'Idol' Contestants Honor Lamont Dozier
Legendary Motown composer Lamont Dozier, responsible for writing 14 No. 1 songs on The Billboard Hot 100, will be a special celebrity judge on tomorrow's (March 11) installment of "American Idol" on FLegendary Motown composer Lamont Dozier, responsible for writing 14 No. 1 songs on The Billboard Hot 100, will be a special celebrity judge on tomorrow's (March 11) installment of "American Idol" on Fox, as the 12 finalists sing hits from the Holland-Dozier-Holland songbook.
Dozier teamed with brothers Eddie Holland and Brian Holland to craft hits for almost every Motown act, especially the Supremes ("Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," and "Stop! In the Name of Love," among others) and the Four Tops ("Baby I Need Your Loving," "I Can't Help Myself," "Reach Out, I'll Be There"), as well as artists like Martha & the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, and the Isley Brothers ("This Old Heart of Mine").
The 12 contestants previewed some of those Holland-Dozier-Holland songs at "American Idol Live," a seminar sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for its members on Saturday at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre at the Academy headquarters in North Hollywood, Calif. It was the first live public performance by all 12 artists, who also answered questions along with the executive producers of the series; judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson; and host Ryan Seacrest. The moderator posing the questions was Anthony Zuiker, creator and executive producer of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "CSI Miami," and a self-professed devout fan of "American Idol."
In addition to singing a medley of Motown songs for the 500 Academy members assembled in the theater and the 800 members in an adjacent tent set up to accommodate the overflow, the 12 contestants opened the seminar with a version of Shalamar's "A Night To Remember" and closed with a rendition of the Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin'."
The dozen finalists provided some emotional moments during the seminar. Asked why R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" was his favorite song, 23-year-old Rickey Smith of Wichita, Kan., broke down while explaining that his mother used to sing the song to him during difficult times in their family. Charles Grigsby Jr., a 24-year-old from Oberlin, Ohio, talked about being the youngest of six in his family, and after pursuing his dream of being a recording artist for years, being told by his friends that he should give up. He spent a few years living out of his car but refused to stop pursuing his dream. Vanessa Olivarez, a 21-year old living in Atlanta, also shed tears when talking about being raised by a single mom who always supported her wish to be a singer.
One of the 12 finalists will be eliminated from the competition this week on the "American Idol" results show, to be broadcast Wednesday. Each week, another contestant will be voted off the show until one remains. Last season's winner, Kelly Clarkson, topped Billboard's Hot 100 with "A Moment Like This," the single that broke the Beatles' 28-year-old record of making the biggest leap to No. 1. Clarkson's RCA single jumped 52-1 the week of Oct. 5, 2002.