Top 9 – It’s Dolly Parton Week! – What Should the Idols Sing?

I can’t help but love Dolly.   An accomplished singer/songwriter, musician and business woman, she’s had an astonishingly long and varied career.  She started out in Nashville as a teenager, writing  hits for other performers. In the late 60′ s she began recording on her own, and with singing partner Porter Wagoner–they performed as a duo through the mid-70’s.

In the 80’s she crossed over to pop music with songs like “9-5” and “Islands in the Stream”, the latter with Kenny Rogers.   She began a successful acting career, starring with Jane Fonda in 9-5.   Later films included Steel Magnolias and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

In recent years, Dolly  went back to her roots, recording outstanding albums of traditional country and bluegrass.   She also sings gospel, and recorded an album of patriotic songs.

Dolly plays off the iconic image of the buxom dumb blond, but with a great big wink and her tongue in her cheek.  She has always driven her own destiny.    Dolly is  her own creation, and a smart business woman to boot.   She  developed the successful theme-park, Dollywood, in her native East Tennessee, where she grew up hardscrabble and poor.   The thriving tourist attraction has brought many jobs to that disadvantaged area.  

Need I say more?   Dolly rules, y’all!  

After the jump, check out my choices for the contestants.   And then post yours in comments.   Rumor has it, the kids can chose from any song Dolly has sung.   She’s got a ton of covers.

Yeah, so the kids can sing any song Dolly has sung. That’s a lot of songs. She’s covered many other artists. On her new album Backwoods Barbie, which is her return to pop country, she covers the Fine Young Cannibals “She Drives Me Crazy” and Smokey Robinson’s, “The Tracks of My Tears”. She’s recorded “House of the Rising Sun”, John Lennon’s “Imagine” and even Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”. Seriously.

However, there’s a well of great songs from the Dolly Parton songbook. Her best known songs are “Jolene”, “A Coat Of Many Colors” and the oft-covered “I Will Always Love You” I hope her own songs are well represented  on the Top 9 song list.

My picks:

  • Brooke White – “Coat of Many Colors” would be a beautiful choice for Brooke.   She’d bring the proper delicacy and emotional heft to this gorgeous song about Dolly’s momma who sewed a coat out of scraps for Dolly.   Sounds corny?   Not in Dolly’s hands. I think Brooke could do it justice.
  • Carly Smithson – “Jolene”  – I love this song for Carly.   Carly’s big, intense vocal style could bring the passion that this song demands.
  • David Archuleta – I hear he’s performed “I Will Always Love You”.   I hope he skips it.   Whoever takes on this song should do it close to Dolly-style.   My suggestions for David:  “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” or “Islands in the Stream”.
  • David Cook – Don’t sing “Jolene”.   There’s a well known cover by White Stripes, but choosing it would be too obvious.   I’m counting on  David and his mad googling and iTuning skills to turn up just the right cover to cover.   I can’t wait.   Suggestion:   How about “Tennessee Homesick Blues”?   I can imagine that tune all rocked up.   Without the yodeling!
  • Jason Castro – Jason could kill this week.   I can imagine him performing a chill-inducing version of “I Will Always Love You”.   Or, he could  mine  Dolly’s acoustic and bluegrass catalog. “Little Sparrow” could be haunting in Jason’s hands.
  • Kristy Lee Cook – Kristy  could go traditional, maybe perform one of Dolly’s bluegrass tunes. “In My Tennessee Mountain Home” could be a perfect choice for her. Or, for something a little more mainstream, “Why’d You Come In Here Looking Like That”.
  • Michael Johns – Dolly’s version is backed by a dance beat, but I think Micheal could deliver a gritty, bluesy “House of the Rising Sun”.  
  • Ramiele Malubay – Dolly did a beautiful cover of Kenny Rogers/First Edition “But You Know I Love You”. Ramiele could bring back the magic with that one.   Or how about “It’s All Wrong, But It’s Alright”?
  • Syesha Mercado – Mainstream hits will be the safest bet for Syesha. Her soul-style  could shine on tunes like  “Here You Come Again”  or “Islands in the Stream”.
About mj santilli 34526 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!