By Adam B. Vary
Updated March 16, 2011 at 07:42 PM EDT
Credit: Michael Becker/Fox

The theme for tonight’s Top 12 performance show on American Idol is the old chestnut, “Songs From the Year You Were Born,” first employed in season 4, back when Idol contestants were born in the 1970s. Now we have a contestant, Thia Megia, who was born the year I got my driver’s license. But more importantly, what should these 12 kids sing tonight? As luck would have it, there are plenty of Aerosmith songs potentially at their disposal, including “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “Love in an Elevator,” and “Cryin’” — but chances are only one contestant will grab that opportunity. (Unless Aerosmith week is in the cards for the near future, which we all know is almost certain to happen.) And there are also plenty of sonic landmines that could blow up their momentum before the show’s really kicked into gear. Check out my choices below, from youngest to oldest, and then weigh in yourself!

Thia Megia (1995)

DO SING: “You Gotta Be,” Des’ree

DO NOT SING: “Waterfalls,” TLC

Lauren Alaina (1994)

DO SING: “Crazy,” Aerosmith (obvs)

DO NOT SING: “Mr. Jones,” Counting Crows

Scotty McCreery (1993)

DO SING: “Heartland,” George Strait

DO NOT SING: “In the Heart of a Woman,” Billy Ray Cyrus

Casey Abrams (1991)

DO SING: “More Than Words,” Extreme (although exec producer Nigel Lythgoe spilled on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show that Casey cleared Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and that has the potential to be epic)

DO NOT SING: “I’m Too Sexy,” Right Said Fred

Haley Reinhart (1991)

DO SING: “Wicked Game,” Chris Isaak

DO NOT SING: “When A Man Loves A Woman,” Michael Bolton

James Durbin (1989)

DO SING: “Smooth Criminal,” Michael Jackson

DO NOT SING: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Poison

Stefano Langone (1989)

DO SING: “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” Simply Red

DO NOT SING: “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff),” New Kids On the Block (although Idol recapper Annie Barrett thinks Stefano should sing NKOTB, and that is why she is not writing this list, because that is just crazy)

Karen Rodriguez (1989)

DO SING: “Eternal Flame,” The Bangles

DO NOT SING: “Wind Beneath My Wings,” Bette Midler

Pia Toscano (1988)

DO SING: “Hungry Eyes,” Eric Carmen

DO NOT SING: “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Rick Astley (I had to)

Jacob Lusk (1987)

DO SING: “With or Without You,” U2

DO NOT SING: “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” Whitney Houston

Naima Adedapo (1984)

DO SING: “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” Cyndi Lauper (it already sounds kinda reggae)

DO NOT SING: “Jump (For My Love),” The Pointer Sisters

Paul McDonald (1984)

DO SING: “When Doves Cry,” Prince

DO NOT SING: “Jump,” Van Halen

So those are my picks. What are yours?

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