American Idol: What Should the Top 11 Sing for (Another Installment of) Motown Week?

Insanity is watching American Idol season after season after season and expecting its producers to whip up new and interesting theme nights. Which is my roundabout way of reminding everyone that once again, Nigel Lythgoe & Co. are returning to the Motown Week well for Wednesday night’s Top 11 performance show. Then again, just because “Superstition” and “(Love Is Like a) Heatwave” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” have been done to death on Idol is no reason to assume the Season 10 finalists won’t take advantage of the brainstorming power of Google and iTunes to give us a fresh take on an old theme. Below are my Motown Night picks for the Idols. Ch-ch-check ’em out, then head to the comments to post your own picks for your favorite contestants, or better yet, for all 11 singers left in the competition. And for all my Idol news, recaps, and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Pia Toscano: Teena Marie’s “Square Biz
James Durbin: The Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain
Casey Abrams: The Commodores’ “Brick House” (maybe stripped down, slowed down, with the upright bass?)
Lauren Alaina: Diana Ross’ “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)
Stefano Langone: Erykah Badu’s “On & On
Jacob Lusk: The Spinners’ “It’s a Shame
Scotty McCreery: The Commodores’ “Three Times a Lady” (hey, it worked for Kenny Rogers!)
Paul McDonald: Diana Ross’s “Love Hangover” (in his gravelly, alt-rock style, which could be totally genius)
Thia Megia: The Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next to You” (Annie Lenox version)
Haley Reinhart: Jackson 5’s “Who’s Lovin’ You
Naima Adedapo: Tony Toni Toné’s “Anniversary

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Logistics says:

    What, Slezak, no “Sugarpie Honeybunch”? Isn’t that your FAVVVOOORRRRIIIITTTTEEEEEE?

  2. Amy says:

    Well quite a few of these I can’t think of how they go off the top of my head so I think they are good choices.

  3. evs says:

    I wish they could sing Sly & the family stone – Everyday people. But I guess that’s not motown :( .. I’d like to hear “Midnight train to Georgia”, most likely to play it would be Jacob Lusk (unfortunately). Thia will go for something over the top predictable, like say, Michael Jackson’s early work. Marvin Gaye is to be raped on stage as well. We have yet to see the sound bites that will ring our ears like Didi’s and Crystal’s … 2011 batch of idols have horrific song choice skills.

    • Right, but this is the week that done Didi Benami in. After her Rolling Stones week I thought she was at least Top 10, and then she stalled out. It might have been to the weirdest interaction between a contestant and Ryan Seacrest. This was when Ryan forced Didi tell the audience the real reason she chose that song, it was dedicated to a friend of hers that passed away. Didi didn’t want to say the reason and Ryan pretty much said it and made Didi get even more emotional than she already was. Ryan has had some terrible moments but that was easily the worst. Not saying that Didi didn’t sing poorly, but the audience easily didn’t vote for her due to the majorly awkward and emotional post performance interview with Ryan. So I hope the Top 11 choose a bit better than Didi did and be wary of Seacrest as well.

      • evs says:

        Idol machine aside, I just want to hear an interpretation of a song I want to replay over and over. Thus far, this season hasn’t paid off. And the song choices have been majorly weird; from overdone (Heart – Alone) to this should never be done (Rihanna)
        Durbin has come the closest to being memorable.
        Ryan has major douche moves, and so does production with those teary eyed proud parents pre-performance montages… I don’t know how, this didn’t get posted as a reply :S

      • Mary M. says:

        I think Seacrest is the least of their problems. I can’t for the life of me understand why those producers seem to be hell-bent on rehashing all those major Season 8 theme shows. Oh and you might want to get your facts straight before you start knocking people. This was NOT the week Ryan forced Didi to tell fokls why she chose that song. Did had already made the Top 10 and was the first to be sent home thus leaving 9 potential contendors for the title!I will, however, not lie. Ryan did indeed make matters worse by doing what he did. I am not saying his intentions were bad as it doesn’t exactly require a rocket scientist to tell he he ‘really liked’ Didi Benami. He knew her chances of staying in the competition were pretty slim after delivering a rather mediocre rendition of What Becoomes Of The Broken-Hearted. That’s why he was trying to GET Didi to pander to the ‘sympathy vote’. So in a way you can say he was just trying to help her out but ended up making matters worse by choosing the wrong approach. I don’t think Ryan is a douche or a bad guy he just doesn’t think with his head once attached to a certain contestant.

    • Delon says:

      Are we to understand that when they say Motown, the singers should be exclusively singing material that was released through the Motown label? If so, the theme should be R&B and Soul night, which would broaden the choices that the contestants might have. If i hear Heatwave and Sugar Pie “F.U.” Bunch one more time on this show i will slash my wrists!!!

  4. Jewels83 says:

    Erykah Badu’s On & On is motown? that would be interesting and weird to hear Stefano sing that. I would give that one to Naime and her song to Stefano. Actually, I would love to hear him sing ‘It feels good’ by TTT.

  5. dj says:

    Are you kidding me, Slezak? Your lineup just included two more of the most boring Diana Ross songs ever. Haven’t we had enough boring Diana Ross songs already this season? 1 = too many. Plus, Paul singing “Love Hangover”? To quote Jordan, “No. Just no.”

    • darclyte says:

      I think it’d be fun to have Casey perform “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James on his stand up bass….if nothing else than to play off his “sexy” status….plus the killer bass line. While it’s not technically Motown, it was on Barry Gordy’s label “Gordy.”

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Yes to darclyte – Casey singing anything by Rick James would be good, and I agree with dj – HELL to the NO for Paul singing “Love Hangover”. That is a horrible song anyway – wasn’t most of it a dance track? It’s right up there with that “Flying High Now” song from “Rocky”.

    • Luis Boki says:

      I guess Europeans, Asians and Australians made “When You Tell Me You Love Me” twice in less than a decade because it was a boring song.

      What is boring is your tired conversation about virtually nothing.

  6. Robin says:

    Oh Micheal, you are optimistic.
    Because Casey’s totally going to do I Heard it Through the Grapevine and somebody’s doing Heat Wave – probably Naima or maybe Hailey.
    Casey *should* do Does Your Mama Know About Me and somebody *needs* to do I Wish It Would Rain – could Durbin pull this off? Maybe. Or maybe Stephano could do a better job.
    I say Pia’s gonna do Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Celine!) and I want to hear Paul do his take on You Can’t Hurry Love.
    I’m giving You’ve Really got a Hold on Me to Lauren and hoping she does something fabulous with it.
    And whoever is left are people I refuse to admit are still in the competition (though I’m gonna just say now that if Thia does ABC for her ‘uptempo’ I’m gonna have to watch through slitted fingers)

    • Michael says:

      I officially declare you song picker for the rest of the season. Those songs are perfect for their voices.

    • Delirious says:

      For Thia… Maybe they’ll continue with the bland stuff, and give her My Guy? Although maybe we’ll be lucky, they’ll give it to Haley, and it’ll finally get her kicked out :P

      Now seriously, what about: Baby Love for Thia; Papa Was A Rolling Stone for Durbin; Hello (yeah, I’m taking it to the 80s, so what :P ) for Casey, but as Michael said, with upright bass and all; Don’t Leave Me This Way for Naima; a country-ized version of the Jackson 5’s I’ll Be There for Scotty (tho I like Michael’s choice, too); You Keep Me Hanging On for Haley, I Want You Back for Lauren; Keep On Truckin’ for Jacob… Can’t really argue your choices for Pia and Paul… And let Stefano rip it out with Reach Out (I’ll Be There)!

      I know I took some risks there, but that’s the fun of doing this, right?

    • pfitz says:

      You are soooo right that someone will do You Can’t Hurry Love, and it’s likely to be Paul…

    • jessica b. says:

      I think Paul would really nail a very emotional She&Him version of “you’ve really got a hold on me”. I don’t think it’s the right song for Lauren, not at all.

  7. evs says:

    Thia could also go for Endless love :D . She possibly heard it on Friends when she was in dipers!

  8. Mcgee says:

    Brilliant choices! Especially for Naima and Stefano; those are two of my all time fav songs. Lil Lauren channelling Ross would be sublime as well. Though I grew up with the Commodores’ hit, I can’t not hear Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat singing “Fee times a Mady”.

    Any idea whether any of these contemporary Motown tuned are on the approved list?

  9. m says:

    so i think papa was a rolling stone would be kinda perfect for james (aka his backstory) but the whole time i would be comparing him to allison iraheta so he shouldnt even try.

  10. JD says:

    I’m not sure what everyone should sing, but i think Casey can pull a strip down Let’s Get It On. He’s trying hard to be sexy so i can see that being his choice. That or Papa Was a Rolling Stone. I can also see Haley seeing Papa too, but i love ur choice too.

    I won’t be surprised if more than half the song choices from Season 8 will be used again this week.

  11. Lilo says:

    Stefano needs to sing Oh Girl by the Chi-Lites. And at least one of the girls should sing something by the Marvelettes. Either Mr. Postman or Playboy would be fun, up-beat and sassy. Three things which are greatly needed from this bunch.

    • wendeeloo says:

      I like your choices – Nobody ever does Mr Postman! And Playboy is a ‘deep’ cut – I wish you were making the choices.

  12. cal says:

    Michael, I’m intrigued by your pick for Paul! I think he could also do something great with Just My Imagination by the Temptations.

  13. evs says:

    Idol machine aside, I just want to hear an interpretation of a song I want to replay over and over. Thus far, this season hasn’t paid off. And the song choices have been majorly weird; from overdone (Heart – Alone) to this should never be done (Rihanna) :D
    Durbin has come the closest to being memorable.
    Ryan has major douche moves, and so does production with those teary eyed proud parents pre-performance montages…

  14. DN says:

    If Little Richard was Motown, that’s who James Durbin should cover. How about Durbin beltking out a little “Long Tall Sally”?

  15. Danielle Notaro says:

    I bet somebody will do Tracks Of My Tears a la Adam Lambert- that was one of his best songs.

    I’m thinking Casey ought to REALLY take advantage of this category. Since he nailed his Ray Charles audition piece showing us he can sing soul -in fact that’s been his best or one of his best performances. He should find something gruff-one of the Temps songs or Otis Redding.

    This should be hopefully an entertaining night.

  16. Caroline says:

    I was thinking of James for “I Can’t Get Next to You.”

  17. ladyhelix says:

    I’ve gone with more mainstream songs since the voters haven’t been kind to those who sang less familiar numbers (even when they sang them well Lauren/Haley/etc.). That said NO ONE should sing that sappy “Three Times a Lady”. EVER

    * Paul “I just called to say I love you”

    * Scotty -“Ben”, or “Can’t Hurry Love”

    Marvin Gaye’s “You’re all i need to get by” for either Stefano, or Pia. or they could duet on it, or duet on “Ain’t no Mountain High enough”!! OK, sorry. Solos??

    * Pia – “I Will Survive” (uptempo with spunk, no placid smiles, and realistic gestures). Can she do it?

    * Stefano – “I’m going to make you love me”

    * Haley could writhe around to “I Second That Emotion”.

    * Let Naima put her spin on “If I Were Your Woman” – or she could sing it straight. As long as it’s in tune I’ll buy it

    * Casey – “Shop around” with the upright base (cutting often to his adorable mother in the audience)

    * James “Do you Love me” (I was going to say Edwin Starr’s “WAR”, but it’s been a rough week)

    * Jacob – a dramatic diva song like “Touch me in the morning” or the Theme from Mahogany (“Do you Know..”)

    * Lauren “Got to be There” (or pick another – but you must show us your chops sweetie!!)

    (If you’ve already suggested these I’m sorry – I got lost in the music and it took me a while to finish this!!!)

    • Emma says:

      Yeah, sadly, “WAR” would be too controversial for Idol this week. No social messages allowed in IDOL, unless they are about civil rights and stopping of wars thar already ended 40 years ago.

  18. jazzy says:

    I have always thought that anything Spinners would be good for Jacob, I happen to be a fan but he’s got to pull it back or else. I prefer One of a Kind Love Affair.

    Durbin choice is genius, have to think about the others.

    No! Brick House for Casey, another song that should be banned entirely.

    Someone should sing Don’t Leave Me This Way. Intense, awesome, pleading. (Casey? Pia?)

    This Ole Heart of Mine has already been done by Rod Stewart or I would suggest it for Paul.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I also suggested “Don’t Leave Me this Way” for Pia. I think it would be a good number for her. She needs to pick up the tempo.

  19. Christina says:

    Slezak you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think that the songs will be “Superstition”, ” Sugar Pie Honey Bunch”, “Your Love is Like a Heatwave.” Nigel has probably given them a list of 25 of the tried and true Motown songs from Idol past. This is a theme that needs to be retired ASAP!

    • marie says:

      I’m sadly sure you’re right, Christina. Was about to post just about the same myself. I’d bet all those songs are in there, and I’m sure the song choice list is, as you say, very limited. This promises to be one very boring show tonight. Unfortunately, I think everyone’s more creative suggestions are probably an exercise in futility. I’ll happily eat my hat if they really do come up with new choices tonight instead of the same old, same old we’ve heard over and over again on Idol. Yawn. Maybe I’ll clean my bathroom instead.

  20. Linda says:

    I’d love to hear one of them tackle “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. Maybe Stefano?

    • CMJ says:

      Clearly Linda, you KNOW that Alaina is the Queen of Inappropriate song choice. IF anyone is going to singe Sexual Healing, it will be Lauren Alaina, while standing in front of Steven Tyler and gyrating away as only a pole dancer could.

      • darcy's evil twin says:


        CMJ I can’t handle the thought!

        the Melissa Etheridge number last week was bad enough!

        • B says:

          Lauren is horrible with her song choices. None of her song choices are fantastic…she just chooses songs to make her voice sound better. I’m sick of her.

  21. Melanie says:

    I think Scotty on a countrified version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” would be awesome, just ’cause it’s so low.
    For Naima, she should do something by India.Arie, who is on the Motown label. Maybe “I Am Not My Hair”?
    Jacob should do “War,” and totally camp it up. Can’t you see him doing that fabulous “Aaaaaaaabsolutely NOTHING”?

    Man, I want somebody to do “I’m Coming Out.” I don’t think Idol’s going to allow that, though. Ah well.

    • melikey says:

      I was just thinking that “Ready for Love” from India.Arie would be perfect for Naima =) Hope she and all of them can sing something that’s not been done a thousand times before on Idol! *crosses fingers*

  22. Margie B. says:

    Michael, I love most of your Motown song suggestions. And I must thank you for having Melinda Doolittle on Idoloonies a couple of weeks back. That’s how I found out she was on tour, and we drove 3 hours to San Luis Obispo to see her last night. She was unbelievable–best concert we’ve ever seen by far (and not just AI alumni concerts)! We lucked into first-row seats, which was the icing on the cake. She sang not 5 feet from us and had a lot of audience interaction. Since her AI days she has gained a lot more confidence and her voice has gotten even stronger. No pitchiness there! So glad she’s found her niche. Thanks again.

  23. IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

    What I don’t understand is this: Before the season started, Nigel Lythgoe told us there would be no genre themes. So why is he allowing this? What did these kids do to make him go back on his word? What will poor Scotty do?! Let’s hope he’s good at arrangements!

    • DonDDD says:

      What did they do? They were boring! Two weeks of fairly open themes and it was a snoozefest. Moreso last week than the first week, but still. So boring. I’m sure Nigel realized that seeing a contestant (like Pia or Scotty) do the exact same thing/style every week does not make good tv. Being able to change a song to fit their style would at least be somewhat refreshing, and forcing them out of their comfort zone is what show is partially about.

  24. Vetle says:

    Actually I could see Stefano do “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (miss Allison I. will triumph no matter who sings it though).

    I remember David Hernandez did it, and Stefano really reminds me of a David Hernandez with better vocals, and a really good chance to win.

    But hey… let’s do it… motown. Yay… <_<

  25. Ablo says:

    Erykah Badu’s “On & On” — not sure that’s in this category.

  26. marygrace says:

    This was the night of Tears of a Clown and Papa was a Rolling Stone, two of my fav idol performances and the only ones I still youtube occaisionally. Bring on Motown….but a warning…the standard is very high!!

  27. PFitz says:

    It’s clear from comments from past Idols and the woeful selections of the last two weeks that Idol won’t shell out the bucks to clear more than a very minimal set list of options for the contestants to sing. (I suspect songs costs them a LOT more when they are done in full performance, along with iTunes replay, than it does when they are brief snippets sung in the audition process….) [Indeed, Slezak, it would be great for you all…or your former colleagues back at EW…to do some investigative reporting into how many songs are cleared and what are the costs, etc. etc. It’s a piece of the Idol puzzle I’ve never seen fully explored….]

    Anyway, given the likely clearance issues, and the fact that the contestants are too young to have heard anything from Motwon but the overplayed stuff that’s still in rotation on classic and lite radio stations (and elevators and Walmarts) adds up to a dim prediction for Wednesday night.

    • marie says:

      Agree with everything you’ve said, PFitz. These kids ARE too young to be familiar with anything but the most overplayed recordings of the Mowtown catalog. Tonight threatens to be a real snoozer…ZZZZZZzzzzzzzz….

  28. Gary_V says:


    Kenny Rogers never performed the Commodores “Three Times a Lady”. He did “Lady” a totally different ballad written by Richie in the 80s. Rogers was the first to record “Lady”. though Lionel also later recorded it.

    “Three Times a Lady” was covered by Conway Twitty, however, and reached #7 on the Country chart.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Actually he did indeed cover “Three Times a Lady.” Click on Kenny’s hotlinked name in my post…it’ll take you to a live version of the song from (of all places) The Mandrell Sisters show from back in the day.

  29. Holly says:

    Pia singing Teena Marie? That could work, but does she have enough “soul” to pull it off? Unfortunately, Kendra was the one who made me think of Teena Marie – it would have been awesome to hear her sing anything by Teena.

  30. oriharakaoru says:

    I think part of the problem may be the choices the contestants are given. We assume they have the whole Motown catalogue to choose from, but I have a feeling the actual list is much, much smaller than that.

    Remember last year when you interviewed (High School Student) Aaron Kelly and he was shocked at the list they put out on iTunes and said their actual choices were much more restricted?

    Of course, that’s not to say that even with fewer choices contestants can’t make it work for them. They just have to be extra smart and find an arrangement that works for them. Unfortunately for us, I think it’ll probably mean hearing the same songs we’ve heard before because, for whatever reason, Idol refuses to clear more songs for the contestants to sing.

  31. blingedup.susan says:

    I don’t know what specific song each Idol should sing, but I just had to say that I am SO HAPPY to see that there will be a genre theme. I was getting really worried about the boredom that was going to set in while watching the same ol’, same ol’ each week. I’m really relieved that Nigel changed his mind. He must have seen that they needed to add a little something different to the weeks ahead.

    Bring on Motown! I couldn’t be happier to see genre themes return. Hope they continue for the rest of the season.

  32. Lizbeth says:

    Not only to these contestants get a short list–but now Jimmy Iovine has to approve their song choice. SO, even if they pick a decent song–Iovine can nix it.

    • CMJ says:

      Where do you get this information that Iovine can veto a contestant’s song choice, or is this one of the fun crackpot conspiracy theories floating around out there.

      Frankly, I’m more interested in seeing what the short list is, rather than what the contestants “should” sing. Most of those “shoulds” fall into “shoulda, woulda, coulda”

      • Lizbeth says:

        I read it in a major newspaper article this weekend. A contestant picked a song–Jimmy I said he didn’t like it. So, then the contestant tried to choose a couple of other songs, but those songs would not clear. So, the contestant ended up doing something else–and felt it was a disadvantage.
        I won’t say which contestant–cause could cause backlash–although I guess TPTB know about it.
        I also dont’ think we are going to have those water-cooler moments too much this year. I think the record producers are approving and doing the song arrangements. That’s why everything is so canned

        • f/a says:

          So a contestant changed based on feedback from Jimmy? That isn’t the same as Jimmy saying a performer CANNOT do the song. Reread what you read: “Jimmy didn’t like it so the contestant tried to choose a couple of other songs” Unless it says “Jimmy said the contestant would not, or could not perform the song” I think you’ve jumped to the wrong conclusion.

          Sounds like a contestant wasn’t bold enough to defend their own choices very well

    • DonDDD says:

      Iovine cannot nix the song, that’s a complete falsehood. The contestants can pick any song/arrangement they want. Granted, they may not want to piss Iovine off or they’ll take his suggestion, but they still have final say.

      • Lizbeth says:

        Do you really think if Jimmy I said that he doesn’t like their song selection and to go choose something else–these kids are going to defy him? Would it be in the contestant’s best interest get on Jimmy Iovine’s bad side. The idol is better off doing the song that Jimmy I approves and hoping to get thru to the next week

        • CMJ says:

          Gotta agree with DonDDD. You’re ASSUMING that Jimmy said “go choose something else.” Your recap of what you read doesn’t say ANYWHERE that Jimmy forced anyone to change from their first choice on the (certainly ungodly) list they were presented. Maybe you think that was implied in the message…particularly given your follow up comment “Do you really think…” I don’t deny that defying Jimmy may have certain risks, but honey, unless you’re affiliated with the show or come up with more concrete evidence than implication, your assertions are merely that: ASSERTIONS, and kinda lame at that. Sorry.

  33. DonDDD says:

    I will bet good money that Durbin will try to pull a Lambert with a slow, modified song. He’s not quite following Lambert exactly, but I can’t forget the name dropping and then performing A Change Is Gonna Come during auditions and Hollywood week. If he’s smart, he’ll go completely in the opposite direction and do something uptemp that cannot be compared in anyway. Not that he has the higher register control to pull off something like Track of My Tears, but it’d be best if he steered clear anyway. I’m slowly becoming a fan, so I don’t want to dislike him again.

  34. Lizbeth says:

    I don’t like The Brick House song for Casey. I don’t remember it having much melody. I haven’t heard it i a long time–but I do remember hating the song–LOL

    I think a jazzy type version of Mercy, Mercy Me would be great. Plus, on a selfish note–I really like that song

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Lizabeth – how have you ever survived a wedding reception if you don’t like “Brick House”? :-)

      I hope you at least like “YMCA”.

      • Lizbeth says:

        BWAHAHA! That song is why everyone gets drunk at weddings!!

        Of course I like YMCA. One of the best songs ever written. I wouldn’t make a playlist on my itunes without including it–LOL

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          that settles it, Lizabeth – there must be a Village People night. Unfortunately it will have to be when we’re down to the Top Three because I think they only had three songs!

          • CMJ says:

            ok ok…shame! I’ve been listening to the BEST OF VILLAGE PEOPLE today.
            Macho Man
            Can’t Stop the Music (that’s a group performance)
            In Hollywood (everybody is star)
            Ready for the 80’s
            Key West
            In the Navy
            Fire Island (with some not-family friendly lyrics)
            Go West
            Hot Cop
            Village People (a sure vote off song)

            So there’s 10 songs plus a group performance. WE HAVE NEXT WEEK’S THEME!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Wow, CMJ – I am impressed and I stand corrected! I did not realize the Village People had such a large, vast catalog of music. Well, who knew? And props to you for digging out those gems.

            We do indeed have the theme for the first Top Ten week, and by golly there can’t be more than a range of three or four notes on any of those songs so we won’t be hearing any “pitchy” performances!

            Any contestant that dresses like one of the Village People should get extra credit!

    • S. Lee Stack says:

      “I don’t like The Brick House song for Casey. I don’t remember it having much melody.”

      so in other words, its perfect for Casey?

    • marie says:

      Agree, Lizbeth, Brick House has no melody to speak of, and Casey has disappointed and done his talent NO favors with JUST that kind of np-tune song for the past couple-few weeks. Ugh. I’ve been dying to hear him SING again, a la “Georgia” and “Why Don’t You Do Right.” Whatever he chooses – I hope he SINGS it!

  35. TwigLA says:

    I really love Motown, but we’ll get the same songs on their short list of 20 that we get every year. They’ll be sure to give their favorites the better ones on that list or maybe some slight deviation never heard on the Idol stage :::cough::: I just hope a non-fave (I’m looking at YOU! Naima) takes a mutt and makes it a Best in Show.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      TwigLA – I was thinking the same thing about the same old tired songs and I hope to heck we’re both wrong.

      If anyone sings “Heat Wave” or “My Girl” I am muting the TV!

  36. darcy's evil twin says:

    I love me some Motown! It’s the music I grew up with! There’s a lot of variety there and surely everyone can find something that suits them and their style. But we’re REALLY going to miss Lauren Turner next week. :-(

    I would give Paul McDonald The Spinners’ “Rubber Band Man”. think about it, people. :-)
    James should do the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout” or maybe Rick James’ “You and I”.
    Scotty should sing Lionel Ritchie’s “Deep River Woman”, which was on the country charts in the late 80s. Another suggestion – I’m not sure if this would count but for a short time Motown owned a country label (Hitsville? I think) – Scotty could sing T.J. Sheppard’s great song, “Devil in the Bottle”, which was on that label.
    Stephano should sing Smokey Robinson&The Miracles’ “Second that Emotion”.
    Slezak, I agree with your pick for Casey – “Brick House”. Hands down!

    As for the girls, I just don’t care as much, but here’s a few random thoughts – I did not like Haley AT ALL during Hollywood week and was a bit perplexed when she made it through to the Top 12, but I’m sincerely liking her more and more every time I listen to her sing. I don’t understand everyone clobbering on her for her attitude. I’m finding her refreshing and I don’t want to see the judges give her “The Katie Roberts ‘sing this, no don’t sing THAT/let’s confuse the heck out of you” treatment. I thought J-Lo’s advice was good last week. I see Haley singing Teena Marie long before I can fathom Pia doing Teena Marie. Go Haley!

    I like Pia but she’ll probably do some sappy DeBarge or Diana Ross song. she should kick it up – maybe sing The Jacksons’ “Enjoy Yourself” or Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way”.

    Naima and Thia need to start packing – yesterday. What in the world…have we become so PC that we can’t say Naima was a total waste of a wild card pick? (Miss you, Lauren Turner). Everyone says Naima is “beautiful” and “interesting”. Sorry, Pia is beautiful. I guess I’ll agree with “interesting”. Thia is just boring as heck. I honestly don’t care what they sing next week -let’s do a double elimination and send them both home and Jacob can carry their luggage on his way out as well. Lauren is barely tolerable for me and she can go as well but she’s going to hang around a while, unfortunately.

  37. Elizabeth says:

    Midnight Train to Georgia belongs to the cast of 30 Rock since that season finale… that version is stuck in my head way-worse than any Idol re-imagining! :)

    • tekkie says:

      Midnight Train to Georgia was done by Crystal Bowersox and done extremely well. I don’t see any of the girls matching her perfomance on this one, but I think Casey could flip it on it’s head and nail it with the bass and his vocals if he had a mind to. I am hoping that Casey will get back to his singing this week and leave the wookie vocals behind, because I really love his voice and the musicality he brings. Georgia was spectacular for him and I think he’s kinda let the growl thing go to his head, which could bode for an early ouster once the cannon fodder is all gone.

      I’m not sure if we should attribute the failings this season to the contestants or the producers. I guess it’s both because I have yet to buy a single track from idol, and I’m usually excited about at least one or two performers by this time.

      Here’s hoping the Idol show isn’t a train wreck again this week. Oh and someone give Jacob back to the gospel producers if he’s not going to curtail the unnecessary caterwalling.

  38. Debbie M says:

    Why oh why do the producers keep forcing them to do a Motown week while at the same time forcing it down their throats that they need to be “current??”

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Debbie M – is it my imagination or have we not heard the word “current” as much this season?

      Unfortunately “current” doesn’t work well on the live stage – so much of today’s music has no melody, is overproduced, heavy on the electronics, and reliant on a lot of eye-candy dancers. (did everyone see the Black Eyed Peas last week? Yikes).

      Well, it’s not as bad as last season when they nagged Katie Stevens and Tim Urban to “be young – we want to see you have fun”, and then Ryan announced the next theme was “The Rolling Stones”. Right. Because nothing says being young and having fun like housewives taking uppers, committing suicide right on stage, and the masters doing the wild thing with the slaves. ;-)

      (By the way, I got Katie’s last name wrong earlier in a post. Sorry – Katy Roberts is a teacher I know!).

  39. ginaM says:

    I hope Alaina does not read your suggestion Michael. That is one the few Diana songs that I like. I don’t want to see Alaina trying to put a country spin on it and butchering it.

  40. agrimesy says:

    When I read it was Motown week, I immediately remembered the Vegas episode and how some of the contestants had never heard of the Beatles! Some of those performances fell flat because they couldn’t connect to the music. I fear the same thing for this theme. Motown music has an element of celebration, but there’s also that bare bones quality of “warts and all” survival that I don’t believe this top 12 can understand. When Marvin Gaye sang “What’s Goin’ On?” he took me to the civil rights movement. When Gladys Knight sang “Midnight Train to Georgia” I understood the agony of choosing love. Soul and R&B have very deep roots. I hate to see these kids fake it. Perhaps sensitivity is too much to hope for. Last week, I’d have been satisfied if they had all simply hit their notes on key.

  41. Nikki says:

    Casey – “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).” He could do well on “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye version), but it’s a little more of a predictable choice. I’m hoping he doesn’t do anything hipster-ish like sing “War,” “I Want You Back,” or “I’ll Make Love to You.”

    Haley – “You Can’t Hurry Love”

    Jacob – “Dancing in the Street” or “Do You Love Me.”

    James – “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” or “I Second That Emotion”…but I think he could totally kill “My, My, My” by Johnny Gill.

    Lauren – “Baby Love”

    Naima – “Someday We’ll Be Together”

    Paul – “The Way You Do the Things You Do”…but will probably sing “How Sweet It Is” because of the James Taylor connection.

    Pia – “Stop! In the Name of Love”

    Scotty – “Get Ready”

    Stefano – “Shop Around”…but will probably end up singing a more predictable choice by Stevie Wonder, like “Sir Duke.”

    Thia – “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”

  42. Joseph@rtvc says:


    These song choices are far too obscure, dude! I mean, I totally agree with you that it does sometimes get annoying when people sing the same consistently, but at the same time you have to sing songs that the audience is familiar with.

  43. betsy says:

    I disagree with all the suggestions. If anybody does Midnight Train to Georgia, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, etc. I’m going to gag because it’s all been done a million times and I’d really like to see something new and GOOD.

    that said, I really love that you gave us something to read and think about (regarding AI) while we wait for Idoloonies. Thanks :)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      “Sugar Pie, Honey bunch” is actually called “Can’t help myself”, I believe.

      I can remember being at a party as a kid and there was a Four Tops album there. I was looking for “Sugar Pie, Honey bunch” on the album, though, because I wanted to hear it!

      But I’m with you, Betsy. If someone sings Sugar Pie, Honey bunch I am hitting the mute button.

  44. Hope F. LeSane says:

    They should sing nothing. Nigel and Ken should retire Motown. It’s old and boring and not current. UNLESS someone can pull a Kris Allen and make a song spectacularly different or better…eg. Ain’t No Sunshine, She Works Hard For the Money, Heartless…then it’s best to not sing motown at all.

    However, if they have to sing Motown…I’d go back a bit earlier and sing something like Ben E. King’s “I Who Have Nothing”. Or from the Temps…perhaps “Just My Imagination”.

    And PLEASE…NO “I CAN’T HELP MYSELF”. It’s been done to death already. Let it RIP.

  45. darcy's evil twin says:

    It might be just my imagination, and it might be against all odds to expect that if someone can’t help themselves they might sing “Heat Wave”, or “My Girl”, but we can all say Hallelujah if they don’t!

  46. csunybvf says:

    HALEY FOR IDOLS 2011!!!!

  47. DCW says:

    Rare Earth, Motowns only rock band. should supply the tunes for James and Casey. “I Know I’m Losing You” or “Get Ready”

  48. Peter L. says:

    Don’t know if all these songs would be eligible to be sung on Motown Week, but here are my suggestions:

    Casey – “When a Man Loves a Woman”
    Jacob – “Always and Forever”
    James – “Dancing in the Street”
    Paul – “Cruisin'”
    Scotty – “Ain’t No Sunshine”
    Stefano – “Tears of a Clown”

    Haley – “My Guy”
    Lauren – “Respect”
    Naima – “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
    Pia – “Nowhere to Run”
    Thia – “Theme from ‘Mahogany'”

    • Robin says:

      James- Higher ground
      Pia- Don’t leave me this way
      Scotty- Baby I need your lovin’
      Lauren- You really got a hold on me
      Stephano- Livin’ for the city
      Niama- I’m coming out
      Thia-Theme from Mahogany
      Paul- This old heart of mine
      Haley- Nowhere to run

  49. Templar says:

    I’m thinking maybe Pia would do OK with the Shoop Shoop song. She needs to wake up and get a bit more energetic.

  50. Olga V. says:

    I think the contestants should cover the following amazing artists:

    Bob Dylan
    John Denver
    Bonnie Raitt
    Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood MAC
    Nina Simone

    Songs written by these artists are timeless and it would be difficult to screw them up, the songs speek for themselves and the contestants can put their own spin on them. I wish my sole purpose in life was to pick the appropriate songs for the contestants! Would be so much fun!