Here are some great ideas for the producers of American Idol to ponder on. I’d like to present to you five music themes you could have on for Season 9 or may be in Season 10 and beyond, if the show lasts that long. At the rate American Idol is going not very likely. Its no secret Season 9 has been one of the most lackluster seasons ever in the history of the show. This is a way to redeem the season if you’ll just check out my five themes that are doable for American Idol and the contestants. They cover a wide range of genres, eras, and artists. For each of the five themes I’ll suggest a mentor that will be perfectly suited. None of them are impossible to achieve all. The problem with seasons past and present on American Idol is the mind-numbing predictability of the same type of oldie songs with the same type of themes with mentors who make no sense at all regarding the theme, etc., etc., etc. It is time for a change.
The Five Themes and the Mentors
1.) Latin Week: Carlos Santana – This was a themeduring Season6 when Jennifer Lopez was the mentor. Carlos Santana was one of the musical guests performing with all of the Top 12/13 during Season 8’s finale. Santana recently released his Supernatural Santana Legacy Edition album along with its lead single “Angel Love (Come for Me)”. He is a legendary guitarist and the founding member of the Latin Rock band, Santana. He’s been a musical force now for over forty years.
In 1999 he released the Supernatural album that has gone platinum 15 times. Two songs from that album, “Smooth” and “Maria, Maria” have been used on American Idol. One of those songs was featured on the show and the other on the American Idol tour in 2009. If Andrew Garcia is still on American Idol for Latin Week more than likely Carlos Santana is one of his idols. It would be great to hear Andrew do a song in Spanish. I’ve been waiting for that actually. Not only that, there are so many guitarists this season. Casey James who has played electric guitar several times will probably be in awe to jam with Santana.
2.) Songs from the ’90’s: Alanis Morissette – The last time this theme was doneexclusively was in Season 4. I love the oldies from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s as much as the next person, but American Idol needs to be a bit more current now. Granted, the 90’s is soon approaching oldies status, but it’s an era that hasn’t been done very much on the show. Alanis Morissette was a highly successful artist during the 90’s with one of the best-selling debut albums by a female artist in the U.S., Jagged Little Pill. It was also the highest selling debut album worldwide, which sold 30 million copies. Currently she has a single out “I Remain” from the upcoming Prince of Persia Soundtrack album. Alanis is no stranger to television. She was a cast member on the Canadian Nickelodeon CTV show You Can’t Do That on Television. Alanis Morissette would be a perfect mentor for the 90’s music theme.
3.) International Idol: Idol Winners from other countries – Here is a unique musical theme that has not been tried on American Idol entirely. David Archuleta sang the coronation song on Season 7 from the winner of Australian Idol. I vividly remember on Season 1 of American Idol during the finale they had the winner of Pop Idol, Britain’s original show of the Idol franchise, as a musical guest star. Now nothing is ever said or honored about the other international Idol shows and its winners. The finalists could sing coronation songs from other international Idol shows while being mentored by an Idol who has won the coveted title from Australia, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Latin America or elsewhere. At least this would be a different type of show for American Idol that many may find interesting.
4.) Woodstock: Carlos Santana or Joe Cocker – In 2009 the Woodstock Festival commemorated forty years. In 2010 the Woodstock documentary concert film was released forty years ago. What better way to honor this extraordinary moment of music history onto the show. Many of the Season 9 contestants such as Crystal Bowersox, Lee Dewyze and Casey James would fare extremely well with songs from the Woodstock or 1969 era. Yes, I know Crystal has already done a song by Janis Joplin. However, she could sing something from Joni Mitchell who had a song released shortly after the Woodstock festival.
Lee Dewyze would be perfect with Richie Haven’s “Freedom” that opened the festival. Casey could do something from CCR, The Band, or Joe Cocker. Speaking of Joe Cocker, he made his debut in the U.S. while at Woodstock singing the Beatles song “With a Little Help from My Friends”. He’d be a perfect mentor who has an album coming out in May of this year. If memory serves me well Joe Cocker has appeared on an American Idol finale Carlos Santana would be another perfect mentor, provided the Latin Week does not materialize. The band Santana debuted to an international audience, thanks to the film’s release, at Woodstock that catapulted them to instant global success.
5.) Paula Abdul: Paula Abdul – It may not be appropriate this season, but for next season it could work. Paula Abdul would be the quintessential artist to ever appear on the show, because she has literally been there, done that. We all know her as the former judge since Season 1. Thanks to Andrew Garcia who performed an acoustic guitar version during the Hollywood Week audition phase of her hit song “Straight Up” it is now possible for other Idol contestants to do songs from her catalog. However, there may be some finalists who could not do her songs justice, so they can do songs inspired by Paula. This was done during Season 6 when Gwen Stefani was the mentor. Many of Gwen’s songs were not that easy to sing for some, so it was designed for the other finalists that season to sing songs by artists Gwen Stefani was inspired by. Many people have expressed in the media, including myself, the reason Season 9 is such a snoozefest is because of Paula’s absence at the judge’s table. We all miss her terribly. It would be a great way to bring her back into the fold on American Idol.