Sunday, March 19, 2006

50s night fantasy-style...

That's right! It's time for a new edition of my favorite fantasy game. Knowing the theme beforehand gives me enough time to scour the lists of hits from that era/artist/composer/year/decade/century, whatever, and listen to countless clips in the somewhat futile attempt to narrow, for each of the kids, the choices that I, in my wildest fantasy, would love to hear them perform, or try to perform.

I tried to keep it at two per, but there were just some that I had to go three. The links are clips to each of the songs, because if you're like me, you might recognize the title but can't place the melody or, as much as it pains me to admit, some people just don't know the songs altogether. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with this show; it introduces a new generation to some of the best music ever.

So let's get started.

Lisa enters this week in probably the biggest trouble, having found herself in last week's bottom two. She's a ballad-fanatic, so I expect her to revert back to what's comfortable for her. So I would really, really like to hear her try the McGuire Sisters'
Sincerely (1955), which might get her brownie points since it's one of the selections on the Manilow CD that's being hawked. The only drawback to that song is the reliance on harmony, but sometimes the background singers are better than the contestants. Alas. But if she doesn't like that choice, there's always The Platters, the single greatest group of the decade. I might suggest My Prayer (1956). And just for good measure, because she is dangling off that cliff, I would also throw out Connie Francis' Who's Sorry Now (1957) as an alternative.

While I don't think Kevin is going anywhere anytime soon, I would like to see him offer a humble apology for his snarkiness last week and acknowledge his youth rather than his bad sexy self. And there are plenty of teen boy songs in this decade. My first suggestion is
Too Young (1951), by Nat King Cole, because Kevin is more vocally effective with the slower songs. But if he wants to avoid the sleepy stuff, there's always Bye Bye Love (1957) by the Everly Brothers or A Teenager in Love (1959) by Dion and the Belmonts.

Ace has some makin' up to do after three straight channel-turning worthy performances and a bottom three appearance. He should be relatively safe this week, though, as his fans found their boy in the danger zone and will undoubtedly pick up the dialing pace regardless of the quality of Tuesday's effort. I want Ace to sing Johnny Mathis. And I want him to sing
Chances Are (1957). So there. That's what I want. But, since I usually don't get what I want, I'll throw out The Skyliners' Since I Don't Have You (1958) or Paul Anka's Put Your Head on my Shoulder (1959) as other recommendations.

After last week's disaster of epic proportions, Pickler needs to tear off the eyelashes, throw out the strapless dress and go back to the performance-based numbers which help camouflage vocal weaknesses. And stay far far away from Patsy Cline. I suggest she give a nod to all of those true country music fans by performing Kitty Wells'
It Wasn't God who made Honky Tonk Angels (1952). She would have a lot of fun with it and any true country music fan might vote for her just for bringing Kitty to American Idol. But if she doesn't like that idea, how about Brenda Lee's Sweet Nothin's (1959) or Connie Francis' Lipstick on your Collar (1959)?

I would wager money that Bucky will choose an Elvis song, but which one is anyone's guess. So I suggest
All Shook Up (1957). Let's just hope he's laid off the Pantene products. Maybe use a little Brylcreem instead. But, in my fantasy, Bucky does Fats Domino's I'm Walkin' (1957 with an instrumental clip only).

Mandisa was a challenge. It would be easy to throw out Dinah Washington as a possibility, but every time I think of Mandisa I just envision her performing one of my most favorite songs,
The Big Hurt (1959) by Miss Toni Fisher. And it is my fantasy. But a priceless performance could be delivered by choosing LaVern Baker's Tweedle Dee (1954). Yeah. I definitely can see that.

Elliott is made for this decade as this decade was made for Elliott. It's probably unfair, but my biggest hopes ride with him, as he could probably choose just about anything and shine. So I'm going back to my favorite, The Platters with two of their hits,
Only You (1955) and The Great Pretender (1956). But I will vote for the solid two hours if he performs You Send Me (1957) by Sam Cooke. Two. Hours.

If Paris does not perform Frankie Lymon, she is nuts. She's perfect for his music, her voice is perfect, her personality is perfect, everything. And the song she should select is
Goody Goody (1957), although I suspect she would go for the more known Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1955). Okay, so she doesn't want to do a man's song, even a man that doesn't sound like a man? She would single-handedly knock Lisa out of this competition by choosing Connie Francis' Stupid Cupid (1958). But I will vote for the solid two hours if she sings Goody. I will. Promise.

I really hope Chris pays respect to the originals and doesn't select a 50s rock tune later covered by someone else. The 50s was the birth of rock, and that needs to be remembered. Plus, since he's so firmly on solid ground in this competition, there's nothing wrong with showing off his versatility, so I suggest he pull out
That'll Be The Day (1957) by Buddy Holly and the Crickets or Elvis' Jailhouse Rock (1957).

In the same way that this decade was made for Elliott, it is also made for Katharine. Every single song selection I've given to the other women would be just as good for her. (Well, maybe not Kitty Wells.) She could handle the great Patsy Cline, but Patsy is a very obvious choice, so I suggest she try the brilliant
Little Things Mean A Lot (1954) by Kitty Kallen or Unforgettable (1951) by Nat King Cole.

And then there's Taylor, looking at a catalog of Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Ray Charles. Taylor's got to be like a little kid in a candy store. So, because there's a candy store of choices, I'll throw out these:
What I'd Say (1959) or I've Got a Woman (1954), both by Ray Charles or Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire (1957). Whoa!

Evidentially the kids took a roadtrip to Vegas to meet up with Barry Manilow, where he spent some quality time giving each of the 11 remaining some help with each of their selections. Hopefully some of their selections are the same as mine. That makes for one very happy junkie.

See you soon.


Blogger JR said...

Jennifer, I see that you and I (DrillerAA) agree completely on several of the possibilities. I think that Chris doing "That'll Be The Day" is perfect. While Bucky is a natural for Elvis, I'd like to see him do "Don't Be Cruel". If he wants to slow it down, he could do "Love Me Tender". If Kevin wants to do something upbeat but not to vocally challenging then "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson would suit him fine. Taylor could do anything we have suggested, I just think "Long Tall Sally" would be great. "What'd I Say" would be off the charts. I actually owned that album as a pre-teen. After previewing the clip, Mandisa would bring the house down with "Let the Good Times Roll"!!! In at least one instance we picked the same song only a differenct contestant. I'd love to hear Kathaline do "Who's Sorry Now" and I think I'd rather hear Elliot do "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" than Ace. "Lipstick On Your Collar" is a natural for Pickles. I don't have any must do songs for anyone else. I do think Paris can send Lisa packing with a great performance this week. Keep up the excellent work.

3:22 PM, March 19, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

LOL JR, we do agree. And I would rather Elliott sing everything!

3:33 PM, March 19, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

Of course the best versions of "What'd I Say" are over 7 minutes long. That would mean that Ace, Lisa and Kevin wouldn't get to sing...I could live with that!!! Roll on Taylor Hicks, Roll on!!! Maybe Taylor and Mandisa could double up and duet "Hit the Road Jack".

4:51 PM, March 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed one entry and come to find out it's going to be a 50's night?! WOO-HOO!!! How can they go wrong? Wait a minute, I am sure some of them can and will. I am looking most forward to Taylor and Chris. Cannot wait to see which song they choose to sing. LOVED your choices, although I will admit, I didn't know 2/3 of them. LOL!

8:11 AM, March 20, 2006  
Blogger Happy Hiker said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:16 AM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger Happy Hiker said...

This is a very interesting website. Especially the part that tells the truth about Kellie Pickler deceiving the public. What a snob!

11:27 AM, March 21, 2006  
Anonymous Doug Williams said...

Interesting choices. Almost certainly more interesting than the contestants will actually choose, more's the pity.

I predict far too many will choose songs with weak vocals that became hits owing to the instrumentals. A lot of early rock & roll hits were like that. I'm afraid we'll see far too many of those and not enough of the pop standards which truly dominated the 50's - and which include some great "singer" songs.

Oh, and someone will absolutely without question do Unchained Melody, because everyone knows by now it's Simon's favorite song. Let's hope it comes from one of the real singers in the competition, because it could get very ugly if someone like Kevin attempts it.

12:08 PM, March 21, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

I hope nobody chooses Unchained Melody, only because it has become SO overdone due to that exact reason. The only one who can handle it would be Kat or Elliott.

But the thought of Kevin trying it will, undoubtedly, give me nightmares. ;o)

2:18 PM, March 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doug, I agree with you about the music in general. I was in a car with someone who had the Barry Manilow CD today and I those songs, in particular, were just not outstanding songs to showcase vocals. Although the songs are fun, I hope we're not in for a sleeper tonight.

2:31 PM, March 21, 2006  

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Thanks Rob for the awesome image!