American Idol

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American Idol: David Cook Covers . . . Chris Cornell?

cornell.jpgLast Tuesday night, American Idol contestant David Cook gave a rousing — if also melancholic — rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” While that’s not exactly news in itself, the judges’ comments were. The trio praised Cook for his originality in rearranging the composition. The trouble is that Cook was covering Chris Cornell‘s version of the song as it appeared on the latter’s second solo album, Carry On — as was clearly stated by Ryan Seacrest before Cook began performing. The Seattle rock luminary and former Soundgarden frontman reinterpreted the Thriller classic as a much darker song; Cook followed Cornell’s version note for note. (Cornell’s version has seen a massive sales jump on iTunes in the days since.) We caught up with Cornell to ask him about what he thought of Cook’s version.

VH1: Your fans seemed to be outraged with David Cook. Can you talk about their response?
Chris Cornell:
They were angry because they felt like the judges were giving David Cook credit for coming up with the idea — reinventing the song in a rock format — and didn’t seem to know that it was taken from somewhere else.

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American Idol: It’s Over, Chikezie

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With over 30 million votes cast, last night we saw one of our top 10 American Idol finalists go home. But in true Idol fashion, before the loser was revealed, every contestant was subject to some mild humiliation. In between promotions for their corporate sponsors, we saw a surprising bottom three get ?sent to the stools? (ew?), as well as some neat ads from their corporate sponsors and tax-deductible contributions. Light-hearted phone-in questions and a guest visit from former Idol contestant Kimberly Locke did little to quell the bubbling paranoia and anxiety amongst our final 10 as they counted down to the moment of elimination. Let?s take a look:

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American Idol: Archuleta On His Way Home?

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Last night on American Idol we heard songs written in our top ten contestant?s respective birth years. Despite Paula?s festive sequined and satin gloved ensemble, the tone of the evening was more ?couldn?t care less? than ?party dress.? A cranky Randy was harder on the contestants than ever, matching Simon?s pessimism in response to a string of blas? performances. Thankfully, David Cook was able to save the snoozefest, giving a maybe-pregnant Carly Smithson and a maybe-not-as-talented-as-we-once-thought David Archuleta a run for their money.

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American Idol: Amanda, We Hardly Knew You

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The merciful end of Beatles Week Two is upon us, and not a moment too soon. Our hardy American Idol contestants have survived the experience, but all — including the judges — are clearly anxious for them to return to the chart-pop of the ’80s and ’90s. Beginning with a second Beatles medley, kicked off by ?While My Guitar Gently Weeps,? Idol reminded us just how unsuited for Beatles songs our boys and girls are. Any guitar would have wept at a rendition like this.
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Idol Chit-Chat With Jordin Sparks

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Last season on American Idol, Jordin Sparks became the youngest winner in the show’s history. The 17-year-old had originally been turned away when she auditioned in Los Angeles, but followed that up by winning Arizona Idol, a Fox affiliate-sponsored competition, which guaranteed her a place at the try-outs in Seattle. The lesson? Never let a little thing like defeat get you down. Sparks went on to win the competition without ever being in the bottom two or three, and released her self-titled debut last November. The record featured a variety of popular songs, including “This Is My Now” and “No Air,” on which she sings alongside nascent R&B heartthrob Chris Brown. We caught up with Sparks over e-mail to ask her about Chris Brown, this season’s Idol contestants and whether or not she had any tips for performing in front of the judges. Interview after the jump.

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American Idol: What Was Ramiele Thinking?

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Beatlemania continued last night on American Idol, a questionable decision on the part of the producers, and one which gave us one of Idol?s most uneven nights yet. Even Simon conceded that the second week of Beatles tunes was ?weird? and perhaps inadvisable. Be that as it may, the 11 remaining contestants tackled the Lennon/McCartney songbook with a heartfelt, if misapplied, vigor. Let?s take a look:

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Idol: Who Murdered the Beatles? Syesha!

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Tonight our new co-ed American Idol crew took the stage for an evening of Lennon-McCartney songs. After wasting a good 15 minutes drooling over Idol?s flashy new set — “This is our new mosh pit, let?s hear it for the mosh pit! These are our lights, let?s hear it for our lights!” — the increasingly lewd Ryan Seacrest introduced the night’s theme: Beatles covers. The competitive stakes were high and the musical motif a challenge: transforming some of what Randy called ?the greatest songs in recording history? into three minutes of glory without sounding like a righteous karaoke fan or offending America?s collective pop conscious. For all of our contestants, last night was an opportunity to impress with the shtick they?ve been honing for the past few weeks — to tap into why American originally fell in love with the Beatles, and, with the help of their new stylists and coaches, present a gaudier, sexier and more refined version of themselves. Naturally, the results were vulgar. Let?s take a look:

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American Idol: Bye-bye . . . Asia’h?

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The moments of truth come fast and furious on American Idol, where each week we crush a young man or woman?s dream. But few of these moments have the gravity of the Final 12 pick, where the fat is trimmed and the real contestants are allowed to take center stage. For the eight men and eight women who have made it this far, ’80s week was a challenge. Nobody?s fate was assured (except, perhaps, David Archuleta?s). Who?s in, who?s out? There were surprises and lesser surprises, but ultimately, Luke Menard, Danny Noriega, Kady Molloy, and Asia?h Epperson were dispatched. Let?s consider the losers:
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American Idol: Kristy Lee’s Year as a Dog

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There’s no better decade than the ’80s to underscore this week?s theme: humiliating-memories. The American Idol performances avoided that era’s gaudy glamor and glitz, favoring tamer, safer song choices. Filmed confessions of our contestant?s ?most embarrassing moments ever!? were equally tame (with the exception of canine-crazy Kelly). Unfortunately for a few of our favorites (Ramile and Amanda), tabloids and snoopy Web surfers did the probing for them. For sure, digging up the past can profoundly affect the present. While some of our contestants remained as boring as ever, others — in true Breakfast Club style — exhibited noticeable changes in attitude and style after a week of confessions, exultation and humiliation. It?s like everything?s totally changed now. Let?s take a look:

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American Idol: The Men vs. the ’80s

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The stakes have never been higher on American Idol. The boys are down to 8, and with only ’80s week standing between them and the Final 12, the pressure?s on. The ’80s are a decade whose vogue hasn?t ended yet, but most of the guys opted for balladry, slow-tempo jams not entirely suited to the bombastic decade that brought the world Duran Duran, Culture Club and Madonna’s early singles. This week, the contestants’ video revelations of their most embarrassing moments brought more spark than most of their performances. Who will still be with us for Beatles Week? Let?s take a look.

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