‘American Idol’ Top Four Tease Songs For California Dreamin’ Night

'It's a well-known song ... I kind of messed with it a little bit, but not too much ...,' Phillip Phillips says of his song choice.

One of the joys of “American Idol” is that you never really know what the finalists are going to sing until the music starts. Even though we know that this week’s themes are Songs by Californians and Songs They Wish They’d Written, it’s anyone’s guess what the top four will sing.

MTV News “Idol” experts Gil Kaufman and James Montgomery will take a shot at predicting which way Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez will go tonight, but in the meantime we caught up with them earlier this week to get a sneak peek at their California dreams.

“This week’s theme is California Dreamin’ and it’s been a difficult one because people have been telling me, ‘more current songs and this and that’ and this was a week where I could sing a current song,” said Sanchez, who has been dinged by judges and mentor Jimmy Iovine for sometimes dressing and singing a bit beyond her 16 years. “But really I’m trying to stay with my gut feeling and I’m trying to pull out the really big guns, so I’m singing a big song for both of my choices. Don’t expect a Katy Perry song.”

Cavanagh has been on an upswing lately after several weeks of living on the edge, but that doesn’t mean tune selection was any easier. “This week it’s tough because I picked really two emotional songs, so these two songs I have to really just kind of let loose and I have to make people feel what I’m feeling when I sing and make them understand the words because I’m singing two popular songs that people love,” teased Cavanagh. If I don’t get the right message across then people aren’t going to love it.”

Phillip Phillips played his cards a bit close to the vest, saying only that his “Dreamin’” choice is “kind of a challenge” lyrically considering the multiple other tunes the contestants have to learn for their group and duet numbers. “Trying to get the lyrics down pat is my biggest thing,” he said. “It’s a well-known song … I kind of messed with it a little bit, but not too much with the melody … trying to get the lyrics down.”

And once again, Joshua Ledet said he had a hard time narrowing down his choice because he was unfamiliar with many of the options on the list. “The song that I chose, it’s very, very, very different for me. Very different for me,” the soul-shouting singer said. “It’s just a different side of me. It’s just subtle, it’s not too much of the huge ballad. It was tough, but I think I kind of pulled through it and hopefully America likes it.”

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