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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 02/ 2/2007

Friday List: Your 'Idol' Audition

By Liz Kelly

If I hear one more rendition of "Unchained Melody" sung by some poor misguided "American Idol" hopeful, I will turn off my TV and go read a book. There, I've said it. Take that, Simon Cowell. And you, too, Simon Fuller. Do you hear me? The songs chosen by contestants and put through to the audition room by your pre-screeners are a big yawn.

Not that I'd expect anything more from a show that stocks its judges panel with "Forever Your Girl" singer Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, who toured with Journey and thinks "What's up, dawg" is still an au currant catchphrase.

So when I saw this post on earlier this week asking readers what song they would choose to sing if given the chance to audition for "Idol," well, I knew we had the makings of a Friday List.

My choices:
"Putty in Your Hands"/The Shirelles
"Down Home Girl"/Alvin Robinson
"Shiny Happy People"/R.E.M.

And, when asked to do an encore, I will show my incredible versatility and beat-boxing by delivering a spot-on rendition of Doug E. Fresh's "The Show":

Okay, your turn: If you had the chance to audition for "American Idol," what song(s) would you choose to sing and why?

By Liz Kelly  | February 2, 2007; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists  
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I would sing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", because I've got the range baby dawg!

Posted by: pete | February 2, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

You have got to check out the latest Paris Hilton tape on Drudge report. She is totally done with.

Posted by: jaydees | February 2, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I would totally sing She's Like the Wind - by Patrick Swayze just so I could say "She's like the wind, through my tree." That or "Smack my B**** Up" by Prodigy.

Posted by: not bluto | February 2, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

While "Criminal" by Fiona Apple is my standard karaoke song, I wouldn't sing that because I wouldn't want to sound like another girl who thinks because they can sing karaoke, they can be the next American Idol.

I would TOTALLY bust out though with Ice Cube's 90's classic "I gotta say it was a good day."

Because I didn't even have to use my AK.

Posted by: Melinda | February 2, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh, God, no question about it: Mama Cass "Dream A Little Dream Of Me." That one was WRITTEN for IDOL auditions.

Posted by: Margo | February 2, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"Just A Friend" by Biz Markie. It's impossible to sing that song any worse.

Now, if I was being serious (don't know why I would) I would go with "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil as that's probably the closest thing my "singing voice" can reach.

Posted by: BF | February 2, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"Rock Lobster" by the B-52's. That would definitely score me kitsch points!

Posted by: JK | February 2, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The Dead Kennedys' "Too Drunk To F---". (For added effect, performed in exactly that condition.)

For the Hollywood audition: "The Lumberjack Song."

Posted by: byoolin | February 2, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Byoolin -- I admire your dedication.

Posted by: Liz | February 2, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'll sober up later for Groupie Night.

Posted by: byoolin | February 2, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Inna Godda Davita" by Iron Butterfly

Posted by: Another Liz | February 2, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

gotta be Wooly Bully. Wouldn't matter if you forgot the words.

Posted by: Philly Chick | February 2, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Puberty Love" from the movie "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." I figure it's a winner to get on the air -- no?

Posted by: kate | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I would definitely have to audition with "Escape (the Pina Colada song)" by Rupert Holmes. Such a deep, thought provoking song.

Posted by: Jfro | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Oh this is too much fun. I have to add some more:

"The Humpty Dance"
"Do Me" by Bell Biv Devoe (I would perform this by straddling Simon the hottie)
"I Touch Myself" by The Divinyls (again, see above)
The song the nun sings in the movie "Airplane" just because that scene always cracks me up
"The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by Charlie Daniels Band

Seriously though, what if someone really went on and busted out with "Me So Horny" by 2Live Crew? Do you think they'd show it? Hahahaha. That'd be some funny tv.

Posted by: Melinda | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

How about the Barney Song?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Although I'm a gal, I think I'd sing Sam Cooke..."Don't know much about history...." etc.
Of course, it would be impossible to top Sam, but his songs are very singable and cool.

Posted by: Barb | February 2, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't anyone ever sing something very long and drug-addled like "Knights in White Satin" or "Stairway to Heaven" or one of those weird 29 minute long Peter Gabriel Genesis songs when he used to dress up like a flower.
And why do American Idol people have to do that wavy-voicy thing where every word has to be warbled and drawn out until it hits about 89 notes.

Posted by: Barb | February 2, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

If I were being serious: "Same Old Song" by the Tempations.

If not: "You're So Vain." Aside from the fact that it's so true about just about everyone on the show, it would sound really funny as I'm a guy who's a bass or deep baritone.

Posted by: mmy | February 2, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Smack That by Akon: For no reason other than I like saying "smack that".

Posted by: Lisa | February 2, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Just to annoy Simon (and the world) - "(The Sun Will Come Out) Tomorrow" from "Annie". It gives me a rash every time I hear it, but I can only hope it would have the same affect on the judges.

Posted by: phanie | February 2, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

When Idol was in DC, I auditioned singing "If I Ever Fall in Love" by Shai. (I was told by the pre-Simon/Paula/Randy panel that I was an exceptional singer, but not a star. What's up with that?)

I should have done "I Can't Get Next to You"- and hit the parts of each Temptation.

Posted by: BWiggles | February 2, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Barb, great idea about doing "something very long and drug-addled."

I assumed that's what "Another Liz" meant with her selection - the 17-minute long album version of Inna Gadda Da Vida.

As an alternative, any one of the four sides of "Tales From The Topographic Oceans" by Yes would be lovely. (Humming the instrumental bits, of course.)

Or side 1 of "2112."

Posted by: byoolin | February 2, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps there's a half-hour version of "Wildfire" out there...

Posted by: byoolin | February 2, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Mother's Little Helper or Paint It Black by the Stones.

Love it when they try to comment on the casual use of Valium by housewives.

Posted by: Philly Chick again | February 2, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans" because I'VE got the range, dawg.

Posted by: Kelli | February 2, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Patty Griffin's "Poor Man's House." Because it's a fiercely genuine and affecting song, that starts off tender yet with just enough belting in the middle that it wouldn't be completely out of place in the parade of Whitney/Mariah/Christina/Celine-wannabe melisma junkies who make up 99% of the auditioning population.

If I thought for a second that Randy and Paula and Simon would know who Patty was, I wouldn't do it, 'cause any voice would suffer by comparison to hers, but I feel like their ignorance would be my bliss.

Posted by: Michelle | February 2, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon". That would be just great -- especially if you sing it straight to Paula with a certain look in your eyes.

Posted by: Ryan | February 2, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

how about some beach boys in full falsetto?

Posted by: Fuzzy Cat | February 2, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, this is by no means the entire list but off the top of the dome.

Closer by Floetry, I love that song, which is why I should not attempt to sing it.

Putting up a Resistance by Beres Hammond, because some days it feels like he put my life into song.

Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode I think I could swing that one.

Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake, because I am bringing sexy back in 2007. Not today in this outfit but every other day 24/7.

Posted by: petal | February 2, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Reality, I'd sing Desperado by the Eagles or was it by someone else. Whichever, it is a great song.

Posted by: Fuzzy cat | February 2, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

i would love to audition singing a medley of paula's greatest hits....but not until i perfect the moves to go along with it.

Posted by: juliec | February 2, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

not bluto:

Love the selections, if you do a podcast let us know.

Posted by: petal | February 2, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh and the Macaraina, I think that's how it's spelled. There's a built in dance to showcase not just the singing but the dancing talents as well.

Posted by: petal | February 2, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Ignition by R Kelly. "hot an' fresh out da kitchen, mama rollin that body, got every man in here wishin..."

Posted by: Lauren | February 2, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"I am a woman in love," by Barbara Streisand, I always choke up when I get to the "Is it right I should fall," part. Even Simon will beg me to repeat it.

Posted by: John Stoppy | February 2, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Anything involving yodeling (i.e. the Cranberries, "Dreams"). Possibly "Tom's Diner" by Susan Vega. And if all else fails, make a move for black metal: In Flames, Opeth, etc. OR, better yet, go for Blind Guardian and have a great Hansi-style falsetto scream while singing about Valhalla.

Posted by: meg | February 2, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Since the main company providing advertising is obviously Coke (look at the glasses on the judges table) try "I'd like to Teach the World to Sing" (or whatever the title is).

I may not win but I bet I would get on the air.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Lover Tonight" by Will Hoge...partly because it's a great song that I can sing passably, and partly because he's my cousin and I love putting his stuff out there.

Posted by: 23112 | February 2, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

No question: "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake because I do an awesome rendition in my shower AND in the car.

Posted by: Gala | February 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Let's see -- a more serious rendition would be "Under the Boardwalk"; not so serious might be "Diva's Lament" from Spamalot.

("I've no Grammies, no rewards/I've no Tony awards/I'm constantly replaced by Britney Spears...")

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | February 2, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I'd go with Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" because I already invented a great dance routine to go with it. We know how much they like dancing. (And people trying to sing Queen.)

If they didn't send me to Hollywood based on that alone, then I'd hit them with "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers. (Notice how I got the correct song title, AND parenthetical add-on? That's reason alone to give me a singing contract.)

Posted by: Emmie | February 2, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

i'd do "crying" from roy orbison - nobody does roy - or "walking after midnight" by patsy cline. or for something totally different what about "tallachee bridge"

Posted by: diane | February 2, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse


what about White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, the Jim Carrey version.

Posted by: not bluto | February 2, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh and you have to add in Mabmo Number 5 by Lou Bega

Posted by: not bluto | February 2, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I would sing that great seventies hit..."My Ding-a-ling"

Posted by: great zamphir | February 2, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

take a walk on the wild side--velvet underground

Posted by: m | February 2, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Nice choices. That Proclaimers song is enough to make me gouge my ear drums out.

Posted by: Emmie | February 2, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Jim Carrey sang "Don't you want somebody to love," not white rabbit.
The Washington Post apologizes for any confusions caused by the factual error (one 1,543 featured in today's newspaper).

Posted by: Washington Post Editorial Desk | February 2, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd sing "God Save The Queen" because it would force Simon to have to stand up the entire time and put his hand over his heart.

Posted by: Tim | February 2, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

how about something from Little Feat?

Posted by: cj | February 2, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Baby Got Back Sir Mix Alot.

I would sing it to Paula

Posted by: dmk | February 2, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"twisted"/joni mitchell
"please don't bury me"/john prine
"start wearing purple"/gogol bordello

Posted by: b | February 2, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

i would think you'd have to follow "Inna Gadda Da Vita" with "Smoke on the Water"

Posted by: b | February 2, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

MacArthur Park; either the Richard Harris or the Donna Summer version.

Just to hit that high note: "I'll never have that recipe againnnnnn!"

Posted by: Man Called Horse | February 2, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

McArthur Park....because its frightening in the dark...or something like that

Also, maybe some Weird Al, perhaps Eat It or that White and Nerdy song

Posted by: burke | February 2, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

An angry Ani Difranco song like Blood in the Boardroom, just to throw them for an un-pop loop.

I double-dawg dare someone to try out singing Enya or Bjork. Especially if that person has talent, because they wouldn't know how to handle that.

Posted by: mfd | February 2, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

though personally, I would probably resort to Shoop (with my dance routine!) :-)

Posted by: mfd | February 2, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

How about anything from Dirty Dancing.

Posted by: not bluto | February 2, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"Illegal" by Shakira. It's got a lot of range and hard turns and key changes. Plus I was just cheated on by a boyfriend.

Posted by: Al | February 2, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Summerwind, Sinatra
Shipoopy, Buddy Hackett ("The Music Man")
Solsbury Hill, Peter Gabriel - I'm doing this one because I doubt anyone of the judges could understand 7/4 time...

Posted by: J | February 2, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I came barrelling in here thinking Biz Markee - but BF beat me to it...

So I think it would be the Geto Boys "Damn it feels good to be a Gangsta" - and i'd be sure to bring one of the several pieces of network hardware making me miserable by lurking around in my network to the performance so the day wouldnt be entirely wasted.

Posted by: Quintilius Varus | February 2, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Facing Up by VoiVod
Elaine by SNFU

Posted by: spock jenkins | February 2, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I've Got The Music In Me, by Kiki Dee, I think.
Whatever I sing, it will be loud enough to hear in the streets.

Posted by: miss belle | February 2, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

hey, how about combining lists--someone should sing "Take the Money and Run"! bring in that great rhyming vibe! (0;

Posted by: JR | February 2, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

How about "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

I would dedicate it to Randy

Posted by: snoootty | February 2, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I left out Informer by Snow, to blow them out of the water. I'd do it as an Opera, huh, huh.... wouldn't that be sweet.

not bluto,

I like what you're thinking. You've got to do "don't you want somebody to love" and
"white rabbit" as Jim.

Posted by: petal | February 2, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I would dress in a MuMu like Mama Cass and sing Monday, Monday, so I be on TV.

Posted by: peggy | February 2, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

either "straight out of compton" by nwa because not enough applicants try the rap approach or "woolly bully" by sam the sham and the pharoahs, just to be annoying and cause people to bleed from all their orifices.

Posted by: frieda406 | February 2, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Never too much by Luther "Luffa" Vandross. I was just singing it and it sounded great in my head.

Posted by: petal | February 2, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

hey, how about UncleF***er from the South Park movie??? Every other word would be bleeped.

Posted by: JK | February 2, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Snow as opera, I like it. If you did that I'd follow up with Meatloaf I'd do Anything for Love as a rap/ska mix.

Posted by: not bluto | February 2, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

petal, I love the Snow idea, hope you don't mind if I steal that for my next foray into the world of karaoke.

And just to set the record straight, I am NOT the person who said "That Proclaimers song is enough to make me gouge my ear drums out." Everyone knows that is a great song. But that comment does beg the question, is there really another person named Emmie?

Also, has anyone said Vanilla Ice yet? Alright stop, collaborate and listen...

Posted by: Emmie | February 2, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

not bluto,

hmmmm, you've taken it to another level with that one. I must counter with "My girl wants to party all the time" by Eddie Murphy done as jazz/hip hop opera.

Recording contract here I come.

Posted by: petal | February 2, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse


By all means use Snow. If you don't mind starting the set with a big ups to petal. I would appreciate it.

If you do a podcast as well, let us know.

Posted by: petal | February 2, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, man, I'd be all Phil Collins, all the time. How can you go wrong with that gold?

"Turn It On Again" would be my best choice, but there's always the tear-inducing "Against All Odds." Those would be tears of pain and/or laughter, mind you. But the former would give me an opportunity to do my best PC stage-behavior impression (i.e. I'm going to be a spastic, overacting, over-emoting freak because I have an inferiority complex from being 1) short 2) bald 3) a drummer, and 4) Phil Collins).

Posted by: J | February 2, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse


Where is the best place to write w/ a problem, question, or suggestion re the WaPo web site?

Posted by: THS | February 2, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"Life on Mars" by David Bowie. One, because David Bowie makes me feel funny in all the right places and two, because the chorus of Life on Mars is awesome and I would belt it out with all the loudness I could muster. And loud totally equals good singing, am I right?

Posted by: janie | February 2, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It's "au courant", not "au currant".

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

Currant: 1. Any of various deciduous, spineless shrubs of the genus Ribes, native chiefly to the Northern Hemisphere and having flowers in racemes and edible, variously colored berries. 2. The fruits of any of these plants, used for jams, jellies, desserts, or beverages. 3. A small seedless raisin of the Mediterranean region, used chiefly in baking. 4. Any of several other plants or their fruit.

au courant: 1. Informed on current affairs; up-to-date. 2. Fully familiar; knowledgeable.

Just trying to be helpful.

Posted by: Picky, Picky | February 2, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Led Zepplin, Black Dog(complete with air guitar) It's that, or a tie between the Beatles "Do it in the Road", or a more sentimental Ray Charles song, "You Don't Know Me"

...though really, with so much awesome music out there, why do people sing the same five songs every time?

Posted by: LB | February 2, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

a podcast might come back to haunt me, but I have no problem kickin' out some jams if everyone in the audience is inebriated, and of course I will give you a shout out. More importantly, have you heard the Eddie Murphy song "Boogie in Your Butt"? It's absolutely incredible, and I suggest you track it down immediately.

Posted by: Emmie | February 2, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Word Up by Cameo. there's nothing more inspiring than a middle aged white guy singing Cameo. For my encore I would "sing" Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill.

Posted by: Mr Ecks | February 2, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Magic Man by Heart. Oh man, I have actual fantasies about performing that in front of a live audience, preferably with pink stage lights, smoke and really big hair.

Posted by: DJ | February 2, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Jimi Hendrix's version of the Star Spangled Banner. Then I would light my air guitar on fire...

Posted by: RNK | February 2, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I'd sing the saxophone part from "Money" by Pink Floyd. No words, just the saxophone part. In my best saxophone voice.

Posted by: Doc | February 2, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I think a complete rendition of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" would go over well.

Don't you?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I would sing a lovely composition, starting with Whip It (Devo - whip optional), then transitioning into Copacabana (B Manilow - spangles mandatory) and concluding with Escape, better known as the Pina Colada song.

Posted by: x-cap | February 5, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Found a Job" by the Talking Heads... with lots of jumping up and down in place - youtube ready.

Posted by: MaryB | February 5, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse


Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown, and things seem hard or tough.
and people are stupid, obnoxious or daft, and you feel that you've had quite enouuuuuuuuugh...

Just remember that your standing on a planet that's evolving,
and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour...
It's orbiting at ninety miles a second, so it's reckoned,
the sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
are moving at a million miles a day.
in an outer spiral-arm at forty thousand miles an hour
of the galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars,
it's a hundred thousand lightyears side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand lightyears thick,
but out by us it's just three thousand lightyears wide.
We're thirty thousand lightyears from galactic central point,
we go 'round every two hundred million years.
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions,
in this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
in all of the directions it can whiz.
As fast as it can go, that's the speed of light you know;
twelve million miles a minute, that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember when your feeling very small and insecure,
how amazingly unlikely is your birth,
and pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'cause there's bugger-all down here on earth!

Posted by: lolyla | February 6, 2007 1:30 AM | Report abuse

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