Idol finalists travel to Motown - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Idol finalists travel to Motown

The road to potential stardom for "American Idol" finalists led them to Motown's famed Hitsville USA.

The contestants on the popular Fox singing competition came to Studio A -- the room at the Motown Historical Museum that once served as Motown Records hit-making factory. They worked with label founder Berry Gordy Jr. and singer Smokey Robinson on the Motown classics, and to film segments that will air on the show next Wednesday.

Among the hopefuls was Michigan native Matt Giraud, a 23-year-old dueling piano player from Kalamazoo.

The set was closed to the media and public, but the contestants and Motown legends greeted fans and reporters before and after the sessions on the front lawn of the former studio on West Grand Boulevard. The building was a 24-hour-a-day music mill that churned out songs between 1959 and 1972 by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, the Jackson 5 and many others.

"Idol," making its first visit to Detroit since Season 2 auditions, is paying tribute to the label as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Contestants will sing their own versions of classic Motown tunes and Robinson will perform on the following night's show.

Robinson, whose hits with the Miracles included "Tears of a Clown," "You Really Got a Hold on Me" and "I Second That Emotion," said it was "wonderful, absolutely wonderful" to hear the Idol contestants in the studio where he said his "real life began."

Gordy, who started Motown in 1959 and moved it to Los Angeles in 1972, said the "Idol" singers appear to be handling the spotlight well so far. But he and Robinson told the "Idol" singers to keep their humility and sense of who they are as the competition intensifies.

"They're starting on a much higher mountain," he said. "We started from the floor and they should be grateful for that and the competition, and how to be gracious winners and gracious losers."

Gordy and Robinson left in the afternoon to return to Los Angeles where Friday Robinson and the Miracles are to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Gordy and Wonder are scheduled to speak at the ceremony.

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