How old are the 'Idol' finalists' song choices?

Melinda_lMelinda has taken a lot of heat on this season of Idol for choosing "old" songs over fresh, young material. I’ve made the complaint myself on several occasions, but over the weekend, I started wondering if I was being fair to the show’s "resident pro" (as Randy has taken to disdainfully calling her). Well, after a morning of Amazon-ing and Google-ing, adding and dividing, I’m pleased to report that I’ve got some hard numbers for you, PopWatchers. I tallied the average year of initial release for the 10 final songs and three semifinal numbers performed by Melinda, Blake and Jordin this season, and not surprisingly, Blake ended up with the youngest average song (1983) followed by Jordin (1981), and finally Melinda (1971). What’s especially interesting is that Blake managed to claim the "most youthful" crown in spite of the fact that he performed the single oldest song of the final three, "Mack the Knife" (initially released in 1925). On the flip side, Melinda gets stuck with the "Oldie Oldenstein" label even though her cover of Bon Jovi’s 2005 hit "Have a Nice Day" is more recent than anything Jordin or Blake has tackled. How do ya like them apples?


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  • M-fan

    Don’t like them at all. Typical ageist. So what about the dates of the songs? Jordin’s bombed with some of her newer choices, and scored with “I (who have nothing).” Blake is edgy, but if his inevitable CD has more than one beatbox sample it’ll never get played twice. What should matter is that Melinda kills every time she sings, and what should be viewed as an asset gets turned around to become a deficit b/c she isn’t 18.

  • Stephanie T.

    They all have to find a common ground. They have to go for songs that are on their vocal level, yet something that has not been overdone and burnt to a crisp on the American Idol grill,and something that anyone and their mothers will know (hint, hint, Blake…).

  • Nancy Walker

    Stephanie is always funny and on target. I agree. They need to just bring it to the table. The year is not important. Vocal ability is what matters most.

  • Ep Sato

    I like Melinda’s song choices. While her music’s alleged to be “old” it also means that many of these songs have not been heard in a long time. That can make many of these songs fresh again. Agreed she’s the resident pro though, and can’t imagine her NOT going all the way to the finals. IMHO, a battle between the divas (the 17 y/old vs. the Pro) would make for a great final showdown.

  • TT

    What’s your point Slezak?

  • Kim

    The reason Melinda got stuck with the Oldie label in my opinion is not b/c of the year of her song choices but b/c of her overall style and manner of singing. She is not exciting, fresh, or original, she just sings it and is afraid of doing anything wrong. In other words, old and boring! GO BLAKE!!!

  • Melanie

    You’ve made this statistician proud with your averaging skills, Slezak.

  • Todd

    While I too applaud your mathmatic skills here, I do think you need a quick refresher in statistics. Blake’s “Mack the Knife” and Melinda’s “Have a Nice Day” are, as you pointed out, unusual as both choices seem to be contrary to the norm for both contestants. That’s why those numbers would be called outliers. Whenever you do averages like this, you’re bound to get a few numbers that fall far from the average. What I’d be curious to know is what are the averages when these outliers (which clearly skew the data) are taken out. I think then you’ll get a more accurate estimate of just how old these contestants are really reading.

  • Brandon

    This is exactly what blogs were intended for. Nice work.

  • GOB

    Perhaps the reason Melinda’s songs are “old” is because the stupid theme nights have mostly been focused on songs from 20-50 years ago! Have the BeeGees had a hit in the past two decades? No. Have Miss Ross, Tony Bennett or Lulu recorded any new hits in recent years? No. GIve the girl a break. She’s done awesome with each genre, and if they’d allow her to sing something from the past five years, she’d blow everyone out of the water with a newer song, too.

  • Liza

    I agree with Kim. Melinda is BOOOOOOOORING!

  • Jonhson

    This is the weakest Idol to date. Hope next year will be extremely better, with talent that will blow us all out of the water.

  • wtf is juice

    Generally, I don’t think the age of the songs for the theme nights counts that much, since the theme sort of locks you in. Picking the newest song from Bon Jovi, who peaked around 20 yrs ago, doesn’t count for much. The song choices for the semifinals, when they can choose any song, tells us more about their musical tastes and styles and their viability in today’s market.

  • ryan’s mom

    Blah blah blah, Slezak. You’ve already drummed Melinda’s fabulousness into the ground while simultaneously calling for the elimination of everyone interesting or in any way different from the competition – with the exception of Blake. And I’ve noticed the last week’s headlines on AI featured the prominent dissing of him ( Bon Jovi hated his rendition of You Give Love A Bad Name, the tuxedo shirt, etc). Enough already – you deserve this boring season and the 200 Melinda CDs you will be forced to give away at Christmas.

  • Melissa

    If I have to watch another week of Blake bobbing his head from side to side without moving his neck, all the while making that ridiculous “O” face – I’m done with Idol. Yes, Melinda can sing, but YAWWWWWN…every song sounds the same – I can only listen to Tina Turner for so long. Cheers for Jordin.

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