Idol Exclusive: Top 9 Week Theme Is [Spoiler]!

American Idol Top 9 themeAmerican Idol‘s Top 9 contestants are about to strike some minor chords — Rickey Minor, that is.

Indeed, the theme for next Wednesday’s performance telecast (8/7c on Fox) will be “(I’m With the) Band)!,” during which each of the remaining Season 13 hopefuls will serve as the lead singer for the show’s musical director Rickey Minor and his merry crew of players.

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The theme is pretty open-ended, considering the Top 9 will be able to choose personal favorite ditties, but they’ll need to hone in on tunes that bring out their inner front-man or -woman.

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Stoked about another week that’s not rigidly rooted in “Disco” or “Motown”? Any early suggestions for what you want your faves to sing? Sound off in the comments!


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. Tusk says:

    Aka sing whatever :P

    • Dresdin says:

      The contestant becomes the lead singer out in front of the house band. Isn’t that what happens on every single episode of American Idol?

    • justsaying says:

      which has been pretty much what every week has been. look, i applaud them for opening the catalog to more current music. the problem with that is that most modern pop music does not showcase anyone’s vocal abilities. they have little in the way of melodies. they are hook heavy and beat heavy. one reason i think country is so big right now is because it still relies on actual melodies with their hooks and storytelling. country now is what pop music used to be. it pisses off country “purists”, but country isn’t country anymore. the only thing that makes it country is the instrumentation or the twang of the singer. getting back on topic, though. if a song only has four notes, and the singer is not talented at arranging music and/or knowing their vocal instrument, the result is going to be BORING and/or BAD. Hence, why you have so many people complaining about this season. One reason people who play instruments make it further on this type of show is because they have at least a BASIC understanding of how music arranging works and instrumentation. Rant over.

      • Ben says:

        You are completely right. For me, Jena was an example of this this week.

      • Tom22 says:

        Did you happen to see The Voice 5 Cole Vosbury’s (country artist !) rendition of the the 2012 R&B/Hip Hop hit Adorn by Miguel ? It was tremendous in my opinion, but even if you didn’t like it you’ve got to agree it showcased a singing voice.

        Even if you find (as some did) her voice a bit shrill in the high notes…..Jaquie Lee on The Voice 5 a few months ago sung a highily rhythmic 2012 Serena Ryder Hit.

        Whether or not you like it, it certainly allowed her to show off a alto notes and have a wide enough singing range demonstrated (again you might find her voice shrill but the song had pleanty of singing despite the rhythm

        I don’t think we can sugar coat it. There is either inadequate investment by Idol in their band (including practice time) … arrangement talent pulled too thin, or musicians inexperienced with each other , unable to deftly respond to the tremendous pressure of learning many new songs each week. I might also fault them for not doing their homework in the off season to be able to fall into new habits instead of expecting motown chords to have Motown rhythms. I wonder if they expect background singers to be able to come in nearly cold ? I wonder if the Producer is being a cheepskate?

        Those are just two examples. There were many modern songs a few months back on The Voice 5 and a band and music production squad up to do the task with flying colors.

        I learned about so many newer groups and songs it was impressive, and very enjoyable to me.

        People might not like the format…but it is a complete cop out if any idol producers say it is too hard to get great productions of new songs….. they just haven’t made a first class effort to do so…second rate on a high budget show is really befuddling.

      • AliAle says:

        I must disagree, maybe music with big hooks and beats is what’s big right now, but the diversity is enormous if you look at the whole industry (and especially if you take into account indie artist as well). Pick an Adele or Florence (and the Machine) song and there’s a lot of melody. Go to a more indie oriented band and again, you have gorgeous tunes.
        The problem is that I’m not sure how open their catalogue is.

  2. Chablis says:

    I’m not sure I understand the theme entirely :-(

    • Tom22 says:

      Maybe they mean.the singers need to pick a song that the band learned a long time ago with rhythms and chords the band can get their heads around without outside help. And one the 50 year old singing coaches could “get” too. When did Randy play for journey? Maybe they could call it 70’s night instead. !

  3. So they get to do what they have been doing. I feel like the band has been part of the show the whole time. :) What’s the point of these theme weeks at this time if they can just sing whatever they want? My favorite was Ben singing “Rocket Man” from ’27 Dresses’ to represent a movie song. C’mon. Why bother saying these are theme weeks? Just let it be what it really is, which is sing whatever you want, that’s fine, let them do it, but don’t try to disguise it as something else, they aren’t kidding anyone.

  4. How is this different than every other week?

  5. Ben says:

    I guess this theme is ‘no acoustic songs week’? So, no Jena at the piano, no Alex behind a guitar? Not sure.

    • AliAle says:

      I don’t think so. I guess they need to come as close to a band lead vocalist as possible. Maybe they bring out the band on stage, closer to them.
      You could still have the main vocal at the piano (Cris Martin/Matthew Bellamy style) or at the guitar.

  6. Fugbegone says:

    I’d like someone to tackle Live Like We’re Dying. :) Good luck with that though.

    • justsaying says:

      that song, while a catchy pop top 40s tune, is not all that you’re trying to make it out to be. i hate to bust your bubble. 50 years from now, people won’t be singing it and saying it was a classic.

      • Mary says:

        What’s your point, name one pop song today that people will be singing and say it was a classic. I don’t think they were trying to make it out to be anything only that it would be entertaining having someone try and sing it. It is a very difficult song to sing live.

  7. David says:

    I’d love to hear Majesty Rose sing Something in the water by Brooke Fraser

  8. Tahoe Mike says:

    What’s the point? I hate these just do whatever you want themes. I want to see them forced out of their comfort zones. They don’t have to do the same old themes, come up with some new ones if they must, but define them and enforce them. I also kind of think that at least a few of the “Traditional,” themes should show up each year. It would give the feeling that these contestants are playing the same game that those who came before them did.

  9. Bonquisha says:

    What does this even mean? 😩

    • Stormy says:

      It would be cool if it was arena anthems. Unfortunately the fly in the ointment is Ricky Minor and the band. They are always drowning out the singer [that may be a tech problem].

  10. Karen O says:

    I think this theme has potential if encourages the contestants to play with rearranging their accompaniment. “Hey can I have some really kickbutt drums right here?” “Hey can you guys drop out here so I can sing this part alone?” They have an opportunity to fool around with a band, instead of rehearsing, leaving, and hoping nobody throws a last-minute key-change into their arrangement.

    • Chris says:

      That’s one of the big problems with this years contestants. None of them seem to have the ability or originality to do that. It seems to be a struggle to even hit the intended notes.

  11. Joe says:

    For all you people now complaining about lack of theme weeks, I hope you all get stuck in a endless loop of lousy performances of Eleanor Rigby, Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, Heat Wave, Jolene and all the other songs we’ve heard to death on this show. I love the new format and to see Slezak and Idoloonies lament the loss of the ridiculous overplayed themes is infuriating. The problem isn’t lack of themes. It’s lack of talent in the contestants this year. Everyone is just being a little bit too nice instead of focusing on how awful they cast this season.

  12. Dani says:

    But the band has messed up a couple times on the show already, and the contestant themselves took the hit for it. To be at the mercy of the band, we probably won’t hear the voices of the contestants next week.

  13. Jase says:

    No theme can save this crop of contestants. Still the worst group we’ve ever had on Idol. How many weeks now and not a SINGLE wow moment onstage from any of them.

  14. Linda says:

    I’m not sure why the contestants have to be taken out of their comfort zones. Don’t they get praised for “knowing who they are” when they sing a certain style consistently? Wouldn’t they go on to record in that style?

  15. Lynn says:

    Two observations: First, the only week that the performances weren’t generally bad was “Songs from the Cinema,” a theme week; and two, this is really going to favor the male contestants,especially Caleb, and Jessica, maybe even Jena. Maybe the votes for Caleb are sinking and they want to prop him up a bit. MK, Malaya and Majesty are not going to benefit from having to “front a band.”

    • April says:

      I don’t completely agree, because I don’t really see Sam fronting a bad either. But yah, it will favor the contestants who have more of a bandleader vibe.

      It would be mildly interesting if the band got to pick the songs, or were influential in the choice at least.

  16. Adam Fachry says:


  17. …that’s what they do every damn week

  18. Timmah says:

    If this means they all have to step out from under their guitars and pianos for one week, I’m all for it.

  19. J says:

    Maybe this means that there will be no solo performance. A band is needed. This is open-ended pretty much. These kids have to know what kind of artist they are and show it, to paraphrase Keith.

  20. Matt says:

    Jessica should do something from Halestorm. It will force her to loosen up and get out of the kind of flat tunes she’s been doing.

  21. Mary says:

    Is this for real? I have a feeling it is going to be disaster. The only contestant that can handle a band is Caleb, maybe Jena the rest are usually drown out because of the band. I like the fact no instruments many will fall apart.

    • am says:

      I agree. I’d prefer an acapella week, or a week with just the guitar/piano. Basically a week without the band!

  22. Kate says:

    God, I miss theme weeks! Weeks like ‘Barry Manilow” used to kill me, but I’d actually love to have them back…I miss the old Idol. :(

    • Stormy says:

      I’d like clearer definition of the themes. And different genre themes. Right now every week is kind of a crapshoot. Pick a songwriter and everyone has to pick from that catalog. Kris Kristofferson would be great. Everything from Bobby McGee to The Pilgrim. Jim Croce, John Mellancamp, Cole Porter, Elton, Bon Jovi, Bruce [think Sam singing I’m On Fire].

      • Joe says:

        Kris Kristofferson week. Really? REALLY? Oh God help you people.

        • Stormy says:

          TEHO Sure Kris Kristofferson. Why not? I could imagine Dexter doing “Just The Other Side of Nowhere” , Jessica doing “Me And Bobby McGee” [didn’t Crystal do it ?], Caleb doing “The Pilgrim”, Majesty doing “Help Me make It Through the Night”, Alex doing “Loving Her Was Easier”. The lyrics to some of his songs might be a bit problematic for Jena and Malaya, but this year they’ve already pushed that envelope. Granted I used Kris as an example of some of the great songwriter catalogs out there, but it’s doable.

    • Lori Ann says:

      I agree! We are not going to get many showstopper performances with the same old contemporary songs every week. It’s getting boring. Songs from the Cinema Week was the most enjoyable so far this season. A true American Idol should be able to sing everything from Motown to Adele, and everything in between! I, too, miss the old theme weeks and the old American Idol!

  23. seattlejohn449 says:

    perhaps this will help showcase Allison Iraheta’s singing in the background…I keep hearing mentions she is there but they keep her hidden

  24. waterbug says:

    i would love to hear Majesty sing something out of Santigold’s songbook–“You Know you want it”

  25. Teeny Bikini says:

    Why don’t they just admit that “theme nights” are no longer being done and get on with it? This is silly.

  26. darcy's evil twin says:

    Next week’s theme – SPOILER ALERT – “Songs from the year you, any other contestant, any former contestant, any of the judges, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Ryan Seacrest, Rickey Minor, Michael Slezak, or any of your friends/family/neighbors/classmates/pets were born”.

    • Stormy says:

      Don’t leave out anyone’s ancestors. LOL I’m waiting for Gregorian Chants week or Idol sings the Stephen Foster songbook.

  27. Terry says:

    OKAYYY, that’s… weird.

  28. gracelessk says:

    This would be a great week for a Fleetwood Mac cover. *cough* Meuse *cough

    • Stormy says:

      As I’ve posted elsewhere, if they did a duets night as they did with Scotty and Lauren in S10, I’d love for Jessica and Caleb to do “The Chain”.

  29. Kay H Ellsworth says:

    Some of these kids are really talented…. Alex is the most unique and I think he’s got what it takes. I think you will all be surprised by the performances this week.