On last night’s American Idol, the remaining contestants were tasked with two different yet at times overlapping challenges when it came to song choices. First, the top five covered songs celebrating the 1960s, with renditions of two different Creedence Clearwater Revival hits (“Proud Mary” and “Fortunate Son”) and Ike and Tina Turner (“River Deep, Mountain High”) making the cut.
Then the contestants were asked to tackle songs described as “British pop” (not to be confused with the ’90s genre Britpop, featuring bands like Oasis). When contestants covered The Zombies classic “Time of the Season” (as Phillip Phillips did) or Dusty Springfield‘s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” (as Skylar Laine did), it fit in just as much with the ’60s theme as the British pop theme. Watch both covers below.
Throwing another influence into the mix was this week’s guest mentor, Little Steven Van Zandt. While Van Zandt is also a producer and solo artist in his own regard, he’s known most for his guitar chops in Springsteen’s E Street Band, so he made for a curious mentor for the budding vocalists.
As usual, some contestants excelled more than others. Let’s take a look at some of the best classic cover on last night’s American Idol.
Soulful crooner Joshua Ledet won the judges over with his cover of the Bee Gees‘ 1967 single “To Love Somebody,” which he had never heard before taking it on at the urging of Little Steven and Idol mentor (and record exec) Jimmy Iovine. The judges reacted by calling Ledet one of the best singers ever on Idol – and in Jennifer Lopez’s case – the world.
Ledet also knocked it out of the park with his rendition of the Temptations classic “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” which you can watch below.
As for that duo of CCR covers, country-tinged contestant Skylar Laine fared better with a twangy take on “Fortunate Son” than her competitor Jessica Sanchez did with “Proud Mary.” But Sanchez had her moment later on in the show with a cover of 1975’s “You Are So Beautiful,” made famous by Joe Cocker. Watch all three covers – “Fortunate Son,” “Proud Mary” and “You Are So Beautiful” – below.
–Jillian Mapes, CBS Local