Imagine “American Idol” with a Prince theme week instead of Barry Manilow. Or top 40 — as in Outkast and Britney Spears — instead of big band.
Or just check out one of the 50 dates of the American Idols Live Tour and give your imagination a rest.
The tour, which kicks off Wednesday in Salt Lake City (see “Don’t Expect To Hear ‘She Bangs’ On This Year’s ‘Idol’ Tour” ), will feature a few highlights from the season, but for the most part it’ll be more contemporary than anything fans saw on TV.
“We are going very modern,” said Amy Adams, who is singing Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” with La Toya London and Jennifer Hudson, among other tunes. “I think it’s really neat because on the show we didn’t really get a chance to modernize who we are as artists. You got to see our differences, but not really in a modern sense, so I think it will be great for the tour.”
And look for the performances to be better too, as each singer will be entirely in his or her element, at least for a song.
In other words, expect Jon Peter Lewis to play guitar, John Stevens to sing a couple of standards, and Camile Velasco to salute her idol, Lauryn Hill.
“I get to do Aretha [Franklin]‘s song ‘Since You’ve Been Gone,’ which I’ve always wanted to do,” Hudson said. “And me and [close friend] George [Huff] will be doing a duet.”
As with past “Idol” tours, this summer’s tour will open with the 10th-place finalist (Adams doing Aaron Lines’ “Knock on Wood”) and count down to the winner (Fantasia probably doing “Summertime” or “I Believe”).
Then it’s on to a tribute to Prince with a group medley of his greatest hits, including “Nothing Compares 2 U” from Hudson and Huff, “Diamonds and Pearls” from Diana DeGarmo, and “Kiss” from London.
“You know what would be nice? If he pops up onstage and says, ‘You know what? I’m here, y’all,’ ” Huff said. “I hope they surprise us and do that.”
The second half of the show will also include a medley of soul tunes to promote the group’s CD as well as some contemporary pieces, including Jasmine Trias taking on Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” and Lewis doing Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”
“It’s kinda interesting putting your own take on modern music,” Lewis said. “I’m not Andre 3000 by any means.”
Choreography will be a big part of the medleys and at least one of the solos.
“When I step on the stage, you better move out the way, because I’m gonna be all trying to dig a hole in the ground,” said Huff, who’s singing the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” “I’m gonna be putting a hole in the ground with my feet, I’m gonna be dancing so hard.”
One of Huff’s performances will feature guitar work from Lewis. In another unlikely combo, Fantasia and Stevens will cover Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
What the show will not include is Leah LaBelle or Matt Rogers, the 12th and 11th place finalists.
“We really tried to get Matt and Leah on, but unfortunately we have so many parents this season, they’re taking up the place [in the buses] where they could have possibly been,” DeGarmo said. “And it’s something that has been set in the rules from the very beginning, they only take the top 10.”
The American Idols Live Tour will wrap up in late September with three consecutive shows in Honolulu, which has Hawaii natives Velasco and Trias thrilled.
“When I heard about that, I was so happy and proud,” Trias said. “Two shows sold out in less than a half an hour, and the third in an hour, so it’s pretty crazy.”
Hudson is just excited to go to any city. “I’ve never really been to a concert, so my first concert will be my own,” she said.