There are SO many good Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston songs! Why can't they have a week each? I would love to hear some guys sing some Whitney. Oh well, I have to get over it now or else I won't be able to focus on the enormity of song selection laid out before us. This is the perfect week to show the audience a little more about yourself as a contestant, while still demonstrating versatility. With that in mind, here are my suggestions/predictions for the first week of the American Idol finalist performances.
Whitney Houston song picks for the girls:
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First of all, I really think no one should be allowed to sing "I Will Always Love You." It's an amazing song, but it's both untouchable and overdone. Let's pay tribute in a different way, with maybe a few more dance hits? At least Whitney never sang an Adele song, amiright? Oh, and I just watched The Bodyguard this weekend and am just a little obsessed (but not obsessed that one guy was in the movie, when he kept smelling everything). I will try to keep every one of my Whitney picks being from the Bodyguard soundtrack. So good, though!
Erika Van Pelt: "Queen of the Night"
This dance track would be so much fun for Erika Van Pelt. She's sassy, confident and mature, and this would be a great performance. Plus, it allows for great judge comments like "you were truly the queen of this night," or "will you be the queen tonight? I don't know, man."
Elise Testone: "Saving All My Love for You"
This song is both bluesy and torchy, so Elise will have a chance to show off her range but still connect with it. I would love to hear her sing this excellent song.
Skylar Laine: "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"
I have a very soft spot for this song, so I'm giving it to Skylar. I would love to hear her sing a country/rock version of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," which I think could sound really fun. It deserves the emotion and energy that Skylar has proven she's able to bring to her performances.
Shannon Magrane: "Run to You"
"Run to You" is just churchy enough for Shannon, but maybe this week Jimmy will advise her from singing a song too similar to her prom night performance from the Top 12 night. My colleague, John Kubicek, predicts Shannon will sing something from the Preacher's Wife soundtrack.
Hollie Cavanagh: "Didn't We Almost Have it All" or "It's Not Right, But It's Okay"
She could either sing a ballad very similar to her Top 12 performance, or an up-tempo song with a bit more maturity to it. Either would be great!
Jessica Sanchez: "I Have Nothing"
This theme is all about Jessica Sanchez. It's right in her wheel house. She could do well with any Whitney song, so she might as well do something amazing like "I Have Nothing," or any Whitney ballad really. She could carry it. But if she wants to do something more up-tempo, she could take on "How Will I Know," which just makes people feel good.
Stevie Wonder song picks for the guys:
The two songs that will undoubtedly be chosen are "Isn't She Lovely" and "Superstition." These are two audition favorites, and very easy to customize. I'm just dying to hear what Jermaine will sing three octaves lower than it was originally recorded! I just hope no one sings "My Cherie Amour," though. Ick.
Heejun Han: "Isn't She Lovely"
Wouldn't Heejun's voice sound nice on "Isn't She Lovely"? Or maybe he should sing something more fun? "Part Time Lover"? I would like that, too.
Phillip Phillips: "Uptight (Everything's Alright)"
I'm ready for Phillip to sing a more fun song this time around. His Phil Collins re-work got a little too spooky and weird, and I think he needs to have some more fun this week and show some versatility. In all likelihood, he will sing "Master Blaster (Jammin')."
Colton Dixon: "Higher Ground."
I would really prefer "Higher Ground" for Colton; it's nice and angsty, but not so angsty that I don't want to listen to it. This would be a great choice for him to connect with the crowd and put on a show.
Jermaine Jones: "For Once in My Life"
How awesome would this sound on a deep voice? Pretty good, I bet, since Scotty covered it on his season. Let's not do the country version this time, though.
DeAndre Brackensick: "Overjoyed"
Deandre could probably sing anything and, with a little restraint, make it sound good. It's his week. Maybe he'll take on "Superstition," and not disgrace it, then? What would Aaron Neville sing ...
Joshua Ledet: "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
This song could go very churchy, depending on the arrangement, but wouldn't it be so much fun for Joshua? He can't sing a big ballad every time, and this is the perfect week to deliver a little versatility.
Jeremy Rosado: "You Haven't Done Nothin'"
What a great track. Have you heard it? It's so sassy and fun. Someone had better sing it, and why not Jeremy to get him out of the emotional ballad zone? This would be a great song for Phillip, too, though. So maybe he'll sing "Overjoyed."
What would YOU like to hear the contestants sing?
(images courtesy of FOX)