“American Idol” announced during the Top 5 results show that the next theme would be Songs of the Cinema and the mentor would be one Jamie Foxx of “Ray” fame. He was also last year’s Rat Pack theme mentor.
We were initially trepidatious about this theme because in the past it has yielded many bad performances of “Against All Odds,” but then we remembered Paige Miles’ debacle and felt relieved that we wouldn’t have to sit through that song again. The worry came back, however, when we saw this week’s list of song choices.
“Idol” might as well have called this Cheesy ’80s Songs week or Kenny Loggins Songs week. The list is like six songs long and most of them are completely unusable by the Idols for various reasons — there’s nothing to be done but karaoke (most of the list), other Idols have killed them (“Over the Rainbow,” “Summertime”), they make us want to barf (“A Whole New World,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”). But here we go with our choices. We’ve included the obvious choice and then what we’d like to see the Idols pick to be different and stretch themselves a bit. Also, check out our choices for the Top 4 duets for Crystal-Lee and Casey-Big Mike.
Casey James, “I’m Alright” or “It Might Be You”
The rocking jam band “I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins seems like the obvious Casey choice. He clearly felt uncomfortable this week without his guitar and we could see him over-correcting by lurching back to his country bar frontman ways. What we’d prefer to see would be an intimate acoustic performance of “It Might Be You” from “Tootsie” that is in the same lane as his “Jealous Guy” and “Don’t” performances.
UPDATE: Now that there are more choices, we think Casey could probably pull off a pretty awesome version of “Live and Let Die.”
Michael Lynche, “Kiss From a Rose” or “One Night Only”
It seems almost fated that Big Mike will take on Seal’s “Rose,” right? We hope he doesn’t. We weren’t that crazy about that song when it came out. It’s just so melodramatic. We think Mike has the vocal chops to do “One Night Only,” which we know is a J-Hud vehicle but changing genders, bringing it lower and Mike’s quieter voice should change it up enough to be really good.
Crystal Bowersox, “Let the Riverrun” or “Evergreen”
“Let the Riverrun” is only Crystal’s obvious choice because it’s by Carly Simon and it’s totally in her crunchy granola hippie wheelhouse. It would still be an excellent choice for her because it’s obscure (therefore no comparisons) and it’s not cheesy. Our other call for Mamasox is “Evergreen,” which yes, is by a nearly untouchable diva named Barbra Streisand. However, we think it would really show off Crystal’s voice and since she doesn’t have a big diva Babs voice, it wouldn’t be an imitation of the original.
Lee Dewyze, “Iris” or “Into the West”
Lee already sounds like those Three-Doors-Down-Goo-Goo-Matchbox-Nickelback singers (we don’t mean that in a bad way), so “Iris” is an easy, safe choice for him. However, “Into the West” is much bigger stretch for him vocally and since it’s not well known, will let him put his distinctive Lee spin on it.
We hope the contestants push themselves and try to do something different, but we can hardly fault them for playing it safe at this point in the competition. It’ll be interesting to see which songs they all choose. Here is the entire list of songs they can pick from:
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
A Whole New World – Brad Kane & Lea Salonga
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension
Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) – Christopher Cross
Beauty and the Beast – Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson
Can I Have This Dance – Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron & the Cast of HS Musical
Can You Feel the Love Tonight – Elton John & London Community Gospel Choir
Can’t Fight the Moonlight – LeAnn Rimes
Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds
Endless Love – Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
Evergreen – Barbra Streisand
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Flashdance (What a Feeling) – Irene Cara
Footloose – Kenny Loggins
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman – Bryan Adams
I’m Alright (Theme from Caddyshack) – Kenny Loggins
Into the West – Howard Shore and Annie Lennox
Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
It Might Be You (from Tootsie) – Stephen Bishop
Kiss From a Rose – Seal
Let the Riverrun – Carly Simon
Moon River (from Moon River) – Audrey Hepburn & Henry Mancini
Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
One Night Only – Jennifer Hudson, Deena Jones & The Dreams
Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland
Separate Lives – Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Take My Breath Away (Love Theme from Top Gun) – Berlin
Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) – Tina Turner
You’ll Be in My Heart – Glenn Close & Phil Collins
UPDATE: They added 16 songs to the list —
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio
Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.
Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky) – Bill Conti
I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
Jai Ho – A.R. Rahman, Sukhvinder Singh, Tanvi Shah et al
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Live and Let Die – Wings
Lose Yourself – Eminem
Purple Rain – Prince & the Revolution
Stayin’ Alive – BeeGees
Superfly – Curtis Mayfield
Will You Be There – Michael Jackson
What do you think? Did we choose good songs for the Idols?
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Connick Jr. should replace Simon Cowell