Tonight is the night American Idol’s top seven take on recent hits — songs from the past three years, to be specific — and while this always feels a bit like that moment you realize the seedy karaoke bar you and your friends stumbled into actually has “We Found Love” by Rihanna even though it came out after 1997, I’d like to establish a few ground rules. Or a few don’ts, rather.
By the power invested in me by virtue of enduring Steven Tyler’s nonsensical word journeys to the ultimate conclusion that said contestant is, in fact, “beautiful,” I declare these songs off-limits to our top seven:
“Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
The thing about Bruno Mars songs is that they’re infectious and unavoidable the same way gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe is inescapable. At first, every fiber of your being fights against the obnoxious sticking sensation with each step, but eventually, you find yourself falling into the smacky rhythm. We don’t actually like “Just The Way You Are,” we just can’t stop singing it. It’s not going to do anyone any favors to rehash this over-played tune. And don’t for a second think that singing this song automatically endears you to voters, boys.
“Firework” by Katy Perry
We get it. It’s uplifting, it’s fun, and it makes you feel like your breasts can emit a dazzling pyrotechnic display just like Katy Perry’s, but save the starry-eyed rendition for the shower. Perry’s song is simply too big and too famous. No matter how great an Idol finalist’s cover is, we’re just going to be stuck wondering where the gumdrop button pantyhose and cupcake bras are.
“Forget You” by Cee Lo
Even if the Idol hopefuls could sing this song the way it was written, with the proper “F**k You” sung happily throughout the chorus, singing this wildly popular song would be a death sentence. There is not a single person in the contiguous United States who hasn’t heard this song. Heck, I’m pretty sure my grandma knows all the lyrics to the uncensored version. Trying this song on would be like playing Cee Lo dress-up without the benefit of his sunglasses and feathers collection.
“F**king Perfect” by Pink
I’m looking at you, Elise Testone. Don’t even think about it. While the song captured an entire nation’s attention for its uplifting themes, it’s not exactly the shining example of vocal ability. It’s not that Pink isn’t a good singer, but this tune is more about the message than showing off pipes. And last time I checked, Idol was supposed to be a singing competition.
Adele, in General. Seriously. Don’t Even Let the Thought Enter Your Head.
When will Idol (or The Voice) contestants ever learn? Singing anything at all by Adele is bad news. The only exception might be “Make You Feel My Love” and that’s only because it was originally a Bob Dylan song and therefore fair game. One time, I went to a karaoke bar and sang “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith with my friends and the accompanying video inexplicably showed scenes of the Amsterdam canals and early ’90s tourists walking the cobble stone streets. WTF doesn’t even begin to describe it. And no matter how spot on my friends and I were, the whole experience still had an aura of complete and total nonsense. That is what it looks/sounds/feels like every time someone who is not Adele does an Adele song. Bottom line: fuggedaboutit.
American Idol’s top seven take the stage April 11 at 8 PM (ET/PT) on Fox. What do you want the top seven to sing? Who’s your frontrunner?