“American Idol” Shows to Air on Special Nights Wednesday, March 25, and Thursday, March 26, on FOX Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy to help celebrate
“50 Years of Motown” Wednesday, March 25
Smokey Robinson and Ruben Studdard to Perform Thursday, March 26
On a special Wednesday, March 25 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) performance show, the Top 10 finalists (Kris Allen, Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, Megan Joy, Adam Lambert, Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds and Michael Sarver) will return to the ‘Idol’ stage to celebrate and pay tribute to “50 Years of Motown” as well as perform classic Motown songs.
Tune in the following night Thursday, March 26 (8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) to find out if the judges use their save or if America sends another finalist home. Also, Smokey Robinson will perform, and ‘American Idol’ winner Ruben Studdard will return to the ‘Idol’ stage to perform his new single, “Together.”
Smokey Robinson has been synonymous with the Motown sound since the late 1950s when he first met Motown founder Berry Gordy in Detroit. Gordy took Robinson and The Miracles under his wing, and in 1960, signed them to Motown. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles began turning out a string of hits in the early 1960s, including “Shop Around,” “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” “Ooo Baby Baby” and “I Second That Emotion.” Robinson quickly became involved in every facet of Motown’s operations, writing and producing his own work as well as that of Mary Wells & the Supremes, and he helped establish The Temptations. Robinson left The Miracles in 1971 to concentrate on his role as Vice President of Motown, and the following year, he launched his solo career. Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. A familiar face on the ‘Idol’ stage, he performed a medley of his hits with the Top 6 male finalists on the ‘American Idol’ Season Six finale.
Songwriter, producer, director and entrepreneur Berry Gordy is the man behind the Motown sound and acts such as Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie & the Commodores, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas and Gladys Knight & the Pips, Chris Clark, Rick James and Teena Marie. Under his leadership, Motown achieved one of the most significant musical accomplishments and stunning success stories of the 20th century by creating music that broke down barriers in a segregated country, touching all people, regardless of color. Starting out in a house that came to be known as Hitsville, USA, he built Motown into a record company with one of the most impressive rosters of artists in the history of pop music. In the 1960s, Gordy booked his artists on television shows including “American Bandstand” and “The Ed Sullivan Show” and in clubs such as New York’s Copacabana, paving the way for other Motown artists and R&B acts. What Berry Gordy and Motown accomplished in music, television and film had never been achieved before; their contributions to music past, present and future are truly immeasurable.
The distinctive, upbeat and uplifting music of Motown Records brought together pop and soul, white and black, old and young, like never before and continues to this day. Motown broke down racial prejudice by becoming the most successful independent record company in history and the most successful African-American owned business in America. Today, the label is part of the Universal Music Group, with its classic recorded music catalog managed by Universal Music Enterprises, and the timeless songs of Motown from 1959 to 1985 are represented by EMI Music Publishing. Through the end of 2009, Universal Music Group and EMI Music Publishing will mark the 50th anniversary of the historic Detroit label’s musical achievements with a series of initiatives, including monthly music releases.
Since winning the second season of ‘American Idol’ in 2003, Ruben Studdard’s impact on the music charts has been impressive. His single “Flying Without Wings” debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100, and his version of “Superstar” peaked at No. 2 on the R&B chart. In December 2003, his first album, “Soulful,” had advance orders of over a million copies, which automatically qualified it for platinum certification and allowed the record to enter The Billboard 200 at No. 1. His follow-up single, “Sorry 2004,” reached No. 9 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 on the R&B chart. Studdard’s new album, “Love IS,” helmed by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, is scheduled for release on May 19 through a joint venture with Hickory Records and 19 Recordings. The album is a collection of love songs featuring original recording as well as covers of classic hits.
‘American Idol’ is created and executive-produced by Simon Fuller, founder of 19 Entertainment; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America; and Ken Warwick, executive producer, FremantleMedia North America.