Hope you’ve got your boots shined and 10-gallon hat ready for tomorrow night because this week the American Idol Top 6 will be taking on the Shania Twain song book. Yeehaw? While at least one member of the Top 6 feels right in the saddle with this week’s theme, it’s an easy bet that anyone who isn’t named Aaron Kelly does not.
See Where the Top 6 Stand in This Week’s Power Rankings
What surprised me most about preparing this week’s song suggestions is how many of Shania’s songs I know by heart. (Seriously, you can quiz me on the lyrics to “Whose Beds Have Your Boots Been Under?” any day.) If you listened to the radio in the 1990’s, whether it was tuned to a pop station or a country station, Shania’s songs were ubiquitous. That’s both a blessing and a curse to the Top 6 – they’re versatile songs that can be melded to multiple genres, but they’re also incredibly well known. That’s why the contestants need to either stick to Shania’s lesser known songs or make them their own this week, or I predict an awful lot of karaoke comments from the judges.
Will my suggestions have you saying “That Don’t Impress Me Much?” Let’s see.
Be sure to right click on the song titles to watch the video and hear the songs for yourself.
Aaron Kelly – “Up!”
Ever the balladeer, I think Aaron should avoid that urge and go for one of Shania Twain’s more upbeat country-fried songs. Something like “Up!”, with pedal steel, banjo, and auto-tune twang there’s no denying this is a country song and that’s exactly what Aaron needs to bring to the stage. That and personality. Much like Katie Stevens, Aaron seems to have a touch of the reverse Benjamin Button going on – despite his youth; he seems to be rapidly aging with each performance.
Even though this is his week to shine, Aaron Kelly has the toughest road ahead of him. Aaron has to noticeably out-perform the rest of the Top 6 since this is his theme or face harsh criticism.
Casey James – “You’ve Got A Way”
There are a lot of safe, bluesy rock songs and guitar solos to tempt Casey this week, but considering how poorly that went for him last week, we think he should take two steps away from the obvious rockers. Casey’s most successful performance all season has been a searing acoustic rendition of “Jealous Guy” and he should try and channel that with a bluegrass rewrite of “You’ve Got A Way.” Word is that Casey is an accomplished banjo player as well as a guitarist, and some restrained plucking and passion could get Casey back on track this week.
Crystal Bowersox – “God Bless This Child”
As much as I’d enjoy it, I just can’t imagine Crystal singing “Whose Bed Have your Boots Been Under?” or even one of Shania’s epic love songs. Crystal is a soulful singer and she seems to gravitate to songs with messages and meaning, that’s why I think she’ll go for Shania’s gospel anthem “God Bless the Child.” (And no, not the classic song that John Park put us to sleep with earlier this season.) In fact, I’d be shocked if Crystal sang anything else from Shania’s catalog, that’s how perfectly suited this song is for MamaSox.
Lee Dewyze – “Don’t!”
Lee’s performed all kinds of love songs this season and yet, I feel like we haven’t seen his vulnerable side yet. (I’ve previously described his song choices as “songs used to seduce your long-distance college girlfriend.”) Though Shania has a couple of iconic love songs that would fit the bill, Lee should Shania’s lesser known love song “Don’t!” Its simple structure is ripe for a Lee acoustic arrangement, the growl will work nicely with the song, which stays in Shania’s lower range and the ladies who love Lee will only fall deeper for the boy next door with this one.
Michael Lynche – “No One Needs to Know”
Much like Siobhan and Aaron, Big Mike hasn’t met a ballad he didn’t love. And just like Siobhan and Aaron, I’m going to suggest that Big Mike avoids any Shania song that’s been performed as a first dance at a wedding. As much as I would love to see Big Mike go all out theatrical, don drag and sing “Man! I Feel like a Woman,” which would at least spice up this rather dull season, there’s no way that’s happening outside of my active imagination.
So without that option, I suggest Big Mike sings “No One Needs to Know.” Big Mike can strap on the acoustic guitar, change up the pronouns and give his best fancy free performance. Despite being an up-tempo ditty, “No One Needs to Know” still offers plenty of opportunity for Big Mike to show off his vocal range.
Siobhan Magnus – “That Don’t Impress Me Much”
Despite having the vocal range to pull off Shania’s biggest songs: her iconic love ballads, Siobhan needs to resist that temptation as if her life depends on it. Because it does. After three weeks of songs that somehow were both too dramatic and too sleepy, it’s time for Siobhan to have fun on stage again. Luckily, Shania has plenty of upbeat songs that verge on silly, which perfectly meet Siobhan’s needs. While Siobhan has lots of options (“Wild & Wicked” and “Man! I Feel like a Woman”) Siobhan’s best bet is “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”
Not only does the song fit the tempo and feel that Siobhan should go for this week, the message is quite on point with the quirky girl that seems unconcerned by the hugeness of the show she’s on and mainstream conventions.
And there you have it, your Shania song suggestions. What did you think? And be sure to join the discussion: “who will soar and who will stumble during Shania week?”
(Image Courtesy of FOX)