'American Idol': Top 4 Song Picks for Leiber and Stoller Night

by Hilary Rothing, posted May 10th 2011 2:00PM
American Idol Top 4
Once again, 'American Idol' producers have decided the kids need to sing songs older than dirt to prove they have what it takes to become a marketable pop star in 2011. With all due respect to the enormous catalog of classic hits the great songwriting duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller built during their rule over the American musical landscape, can the Top 4 really bring something new to perennially covered classics like 'Hound Dog' and 'I'm a Woman'? Perhaps...

The fact is, if these kids can't do justice to some of the greatest pop songs ever written, how will they ever compete with current megastars like say, Lady Gaga, who just happens to be mentoring, this week? And who wouldn't like to hear a Gaga-produced version of 'Yakety Yak'?

While Gaga molds the Top 4 into little monsters all her own, we're picking the eight songs James, Scotty, Lauren and Haley should perform. Read on for our song picks for the Top 4!

Haley Reinhart: 'I'm a Woman' and 'Spanish Harlem'
Haley's drawn comparisons to contemporary female vocalists like Adele and Amy Winehouse, but she's also got a bit of the legendary Miss Peggy Lee in her. 'I'm a Woman' is the perfect showcase for Haley's sassy 'tude and girl-growl.

Aretha Franklin may have done it best, but everyone from Tom Jones to Bowling for Soup has covered 'Spanish Harlem.' Why not Haley? This could be a real crowd pleaser if Haley has fun with it, making for a crucial one-two punch as we head into the Top 3.

James Durbin: 'One Bad Stud' and 'Stand by Me'
James Durbin wants us to think he's a badass so why not prove it with this tale of male bravado made famous by The Honey Bears. That's right, The Honey Bears. The song's got a bit of rockabilly feel, which could spin the rocker in an interesting new direction.

On the other end of the spectrum, James really shines when he nails a ballad. Though the judges loved it, his emotional performance of 'Without You' has been getting mixed reviews from fans. With 'Stand By Me,' James can put to rest any doubts about his ability to sing a heartfelt ballad without getting lost in himself. The song bought Bo Bice a ticket to the next round, perhaps it can do the same for James.

Scotty McCreery: 'Jailhouse Rock' and 'Alligator Wine'
Whether or not it's the best song for him, does anyone think the night will end without Scotty singing either 'Jailhouse Rock' or 'Hound Dog?' Elvis, along with Garth Brooks, is one of Scotty's biggest idols, and the North Carolina country boy can channel 'The King' better than some Vegas-strip impersonators, as we saw with his Top 9 performance of 'That's Alright.' 'Jailhouse Rock' could make Scotty a king in his own right, at least on 'American Idol.'

If Casey Abrams were still in the game, a Jeff Buckley / Screamin' Jay Hawkins version of 'Alligator Wine' would be all his. And while I was a bit torn on who to give 'Stand By Me' to (Scotty could really soar on it), it would be interesting to see him tackle a gritty blues song like this one. It could be a total or mess or introduce us to a whole new side of Scotty, which would could get very interesting heading into the last weeks of the competition.

Lauren Alaina: 'On Broadway' and 'There Goes My Baby'
After last week's shake-up, Lauren might need a miracle to make into the Top 3. This could be that big performance number that propels her to the front of the pack, or least out of fourth place. If she can shake the nerves and take her time with it, this could be her moment. Scott Savol went with it back in season 4 and Simon Cowell called it his best performance of the competition. However, he was still voted off that week, so....

On that note, with Haley Reinhart winning over fans left and right with her bluesy, soulful vibe, it's time for the 16-year-old Alaina to bare her own soul. A Gaga-produced update of Diana Ross' version of "There Goes My Baby" could give Lauren the chance to let loose after last week's tearful elimination drama.

No matter who goes home this week, the most disappointing thing about the Top 4 is that we won't get to hear Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart work their showmance(?) magic on Elvis Presley and Ann Margaret's 'You're the Boss.' What are your thoughts on our picks for the Top 4? Got some selections of your own? Share 'em in the comments, join us on Twitter (@somethingpitchy) and watch along as Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler and the music of Leiber and Stoller make for what should be one of the most bizarre 'Idol' nights this season. Can't wait!

'American Idol' airs Wednesday and Thursday at 8PM ET on Fox.

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May 12 2011 at 1:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Haliey is gone tomorrow night

May 11 2011 at 11:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tony's comment

hey tony not according to the polls Haley is safe....

May 11 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
randall cabatan

i want lauren alaina willl be winner in this season..
li love her very much and her voice is so very love and keep always me smile

May 11 2011 at 9:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to randall cabatan's comment

yes shes a good singer you dont see her struggle when hitting the high notes?

May 11 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

now until the finale, it will be hard to choose who will go home but i hope at least james will be in the finale. :)

May 11 2011 at 7:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Paul Winger

I heard they were going to perform on Coming 2 Hollywood as well. I've been watching the third season previews at coming2hollywood.com

May 10 2011 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Teedmm Teed

lets go


====( ****---- jordans forking ----c o m )

happy love

May 10 2011 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dexter Morgan

Durbin better watch out....
on my ballot , he struck out 2x last week and lost the week for the first time, to the Garner Grit --- McCreedy........
Song choices DOOMED Lusk , and he paid for it .....So Durbin-----wake up !!!!!!!

Haley has totally OUTPERFORMED Lauren for at least a month now...but we all know, this is A I, and the teeny bopper grit voters with unlimited votes, vote by zip code..not with their eyes and ears....

May 10 2011 at 3:38 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I think Haley will get another S.O. for I Am A Woman. I can see her doing it the same way she performed Moaning (with Casey). And if she (and Casey) got a S.O. for that, why shouldn't Haley get one for Woman? As for Haley's second song, I can see her doing Stand By Me (with a jazzy twist), Smokey Joe's Cafe or On Broadway. I think James should do Jailhouse Rock instead of Scotty. I think Scotty should do Hound Dog. I think Lauren should do Boys.

May 10 2011 at 3:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey Idol fans!!! Is it possible Haley can get another standing O for second straight week?? And if she does or not is it enough to get in the top 3? Congrats I bet her home town are going nuts.

May 10 2011 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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