By Eric Ditzian
This week, “American Idol” veers away from its Top 40 grab bag theme (in which cuts from both Christina Aguilera and Leonard Cohen were considered fair game) and embraces just one band: The Rolling Stones. Before we get started suggesting which Stones’ tunes we’d like to see Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus and the rest of the Top 12 sing, let’s start with the songs that need to be banned and, if performed, should result in merciless banishment from the “Idol” stage.
If anyone thinks covering a song made newly-famous (for about the 75th time) by Susan Boyle is a good idea, he or she can pretty much plant a flag on the grounds of Irrelevantville.
“Ruby Tuesday,” “Satisfaction” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
If you’re not scared off by these karaoke staples, be worried by the fact that when I asked my grandma to name three Stones tunes, these are the only ones she could remember. Be original, you crazy “Idol” kids!
Now on to what we do want to hear.
Song: “Brown Sugar”
She already wowed the nation with a gospel-tinged take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Long as I Can See The Light.” Now Sox needs to travel outside her realm and bust out a funky, high-energy take on this Sticky Fingers classic. We’d also accept a rollicking, blues-infused version of “19th Nervous Breakdown.” Just don’t lull us into early slumber with something somber like “Moonlight Mile.”
Song: “Street Fighting Man”
The cowboy crooner was at his best when sitting alone on a stool playing his guitar, so he should take this Beggars Banquet cut and twang it up with that smoldering country vibe Kara DioGuardi and the rest of America seems to dig.
Song: “Sister Morphine”
Because she brings the crazy every week, and we dig it. This eerie dirge provides plenty of free space for Magnus’s high note-smacking voice before it segues into an upbeat toe-tapper. It’s a bold choice, but we expect nothing less from her.
Song: “Play With Fire”
Because she’s been all over the place this season, and while we know she’s got pipes, Lacey hasn’t quite settled on the right song choice to show them off. This week she should strip down “Play With Fire” until there’s almost nothing left and let her folksy, kooky vocal chords lead the charge.
Song: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
Big Mike has already shown us his inner James Brown and his inner, inner Maxwell. Now we want to see this giant marry the spirits of those two artists and just tear the stage apart with a soulful, floor-shaking “Jumpin’ Jack.”
Song: “Time Is On My Side”
Didi finally found her soft spot with an acoustic guitar-driven invocation of Stevie Nicks last week. Stick with what works this week and do up a Lisa Loeb-y performance of this Stones’ slow-burner.
Song: “Honky Tonk Women”
We’re still waiting for him to drop his coffeehouse strummer instincts and rock out. A grungy, hard-charging “Honky Tonk Women” offers the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to all that.
Song: “She Smiles Sweetly”
Because this song only has, like, four notes (though he’ll still probably screw it up).
Song: “Paint It Black”
We’ve had enough with his peppy remixes of female pop tunes. Our advice? Keep the acoustic guitar, but go bleaker, because if he doesn’t blow us away he might be going home.
Song: “Under My Thumb”
“Under My Thumb” isn’t a great fit for Miles, but it probably doesn’t matter anyway and this is an amazing tune. It’s a scandal Miles made the Top 12 over Lilly Scott and Katelyn Epperly, and it seems she can sing the phone book and still garner oodles of votes.
Song: “Sympathy For the Devil”
This kid has to already be in cahoots with the Prince of Darkness. How else to explain that he’s stuck around the competition this long?
Because the 17-year-old is in desperate need of a comfort zone-upsetting, talk-about-it-tomorrow performance. There’s no better way to do that than to get up on stage and declare, “I’m feeling drunk, juiced up and sloppy.”
What Rolling Stones songs would you like to hear on “American Idol” on Tuesday night? Let us know in the comments!