By Eric Ditzian
Nothing against “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” but is the songbook of Shania Twain really the best theme week that “American Idol” could have selected for Tuesday night’s (April 27) Top Six show?
While we loved seeing the singer back in the spotlight during “Idol” auditions earlier this year (cheekily noting one contestant’s “nice bottom end”), we fear she’s simply been gone from the scene far too long. Her last studio album dropped in 2003, and she’s never notched a chart-topping Billboard Hot 100 single (though in her defense, she has wrecked the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart). Yet as weird as Tuesday’s ode to Shania is, “Idol” has a long history of picking theme weeks that, for one reason or another, leave us scratching our heads.
So just which theme week is the strangest in the show’s nine-season history? Take a look at the list below and let us know what you think!
Burt Bacharach Love Songs (Season One)
We don’t have a bad word to say about Mr. Bacharach, but you can make a solid argument he’s not the most relevant artist for the group of young’uns competing on the “Idol” stage. And why pigeonhole his catalog to just love songs? That’s a recipe for piping hot cheesiness. No matter how proficiently you sing, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” that song is gonna stink of adult contemporary radio.
Neil Sedaka & the 1960s (Season Two)
Perhaps learning their lesson from Bacharach Night, “Idol” producers decided to go for an old dude/classic songs mishmash theme. Strange. And also kinda insulting, no? What did they say to Sedaka? “Listen Neil, you’re great. Really you are. And your songs — wow! There’s just one tiny thing…”
Songs From Your Birth Year (Seasons Four, Five and Seven)
“Idol” loves this theme, having used it on three separate occasions. It’s meant to be one of those themes that lend us insight into who these contestants are, but it just leaves us feeling old. We get it, you were born in, like, 1996.
21st Century (Season Four)
This is the reality show equivalent of a desperate, pretty-pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top plea for contemporary pop radio relevance. “Idol” producers seemed to be saying, “Prove to us — and to America! — that you can cut it on today’s pop radio stations.” That sort of self-conscious programming is just … weird!
No Doubt and Songs That Inspired Gwen Stefani (Season Six)
Sanjaya. Mohawk. “Bathwater.” That is all.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (Season Seven)
What’s truly strange about this theme is that the judges are constantly accusing the contestants of sounding too Broadway. Why in the world they would then go ahead and choose the songbook of the man behind “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” is a question we haven’t answered three years later.