By Adam B. Vary
Updated April 20, 2011 at 07:40 PM EDT
Michael Becker/Fox

Danger, American Idol contestants, danger! You’re about to enter “Songs from the 21st century” week, territory fraught with peril on all sides. The temptation: To sing major hit songs readily familiar to most of the viewing audience. The danger: That those songs are too readily familiar to most of the viewing audience and/or those songs are not exactly engineered as vocal showcases. That said, there are some recent hits our Idol Top 7 could hit out of the park if done right given the right guidance — i.e. our completely unsolicited advice. Two rules, though, as we dive into what the finalists should sing (and should avoid at all costs): 1) No one should sing a song from a previous Idol winner or contestant, and 2) No one should sing Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day.” Forthwith, our picks:

Casey Abrams

DO SING: “Chasing Cars,” Snow Patrol

DO NOT SING: “Waiting On the World to Change,” John Mayer

Lauren Alaina

DO SING: “Love Song,” Sara Bareilles

DO NOT SING: “You Belong With Me,” Taylor Swift

James Durbin

DO SING: “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” Green Day

DO NOT SING: Anything by Linkin Park or Nickelback

Stefano Langone

DO SING: “Never Give You Up,” Raphael Saadiq

DO NOT SING: “You’re Beautiful,” James Blunt

Jacob Lusk

DO SING: “Halo,” Beyoncé (yeah, I said it)

DO NOT SING: “Crazy,” Gnarls Barkley

Scotty McCreery

DO SING: “Sideways,” Dierks Bentley (pick up the pace, Scotty!)

DO NOT SING: “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” Toby Keith

Haley Reinhart

DO SING: “Chasing Pavements,” Adele

DO NOT SING: “Beautiful,” Christina Aguilera

Those are our picks; what are yours?

Adam on Twitter

Read more:

‘American Idol’: Top 7 Power List!

Pia Toscano to perform on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

‘American Idol’ product placement: Does it distract from the show anymore?

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