Bring in a group of a dozen or so A-list songwriters — think Kara DioGuardi, Ne-Yo, Ryan Tedder — and have them pitch new and existing material to the contestants. What better way to find out which of our Idol hopefuls has the ability to choose and deliver the hits of tomorrow?
Breaking up is hard to do, but singing about breaking up — the sadness, the rage, the feeling of picking oneself up and learning how to carry on — that’s the stuff from which great musical moments are created.
‘Steal a Song!’
Make the contestants choose from a list of every song covered by a member of the Season 11 Top 24 — from the audition phase all the way through the prior week — and see if they’ve got what it takes to top the prior rendition. After all, Idol is at its heart a competition series, not a luxurious, camera-filled sleep-away camp!
Where ballads become uptempo, uptempo tracks get slowed to a crawl, and midtempo ditties are forced to choose a side in the ongoing war of beats per minute! Anyone who’s grooved to Mariah Carey’s sensational extended dance remix of ‘Fantasy’ can pre-approve this message.
Song That’s in My iPod ‘100 Most Played’ List
Wait a second: Letting the Idols tackle music they already own and enjoy? I know, I know…when will I put an end to this kind of daft daydreaming?
Glee has certainly had some success sewing together disparate ditties (think ‘Someone Like You’/’Rumour Has It,’ or ‘Walking on Sunshine’/’Halo’), so why shouldn’t the Idols try their hands at a similar exercise? Yep, one of these days, somebody’s gonna mash up ‘Hold On’ and ‘What’s Up,’ or ‘Toxic’ and ‘Poison,’ and all will be right with the world.
No, I’m not talking about ‘Macarena’ or ‘Mambo No. 5.’ I’m talking about those acts who may not have endured through decades, but whose single contributions to the pop-music scene were nevertheless creatively fulfilling. So instead of another Stevie Wonder night, let’s get our contestants paying homage to the sounds of A-Ha, the Divynls, Kajagoogoo, Mungo Jerry, Matthew Wilder, Deee-Lite, and, well, insert your own favorite one-hit wonder here.
The Lyric That Changed My Life
Veteran Idol watchers know that success or failure on the show can have as much to do with how the contestants conduct themselves off stage as they do during their performances. And what better way to get a sense of who these singers are — and how music shapes and inspires them — than by asking them to tackle song lyrics to which they have a deep, personal connection? Heck, think of all the tears Uncle Nigel will be able to squeeze from the audience based on the pre-performance packages alone!
Choose Your Own Mentor Night
We’ve seen Jimmy Iovine expose the Season 11 hopefuls to a mix of good (Stevie Nicks), bad (Will.i.Am) and ridiculous (Diddy) advisers, so why not bring ’em all back and conduct a schoolyard-style pick in which each contestant will choose a mentor, then work all week with said industry vet to select a song, rehearse and arrange it, and bring it to life on the Idol stage?
Laugh all you want about the hairstyles (both head and chest) of Motley Crüe, Winger, Whitesnake, Poison, and Lita Ford, but there are some damn good melodies that were forged from a primordial soup of Aqua Net, Lycra, and the decadence of the ‘Hair Metal’ era.