American Idol 11 Top 12 – “Songs From The Year They Were Born” Song Picks!

On Wednesday, The American Idol 11 Top 12 will sing “Songs from the Year They Were Born”.   Here are my picks.

Colton Dixon – October 19, 1991 – “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak – He should sit at the piano for this one.
Deandre Brackensick – October 21, 1994 – “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” by Prince – If he can get it cleared. Back to the falsetto–but with some careful coaching!
Elise Testone – July 29, 1983 – “Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks – Stevie Nicks is tailor-made for Elise
Erika Van Pelt – December 12, 1985 – “Smooth Operator by Sade – I think Erika could pull this off without sounding boring.
Heejun Han – April 20, 1989 – “If You Don’t Know Me By Know” by Simply Red – Another heartfelt ballad for Heejun, but with a little soul.
Hollie Cavanagh – July 5, 1993 – “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes – Something a little different for Hollie.
Jermaine Jones – November 3, 1986 – “Living In America” by James Brown – This could be a trainwreck. Maybe that’s what I am hoping
Jessica Sanchez – August 4, 1995 – “Ill Stand By You” by The Pretenders – At the risk of pissing off the Pia fans–Jessica could nail this one.
Joshua Ledet – April 9, 1992 – “Real Love” by Mary J. Blige – Yeah, I know. A little weird. But I’m absolutely envisioning this in my head.
Phillip Phillips – September 20, 1990 – “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel –  Phil’s got to be careful not to mush mouth the words, but it could be right in his wheelhouse.
Shannon Magrane – October 21, 1995 – “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson – I predict this WILL be her pick.
Skylar Laine – February 1, 1994 – “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow – A fun song for Skyler, though something tells me she’ll end up with “Come To My Window”

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  • Wally.

    I want Jessica to sing One Sweet Day, or ‘s Monica – Don’t Take It
    Personal (Just One Of Dem Days)

  • Jon Glass

    If I was on Idol, I wouldn’t choose songs that have been done so many times on Idol. I hate it.

  • Christina

    I just hope these contestants dont pick boring songs Lol

  • rayni

    I love these picks, mj – especially Jermaine’s.

    And Elise would be beautiful doing Stevie.

  • kyllito

    The picture above looks like the Top 11 plus one…..I love Elise, I hope she can win back America’s votes.  She has a great voice.  1983 is one of my favorite years for music.

  • Tinawina

    I suck at picking songs. My dream:

    Jessica does something that she can twist and put her own stamp on.
    Hollie does something uptempo.
    Deandre continues to improve by nailing a swoon worthy ballad.
    Erika comes off as an exciting rocker girl.
    Elise comes back swinging by re-imaging a song into something bluesy.
    Colton does something whiny, overdone and boring so he can start fading LOL
    Heejun goes midtempo and improves his diction.
    Joshua gets the pimp spot and has a moment.
    Phillip stops annoying me as much.
    Sklyar kicks more butt.
    Jermaine sounds nice enough to last just one more week.
    Shannon continues to be boring so she can get voted off.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Elise, I know last week sucked but you gotta smile for the pictures princess, that’s the price of admission.

    So smile pretty, pick a great song and come on out here and show America just how wrong they were about you.

  • Kylee

    I really think What’s Up would be good for Hollie. It would be a break from the ballads and show she can do something else.

  • EH

    My weird picks.  You’d think that I had never watched this show before.

    Erika: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, skip the bridesmaid dress this week

    For Heejun: A couple of my favorite guilty pleasure songs: A Little Respect (Erasure, he could even turn it into a ballad if he can’t bear to move on the stage) or Eternal Flame (Bangles).  Unfortunately, I think that Michael *#@!ing Bolton song is from 1989 and I wouldn’t put it past him to sing that crap again.

    For Phillip: Nothing Compares 2U (without the guitar). I think it would be really interesting if you like Phillip or really excruciating if you don’t like him. 

    Colton: Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones. This song is OK and I won’t have to worry about him whining through one of my favorites.

    Jacob: Hunger Strike (Temple of the Dog) – I hear some rock star in Jacob’s voice.

    In reality, I expect to hear some Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Mariah, Phil Collins, etc. Yay.

  • rocklet1

    As much as i like Jessica.. I don’t think she can top Pia’s “I’ll stand by you” performance.. she can do Tlc’s “Waterfalls” that would be good. and for Hollie i picked the same song like mj..

  • Anonymous

    i need jessica to do something with attitude to detract from everybody calling her a pageant bot last week.

  • No Thanks

    I agree but unfortunately with the AI crowd, “attitude” elicits false accusations of “arrogance”.  They can’t tell the difference.

  • No Thanks

    I agree but unfortunately with the AI crowd, “attitude” elicits false accusations of “arrogance”.  They can’t tell the difference.

  • Anonymous

     I was thinking about TLC for Jessica too, it fits her really well.

  • Valentin432

    I would like Erika to sing Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush, this would be an exciting pick.
    To me Colton singing Losing My Religion would be a great thing altough I’m not sure how he would feel about it as a christian.
    I can’t see Hollie picking that song, but I hope she surprises me.

  • Alexia Katrantzis

    Elise – It’s Like That (Run DMC)

    Erika – Like A Surgeon (Weird Al Yankovic)

    Jermaine – Push It (Salt n Pepa)

    Heejun – Fight The Power (Public Enemy)

    Philip – Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)

    Colton – I Wanna Sex You Up (Color Me Badd)

    Joshua – Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-A-Lot)

    Hollie – Whoomp! There It Is (Tag Team)

    DeAndre – Bump and Grind (R Kelly)

    Skylar – Gin and Juice (Snoop Dogg)

    Jessica – Tootsee Roll (69 Boyz)

    Shannon – Dear Mama (2Pac)

  • Tess

    The only thing most AI viewers have to go on in judging a contestant is the 90 seconds they sing on Wednesdays and the brief views we get with pictures, tweets, time with Jimmy, and time on stage either in front of the judges or talking to Ryan.  Its a proven fact that people do judge someone by their body language and their facial expressions as well as what they say and what they do.  We don’t know the behind the camera contestant so we can’t take their “real” personas into consideration (though that would be nice).

    People in the public eye know that they are seen as a reflection of what is available to see.  So contestants need to “play the game” from square one. If they let their own irritations or concerns or shyness or attitude show through they stand a chance of being measured by those.  No everyone isn’t happy 24/7 but on Idol you better pretend you are and play to the cameras every chance you get.

  • Incipit

    Didn’t Colton already butcher “Wicked Game”? Or was that Phillip? I didn’t even recognize the song until whoever it was got to the “I – don’t want to fall in love” part. And I really don’t know which of them it was – but one of them committed that crime.

    Anyway, Siobhan already did it – they ought not to repeat unless they can improve on either her or Chris Isaak. And that mess I heard one? of them do doesn’t even come close. IMO.

    And if someone does “Come to My Window” Again – for the 5th time! – they deserve what they get. Heh. IMO. Again.

    Fingers crossed for ALL fresh songs.

  • Pam

    Fantastic pics mj!  I also echo the sentiment about Elise doing one of Stevie’s songs.  

  • Kesia Monteith

    But they will. LOL

  • Anonymous

     Phillip was the one who sang Wicked Game. And yeah, it was pretty terrible, lol.

  • Anonymous

    Heejun, Erika, and Holly need to do something fun and upbeat this week.  

  • Landon Cox

    I’m hoping Hollie does Dream Lover by Mariah with a poppy new arrangement but something tells me she’ll be doing Hero instead. Jessica should do TLC – Waterfalls – seperate herself and Hollie from being balladeers by doing something more urban/r&b.

    Actually I really want to Hollie to do Cryin by Aerosmith. That would be either amazing or trainwreck.

  • Anonymous

    Boggles my mind that all the highly paid talent on the show can’t come up with some new themes.

  • Incipit

    ” Phillip was the one who sang Wicked Game. And yeah, it was pretty terrible, lol.”

     Ahah! Thanks, SullyD. Now I know who the culprit was. I do like that one, and it is definitely a ‘singer’s song’, great melody and places to showcase the voice – but it was distorted beyond all recognition.

  • Anonymous

    Great choices, I like them.

    For Hollie 4 Non Blondes is very good and she can deliver, I’d like her to take on Eva Cassidy – Fields of Gold. Even though that’s clearly not ‘fun and upbeat’ as other choices may be, Eva’s version is SO UNbelievably amazing i think she could really have a magic moment with it.

  • BonnieDee

    Whatever Skylar sings, it will not match the difficulty of the really talented girls, i.e. Jessica, Erika, and Hollie.  

  • Anonymous

     Heejun Han – April 20, 1989 – “If You Don’t Know Me By Know” by Simply Red – Another heartfelt ballad for Heejun, but with a little soul.
    This song is originally by Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes, featuring Teddy Pendergrass “covered by simply red”…another example of people not being in touch with R&B/Black Folk…this is what rubs me the wrong way!!!

  • Anonymous

    Bet Phillip, being the WGWG, will do the ultimate WGWG song “Free Fallin'” and I will then preceed to gag. 

  • Anonymous

    This song is originally by Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes, featuring
    Teddy Pendergrass “covered by simply red”…another example of people
    not being in touch with R&B/Black Folk…this is what rubs me the
    wrong way!!!

    You know that quote about assuming? And making an…well never mind, I’m going to be careful not to be as rude as you have just been in your post.

    I’m totally aware that the Simply Red version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” is a cover of the Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes original. Just didn’t think it was necessary to delve into the history of the song in my short blurb.

    Jumping to the racist card conclusion without any idea of what you’re talking about is just really really….again, nevermind.

  • Anonymous

    Too bad Phillip wasn’t born later so he could do Dave Matthews Band. We call him DMB Clone as it is ;)

  • glitter12

    “Smooth Operator” for Erika….brilliant choice! I would love to hear her sing this song. Sure she would nail it!

    Heejun really needs to uptempo his song…enough ballads already!!!

  • fusion8

     Dang, I want one of the contestants to sing Creep by Radiohead.  Colton would probably do it, but was born a year early.  and Hollie a year too late.  Joshua could, but will probably stick to an R&B song. 

  • Anonymous

    I like many of your picks MJ, please, please, please let Skylar sing All I Want to Do!!

  • Anonymous

    All you had to do is name it as such in the beginning, no history would have been necessary – that’s my point, not that you are racist, but if you feel that you are – ok.  How are the people that aren’t familiar with the original going to ever go and listen to it if they think SR made the song???

    Again, give the credit where it is due, and I wouldn’t have to make the point that I did!!!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t know what “match the difficulty” means, but I think Skylar is right at the top of the best of the girls.

  • Anonymous

    Oh pleeeease Heejun do NOT sing How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.

    And, noo Jermaine can’t sing Living in America, MJ! Because nobody gets voted off when they sing about America! And I want him to be voted off. =P

  • sf3456

    Too bad Phillip wasn’t born later so he could do Dave Matthews Band. We call him DMB Clone as it is ;)

    Once again, that is an insult to Dave Matthews.

  • Christina

    LOL im so tired of Heejun singing HAISTLWY! the songs depressing.. lol..

  • Chris

    Tupac and Snoop Dogg?  I know this was a joke, but maybe this is a new theme week – 90s rap.  The ultimate test to see how many crash and burn.

    Very few people can get away with riding on a bike with a giant afro singing “Gin and Juice” but some how Snoop pulled it off.

  • Pam

    Good point.  I hadn’t thought of it that way.  LOL

  • ReginaFilange

    I know this wishlist is pretty heavy on rock, but it’s my wishlist nonetheless.

    Colton: Live and Let Die – Guns N’Roses
    Deandre: Hero – Mariah Carey
    Elise: Faithfully – Journey
    Erika: Take On Me – a-ha
    Hollie: Everybody Hurts – R.E.M
    Jessica: You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson
    Phillip: Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor
    Shannon: Wonderwall – Oasis
    Skylar: Rag Doll – Aerosmith

    Not sure about Joshua, and I’m fast-forwarding through Jermaine and Heejun anyway

  • Paul

    I think they need a Vote for the Worst week and let that website pick some of the songs for these people. At least we’d all be in for a little entertainment. Dave could be the mentor and show them how to camp things up a little bit. 

  • Alexia Katrantzis

    LOL I wish! If they hired me to pick the songs, I can guarantee you the most entertaining performances evah!

  • Alexia Katrantzis

    If they opted for this here are their song picks:

    LMFAO at “I Touch Myself”, “Like A G6” & the Barney song!

  • rocklet1

     Allison Iraheta has covered the song.. multiple times.. both acoustic and band..

  • Buddy Lee Brewer

    I want Heejun to sing Chicago’s Look Away.

  • Anonymous


    Sometimes Love Aint Enough –Joshua


    Little Red Corvette-Elise


    I Can’t Make You Love Me-Colton


    Summer of 69-Erika


    Conga-Jermaine (for the lulz)


    The Living Years-Heejun


    King of Wishful Thinking-Phillip


    I’ll Never Get Over You Getting Over Me-Hollie


    Stay (I missed you)-Skylar


    Dreams (The Cranberries)-DeAndre


    As I Lay Me Down to Sleep-Shannon



  • Incipit

    “I want one of the contestants to sing Creep by Radiohead.”

    fusion8 Til you posted that, I thought I was neutral on whatever they chose – or have chosen for them (with the exception that I Do.Not.Want any retreads, but if any of them sing “Creep”, I will go off somewhere and scream! Same with the suggestion for “Hunger Strike” – although maybe not ‘quite’ as loudly.

    DavidC has done both of those songs, and I wish the option to do them on Idol had existed. They are on youtube, live – “Creep, uncensored –  with his band Axium, and “Hunger Strike” when he was with MidWest Kings. He sings the Cornell part and some of the Vedder part of “Hunger Strike”, which he also did as a cover on the Neverending Tour, and I don’t really think I have heard a vocalist from this season who could handle that song. And really, cutting either one down to 90 seconds would likely not be a good thing. I think the end of “Creep”, the best part – is almost longer than 90 seconds all by itself. Plus, clearances, TPTB’s tool for saying no, without saying “no”.

    But Season7 had such a straitjacket with their themed semi-finals, and their rigid theme weeks – and IDK if they would have even let David do it – or if he even wanted to –  doesn’t mean I wanna hear anyone else try though. *snerk* @ Myself

    Please. No “Creep” – not chopped up to fit on Idol by Iovine’s Arrangers. For David to do it was definitely a pony for a great many people – although, I ought not to complain, we got “Billie Jean”…which actually worked better for the Idol audience.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting song picks for DeAndre from mj and gangreen because they are not typical R&B which he loves.  I really want him to make the tour, so this song pick is important! 

    DeAndre said on twitter that his song pick this week is “different for him”.  What is that supposed to mean?  Maybe gangreen’s songs were spoilers?  (getting nervous)

    Is the song supposed to be released as a single in the birth year or a “hit” in the birth year?

  • Anonymous

    This theme always seems so nice and wide open but never really seems to work well in practice as in theory. If it’s anything like in past years, I predict that at 10 out of 12 will sing something that’s been done on Idol before.

    Nevertheless, here are my (not entirely serious) picks in chronological order:

    Elise (1983) – “Back on the Chain Gang” – The Pretenders

    Erika (1985) – “We Belong” – Pat Benatar

    Jermaine (1986) – “True Colors” – Cyndi Lauper

    Heejun (1989) – “Good Thing” – Fine Young Cannibals  (absolutely no Michael Bolton or ballads!)

    Phillip (1990) – “Man in the Box” – Alice in Chains

    Colton (1991) – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana

    Joshua (1992) – “My Lovin’ /You’re Never Gonna Get It – En Vogue

    Hollie (1993) “All I Wanna Do” – Sheryl Crow

    Deandre (1994) – “Can We Talk” – Tevin Campbell

    Skyler (1994) – “Because The Night” (10,000 Maniacs cover)

    Jessica (1995) – “Waterfalls” – TLC

    Shannon (1995) – “Runaway” – Janet Jackson

  • waynestrong

    I’d like to hear Colton do “to be with you” by Mr. Big. Its one of my favorites.

  • JT Hunsaker

    I can’t imagine Radiohead clearing their music for a show like Idol, anyway. 

  • Anonymous

    I’ve only known it as a Simply Red song. I didn’t even know who Teddy Pendergrass was until Taylor Hicks covered his song in season 5….so I guess I’m not in touch with my own “R&B/Black folks”, right? lol

    There are lots of non-R&B songs posted here without the unnecessary “music education” disclaimer…that’s not what this blog is for. A simple friendly “FYI” comment related to song origins would do nicely….in fact, thats what’s usually done around here.

    Like my grandmama always said…”Educate, don’t spread the hate”. 

  • Incipit

     JT Hunsaker,I know, it doesn’t seem likely, but “Creep” was sung on Canadian Idol (2X, I think) and and used on Rockstar INXS and Supernova, it’s kinda like Hallelujah, in the number of shows it’s been on. *Snerk*

    Now, whether TPTB would want it on AI is anyone’s guess, or what the Producers would do to it…I’d just as soon they left it alone. JMO.

  • ShannonM

    Ummm, Jacob?!!?!  Just gently playin with you- i knew who you meant- but I think this is why Joshua is not gettin the props he deserves- too many folk may be nervous he is gonna get Lusky with it!!!

  • Anonymous

    I usually look for picks that aren’t the most obvious, although it’s pretty tough for some of this crew.  I guess I won’t have to pick for Jermaine, so my job is already easier…

    1.  Elise (1983):  “Love Is a Battlefield”-  Pat Benatar

    2.  Erika (1985):  “Running Up That Hill”-  Kate Bush

    3.  Heejun (1989):  “Hold Me In Your Arms”-  Rick Astley

    4.  Phillip (1990):  “Hard to Handle”-  The Black Crowes

    5.  Colton (1991):  “November Rain”- Guns n’ Roses (Yes, I know;  they’ll never get the rights)

    6.  Joshua (1992):  “Why”-  Annie Lennox

    7.  Hollie (1993):  “Linger”- The Cranberries

    8.  DeAndre (1994):  “The Most Beautiful Girl In the World”-  Prince  (MJ, this is so perfect, I can’t disagree)

    9.  Skylar (1994):  “Stay (I Missed You)”-  Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories

    10.  Jessica (1995):  “Fake Plastic Trees”-  Radiohead

    11.  Shannon (1995):  “You Learn”-  Alanis Morissette

  • Anonymous

    but if you feel that you are – ok.

    Wut? lol.  No. You went there with your comment about folks ignoring black music. Pulling the card. Totally rude and unnecessary.

  • waynestrong

    Street Corner Symphony performed Creep on NBC’s “The Sing OFF”

  • ShannonM

    oops…don’t see a delete function- posted on wrong topic!!

  • Incipit

     waynestrong – I loved that show, but I never seem to catch it – They are the only show that gets the balance right on the judging, IMO. I’ll have to check that out. So they did “Creep”? – That’s what I mean – kinda like “Hallelujah”, for the number of shows it’s been on – and add one more.