The American Idol Top 10 will have to sing Billy Joel songs tonight because, in producer's infinite wisdom, they have determined that Billy Joel, who hasn't written a new pop song since 1993, before some of these contestants were even born, is somehow relevant.
Much as Joel served as a soundtrack for my high school years and other boomers, some of these Top 10 kids have never even heard of him and had a hard time picking material. And why would they care about his music? What does Piano Man mean to Jessica Sanchez or Deandre or HeeJun? And why would an aspiring singer today have to master Joel's pop songs anyway? Few are vocally demanding. They aren't Beatles songs. They aren't even Elton John songs.
If American Idol wants to remain ahead of upstart shows like The Voice, which is outranking Idol in the 18-24 age range (but not in overall viewership) according to Nielsen, these outdated pop catalogs need to be scrapped for something these kids find relevant. How about original songs?
I'd argue that Joel's songs are better than many contemporary pop songs, but I've already heard them enough times to last a lifetime. Plus, we've heard selections from boomer acts like Joel, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and so forth over and over for 10 years. Time for some NEW themes (or just let the contestants pick whatever they want so we get some idea what kind of artist we are voting for.)
Watching the likes of HeeJun and Deandre struggle through Joel karaoke is hardly the stuff that makes for an exciting evening.
Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.