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'American Idol' song choices for Sunday including Carrie Underwood theme

Posted Friday, May 11, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

For the first time in my memory, "American Idol" sent out a press release informing the world what songs the "Idol" singers will perform ahead of time.

The two themes for the top 5 are songs dedicated to moms and Carrie Underwood hits. Carrie also will be the guest mentor this week and will perform her new single "Cry Pretty."

The Top 5 finalists and their song choices for this week with my quick assessment.

  • Cade Foehner

    • “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Seems to fit his voice well but it's not a terribly interesting song, especially in truncated, edited form.
    • “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood. It's a relatively edgy song for Carrie and will probably translate just fine with Cade's voice.

  • Caleb Lee Hutchinson

    • “Stars in Alabama” by Jamey Johnson. This is one of Caleb's favorite artists so he is clearly familiar with the song. After the success of last week's "When Doves Cry," he goes for another ballad. This one is a pretty, heartfelt ballad that plays to Caleb's strengths.
    • “So Small” by Carrie Underwood. Hmm... This is one of those Carrie hits I barely remembered because its hooks are less than memorable. I would not have chosen this one.

  • Gabby Barrett

    • “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. Sung way too often on this show but if Gabby wants to show off her voice, more power to her!
    • “Last Name” by Carrie Underwood. Like her choice of Maren Morris' "My Church," this will allow Gabby to show off her stage presence and her soulful power.

  • Maddie Poppe

    • “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. One of my favorite Beach Boys songs, so poignant and sweet. I'm confident Maddie will hit this one out of the park.
    • “I Told You So” by Carrie Underwood. This is an absolutely gorgeous song that Maddie should be able to finesse and make her own.

  • Michael J. Woodard

    • “Still I Rise” by Yolanda Adams. I'm not familiar with this song so I sampled it on YouTube. It has some big moments that Michael could potentially tackle.
    • “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. This is a super aggressive song. Will Michael be able to do it justice?

I have to give props to the "American Idol" producers for largely keeping over-used old "Idol" cover songs away from the current crop of singers. Smartly, nobody has uttered the words this season "Against All Odds" or "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing."

The only song heard so far this season that is in the top 10 most played to date is "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going," courtesy of Ada Vox and I could see why he opted for that.

But I cringe that Gabby Barrett is opting to take on "I Have Nothing." The song has already been sung nine times on the show. It's just tired.

The top 12 most sung songs on "American Idol" over 16 seasons before Sunday, according to WhatNotToSing (and this does not include the audition and Hollywood rounds.)

1 (tie) "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" Aerosmith (nine times)

1 (tie) "I Have Nothing" Whitney Houston (nine times)

3. (tie) "When a Man Loves a Woman" Percy Sledge (eight times)

3. (tie) "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" Jennifer Holliday (eight times)

5 (tie) "Against All Odds" Phil Collins (seven times)

5 (tie) "Come Together" Beatles (seven times)

5 (tie) "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Elton John (seven times)

5 (tie) "Feeling Good" Nina Simone (seven times)

5 (tie) "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" Marvin Gaye (seven times)

5 (tie) "I'll Be" Edwin McCain (seven times)

5 (tie) "Piece of My Heart" Janis Joplin (seven times)

5 (tie) "Superstition" Stevie Wonder (seven times)

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.