'American Idol': The Top 6 Sing the Songs of Shania Twain
'American Idol': The Top 6 Sing the Songs of Shania Twain
Abbey Simmons
Abbey Simmons
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
On tonight's American Idol: the Top 6 sing the songs of Shania Twain, we finally have our first mentor born before 1970 and all six of the remaining contestants can actually sing. It's an American Idol miracle! But it's not time for celebration yet. Tonight's countrified  theme could buck even the strongest contestants like a rodeo bull and Shania's big ballads could make for the cheesiest performances since last week's inspirational theme, which was certified by the Cheese Makers of America. It's dangerous territory we're moseying into tonight and who will make it out of the Idol Corral to sing another week has never seemed less certain.

What Shania Songs should the Top 6 Sing? See my Suggestions.

Will tonight's Shania theme have me declaring "That Don't Impress Me Much?" or when all is said and sung, will I feel like serenading the Top 6 with one of Shania's iconic love songs? There's only one way to find out ... watch along with me.

We all know that tonight's theme suits Aaron Kelly, season 9's resident country crooner best. There's no question, after Idol Aaron is heading to Nashville to be a country artist and making the case that Taylor Swift needs a male equivalent. But what about the rest of the Top 6? That's where tonight's discussion question comes in:

What kind of artists do you think the Top 6 will be?

Chew on that and then share you thoughts with me, but first, lets watch some American Idol shall we? I admit, Shania is the mentor I'm most excited for this season. And it's not just because I am a closet Shania Twain fan. (I may have bought her Greatest Hits under the guise of research this weekend ... only to find I knew nearly every song by heart.) It's also because she was by far the best guest judge during the auditions and she's more than 10 years older than the contestants. In terms of mentoring and song choices, it should be a win-win for all of us.

So, what is Shania looking for from the contestants tonight? She says she wants her songs to come alive and for contestants to make them their own. This bodes well for Lee Dewyze and not so well for the straight-up cover artists of the Top 6: Aaron Kelly and Siobhan Magnus.

Let's see how well it bodes for Lee, because he's up first tonight. This isn't the first time that Lee and Shania have met, Shania saw him in Chicago when she wasn't busy hitting on John Park.

Lee Dewyze - "You're Still the One"

Now this is What a Mentor Should Sound Like: "He has this fantastic style that needs to come out and not be buried by his guitar."

I can already hear the swooning and shrieking women. It's downright deafening. Lee definitely makes "You're Still the One" his own, but he does so in just the way we've come to expect from him. He's turned it into an acoustic love song with a growl. While Lee may make everything his own, he does so exactly the same way and with the same pitch problems that have plagued him most of the season. After struggling with consistency at the beginning of the season, Lee has definitely found his groove, but it is time to see something new from him.

Simon Says:
"I thought that was absolutely the perfect song out of Shania's catalog to choose."

Safe, Shaky or Should be Packing: 
Super Safe

Next up is Big Mike, who I think could have the most problems of the entire Top 6.

Michael Lynche - "It Only Hurts When He Breathes"

Now this is What a Mentor Should Sound Like: "You're one of these guys that could still sing the phonebook and make everyone melt, but don't take that for granted."

Big Mike shows again that he has some of the purest, most consistent vocals of the Top 6, but I always feel slightly manipulated after he's sung. Big Mike goes for the songs with big emotional wallop -- "This Woman's Work," "In the Ghetto" and now "It Only Hurts When He Breathes" -- songs that should probably make you feel something if you have a heart. And at this point, I'm just not sure if Big Mike as a performer would move me without the back story of a song. Manipulated as I may be, there's no denying that if this was purely a singing competition, Big Mike would be gliding into the final on that airy falsetto and smooth, rich tone.

Simon Says: "I thought the performance was a little bit wet, like if you were in a musical acting out the words."

Safe, Shaky or Should be Packing:  Shaky (I don't think I'm the only one who loves Mike's voice, but not Mike himself.)

Casey James - "Don't"

Now this is What a Mentor Should Sound Like: "Bring it inside and let it come out from your voice."

Casey admits his last few performances haven't given anyone anything new to get behind and promises this week he'll show something different and actually sing.

And he does. Where was THAT hiding all season? Oh, behind a guitar solo you say? Even though I love Casey's Bob Seeger blues rock style, hearing him sing with no safety blanket and showing a completely different side of himself, well, I think Casey will be bringing new fans to his camp. (Which is EXACTLY what he needed to do this week.) While Casey's voice can't compare note for note with Big Mike, I could easily imagine a day when I heard Casey singing "Don't" (or a song like it) on country radio. In fact, save Lee, Casey may be the most commercial of the entire Top 6 crew. Aaron Kelly should be shaking in his cowboy boots, he might not be this season's great country hope after all.

Simon Says: "I think last week was a much much needed wake up call for you. I agree with Randy this is your best performance so far." Kara takes it a step further, "if you keep doing that, you'll be at the front of this competition for sure."

Safe, Shaky or Should be Packing: Shaky (but will be safe)

Boot Scoot Boogie To More Shania >>

(Image courtesy of FOX)