American Idol‘s super-strange ninth season continues tomorrow as the Top 3 finalists perform two songs apiece — “judge’s choice” and “contestant’s choice” — with the rest of the hour-long telecast presumably rounded out with footage of hometown visits from Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, and Lee DeWyze. (Forecast calls for a 75 percent chance of me crying like a sentimental foolio by the end of the episode.)
News of the judges’ choices have already leaked, and each one is disappointing in its own way. Simon Cowell reportedly selected Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for Lee. Alas, we already heard that track earlier in the season (thanks to Tim Urban), and avid Idol watchers also know the song provided a major season 7 moment for Jason Castro, making this particular pick seem as flat as a week-old glass of ginger-ale. As Simon himself likes to say: “You’ve got thousands and thousands of songs to choose from…” Maybe dude is hoping a Lee “Hallelujah” moment will negate Mr. Castro’s Idol legacy? Impossible!
Ellen DeGeneres’ picked Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” for Crystal, and again, I’m scratching my head. There have certainly been worse compositions foisted on contestants (like that Happy Feet soundtrack cut they gave to Syesha back in season 7), but it’s hard to imagine even the most dynamic performer having a “moment” with this particular McCartney cut, which is fairly repetitive, and doesn’t really have much build to it.
The Kara/Randy entity, meanwhile, chose John Mayer’s “Daughters” for Casey James. Obviously, this one’s an attempt to get Casey to show his “vulnerable” side — and to play into his sensitive heartthrob appeal — but vocally and stylistically, I worry Casey’s already a little too similar to the original artist, and that could doom him to the “karaoke” label that’s intermittently dogged him this season.
Here’s hoping Lee, Crystal, and Casey do better for themselves. In the interim, I thought it might be fun for each one of us to saddle the contestants with a couple picks of our own. I’ll go first, then you head on down to the comments section to keep the party going…
Jewel’s “Foolish Games“
Macy Gray’s “I Try“
Weezer’s “Beverly Hills“
Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain“
And for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.