It’s Disco Week on “American Idol” (don’t even get me started), and the top seven hopefuls have a huge challenge ahead of them: How do they sound contemporary while sticking to a genre that hasn’t been popular since the pre-MTV era? Song selection is more important than ever, and with two people going home Wednesday night, thanks to the “judge’s save” being used last week on Matt Giraud , the stakes are even higher!
Rest easy, Idols. No reason to get those Camile Velasco butterflies. We’ve got you covered. As long as you skirt the obvious picks and listen to our suggestions, you’re in the clear.
Will Sing: Adam hasn’t said “no” to a high note yet, and the glory notes in the chorus of the Alicia Bridges classic “I Love the Nightlife (Disco ‘Round)” are going to prove irresistible to him and his rabid fanbase.
Should Sing: We prefer when Adam’s wails are reserved for songs with substance. Why not tackle “Band of Gold” — a Motown tune later covered by disco drag star Sylvester — and show “Idol” fans that the song doesn’t only belong to season-two divas Frenchie Davis and Kimberley Locke?
Will Sing: We doubt the 16-year-old rocker has that much disco on her iPod, so it’s likely she’ll be picking from the song list blind. When she sees Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” on the list, she’ll probably think, “That sounds like a badass rock song.” If only …
Should Sing: Since Allison and disco go together as well as Kara DioGuardi and numbers, we beg Allison to check out a Kate Bush cover by Italian disco revivalists the Chromatics. “Running Up That Hill” provides a fantastic opportunity for our fave to purr a midtempo burner piano-side and have a big moment. Check out Kiki & Herb’s delirious rendition, tone down the hysterics and you’ll have a winner.
Will Sing: It’s only a matter of time before Anoop the Party Animal returns to the “Idol” stage, and how can he not do an uptempo number on Disco Night? Therefore, expect the crowd-pleaser to pick the “Idol” staple “Turn the Beat Around” by Vickie Sue Robinson.
Should Sing: Anoop needs to find a disco song with a smooth R&B flavor. Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Let’s Groove” lets the Usher wannabe have fun yet be cool at the same time. Plus, if his less-than-reliable falsetto isn’t in tip-top shape, he can let the background singers do the heavy lifting while he riffs on the chorus.
Will Sing: Danny loves being the center of attention. And “Idol” loves giving him huge production numbers. If he sings the Trammps’ “Disco Inferno,” he can do lots of silly disco choreography while the producers can use that fire background they love shoving down our throats. Let’s just hope “Idol” keeps their golden child to the time requirement. Who needs the full 10 minutes of that song? Especially with the Hokey Gokey croaking it?
Should Sing: I know I often criticize Danny for referencing his deceased wife, but if he sang Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “The Love I Lost” (and cherry-picked the second verse, which is more lyrically appropriate for his situation), I wouldn’t hold it against him. His voice would suit the song wonderfully.
Will Sing: This is a toughie. Who knows what the guitar-playin’ heartthrob guitar will settle on? He surprised us last week with a fantastic contemporary song, so perhaps he’ll look to more recent disco artists like LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk. In fact, Daft Punk’s “Digital Love” has a fun melody and a cute lovey-dovey lyric that would drive his fans wild.
Should Sing: Hell, we hate to sway any contestant away from a song released in this decade, but if “Digital Love” doesn’t work out, we think he could turn Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” into a heartbreaking guitar-based rock song and keep his winning streak alive.
Will Sing: The judges expected perfection from Lil during Motown Week, so they’ll expect even bigger things from the “diva of the season” on Disco Night. And after last week’s Simon tongue-lashing, Lil’s going to look to one of the most famous disco vocalists ever and sing Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” which we think (or hope) will end up being an appropriate swan song.
Should Sing: Amii Stewart’s “Knock on Wood” is one of the “Idol” Death Songs. Every contestant who has tried it has ended up in the bottom group or eliminated. Sorry, Lil, but we think your time has come and want to ensure our fave Allison gets to the finals. So do us a favor and sing “Knock on Wood.” You’ll do a great job! Ahem.
Will Sing: Carl Carlton’s “Everlasting Love” appears every time “Idol” does disco. And while the recently saved contestant might be inspired to sing Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” or the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” given his cockroach-like ability to stay on this mother-lovin’ show, we think he’ll ultimately be swayed by Carlton’s sing-songy melody, which was recently covered by fellow piano man Jamie Cullum.
Should Sing: Our favorite Matt Giraud performance was back in Motown Week when he rocked the sex-machine swagger during “Let’s Get It On.” We suspect he could light up Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” by tickling those ivories. At the very least, Kara would feel it.
What do you want your favorite contestants to sing? Leave a comment and maybe they’ll take your advice!
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