Instead of some poorly conceived duets filling time during American Idol's two-hour Top 6 performance show, the finalists — Janelle Arthur, Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Amber Holcomb, Angie Miller and lone dude Lazaro Arbos — will sing two songs each. One comes from the lengthy Burt Bacharach and Hal David songbook, while the second theme, "Song I Wish I'd Written," is much more expansive. Hollywood.com chatted with the finalists on their final rehearsal day and got the scoop on why they chose each tune.
"My song that I wish I had written is 'Love On Top' by Beyonce," Holcomb tells us. "I just actually got done rehearsing and it’s coming together really well. It's not like a wind blowing, 'wooo' [crazy moment], but it's fun. I love that song; it's upbeat and it shows my voice."
Glover is tackling another diva, the incomparable Adele — specifically, the British singer's cover of The Cure's "Love Song." "I am so excited because this is the kind of music I see myself doing in the future," she explains.
In a slightly more obscure move, Miller chose her favorite worship song, "Love Came Down" by Kari Jobe. "It’s definitely not a well known song but I’m so excited for people to hear it," she says. "She is an incredible singer. It’s more like a worship song, but I’m taking the song and making it relatable to everyone."
Like Miller, Harrison is a songwriter herself. She took the assignment very seriously, finally settling on "How Do You Make It Through the Night." "It’s written by Kris Kristofferson, but so many people who influence me have covered it, like Tammy Wynette to Elvis, so I’m really excited about it," she says. "It was kind of hard for me to choose because as a songwriter, you have [tons of] people who have influenced your writing. This song in particular I thought would give me an intimate moment I haven’t had yet — more country rather than Aretha and everything else I’ve been doing."
Country girl Arthur is also excited to stick with her roots and sing "The Dance" by Garth Brooks. "It was actually in a show that I did when I was 11 years old," she says. "It was one of those songs that really opened up my mind to how deep lyrics can be and how there’s more meaning to it than what you think."
Robbie Williams' "Angels" might not have been Arbos' first pick, but it's a song that's still close to his heart. "It’s not my all-time favorite song, but it’s a song that I do love and I felt it was right for the show," he says. "I do know it well. Hopefully I don’t forget the words since that has been becoming a recurring problem!"
The second theme was slightly more problematic for many contestants, but not Harrison. "For a lot of them it’s like the Dionne Warwick catalog," she jokes. "I’m singing 'What the World Needs Now,' which I love. I’ve always loved that song. Have you ever seen My Best Friend’s Wedding? It’s basically that soundtrack, what we’re doing. I’ve always loved that song and from the list of that catalog this was the one I could make my own more than any other."
Holcomb, however, hasn't seen the Julia Roberts rom-com, despite the fact that she chose the movie's iconic ditty "Say A Little Prayer." "I've seen Date Movie, and that's, like, a spoof of that movie," she says. "The song's in there! Listen, I did watch the scene of the song when the guy sings at the table."
Glover chose "Don't Make Me Over" by Warwick, and although she doesn't want to change the classic too much, "I still want to put that Candice in there," she says. "I never want to have anyone to change me, change my opinion. That's what got me sent home the first couple of times. I want to definitely be myself."
Staying true to her country vibe, Arthur's pick, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," was covered by country greats like Bobbie Gentry, Sheryl Crow, and Trisha Yearwood. Arbos, on the other hand, just went with the producers' suggestions and chose The Carpenters' "Close to You." "I heard it and I loved it," he says.
Miller is going obscure on her second song, too. "Anyone Who Had a Heart," which she didn't know before she chose it, is "really intense and dark, which I like," she says. "It doesn’t have an old-fashioned sound; it has more of a modern sound so that’s good."
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean