes of one more vocalist — either Sam Woolf, Caleb Johnson, Jena Irene, Alex Preston or Jessica Meuse — following a Wednesday performance show centered around America’s requests.

Stoked about “Break-Ups and Make-Ups”? Who will benefit most from the theme? Any early song suggestions? (I’ll be posting my own dream set list tomorrow, of course.) Sound off below!


American Idol: What Should the Top 4 Sing for ‘Break-Ups/Make-Ups’ Week?

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. Blinged Up says:

    So……like 90% of all songs ever written are in this category. Why not just call it Any Song We Have Cleared?

    • Holly says:


    • GuitarBlue says:

      True, there is always a limited number of songs they have to choose from anyway, according to what I have heard in interviews from ex-idols.

      . Anyone else notice that The Voice had 6 of their top 10 contestants in itunes top 100 at one point this week? It also seems like they cover a much wider area of the music universe than Idol does.. Christina Grimmie is still top 10 on itunes today.

      According to most polls, either Sam or Jessica goes home tonight.

      • S. says:

        Christina Grimmie had millions of subscribers on Youtube before she sang a note. She had exposure on Selena Gomez’s tour. She better be top 10 or she’s not doing what the producers recruited her to do.

      • Nate Johnson says:

        Sam’s gone ,no need to even watch. I will vote for anybody but Jena !!!!! wildcard mishap, has the balls to mention Sam’s save by the judges…PLEASE

    • Matrix says:

      That’s right!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      So, are they each going to sing two songs? One break up song and one make up song?

    • sue says:

      someone HAS to sing “Love Hurts”

  2. Just Sayin says:

    Says Top 9 in the Tab Header

  3. Mary says:

    Does this mean ballad night?????

  4. Jenny says:

    I’d love to hear Jena sing Ambulance by Eisley. I think she could really have a moment on the piano with that song!

  5. Emma says:

    So the “theme” is the same as it’s been all season… sing whatever you want.

  6. Allison says:

    Would love to hear Jess sing “Tornado” by Little Big Town. She’s got the attitude for it.

  7. jay bee says:

    Uptempo for each:

    Jessica – “Different Drum” Stone Ponies (Linda Rondstadt)
    Jena – “Reflections” Supremes
    Caleb – “How do you Like Me Now” Toby Keith
    Alex – “50 Ways to Leave your Lover” Paul Simon
    Sam – “Time for me to fly” REO Speedwagon

    A bit off the wall I know (especially Caleb) but I think they all could do well with these.

  8. Becky says:

    I would like to see the performers from beginning to end. No judges. They don’t get any interruptions when they are watching. And no talking. Just rude.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      It seems like the camera operators have gone almost crazy with how they are presenting the show anymore. There seems to be no one in control and the monkeys have taken-over the Zoo.

      I have to wonder if some of the programming people at CBS are thinking about putting together a show similar to Idol, that is not weighted down with Randy’s, J. Lo’s and half-stuck in the 70’s – 80’s for a song to be cleared. They might even have show directors that film the singers when they perform

  9. David4 says:

    The theme of the week is how do we stop the viewers from ditching.

  10. MikeLacey says:

    If Jess makes it through to top 4 I would love her to do Bonnie Raitt’s “Love me like a Man”

    • BrazenSongBird says:

      This. Or “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and really stick it to the judges.

      And I don’t get why Jess is constantly called out for her lack of movement on stage. Have the judges completely forgotten about Bonnie Raitt, Jewel, Sheryl Crow? All of whom have a career and all of whom tend to stay behind the microphone for most of their performance. I’m perfectly fine with Jess standing stock still and delivering the vocals that she has. Is it possible that Jess isn’t given the same breaks that Alex and Sam are just because she’s a pretty woman and pretty women aren’t supposed to be shy? We accept the shy guy performer, but not the shy girl? Why? Is it cultural?

      • jessfan says:

        I think Jess should sing Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart”. That would really show the octaves she has.

  11. MAB says:

    Sounds interesting. I am looking forward to seeing what they choose.

  12. ck says:

    Someone could have a moment with Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”.

  13. legalchef says:

    Assuming that they would each be singing 2 songs, they should say that they have to do 1 ballad and 1 uptempo

  14. Brandy says:


  15. claudia says:

    Michael – I don’t have any comment about the Top 4 theme….just want to say this week’s was the best Reality Check ever. My sides hurt from laughing. When you & Melinda got tickled & couldn’t quit laughing I about peed my pants. But they are all good. I just wish you did 2 separate ones for AI & The Voice. Keep them coming, please.

  16. ed says:

    Jessica sing addicted to love ala tina turner

  17. Iris says:

    Sorry, REALLY off topic but I’ve always wanted to ask Michael Slezak… do you have any ancestors from Czech Republic or Slovakia?

  18. ChellemaBelle says:

    For the Breakup:
    Jena: Mika’s “Grace Kelly”
    Caleb: Do a crazy take on Dead or Alive’s “Brand New Lover”
    Alex: Madcon’s “Beggin” or anything that is at least half-tempo, like

    For the Make-up:
    Jena: Paramore’s “Still Into You” (ok not original at all, but would still love to hear it
    Caleb: Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” but in a rock-makeover or Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me”

  19. Stacy says:

    What about “Criminal” by Fiona Apple for Jena?

  20. Jack says:

    All I have to say is: please God let Jessica survive this week!

  21. Captain says:

    Caleb should do something really unexpected, like Grenade by Bruno Mars but with a rock twist.

  22. Stormy says:

    I hope each one will sing one love song and one break up song. So:
    Jessica – Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got To Do With It & I Can’t Fight This Feeling/ REO
    Caleb – Easy To Be Hard/3 Dog Night & Little Green Apples/OC Smith
    Sam – Poor Little Fool/Rick Nelson & I Am So Into You/Atlanta Rhythm Section
    Alex – Always/Bon Jovi & Lay Down beside Me/Don Williams
    Duets – All You Need Is Love/Beatles and Love Stinks/J Geils Band

  23. Davey says:

    I do not want to hear Jessica sing a Tina Turner song.

    • Stormy says:

      Ok I’m flexible. Give Jess Julie London’s “Cry Me a River” [not Justin Timberlake’s] and switch Alex’s “Always” for Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”.

  24. DonB says:

    Contestant – Love song – Heartbreak song

    Caleb: Presley, Baby, trying to get to you & Yoakum, Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing
    Jena: Presley, Love Me & Sande, Maybe
    Jess: Norah Jones, Turn Me On & Yoakum, This Much I Know
    Alex: Dylan, Lay Lady Lay & Hank Wiliiams, Cold Cold Heart (Norah Jones ver)
    Sam: Nobody Does it Better (Radiohead ver – the known world would come to an end if he did this) & Robinson, Tracks of my Tears

  25. DonB says:

    Correction for Caleb, Chris Isaak Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing

  26. Kelly says:

    Jessica is in the top 4. Yes. She should do take a look at me now and two black Cadillacs.

  27. Tess says:

    I’d love to hear Jess do Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”; she has a cover of it online and it’s just beautiful. She should do it just the same way too – just her and her guitar and no bandzilla to try to ruin it. Sure the judges would still act like she’s the greatest offense to music since the keytar but I know I’d enjoy it at least.

  28. darcy's evil twin says:

    Someone obviously needs to sing “Break Up to Make Up” by the Stylistics – one of those bad 70s songs.
    That’s all I got right now.

  29. Julie Anderson says:

    This is the right top 4. “Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice for Alex. Break up song.

  30. Xhasenthor says:

    Once I read what the theme was, I immediately thought, “Jessica has to do ‘It’s a Heartache’ by Bonnie Tyler” Not entirely sure if it’s a good song choice at this point in the competition but I would love to hear Jess’ voice here!

  31. darcy's evil twin says:

    Please, please, please – don’t anyone sing “Against All Odds” or “You Oughta Know”.

  32. darcy's evil twin says:

    Well, for some reason country music kept coming to mind for the break-up songs….

    Alex – Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me” or Tim McGraw’s “Angry All the Time”
    (“Angry All the Time” was written by Charlie Robison and simply has some of the finest lyrics I’ve ever heard)

    Jena – Bon Jovi’s “Always” or JoDee Messina’s “Lesson in Leaving”

    Caleb – The J Geils Band’s “Love Stinks” or Aaron Tippin’s “Kiss This”

    Jessica – Mary Chapin-Carpenter’s “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” or Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am”

  33. darcy's evil twin says:

    Duets –
    Jessica and Caleb – Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s “Like We Never Loved At All” (since they already sang “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”)
    Alex and Jena – Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”

    • S. says:

      If we can get through a duet without hearing anybody sing about “making love” to the other person while they stare into their eyes, I’ll be floored. I know we don’t actually know these kids but it feels creepy when they sing that way. You just get the distinct impression it weirds them out too. If they sold it, maybe, but it obviously is awkward for them too.

  34. Virgilio says:

    I believe it’s time for someone to sing a Sam Smith tune. Such an amazing British artist, and almost all his songs are love songs. Also, Ellie Goulding – Explosions. 😃

  35. Lee says:

    This is completely off-topic, but I just found this site after doing a search to find out where Annie Barrett landed. What a pleasant surprise. My EW bookmark will be deleted. Now if you guys could get Doc Jensen to jump ship…. Great site. Good job.

  36. KMG says:

    I’m a little disappointed in the theme. As others have mentioned, 3/4 of the pop songs ever written could fit this theme. One of the complaints that I heard about this season a few weeks ago was that too many of the songs the contestants selected were just “this is one of the songs I always do in my set” or “this is one of my favorites when I do karaoke”. I liked the fact this week that most of the songs were ones the contestants didn’t already know, or ones they would never have chosen for themselves. I think the “contestants choose songs for each other” week was the same way(although I thought some were obviously more of the “hey buddy, whatcha want me to pick for you to sing?” variety). I’m expecting this week to hear a lot more songs that the contestants have already sung a thousand times in the past.. which, to me, means they are stretching themselves less, and reducing the tension they experience when they perform. We’ll see.

    • Lisa Benwitz says:

      I totally agree with you, KMG. I wonder where all the people are who *DESPISED* the old theme nights and complained constantly? Shouldn’t they be flooding these message boards with how *awesome* these new “themes” are and how much better off the show is now? Yet they remain strangely silent. I for one always loved the themes–they really allowed the best singers/artists to shine through no matter what theme they were given. Granted, I’m no spring chicken, so maybe that makes a difference, since I tended to know most of the songs that were sung except for the “year of your birth” and the few times they were allowed to sing current songs. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being exposed to new music, because I do–but when I can watch three, four episodes and only recognize two of the songs, and most of them are performed poorly at that, it doesn’t exactly make for compelling TV watching!

      • C says:

        I agree with you 1000%. I miss those old theme shows like crazy. It doesn’t help that most modern music is nowhere near the quality of those older songs.

  37. LisaP says:

    Maybe someone (Jena) will sing “We Are Never Getting Back Together” Bring on the Taylor Swift songs!!

  38. AprilD says:

    Alex – Dire Straights’ “Romeo & Juliet” & Kris Allen’s “Vision of Love”
    Caleb- “Why can’t this be love” Van Halen & “Like a Stone” Chris Cornell (maybe slowed down version)
    Jena- “The story” Brandi Carlile & “Almost Lover” A fine frenzy (arranged a little bit w/ her at the piano)
    Jess- (It’ll never happen but…) Lily Allen’s “Not Big” & “Leave the Pieces” by the Wreckers

  39. Woodmeister says:

    Whatever Alex sings he should get the back up singer who sang with him on Say Something to back him up again. While he was good on his own, she made him sound a lot better. Does anyone know who she was?

    • AprilD says:

      I’m not 100% sure because they never said & even I questioned my judgement that it was Allison Iraheta.

    • Jamie says:

      Her name is Jessi Collins. She has been one of the backing singers all season. Caleb was bowing down at her feet the week prior. :)

  40. Stormy says:

    I’d love for Caleb to do “Key Largo” by Bertie Higgins and “Wanna Make a Memory?” by Bon Jovi
    Alex could reprise his stalker vibe with “Never Gonna Let You Go” by Rick Astley and totally turn it around with a soft lilting version of Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do”.
    Jess could do a bright version of Neil Diamond’s “Song Sung Blue” and then slow it down with Glen Campbell’s “Didn’t We”
    I won’t suggest any songs for Jena because I don’t have any interest in her and will leave it to her fans to posit ideas.

  41. Mark says:

    A few suggestions, most of which have never been done on a US singing competition:

    Alex – Wild Is The Wind (David Bowie); Black Coffee In Bed (Squeeze); Hang Me Up To Dry (Cold War Kids)
    Caleb – The Last Fight (Velvet Revolver); Love Hurts (Nazareth); Whiskey In The Jar (Metallica)
    Jessica – Blow Me One Last Kiss (Pink); Don’t Get Me Wrong (Pretenders) Crying (Roy Orbison)
    Jena – Ex Factor (Lauryn Hill); Special (Garbage); Anything Can Happen (Ellie Goulding)

    Caleb and Jessica – Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac)
    Alex and Jena – Gone Gone Gone (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss)

    • AprilD says:

      I love the Gone Gone Gone suggestion. Though I’d flip it to Alex & Jessica.

    • Stormy says:

      I’d prefer Thin Lizzy’s version of Whiskey In The Jar.

      • Mark says:

        They’re both good, I just prefer the sizzle in the Metallica version. It sounds more contemporary. In all likelihood that song would never be approved by the Idol producers. Otherwise, I might have suggested “Down By The River”–the ultimate break up song.

    • Mark says:

      I don’t know why, but I’m getting a strong feeling that Caleb will be doing Free Bird.

  42. Stormy says:

    Kind of a monotonous lyric. I guess I’d rather hear him do Elvis’ “Hurt” or “Are You Lonesome Tonight”. Even Elvis’ “Don’t” would be great.

  43. The Other Leah says:

    So confused. Why do the majority of posters seem to want Caleb to cover country songs next week?!

  44. darcy's evil twin says:

    Wow, the “make up songs” were harder. I had to struggle a little harder with these.
    Jess – Trisha Yearwood’s “Believe Me Baby, I Lied” or Linda Ronstadt’s “Try Me Again” (my favorite)
    Jena – Lesley Gore’s “Judy’s Turn to Cry”. Maybe she could just sing “It’s my Party and I’ll Cry if I Want to” for her break-up song as well. :-) Another choice – , Journey’s “Open Arms”
    Caleb – Vince Gill’s “One More Last Chance” (funny lyrics and a true story about country great George Jones); or The Turtles’ ” You Know She’d Rather Be With Me”
    Alex – Randy Travis’ “I Told You So” or Emmylou Harris’ “Together Again”.

  45. Lorna says:

    he we go again, everyone trying to say what the contestants should sing, they will pick their own songs!

  46. mama says:

    I think Jessica has a great voice but the expressions of a maniquin, her eyes are dead pan even though they are beautiful…its like the lights are not on! Caleb ROCKS! lots of life there.

  47. Randi Lars says:

    Great more debbie downer songs, I wont be watching.

  48. My Krav is Bettah says:

    According to Vegas oddsmakers jena is the fav to win. Here is the order they have listed.
    I am just the messenger….

  49. I’d like Alex to sing “Don’t Cry Daddy” by Elvis Presley

  50. For Jess, “That Georgia Sun Is Blood Red and Going Down” by Tanya Tucker