With American Idol season 17 steaming to a finale on May 19, Billboard asked the top six contestants to dream a little dream and reveal what song they would like to sing in order to help seal the deal with America. Not surprisingly, given the depth of talent this year and the amount of singer/songwriters on the show who can play multiple instruments and write ready-for-radio originals, most of the cast want to bust out one of their own as a closing argument.
“We’ve been conscious over the past couple of years to open Idol up more to original songs — in the past it was all covers — and we thought, ‘It needs to open up,’ but we didn’t want rubbish original songs,” showrunner/executive producer Trish Kinane tells Billboard about the avalanche of originals this year. “In the past couple of years, there has been a resurgence of true artists and original compositions, including this year with a couple really great original songwriters. So when that’s the case, it’s great. We’re happy to have them on the show because it brings in a slightly different audience.”
Check out their picks below.
“I would do my original song, ‘Walk Tall.’ Because in a situation like that I’d like to but as much passion as possible into my performance. What better way to do that than singing your own lyrics?”
“I would sing ‘Unwritten’ by Natasha Bedingfield because it’s about not knowing the future but going for it.”
“‘Long Tall Sally’ by Little Richard — I am a big Little Richard fan and have been influenced by his music as an artist. I think ‘Long Tall Sally’ is a fun song to sing as a final song for America’s vote.”
Laci Kaye Booth:
“‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac — I have been singing ‘Landslide’ at all my gigs since I first started performing. It’s a very special song to me and has stuck with me through my journey as an artist.”
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon:
“‘Learn to Love’ (an original song) — I would sing ‘Learn to Love’ as I feel the song has been the theme of my life over the past few months. It’s about learning to love yourself & others, and I wrote it as a personal anthem to myself.”
“‘Ten Years’ (an original song) — It was the first song I ever wrote and has a lot of personal meaning to me. ‘Ten Years’ is 100% who I am as a person.