Fingers crossed that American Idol‘s decision to go back — way back — in musical time for an evening of songs popularized by the Rat Pack will pay dividends. The show has history on its side: Big Band Night was one of the undeniable highlights of Season 1 — remember Kelly’s “Stuff Like That There” and Tamyra’s “Minnie the Moocher“? — and both 1950s Night and Great American Songbook Night in Season 5 were pretty killer, too. Check out my request list for the season 8 top 5 below, then post your own picks in the comments section below!
Adam Lambert: We all know Adam can take an obscure song arrangement and sell it like it’s cold, bottled water in the desert. And we all know he’s got a knack for infusing a lyric with added subtext and meaning. (See: “Mad World,” “Black or White.”) On that note, I’d love to see him put a beat-heavy twist on “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” the way Neneh Cherry did for 1990’s Red Hot + Blue benefit album (sans Neneh’s added lyrics, of course).
Danny Gokey: Needs a “moment” worse than Octomom needs a Diaper Genie, and for that to happen, he needs to break the karaoke shackles. Best way to do that is to avoid a song that everyone knows, and instead aim for a gorgeous, intimate melody, maybe accompanied only by piano. I’d suggest Dean Martin’s “Under the Bridges of Paris” or Sammy Davis, Jr.’s “What Kind of Fool Am I?”
Allison Iraheta: Here’s a contestant who deserves to/needs to have a little fun up on the Idol stage, and what better way than covering Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” (preferably in a chic gown that’s not red and black). And for a contestant who’s becoming a permanent bottom-three fixture, what better lyric than “Each time I find myself laying flat on my face/I just pick myself up and get back in the race”? (Also apropos if — GAH! — she has to give an encore performance on Wednesday.)
Kris Allen: He can do romantic — “Falling Slowly,” “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You,” “To Make You Feel My Love” — but surely the man has felt the blues, no? Frank Sinatra’s “Drinking Again” might provide the perfect opportunity to use his puppy-dog eyes and hangdog voice to extol the glory of a broken heart.
Matt Giraud: Dude needs to take his place at the piano and avoid OD-ing on falsetto and vocal acrobatics — preferably on something jazzy, crowd-pleasing, and with an undeniable melody. I’m requesting “Luck Be a Lady” or “Autumn in New York.”
More on ‘American Idol’
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EW.com’s Idol Prediction Challenge: Who’s going home this week?
‘American Idol’ Power List: There’s somebody new at No. 1!
‘American Idol’ recap: Double whammy!
On the scene for last week’s Idol results show
‘American Idol’: Season 8 contestants enter the steel cage!