This Week on 'American Idol': Elvis Presley Week, Featuring Adam Lambert
This Week on 'American Idol': Elvis Presley Week, Featuring Adam Lambert
One thought came to me when word of Adam Lambert returning to American Idol as a guest mentor for came out: Why? One, it's barely a year since he was named runner-up last season, and you can't exactly say he's chalked up a lot of experience since then (and I'm counting his theater years). Two, if they're looking to have a former Idol mentor, they should've considered a lot of other names--if Kelly Clarkson was available, she would've made an ideal choice.

Then this week's theme made it all clear: the songs of Elvis Presley.

I know I'll get some catcalls for saying this, but there are definitely some similarities between Adam and Elvis. Adam was known for his charged performances, with more than a gallon of showmanship and that little hint of sex. The same certainly goes for Elvis. With a record number of albums sold from his heyday to many decades after his death, it's no wonder he's simply called "the King".

From the start of his career in 1954, Elvis was known for fusing country with rhythm and blues, giving birth to rockabilly and kickstarting the rock and roll revolution in the late 1950s. His versatile vocals gave him hits in country and gospel as well. His performing style--his leg-shaking, his charged movements--had fans following him literally everywhere. Despite being drafted to the military in 1958, he staged a hugely successful comeback, making him a presence both in record stores and movie theaters. Despite his public struggles with prescription drugs and his sudden death in 1977, Elvis is considered a cultural force of his time, and one of the most important musicians of the last century.

Adam is arguably following his footsteps: his theatrical sense, his genre-defying performances and his soaring voice made him a favorite last year, and the most successful performer to come out of American Idol's previous season. And he'll be at hand to give advice to the Top 9--one that remained static after Michael Lynche was saved by the judges--in giving their performances a little extra push. Were Elvis around today and serving as a mentor on Idol, it's exactly what The King would've done as well.

Adam will also be performing on Wednesday night's results show, doing "Whataya Want From Me", the latest single off his post-Idol debut For Your Entertainment. But the most important point on that night are the identities of the two contestants who will be going home tonight. The stakes have never been higher.

Today also marks the beginning of the countdown to this year's Idol Gives Back, which airs next Wednesday. Apart from a crop of musical performers, the online auction featuring hard-to-get treats, and former contestants David Cook and Elliott Yamin visiting places in Africa, there are also efforts back at home: former Idol contestants will be volunteering in different charities across the country. And there's a lot of them, from Ace Young to Didi Benami. All the details are right here.

As for me, after the high of last week's Lennon/McCartney week, my expectations are high for the Top 9. The save should get the contestant on their toes--if they blow it, they really blow it. Come on, kids, it's Elvis. Make him proud. And don't be an impersonator.

Abbey's got her song choices for the Top 9 this week. Check them out below, and while you're at it, cross your fingers they do follow these suggestions!

(Image courtesy of Fox)