This week the Top 5 are tasked with singing the oh-so current songs of Frank Sinatra. To seemingly guarantee that the Top 5 sound old-fashioned, the American Idol powers that be have banned guitars in favor of big band backing. Because nothing says current like old-school standards with big band orchestration.
I'm a big Frank fan myself, but in a season that has been plagued by critiques of contestants not seeming "current" or "contemporary" enough, the songs of Sinatra seem a misguided theme at best. However misguided, it is the theme for the week and we've chosen the songs we think best suit the remaining five contestants.
First and foremost, Frank Sinatra songs no one should sing this week: "Someone to Watch Over Me" (done by Katharine McPhee and Alison Iraheta) and "My Funny Valentine" (done by Melinda Doolittle and Matt Giraud). Both have been done well and multiple times on the American Idol stage. It's time for some other standards to get a chance to be sung. Here's what we hope the Top 5 sing and why:
Aaron Kelly - "I've Got a Crush on You"
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Because we want something, anything that is not a big boring ballad from Aaron Kelly. "I've Got a Crush on You" is a bit ballady, but it's not boring. And ... extra bonus, Aaron won't have to change a single lyric to make this song appropriate for him to sing. "I've Got a Crush on You" is age and Aaron appropriate. It's sugary sweet and has plenty of room to change the song up and for Aaron to show off his range. Michael Lynche - "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning"There are lots of tempting theatrical tunes for Big Mike this week - "A Very Good Year" and "My Way" both come to mind - but Mike should avoid them at all cost. That's why we think he should go for the delicate "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning." Even without his guitar, Mike should take a cue from John Mayer's sweet, subtle rendition of the song. If Big Mike can manage not to overpower the song, he could have a genuine moment with it.
Casey James - "That's Life"
Frank Sinatra week doesn't have to spell Casey James' demise, in fact with "That's Life" it could provide for his big moment of the season. "That's Life" is full of the bluesy swagger that Casey does best, no guitar needed. If he can deliver the song with conviction and passion, Casey James will indeed be "back in the race" just as Sinatra sings in the song.
Lee Dewyze - "Witchcraft"
Lee loves songs about the ladies and the ladies love Lee, which is exactly why "Witchcraft" is the perfect song for him to sing this week. The song has the built in swagger and confidence that Lee himself at times lacks and doesn't have any of the higher notes that have given Lee trouble before. As long as Lee comes out with a little bit of attitude, there's no reason that "Witchcraft" shouldn't be Lee's biggest success of the season. Crystal Bowersox - "Come Rain or Come Shine"
Even though Danny Gokey performed "Come Rain or Come Shine" during Rat Pack week, I still think its Bowersox's best bet during Sinatra week. Instead of channeling the many great women who've sung the song (Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand), I think Crystal should stick to the slinky, slightly rough around the edges version that Sinatra pioneered. There's a bluesy soul and swagger to the song which suits Crystal to a tee, it's just a matter of getting up there and delivering it. If she does, there's no way Simon will be calling her "coffee shop." (Image Courtesy of FOX)