Fast song lover that I am, I was not exactly “jumping up and down,” as Randy Jackson would say, to hear Ryan Seacrest announce Carole King week for American Idol’s April 27 performance show. Carole’s got some great songs, it’s true, but they are mostly slow. Still, it beats making them do Frank Sinatra, doesn’t it?
These aren’t exactly predictions — just my strong recommendations to help them through their time of need. As my mother used to say: mark my words in a book, you’ll be very sorry if you don’t listen.
There are six contestants left and they all have demonstrated where their hearts and talents truly lie: The thing is — most of Carole King’s songs are chick songs and there are only two girls. To make it an even greater challenge, Lauren Alaina already sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Week. She can sing it again if she really wants to, but that’s not going to impress judges, Jennifer Lopez and Randy, who are looking for the contestants to challenge themselves.
Steven Tyler would be happy if Lauren or Haley Reinhart sang the alphabet, but Lauren should choose “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” Carole King co-wrote this 1961 hit by the Shirelles. It has been covered by quite a few country artists and Lauren has been leaning more toward country lately. Stay away from “Natural Woman,” Lauren.
Either of them would probably do well with “Sweet Seasons”, so these are two very viable choices, since Haley may not want “Natural Woman.” I wouldn’t, and not just because Lauren already sang it. It’s really one of those for sure overdone songs on “American Idol.”
Jacob Lusk’s strong suit is gospel. Carole King does have a song that Jacob can do justice to and even let go, as he was advised to do last week. Jacob should sing “Way Over Yonder.”
Will the rocker and heavy metal enthusiast, James Durbin, remain fearless and undaunted by the Carole King challenge? He should. I would highly recommend to James that he choose “Believe in Humanity” from 1973. This was not a big hit for Carole, but I believe in James and I believe with the right arrangement, he can make it through Carole King Week triumphantly.
We’re down to Casey Abrams and Scotty McCreery. Casey is a very versatile artist but he does tend to favor jazz. Scotty is straight-up country. One of them has got to sing “You’ve Got a Friend” and I would give that one to Scotty. The song was made famous by folk-rocker, James Taylor. It would be a shame to stick Scotty with any other Carole King song.
That would still leave Casey with 4 good choices: “It’s Going to Take Some Time,” “It’s Too Late,” “So Far Away,” or “Beautiful” (which she has also done in duet with James Taylor.)
Whatever they pick, I strongly advise them all to stay far away from Carole’s little ditty,”Oh! Neil,” her answer song to the Top Ten hit “Oh! Carol” then boyfriend, Neil Sedaka, wrote for her in 1959. Mark my words, you’ll be very sorry if you don’t.