Come this Wednesday, the Top 12 on American Idol will be singing “Songs From the Year They Were Born” as this week’s theme. This theme has been done a number of times on Idol, and is an exact repeat theme from last season’s Top 12. Some may call it a lazy theme week, but I find it’s always fun to see how the Idol‘s will come up with songs from their birth year to make them sound as relevant and important as their own birthdays. I’m expecting a lot of flukes this week with song choices, which is why yours truly is here to lend a hand. Take a look after the jump to see what I chose for each of the Top 12 for this week’s “Songs From the Year They Were Born” theme in alphabetical order.
1. Colton Dixon (DOB: 10/19/1991), “Losing My Religion” (R.E.M.) — I hope that if Colton isn’t familiar with this song (which would be kind of unbelievable), he doesn’t judge it by title value alone. I know that Colton is very religious, but this song is really just a metaphor for hitting rock bottom, with the analogy of “losing one’s religion” to capture that message. This is an alternative rock sound that is right up Colton’s alley. Dia Frampton performed this song on The Voice impressively, but I think Colton could take it to the next level with that extra emotional angst his voice is able to embody in tone. At this stage, the Idols need to be singing songs that would appropriately fit the kind of record they want to make. I can’t think of a better song from 1991 than this 90′s classic.
Check out one of the best songs from the 1990s:
2. DeAndre Brackensick (DOB: 10/21/1994), “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” (Prince) — There’s not much to choose from 1994 that would suit DeAndre’s unique falsetto voice besides Prince’s hit, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” Instead of doing a copycat version, I want DeAndre to make this song a bit more groovy, stray away from it’s ballad vibe, and just put some funk and soul into it. Also, singing entirely in falsetto like Prince does isn’t going to help DeAndre’s cause. He can do small amounts of it, but he needs to use this song to challenge himself to utilize his chest voice as well. No contestant in this competition is better at taking cult songs and making them sound cool and fun than DeAndre. Let’s hope he repeats the success he had last week.
Can DeAndre have back to back week’s? Find out if this song will make it happen:
3. Elise Testone (DOB: 7/29/1983), “Nobody Told Me” (John Lennon) — I’m giving Elise the most difficult track this week because I think her voice is special enough to handle it. Everyone loves John Lennon, and this is his last single released in the US to hit the Billboard Top 10 after his tragic death in 1980. It’s a tall order, but I think Elise can add her own soulful flavor into this one-of-a-kind tune. As a tribute to a great legend by an amazing vocalist, I really hope Elise challenges herself and washes away the abysmal song selection last week from our memories. Keeping my fingers crossed that if it’s not this song, Elise picks something that really showcases her talent that’s been undervalued as of late.
Could Elise pull off John Lennon’s Final U.S. Hit?:
4. Erika Van Pelt (DOB: 12/12/1985), “Never” (Heart) — It’s weird to think that “What About Love” was actually Heart’s smaller hit at the time of it’s release in comparison to their more popular, “Never,” which isn’t often remembered as much today. That should change with a performance from Erika Van Pelt. I know she’s already performed a Heart song, but I call this her redemption song after she added nothing to “What About Love” with her straight-forward delivery. I want to finally see some rocker edge from Erika that we’ve been hearing about from the judges but have yet to see on stage. By pushing Heart’s “Never” into angrier Kelly Clarkson territory, I guarantee you Erika will be taken more seriously in the competition if she does so. I love rocker chicks on Idol, but so far Erika has been nothing but a predictable bore. It’s time for Erika to prove her rocker gravitas with this Heart classic.
Can Erika finally breakthrough this week with a song like this?:
5. Heejun Han (DOB: 4/20/1989), “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” (New Kids on the Block) — About the only thing Heejun Han and I have in common is sharing the same birth year. Trying to pick out a song for someone who I have no idea the type of artist he wants to be is a total crapshoot. Therefore, it only made sense to choose this famous 80′s boy band hit that captivated young women across the country for god knows what reason. It’s kind of like how teenage girls react to Heejun Han, and therefore the pairing just seemed perfect. Let’s see if Heejun can continue to ride his heartthrob train this week with this popular boy band number. It’s the only song from 1989 I feel comfortable with letting Heejun tear apart.
Heejun and this song seem like a match made in
6. Hollie Cavanagh (DOB: 6/5/1993), “Deeper and Deeper” (Madonna) — Hollie is my favorite contestant, and I’m worried she is going to get shockingly cut for being so boring with ballads a la Pia Toscano. She needs to do an uptempo number to loosen herself up and drop those nerves. Madonna’s “Deeper and Deeper” has edgy lyrical significance but with an upbeat melody. With Hollie’s voice on it, it could be a bonafide iTunes hit. I want Hollie to not let herself solely rely on that huge voice she has. Pretty soon, the “small girl with the big voice” shock is going to wear off, and then what’s Hollie going to do? I am so hard on her because I really find her to be a contender, and only want her to show herself off at her best. If Hollie chooses to sing Whitney Houston’s 1993 version of “Every Woman,” (a song that’s also been stamped to death on Idol) I think I am going to have to move on to another contestant to get behind, because that would just be a predictable stab to my heart. Crossing my fingers Hollie gets it right this week. She has the power to do so.
Could Madonna Loosen Up Hollie’s Nerves?:
7. Jermaine Jones (DOB: 11/3/1986), “That’s What Friends Are For” (Rod Stewart) — I’m giving song credit to Rod Stewart, as he was the first to record this tune for the 1982 film, Night Shift, but it was the 1986 popular cover version made by Dionne Warwick, featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder, that made this song one of the biggest hits that year. I think trying to change Jermaine from who he is will never sit right with anyone, so I gave him another “feel good” ballad that he can maybe shine with. America has been voting him through because of his baritone voice and the producers pimping him out, and so this little song added to his Idol career certainly won’t make matters worse. I think this is the week Jermaine goes home, but if he somehow manages to pull off this song without a hitch, he may eke out a spot in the Top 11 over Shannon Magrane.
Can Jermaine Pull Off This 1986 Hit?:
8. Jessica Sanchez (DOB: 8/4/1995), “Waterfalls” (TLC) — Jessica has already proved she can her butt off by slaying one of the most difficult songs ever last week, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” (which I chose for her!). Now it’s time to not cater to the old folks anymore and do something young and fresh. I think Jessica would elevate her swagger and “cool” factor if she tackled one of TLC’s best hits, “Waterfalls.” I see Jessica in the R&B market, and I think with this song, she could really scare some major fear into artists of this genre already doing well on the charts. The last thing I want from Jessica is to go the route of Thia Megia or the many boring balladeer singers who’ve lost their way in this competition.
Let’s amp up Jessica’s “cool” factor with this 1995 hit:
9. Joshua Ledet (DOB: 4/9/1992), “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” (Boyz II Men) — I can’t think of a more perfect song from 1992 for Joshua Ledet’s gospel voice. Sure, it may be another ballad, but it’s also a relatively cool one that has an element of R&B flavor that we haven’t seen before from Joshua. Last week I thought he was amazing, but he still found himself in the Bottom 6, which leads me to believe maybe America really does prefer him standing at the mic. I’d like to see Joshua approach this song with some serious emotional commitment without forgetting this is a performance show. If he interacts with the audience and the fans at home, he should be safe this week.
Can Joshua turn from a Boy II A Man With this 1992 Hit?:
10. Phillip Phillips (DOB: 9/20/1990), “We Didn’t Start The Fire” (Billy Joel) — I know Phillip will probably choose Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” as a predictable choice, but I want him to continue making performances that will surprise us by how unique and fun their covers are. This is probably the most “fun” song from 1990, and I am really curious to see how Phillip Phillips would interpret this Billy Joel hit. I think he could pull it off, and it could arguably be one of the coolest moments in Idol history if done right. I dunno, I’m just kind of in love with this whole notion of Phillip Phillips singing this song, that I look past it being a risky choice. It may be bold, but a true musician can pull anything off, and I think Phillip could do so on this hit.
Can Phillip Phillips ignite the Idol stage with this Billy Joel hit?:
11. Shannon Magrane (DOB: 10/22/1995), “One of Us” (Joan Osborne) — This girl is heading for an 11th or 10th place Idol finish unless she does something smart really soon. Her niche market is the teenage girl WASPs of America. Therefore, she needs to play to her conservative white girl market a la Kristy Lee Cook (“God Bless the USA”) and sing this Joan Osborne classic. I think Shannon will not only tap into her voting block with this song, but she’ll also prove to America that she can actually sing with clarity and maturity. I still am holding out hope for Shannon as naive as that sounds, and I’m praying she picks this 1995 tune for her song selection this week.
Can Shannon finally choose right for herself? Let’s hope it’s this song:
12. Skylar Laine (DOB: 2/1/1994), “Rock Bottom” (Wynonna Judd) — Skylar’s problem now is that as fun as she may be, I’m worried not a lot of people take her seriously. That is why I’m giving her Wynonna’s “Rock Bottom” as a song with enough weight behind the lyrics to really tell a story for America to connect with Skylar. The melody isn’t melancholic but instead a bit uplifting, just like Skylar, which suits our little country rascal just fine. If Skylar can sell this song to America and balance out her fun performance persona with some honest storytelling, she may just find herself in a frontrunner position. Skylar was impeccable last week, and it should only get better from here on out. Let’s hope this week is a repeat of successful performances from Season 11′s country gal.
Can Skylar pull this off?:
And that is all for my song suggestions for the Top 12 this week. Will they listen to my advice (Thank you, Jessica Sanchez for last week!) or will they settle for something truly disastrous (I’m looking at you, Elise)? It’ll be fun to find out as usual! Tune in Wednesday to watch the Top 12 perform “Songs from the Year They Were Born.”
Tags: american idol, American Idol Season 11, american idol songs from the year they were born, Colton Dixon, Deandre Brackensick, elise testone, Erika Van Pelt, fox, fox network, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Jennifer Lopez, Jermaine Jones, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Randy Jackson, reality television, Ryan Seacrest, Shannon Magrane, skylar laine, Steven Tyler