Who Picks the Songs for the Idols?

MTV writes about song choices on American Idol.

“There’s style and song arrangement, both overseen by professionals hired by the show. Some have argued the importance of camera time, which is, of course, out of a contestant’s control. And there’s song selection, the one true strategic element in the “Idol” race.

All you have to do is watch an episode and count how many times you hear the words “I didn’t like that song for you,” or “Perfect song” or “That was a big risk with your song choice” to see how much it has played a part in the fifth season.

Or just ask last season’s runner-up, Bo Bice. “That’s the most important part of ‘Idol,’ ” he said.

Contestants have lived or died by their song picks since the semifinals this season, and what should make things interesting is that many of the finalists have different approaches to choosing songs.

“I try to pick songs that are my favorite songs that I listen to, like that Fuel song has been one of my favorite songs ever since it came out,” said Chris Daughtry, referencing his rendition of “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” in the second week of semifinals.

“I try to go with songs that I already know, even though they could be cliché to sing on the show,” Katharine McPhee added. “I wanted to sing this other song a couple of weeks ago, and I chose to do [something new instead] and it didn’t come out as well. You just have to go with what you know that you can do the best, what you love, what feels good and what represents you.”

Familiarity may be key to some, but others are more about finding lyrics they can relate to at the moment, which could be part of a song that’s entirely new to the performer.

“If I can’t tie to it emotionally, I’m not going to do it,” Ace Young said. “That is my key. If I can feel it and I can portray it, than you can feel it with me. Entertainment is my stress relief, so it should be your release watching.”