OFFSTAGE: American Idol Wins My Motown Heart

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Just when I might have been getting a little restless, maybe even bored, with American Idol, they go and pay homage to my hometown. Every week was Motown Week for me when I was growing up, right until I left Detroit to go to college. So the songs the remaining eight contestants did on Wednesday and Thursday (March 27-28) sounded like they could make up soundtrack of my life.

So am I a little biased? Sure. But come on. Even Keith Urban was wearing a Detroit shirt for part of Thursday’s results show. He performed on the show, too, but opted for his own “Long Hot Summer” instead of a Motown hit. How cool would it have been to hear him do something like Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover”? Anyway, Mariah Carey must’ve loved his performance because she held up a sign that said “#1 Keith Fan.”

Songs like “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” and “You Keep Me Hanging On” were standouts for me. And “Like a Prayer” was so good, even though I’ve never really considered Madonna to be Motown Motown, she did grow up in the suburb next to mine, so I guess she counts. Other loves: “My Cherie Amour,” “Shop Around” and “Tracks of My Tears” (although it didn’t do Devin Velez much good since he was eliminated). Urban was uncharacteristically quiet with commentary until Kree Harrison did “Don’t Play That Song” and told her, “I love that you do an Aretha song, but you’re not trying to be Aretha. You’re Kree. And I love that.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.