Ruben Studdard Talks About His Return to Idol
03/24/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT
American Idol's top 10 contestants will pay tribute to "50 Years of Motown" on Wednesday's performance show and on Thursday, they'll get to meet the show's season 2 champ.
"Returning to American Idol means a great deal to me. It's like going back home," Ruben Studdard tells PEOPLE. "I get a chance to see many of the responsible for elevating my career to the amazing level it is today. To be surrounded by American Idol’s great fans and all of the fantastic that make the show happen is a blessing and I can’t wait to be a part of that world again."
Studdard, who will sing his latest single, "Together," will top off a week of star power for the contestants. On Wednesday, Smokey Robinson and songwriter and producer Berry Gordy will lend their expertise as mentors. Robinson, formerly of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, is known for early '60s hits like "Shop Around" and "You Really Got a Hold on Me."
Gordy has worked with iconic acts like Diana Ross & the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie and Rick James.
The pair of legends will certainly have plenty of expert advice for the contestants -- as does Studdard.
"Stay focused," he says. "There are a lot of things that surround you when you are in this situation that can distract you. It's important that the contestants keep their head on straight and never lose sight of the ultimate goal."
Robinson will also perform for the Idol audience on Thursday's results show, but Studdard has his eyes on the contestants. "I'm excited to see all of them. They all have such unique talents and interpretations of the music," he says. "It's going to be fun to watch them all perform."
Tell us: Who will do well with the sounds of Motown? Who will struggle?Matt Stroshane/Getty