Top 7 Song Choices: Songs From The 21st Century

Finally, everyone who has been pleading for a current theme night has gotten their wish. The contestants will be singing songs from the 21st century this week and we’ll hopefully get to see where everyone thinks they fit in to today’s music scene. Typically, though, current theme weeks tend to be something of a minefield for contestants. The main trap these contestants need to avoid is picking a song that is too close to their own style. In other weeks, the best song choices are those that are close to the contestant’s personal style, but can be reinvented to be made more current. This week, contestant’s can’t make the songs much more current than they already are and will have to put their own spin on it a different way. I mean, there’s a reason Daughtry doesn’t cover Nickelback and Lady Gaga doesn’t cover Ke$ha. (You know, other than the fact that Nickelback and Ke$ha are both awful.)

The other general piece of advice? For the love of all that is sacred, do not pick a song from a former Idol. It won’t go well for you. (Even if I would pay money to watch Jacob Lusk sing Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up.”)

Haley Reinhart should sing Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain.” For one thing, the song is stupidly amazing and everyone in the world should hear it immediately. Beyond that, I think the song has just the right amount of bluesy soul to it for Haley to tackle and the chorus gives opportunity both for Haley’s yodel and her growl. I think with a slightly jazzier take, she could have a really awesome, dynamic performance. Or she’ll fail miserably to live up to Adele’s standards. I don’t mind either way, at least it’ll get this song some exposure. (Second single! Second single!)

Jacob Lusk should sing Fergie’s “Glamorous.” Really, I have no idea what Jacob should legitimately sing. He’s like the antithesis to current music. (I don’t know, maybe there’s some recent gospel music that’ll fit him, but I’m not up on my religious music. Except for that “Live Like We’re Dying” song – I hear that’s up for a Billboard Music Award in Top Christian Song. Apparently the dude who sings it was on American Idol too. What a coincidence!) So I picked “Glamorous” because the thought of Jacob singing about being first class and living the life with his typical Lusky Stank is amazing. Don’t disappoint me, Jacob.

Casey Abrams should sing Chris Rice’s “When Did You Fall (In Love With Me).” The song should work within Casey’s supremely limited range. There are a few held notes in the chorus that might be a bit of a problem for Casey, but no more difficult than any other pop song would be. I think it lends itself well to a jazzy interpretation and it already has a pretty prominent bass-line that he could work off of. If Casey could reign in the growly angry faces and sing well, it might not be entirely painful. Granted, he hasn’t proven once that he can do either of those things so I don’t have particularly high hopes.

James Durbin should sing Maroon 5’s “Won’t Go Home Without You.” Given that I know nothing about the alt/rock scene, I am not going to even attempt to dive into that genre for James. After last week, I think he should probably stick to something more mainstream pop, anyway. My favorite Durbin performance so far has been “Maybe I’m Amazed” – a performance where he wasn’t going all out rock-wail on us but also wasn’t forced to use the softer the side of his voice, which has proven to be fairly weak. This Maroon 5 ballad could be sped up just a touch and James could wail all he wants on the bridge. And there’s no fear that any part of his voice will be called too thin in comparison with Adam Levine.

Scotty McCreery should sing Josh Turner’s “Your Man.” Because BABY LOCK THEM DOORS AND TURN THE LIGHTS DOWN LOW.

Lauren Alaina should sing Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me.” My immediate thought was Katy Perry’s “Waking Up In Vegas” which I think Lauren would sound ridiculously amazing on and is the type of fun, energized song she needs. Then I remembered that Lauren is 16 and realized how wildly inappropriate that would be. So, I went with this, which is infinitely less fun but also far less blatantly inappropriate. It’s young enough for Lauren and has enough room for her to show off her vocals (something I think she needs to do every week to distinguish herself). She also needs to stay away form just singing a straight country song because we’ve already heard her do an upbeat modern country song (“Turn On The Radio”).

Stefano Langone should sing Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent.” “Miss Independent” was the only modern R&B song I could think of where Stefano’s odd style of punctuating every line wouldn’t be a major distraction. The song can be cut pretty much anywhere and still keep its swagger. If they can figure out a way to translate the beat to the live Idol stage (which is not something that they’ve proven to be very skilled at), it might not be a total disaster. Although, I guess this might just end up being a paint-by-numbers deal, but I cannot think of any way Stefano could reinterpret any song to any benefit.

See y’all on Wednesday when we get to see if anyone can match the high bar Jordan Dorsey and Ta-Tynisa Wilson have set this season for current pop songs!

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