For this week’s song theme, the American Idol Top 5 finalists were given a list of songs selected for them from fan suggestions via #idolrequest on Twitter.They did not just get to randomly pick a song from the thousands of hopeful Tweets sent their way.
In essence, the producers kind of had a hand in helping to pick out the songs for each of the contestants by narrowing down the ‘requests’ to an approved list. Color us not surprised. Of course, they had to screen songs for permissions and rights. We’re guessing, however, they also did not select songs they just didn’t want the contestants to choose for some reason or another. You know the producers can’t help putting their own influence and stamp in there anyway they can.
Of all the fan requests that were sent in, we are frankly crazy annoyed that somehow Caleb Johnson ended up choosing “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith as one of his two songs this week. It is such a predictable, and highly overdone, song choice that we don’t even want to hear Caleb do it. We’re sure he will rock it out and it will be a good performance, but it is so boring and stereotyping of a song choice that we feel it could hurt him anyway.
We’re hoping Caleb’s rendition of “Still of the Night” by Whitesnake will be more of a ‘wow’ choice considering the insane vocals on it, although it’s really old school… we’re not sure how the younger voters are going to feel about it.
For Jena Irene Ascuitto, we kind of have an opposite problem. One of her song choices tonight, “My Body” by Young the Giant” is certainly not overdone and many people probably will never have heard of it. It’s also kind of a different song for Jena and we’re not quite sure how she is going to come across on this one. However, even if it is unfamiliar to some viewers, if Jena can grab it, make it her own, and rock it out hard — she could have a big performance with this one.
Jena’s second choice leaves us feeling… ambivalent. She could totally own “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, but that is a tough comparison to put in people’s minds. If she doesn’t manage to give it her own Jena twist, she could come off sounding like a weak copy of an astounding vocalist.
We are also feeling hesitant about Alex Preston doing “Say Something” by A Great Big World. Now, we think he’s probably going to do a great performance of this song. It is really the kind of song Alex is best at and we’re sure his unique style will likely shine with it. However, this song has also been overdone quite a bit on reality TV singing competitions and people may just be sick of hearing it.
More interesting to us, but perhaps less familiar and thus ‘likeable’ to the audience is Alex’s pick of “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhoods. This is so quirky Alex it isn’t even funny, and a great choice for him as a musician. We’re very curious how he’ll sound on this, and if the viewers will love it as much as we hope we’re going to.
We think Sam Woolf may have picked a good one for himself with “How to Save a Life” by The Fray. It’s a very pop music song, which is his wheelhouse, but it’s also a very emotional song with powerful, somewhat dark lyrics. If he can finally really tap into the meaning behind the words, dig deep, and show an emotive connection to the song, he could potentially save his own life on the show this week.
As for Sam’s second song, we cannot believe he picked another Ed Sheeran tune. How many times are we going to hear him sing Ed Sheeran from his pre-American Idol days, through his audition round and all the way up until today? All it does is make us compare him to Ed Sheeran, and it does not come out favorably. Still, we can only hope that this particular tune will not make us once again think more about Ed Sheeran than Sam while he’s singing it.
And then we have Jessica Meuse, the singer we think most likely to go home on American Idol 2014 this week unless she pulls off two stellar performances this evening. We are actually really digging her choice of “Only Human” by Christina Perri because it is really different than the usual songs she’s been doing. This is a chance for Jessica to truly show off her pipes in a big ballad. She can be soft and belt, be vulnerable and strong — if she can do it. She could also fail to connect emotionally to the song, thus resulting in a crash and burn.
Jessica’s other song, “Summertime Sadness” by Lana del Rey, is also a bit of a departure from her usual part country/part classic rock/Stevie Nicks kind of vibe. It’s also a song about vocals and emoting, both things Jess really needs to show off if she hopes to survive another week in this competition.