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 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. 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

  2. Euro Disco night
    Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis night
    Disney Movie Theme Songs night
    Boy Bands night
    Girl Group night

    • deedee says:

      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!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      “Euro disco night”??????????

  3. Fernando says:

    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?

  4. Robin says:

    I just read that the theme for top 8 week will be Motown. *le sigh*

  5. Adam Fachry says:

    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.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      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.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      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.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        Kim Carnes, etc.

        • Adam Fachry says:

          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.

  6. Guitar Blue says:

    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..

  7. Evan says:

    So you want to make Devin, Lazaro, and Burnell sing about girls? Ha- that’d be entertaining for sure.

  8. Joe Strummer says:

    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.

  9. shannon says:

    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.