American Idol 2021 Top 12 Song Suggestions for Oscar Nominated Songs Week
After last night’s (April 12) dramatic American Idol Top 12 reveal, the singers are getting ready for next Sunday’s (April 18) performance show. The two hour telecast will air coast to coast in all time zones, allowing fans across the country to vote for their favorite contestants in real time. By the end of the episode, the Top 9 will be revealed.
In the meantime, I put together a little thread on song suggestions for the Top 12 for the night’s theme, Oscar-nominated songs. I gave two songs to each contestant. Read my thoughts and join in on the fun by commenting your song suggestions. I’m excited to see what you think.
Also, I have ruled out any Disney songs, considering that Disney will be the theme for the Sunday May 2 Top 10 performance episode. Additionally, I have ruled out “Say You, Say Me” as judge Lionel Richie is set to perform it on the show. And I have also nixed “Hopelessly Devoted to You” as a pick, as Mary Jo Young confirmed that was her song choice if she had made the Top 12.
Stand Up (from Harriet, Cynthia Erivo, 2019)
Listen (from Dreamgirls, Beyonce, 2006)
My top song pick for Alyssa is “Stand Up.” Cynthia was on the show for Duets two years ago, so it is possible that this could be her pick. It has some gospel vibes in it, and I think the texture in her voice would sound nice with it. She has seemed to do better with raw songs that feature a little bit of soul and even a slightly gospel feel like “I Am Changing” and “Something in the Water.” This song would fit that. “Listen” is a song I typically would advise against, but Alyssa has performed it before. Her version is on YouTube and she did a solid job with it. Beyonce also fits Alyssa’s tone and texture better than what Alyssa has been opting to sing.
City of Stars (from La La Land, Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone, 2016)
Unchained Melody (from Unchained, Alex North, 1955)
Oh, how I want to hear Ava cover this beautiful quiet piano number. Her voice is perfect for it, as it will allow for her beautiful tone to cut through the song and shine. I usually would not usually advise “Unchained Melody,” but I saw Jade Flores’ rendition from two years ago and was reminded that maybe it could be reworked into a genius performance. I trust Ava with the reworking of a song as she has an old soul that could pull it off. The original did not have vocals, but I think if she did the Righteous Brothers version, it would still qualify.
How Do I Live (from Con Air, Trisha Yearwood, 1997)
Writings on the Wall (from Spectre, Sam Smith, 2015)
I originally had country ballad “How Do I Live” for Alanis Sophia, knowing that she had sang country music before. But I feel that Cassandra could pull it off, and the little yodel in her voice kind of fits Trisha Yearwood’s version. Another good option could be “Writings on the Wall”; it is a song that is easy to put your own style on and could be a big moment for Cassandra. It’s never been covered on American Idol.
Live and Let Die (from Live and Let Die, Wings, 1973)
Blaze of Glory (from Young Guns II, Bon Jovi, 1990)
I think Casey needs to do a jazz or standards song at some point, but with Disney week around the corner, I think she should stick with her guns rather than go for a Barbra Streisand song (there’s like 4 Oscar nominated ones). Instead, she should opt for rock song “Live and Let Die” which is a bit jazzy at times in the slower parts, or the all-out rock song “Blaze of Glory” which is stripped back at times, and would allow her to display her power.
Last Dance (from Thank God It’s Friday, Donna Summer, 1978)
Skyfall (from Skyfall, Adele, 2012)
“Last Dance” is my top choice for Grace. It is retro, fun, and vocals can still be shown off with it. I think she would sound great on the disco number. Another option would be “Skyfall” as that could display her great range. The song is very cinematic, so it could showcase her range without needing so many runs, something she seems to be doing less of. Some people have compared her to Adele as well. I don’t see it, but fans might enjoy the cover.
Because You Loved Me (from Up Close and Personal, Celine Dion, 1996)
I’m Standing With You (from Breakthrough, Chrissy Metz, 2019)
Madison has a very pure tone that sounds great on emotive songs. That is why I have given her a Celine Dion number. She has an excellent cover of “My Heart Will Go On,” but I would rather have her sing this Celine song. The second song I am suggesting is very pure sounding and is religious, so she may connect her faith to it. It’s fairly recent, but I think it was well-known enough that it could make it on the show.
Love You I Do (from Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson, 2006)
Earned It (from Fifty Shades of Grey, The Weeknd, 2015)
There are a few male versions of “Love You I Do” out there with smooth runs. I think Beane could pull it off. This would get back to some of his more crooner type performances and could really work. Another option is The Weeknd’s “Earned It.” I think he is the only guy left that could pull off the “Fifty Shades” number. It is a challenging song, but I think genre wise it fits Beane.
Accidentally in Love (from Shrek 2, Counting Crows, 2004)
Things Have Changed (from Wonder Boys, Bob Dylan, 2000)
“Accidentally in Love” is a song that would for sure work as a country tune. The acoustic versions actually sound slightly country, and I think Caleb’s rasp would suit this. There are blues versions of Bob Dylan’s “Things Have Changed,” so if Caleb wants to go more southern rock again, I think this could work.
Streets of Philadelphia (from Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen, 1993)
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You (from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Bryan Adams, 1991)
I think both choices are fairly likely and I would love to hear both. Chayce’s gravelly sound fits Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams. My guess is he opts for the more popular Bryan Adams song, but I think he could struggle a bit more with that song, as it has more range. Either option fits his sound.
Again (from Poetic Justice, Janet Jackson, 1993)
Endless Love (from Endless Love, Lionel Richie & Diana Ross, 1981)
“Again” would be lovely on the piano, but it hasn’t been done as a solo before on the show. It was done the time Janet performed it with some contestants. This would be lovely. My other option I almost put on my do-not sing list, but I think Deshawn has a classic sound that could possibly pull off Lionel’s duet hit. Unlike most movie duets, “Endless Love” has solo versions.
Lost Stars (from Begin Again, Adam Levine/Keira Knightley, 2014)
Falling Slowly (from Once, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova)
I almost suggested “Lost Stars” for Ava August as it’s a simplistic track and the Keira Knightley version would suit her, but the lyrics just don’t work for a young singer. I think Hunter could pull it off with his beautiful tone. This is one of my favorite movie tracks. I would love to hear his folky take on it. Another song that could work is “Falling Slowly.” It’s been done on Idol three times (Kris Allen Season 8, Crystal Bowersox & Lee DeWyze season 9, Alex Preston season 13) The texture of his voice would work well on this one.
Mighty River (from Mudbound, Mary J. Blige, 2017)
Glory (from Selma, John Legend, Common, 2014)
I almost gave Willie “Skyfall,” but I doubt he would do Adele back-to-back weeks. I opted for a Mary J. Blige track that I doubt he does. I want Willie to let loose at some point, and I think his voice would soar on this gorgeous ballad. Another option is “Glory.” La’Porsha Renae’s version was lovely, but I think Willie could have a magical moment with this. John Legend is a The Voice coach, but since it is a movie song, it is more likely that it could be available to use, as one of his duet songs was cleared to sing during Hollywood week.
Blake’s do-not-sing list:
My Heart Will Go On
This is Me
I Have Nothing & Run to You
I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing
Against All Odds
Drop your song suggestions in the comments.
American Idol Top 12 performances airs Sunday April 18 at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT/6 pm MT/5 pm PT on ABC. Then, get ready for the return of American Idol 18 alums, competing for a spot in the Top 10 on Monday April 19 at 8 pm ET/PT.
The Oscar theme is a not to the actual Oscars, will will in Idol’s ABC time slot on Sunday, April 25.