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American Idol is recycling one of its all-time favorite themes this week: the music of Motown.
The Detroit-based label is home to such iconic artists as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin and Brian McKnight — all Motown acts whose songs have made appearances on Idol over the years.
How will the Season 10 crew fare? We’ll find out soon enough, but in the meantime — and in honor of this week’s theme — here’s a look back at five of Idol‘s most memorable Motown performances:
Adam Lambert, “The Tracks of My Tears”
Season 8’s resident glam rocker Adam Lambert isn’t exactly your conventional Motown singer, but he still hit a home run with his suave version of “The Tracks of My Tears” by The Miracles. Lambert proved that he was capable of toning down his theatrics and vocal gymnastics while still putting his own twist on a classic Motown lament.
Kelly Clarkson, “You’re All I Need to Get By”
The original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, broke away from the pack when she belted out Marvin Gaye’s “You’re All I Need to Get By” on the first night of season 1’s finals. Despite being sick with laryngitis, she hit every note and even showed off some of her personality, proving that she had the entire package.
Clay Aiken, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”
Clay Aiken left his nerdy reputation in the dust with a sexy rendition of The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself” on top 12 night. His powerful voice came out of left field, and with a lip bite and a few hip wiggles, Clay officially cemented his status as season 2’s unexpected heartthrob.
Fantasia Barrino, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino sang a fun, quirky version of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” on top 10 night. Though her unique voice divided viewers, this performance left no doubt that she had vocal talent (and personality) to go all the way.
Vonzell Solomon, “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave”
Vonzell Solomon’s energetic top 24 performance of “Heat Wave” ignited the slow burn that carried her through the finals all the way to season 4’s top 3. She brought life to the overdone Martha and the Vandellas song, effortlessly dancing and engaging the crowd without skipping a beat.
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