Last year’s theme weeks included the first trip through the Lennon/McCartney songbook, another “Year They Were Born” night, as well as the rehash of inspirational songs, a Neil Diamond night and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame themes. In years past, we’ve had nights devoted to the British Invasion, American classics, Bon Jovi, Queen, love songs and Elvis Presley. All fine themes, but at this point, the show is running on fumes when it comes to mixing things up.
I understand that there are always issues with getting songs cleared for the program, but how about a few unsolicited suggestions for spicing things up?
Instead of doing a night of songs from the year the contestants were born, how about making the finalists tackle songs that are in the Billboard top 20 right now? Who wouldn’t want to hear Allison Iraheta sing Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” or see what Adam Lambert would do with the All-American Rejects’ “Give You Hell”?
Could Lil Rounds redeem herself with Beyoncé’s “Halo”? Would Kris Allen break out of nice-guy ghetto with Kanye’s “Heartless”? And wouldn’t Danny Gokey sound kind of great taking on Ne-Yo’s “Mad”?
As my colleague “Idol” expert Jim Cantiello suggested, why stick to the same old disco when you could have the singers take on contemporary dance music? Yes, some fans might not know LCD Soundsystem, but if Lambert sang “Daft Punk Is Playing in My House,” they would come. Allison Iraheta doing the Pussycat Dolls’ “I Hate This Part” or Danny Gokey giving M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” his gospel touch? Amazing.
How about new-wave night? Who doesn’t want to hear Lambert or Gokey take on Duran Duran, or Allison sing Cyndi Lauper? Can you imagine Kris wrapping his voice around an acoustic Depeche Mode song?
The list of potential themes goes on and on: girl groups, boy bands, one-hit wonders, classic rock, breakup ballads, tracks produced/ written by Ne- Yo or, hell, Kara DioGuardi, the songs of Justin Timberlake/ Britney Spears, Rolling Stones night and, selfishly, punk night.
Think about it, Simon.