American Idol Preview: What the Top 8 Idols should sing
Crazy prediction time – tonight’s going to be the best week of the season.
As much as everyone craps all over 80s music, the dirty little secret is even the most poppy of pop hits are more well-written than anything that’s come out over the last 20 years. Yes, it sounds like synthesized garbage and there are probably far too many guitar solos, but it’s downright enjoyable and it brought me my second-favorite genre of music – Yacht Rock.
In the past we’ve seen some incredible versions of 80s songs turn into American Idol classics: Carrie Underwood singing Heart’s “Alone,” David Cook doing “Hello” by Lionel Richie and, of course, Lord Lambert himself singing “Mad World” that won him the season until stupid Kris Allen did Kanye.
This group has shied away from taking chances but this time they’ll have no choice. Here’s a list of songs I think would both fit the Idols and make for a hell of a show.
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” U2
I’m going to guarantee Malaya struggles tonight because she’s going to take on Whitney or Heart or one of the other 80s rock powerhouse voices and fall woefully short. I’m hoping someone slapped her and said “DON’T DO THAT.” A few years back John Legend covered U2 brilliantly and in my research, I found this:
This would sound even more brilliantly sung by Malaya with a little more music behind her. It’s a fairly popular song and would definitely continue her ascension in the ranks.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: I really want to see her sing Roxette’s “Must Have Been Love” just to see if she can get that note.
This song was released state-side in the 1990s, but it came out in Europe in the 80s, so boom, loophole.
“Don’t You Forget About Me,” Simple Minds
There is no way in hell Jess does anything except one of the 80s rock women songs, which is boring because it’s so damn predictable. Listen to this version by Wind and Wave:
Now tell me if Jess slows that down, adds her country twang to it, how she doesn’t climb into the No. 1 spot? You can’t.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: Nina Gordon did a version of NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” that was cool and I’d just want to see it performed live to see the Idol censors sweat it out for a few minutes.
Plus, who doesn’t want to hear Jess sing “Ain’t no telling when I’m down for a jack move.”
Geena Gina Jena Irene
If Jena doesn’t have the best week of the girls I’ll be shocked. Her voice and style fits this genre so perfect it’s hard to find a song that doesn’t fit her. I want to see her do this:
And I want to see it just because I want to hear Jena rock a little bit. I’m afraid she’s going to take on Heart (PLEASE NO) but I wouldn’t be surprised if she went after Roxette, because that song would be a nice fit. I’m expecting big, big, big things from her tonight.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: I want her to sing Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” in french like that girl in the Framily commercial.
English would be OK; I really think she’d nail it either way.
“Save Me,” Queen
We all want to see Caleb sing a hair-band smash. I want to see if he can win Idol. This song can do it:
Queen performed it for years before it was released in January of 1980, so it just makes the cut (not that the producers care about details like that) but I don’t know if I want to see Caleb sing this to sing it or sing it to see if he can. Trying to sing anything by Freddie Mercury can win you the show just as fast as it can get you kicked off. I think if he did this and it didn’t go well, he’d survive; if he pulls it off, he’s the hands-down favorite to win the show.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: Let’s be honest here – would anyone be mad if Caleb did Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again?”
It would be awesome and someone would definitely get pregnant.
“In Your Eyes,” Peter Gabriel
So let’s throw Peter Gabriel’s version of this song right in the garbage. I’ve written this in the past and tweeted it to CJ, his girlfriend and whoever else would listen that this version is perfect for him:
It’s not because Jeffrey Gaines is black (something that made my head explode when I saw the video the first time); it’s because he has the same sort of soul CJ has. If CJ sits down and plays this acoustic, sings with soul, he’s back in the race.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: Let’s challenge CJ a little – I’d love to see him take on an 80s R&B hit and turn it country. I’ll pick Jeffrey Osbourne’s “You Could Be Mine.”
I picked this just because I want to hear CJ’s drawl when he sings “If you Woo Woo Woo.”
“I Melt With You,” Modern English
This is not going to be a good week for Sam. This genre does not fit him well because so far he’s proved he’s boring, safe and has the same amount of confidence as I do in my ability to run up the stairs without getting tired. He’s not going to do his own version of anything, so he needs a great cover of an 80s song that’s already put together for him. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jason Mraz to the rescue.
If I had to guess, I’d say Sam is going to sing an already pre-packaged cover and not make a change and frustrate everyone when he sticks around.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: Screw pop music. I’d love to see him take on Dynamite Hack’s version of Eazy-E’s “Boyz N The Hood.” Just listen and picture precious Sammy singing this:
“Where is My Mind,” The Pixies
I’ve written this before and I’ll write it again. This song is perfect for Alex. Too perfect. Listen to this live performance and tell me Alex wouldn’t drop jaws with something like this:
My hope is somehow he read the last preview I wrote, didn’t have time to practice it, stored it away for later and is breaking it out this week. Can’t imagine it not going well if he does.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: If Alex doesn’t sing the Cure tonight, I’d be shocked. I’d want to see him take on “Just Like Heaven.”
I’m sure that would make Yahoo Idol blogger extraordinaire Lyndsey Parker lose her damn mind, along with the rest of the Cure-loving fanatics who secretly watch Idol.
“Time After Time,” Cyndi Lauper
So in the 80s country music was country music and not the country/pop BS that is out right now. There weren’t a lot of party songs Dexter can chase, so what the hell is he going to do?
Rob Thomas did an awesome version of this song and it’d make a great base for Dexter. Listen:
Take what Mr. Matchbox 20 started and make it a slowed-down country ballad. Everyone cries. Dexter gets complimented on his originality and the Bottom 3 is an afterthought.
WHAT WOULD BE FUN: So researching different covers, I found a country/bluegrass version of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
Plus, the idea of Dexter walking on stage in crushed velvet to take that on would make me lift my “no vote” policy.
I’m pumped for tonight. I’ve got my Captain and Coke (and coke) ready to go. See y’all tonight. If you need me, follow me on Twitter HERE. I’ll be live-tweeting my face off with my Bartles and Jaymes in hand.