Top 4 Song Choices: Leiber And Stoller


(Gratuitous Kris Allen video is gratuitous. Whatever, it fits the theme! Plus it’s way better than anything we’re going to see on Wednesday night.)

The theme this week is the Leiber and Stoller songbook. Yeah, no, I’m not joking about this. Out of ever theme they’ve ever used, they decided to go back to the Leiber and Stoller songbook. They used it in Season 4 during the top 5. Although, at least that week the theme was actually Leiber and Stoller / Current song, so they were only singing one Leiber and Stoller song. (For the record, the songs sung way back in Season 4 were “Poison Ivy,” “Stand By Me,” “On Broadway,” “Treat Me Nice,” and “Trouble.”) Not so for this year’s crop. It appears as if we’ll be getting eight Leiber and Stoller songs. Woo hoo.

To say I’m less-than-thrilled would be a bit of an understatement. I’m largely unfamiliar with the songbook (although, when I look at it, I realize I know more songs than I thought I did) and the songs I do know off the top of my head are mostly terrible choices: “Yakkety Yak” or “Love Potion No. 9” anyone? History tells us that artist-specific two song weeks don’t go over so well. Season 6’s Bee Gees week was full of terrible performances. Blake Lewis and LaKisha gave a pair of trainwrecks, Jordin Sparks struggled with “Woman In Love.” Even the consistent Melinda Doolittle gave a stinker with “Love You Inside Out.” Then Season 7’s Neil Diamond week was even worse. If you don’t remember Castro’s “Forever In Blue Jeans” or Brooke’s “I’m A Believer”, Cook’s “I’m Alive” or Archie’s “Sweet Caroline”, you’re better off for it. I assume this week will be no different, with each contestant giving at least one certifiably awful performance.

Scotty McCreery should sing “Trouble” (Elvis Presley) and “Only In America” (The Drifters). The only thing that might cause Scotty to be in any sort of danger this week is if he fails spectacularly but doesn’t get called out on it from the judges. (And, well, let’s be real: if he fails spectacularly, he won’t get called out by these judges.) So I’ve picked the safest songs I could find! An Elvis Presley song that everyone and their mother knows that Scotty could do his Elvis-impersonation thing to and make his fanbase go wild and a slow, lilting song that’s easy to sing and has the word “America” in the title. He can’t go wrong with a pair of songs this deliberately pandering.

Lauren Alaina should sing “Here He Comes” (Ruth Brown) and Hell If I Know, Girl Is Screwed. “Here He Comes” is appropriately sassy and could be appropriately countrified to be a strong Lauren Alaina performance. The kind we’ve seen her ace over and over again in this competition. What she needs to accompany that is her “I (Who Have Nothing)” moment Jordin Sparks had. Now, “I (Who Have Nothing)” is an option this week, but picking it would surely be suicide. She needs another equally stirring ballad to dig her heels into and rock emotionally. That said, I couldn’t find anything that fit that description in my short perusal of their discography. So, um, good luck, Lauren!

Haley Reinhart should sing “Get Off My Wagon” (Linda Hopkins) and “I’m A Woman” (Peggy Lee). Despite Melinda Doolittle having owned “I’m A Woman” (twice!) on Idol, I think Haley would take the song to a slightly jazzier place and end up being equally awesome but entirely different. Plus, someone needs to sing “I’m A Woman” at this stage in the game given how the beginning of this season started. Again, my entire goal with song choices for Haley is to unleash as much “screw you all” energy as possible. I just want her to run on stage and like unleash the fury of a woman scorned upon those judges and producers. It’ll be entertaining.

James Durbin should sing I Just Realized I Don’t Really Care. Yeah, I don’t really care what James sings. I just want him to sing it well and bring live animals on stage. Perhaps some pyro. Definitely a confetti cannon. If he could have a few famous dead people up there with him that’d be awesome to. Oh man and get one of those harness things that Pink had at the 2010 Grammy’s for her “Glitter In The Air” performance. Except instead of dipping himself in a pool of water, make it melted chocolate. Yeah.

What do you think the contestants should sing? Are you as (un)hyped for this week as I am?!? Oh and BATTLE ROUNDS of The Voice tomorrow. Heckyeah.

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