American Idol: 22 Fresh Theme Nights That Need to Happen Right Now

Insanity is asking for American Idol to come up with new and different themes season after season after season and expecting Nigel Lythgoe will deliver anything other Motown Week, Lennon-McCartney Songbook and Hits From the Year You Were Born.

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But as a lifelong Idoloonie, unrealistic optimism isn’t just a mood, it’s a mother-flippin’ way of life!

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And thus, I’ve taken the liberty of cooking up a dozen fabulous fresh theme-night ideas, and adding them to the 10 I brainstormed around this time last year. So click through for the whole shebang, then take our poll to vote which of my suggestions you’d most like to see. When you’ve done all that, hit the comments with your own fresh ideas! And for all my Idol news, interviews, commentary and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.




Comments (140)

  • Madonna night
    stephen sondheim night.
    Pet Shop Boys night
    Kylie Minogue night (everybody probably will pick the same two song in last three categories)
    Janet Jackson night
    Bob Dylan night
    Bruce Springsteen night
    Cyndi Lauper night
    Sade night
    Destiny Child/Beyonce/Kelly Rowland/Michelle Williams night

    Comment by Chihchung Jj Yu – March 23, 2013 12:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Love Bob Dylan night!! Such a great and prolific songwriter. Plus it would really show the contestants arranging skills.

      Comment by Joe Strummer – March 23, 2013 12:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • yea. And we’d finally know what the heck the lyrics were, LOL.

        Comment by darcy's evil twin – March 25, 2013 07:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Actually, on his early albums before 1970,when he was at his peak, It is very easy to understand the lyrics.

          Comment by Joe Strummer – March 25, 2013 01:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Burnell has probably never heard of Bob Dylan.

        Comment by Joe Strummer – March 25, 2013 02:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Euro Disco night
    Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis night
    Disney Movie Theme Songs night
    Boy Bands night
    Girl Group night

    Comment by Chihchung Jj Yu – March 23, 2013 12:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Disney theme songs is not bad, although aren’t they mostly ballads?
      .
      I’d love a TV show theme song night. Some of the old theme songs are great, like “Welcome Back” from Welcome Back Kotter, or “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” from Cheers, or “I’ll Be There For You” from Friends. I’d kill to hear “Come On Get Happy” from The Partridge Family!

      Comment by deedee – March 23, 2013 12:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • “Euro disco night”??????????
      ick.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – March 25, 2013 07:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yeah I think we could REALLY do without Euro Disco Night or Boy Bands Night. shudders. Heck I’d sooner take a George Straight night and I don’t even know what that would mean other than I suspect I’d really, really not like it it. haha.

        Comment by HitTheGroundRunning – March 25, 2013 11:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • and Black Box and Snap!

          Comment by Chihchung Jj Yu – March 25, 2013 02:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • dead or alive, jimmy sommerville… the list goes on and on.

            Comment by Chihchung Jj Yu – March 25, 2013 02:32 PM PDT  
          • David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia. Hottest sound in pop music right now!!!

            Comment by Chihchung Jj Yu – March 25, 2013 03:23 PM PDT  
      • What’s wrong with Euro Disco? Songs from Bananarama, Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure. Even Donna Summer and Cher had Euro Disco albums…

        Comment by Chihchung Jj Yu – March 25, 2013 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They need to replace Motown night with a stax/volt night or muscle shoals sound night or sun records. They should replace their country night, which is always bland radio stuff, with a more traditional country night — Emmylou Harris or Merle Haggard themes. When they’ve gone way back to the 40s, we’ve had some great performances (Kelly Clarkson’s “Stuff LIke that There,” and Paris Bennett’s “These Foolish Things,” for example). So how about another WWII or Big Band night, which they haven’t done in several years? Would love an Americana or contemporary folk or alt-country night. Or maybe Diana Krall night or Dinah Washington night, to get a little jazz in there?

    Comment by Fernando – March 23, 2013 02:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just read that the theme for top 8 week will be Motown. *le sigh*

    Comment by Robin – March 23, 2013 04:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just need a New Wave night, pronto! Lol, I think I’ve mentioned this genre several times before on this post, but I can’t help it. Some of the more soulful, r&b-esque contestants like Candice or Amber would nail a Talking heads song circa More Songs Abut Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, and Remain In Light. David Byrne worked with that type of artists on those records. I’m already excited with the notion of Candice performing Houses In Motion.

    Comment by Adam Fachry – March 23, 2013 06:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh, so you are talking old school ‘new’ wave not real pop synth 80s New Wave. That is the problem with the term is sort of means everything.

      Comment by HitTheGroundRunning – March 23, 2013 10:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Eurythmics, ‘Til Tuesday, Duran Duran, a-ha, Simple Minds, Tears For Fears, Modern English, Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark, Alphaville, Dexys Mdnight Runners, The Go-Go’s, Bananarama, The Human League, INXS, Wang Chung, John Waite, Naked Eyes, Dan Hartman, The Buggles, Kim Wilde, The B-52′s, Cheap Trick, The Pretenders, Wham!, etc. etc.

      Comment by HitTheGroundRunning – March 24, 2013 12:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Kim Carnes, etc.

        Comment by HitTheGroundRunning – March 24, 2013 12:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I think it could work both ways. Contestants can choose anything from late 70s-80s new wave. I know it was fully-defined in the 80s and the late 70s one may be better associated with post-punk, but it’s just so overlooked. Come to think of it, it’s not exactly one of the most obscure genres done on Idol. Aside from the girl who did Sweet Dreams horribly, we’ve already got Adam Lambert singing Tears For Fears, and Jesse Langseth has done Bette Davis Eyes. I think your approach is better in terms of Idol demographic. 80s new wave is arguably more commercial. I mean, No Doubt scored a hit by covering Talk Talk’s It’s My Life even though it was only big in Europe.

          Comment by Adam Fachry – March 24, 2013 12:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There’s a licensing fee paid for every copyrighted song played on Idol. They make arrangements with some of the Publishing co’s/Labels/Artists or their representatives — that hold rights to the song(s).

    Since it gives the song a new level of exposure, and can be “bought by downloading” from I-Tunes, re-done by the Idol contestant — there is a payment flow back and forth — between the copyright holders and Idol for new recording -advertising – televised promo — of the song. I call this legal payolla. —————————- a good way to scratch the back of a linked associate and help a side investment the producers own some stock in.

    —————————————————————-
    That’s why we see these “songbooks” coming in, with a limited number of songs for the band to deal with —— because it’s another cash cow within the system, and is only arranged with certain entities —— that are part of the inner circle of E19 negotiations and other PTB’s within the Idol framework——————————————————————————

    If you are helping an artist to develop, define, express, identify and establish themselves — confining them to a 30 to 50 year-old songbook is not the way it’s done. Idol is about putting-on a show that sells mainly to a middle-age and slightly older audience. Selling “The Idol Production” is foremost, not helping stars to develop. If that happens, it’s a welcome by-product of the show itself.

    ——————The marketability of the contestants after the season, while desired, is still a secondary consideration. They can sign the top 2 or 3 and make some dollars from their popularity for a while, then —- cut em like David Cook, Lee Dewyze, Kris Allen, etc., if their exposure/popularity from the show begins to fade. ————————————————-

    That’s not a bad thing, but it’s just the business — and Idol isn’t going to take care of it’s herd that didn’t sell, down the road. The next season is always in the wings..

    Comment by Guitar Blue – March 23, 2013 08:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So you want to make Devin, Lazaro, and Burnell sing about girls? Ha- that’d be entertaining for sure.

    Comment by Evan – March 23, 2013 10:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How about “Wheel of Doom”!! They spin a wheel with songs on it and they MUST do the song that it landed on!! They can put some well known songs and some unknown songs up there from every genre.

    Comment by Joe Strummer – March 24, 2013 12:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh my gosh I LOVE that!

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – March 25, 2013 07:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would love to hear Amber sing a Sade song. She has that type of voice. Kree and Janell should do a duo and sing Love can build a bridge. Angie and Candice can sing anything they want and lazaro should just decline to sing anything and go home gracefully.

    Comment by shannon – April 9, 2013 08:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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