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Billboard number ones butchered by 'Idol' cast


Billboard has been in existence for 116 years. And since 1958, the publication has released its Hot 100, charting the top songs of each week.

Despite such an exhaustive catalog of number one hits to choose from, few of the "American Idol" contestants proved able to find anything listenable when presented with the challenge.

Tuesday's telecast was a lesson in what not to sing ... and how not to sing it. This was made all the more frustrating considering it was the last show before narrowing down the field to ten contestants -- a huge deal because those are the amount invited on the summer's national "Idol" tour. Finally, a chance to quit the day job and make actual money.

Interspersed with peppy teen sensation Miley Cyrus' "mentoring," only a few agreeable performances snuck in.

Hippie folk-blues singer Crystal Bowersox occupied the "shooting fish in a barrel category" with her version of Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee.” Effective yet unsurprising.

Siobhan Magnus and Lee Dewyze made oddball selections that worked due to their inherent talent: Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and The Box Tops’ “The Letter," respectively. (Magnus is adequately fulfilling the "What will she do next?" role vacated last year by Adam Lambert.)

Aaron Kelly (Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”) and Michael Lynche (Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”) belted well-done versions of tunes no one ever needs to hear again.

Then there were the mid-level artists.

Andrew Garcia once again squandered his character-crammed voice with a cruise ship version of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” For the fourth straight week -- as the judges accurately pointed out -- this guy has no idea who he wants to be.

Similarly, Didi Benami took Linda Ronstadt’s still-cool country-rock hit “You’re No Good” and turned it into a Broadway musical. Blechhh.

Katie Stevens (Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”) and Casey James (Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love”) at least sounded fine. But the tunes came across as straight-up covers. And, come on, Huey Lewis? Really? Of all the number one songs from the past 52 years to choose from. Embarrassing.

And then there were the complete disasters. Hindenburg-style, Dukakis-esque, "Cop Rock"-ian disasters.

Tim Urban was predictably awful, delivering a forced, lackluster rendition of Queen's inherently gimmicky “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (ironically, the landmark band's only number one hit).

But the pretty boy's rendition was nothing compared to the atrocity unleashed by Paige Miles. While no one was on the edge of their seat waiting to hear a cover of Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” at the very least it's a "song" with a "melody." But sometime between now and three weeks ago, Miles misplaced her ability to sing.

She used to be able to, remember? But now she looks like a glum sorority girl who has been thrown onstage against her will at house karaoke night. Out of breath, out of energy and consistently sharp, flat or in the wrong key, Miles dispensed a routine as uncomfortable as watching that Miss Teen South Carolina speech on YouTube.

If she ends up making the tour, it will be a crime against all humanity.

Bottom three: Tim Urban, Paige Miles and Andrew Garcia.

Going home: Paige Miles. (Arguably the worst performance ever given in the top 12. That even encompasses Kristy Lee Cook.)


bkreed1960 8 years, 3 months ago

Put this show out of its misery. Sounds like it has jump the shark.

Steve Bunch 8 years, 3 months ago

"Me and Bobby McGee" is Kris Kristofferson's song. In any case, looks like another slow news day if this twaddle is what the JW has to offer in the way of news.

domino 8 years, 3 months ago

Watched for the first time last night - nothing better on, which is a sad statement in itself. Not normally an Idol watcher, but was very disappointed with the level of the talent. Out of the 1000's of people who tried out, these are the best 11? Idol needs to end - probably should have ended several years ago. Favorites were the guy that sang "Power of Love", the girl that did "Superstition" and the 17 year old. At least they could sing. As for the rest of them, go home now. Even those 3 aren't going to make it, in my opinion. Will not watch again - will read a book rather than sit thru another night of Idol.

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

Me and Bobby McGee is also a Janis Joplin song, and I think she recorded it first. Kris Kristoferson wrote it and later recorded it, along with tons of other people.

Steve Bunch 8 years, 3 months ago

Kristofferson is the writer; therefore, it is his song. Joplin had a hit recording; therefore, it is her hit record.

jonas_opines 8 years, 3 months ago

Why would you be looking to American Idol for innovation?

jniccum 8 years, 3 months ago

AlfVenison: You act is if you're revealing some new piece of information that "Me and Bobby McGee" is a Kristofferson song. Duh. If you had seen the program, you would know that the only reference to the song Bowersox has is Janis Joplin. She's a virtual carbon copy of the late singer. Just another typical, condescending J-W posting. Same as the typical, condescending "looks like another slow news day." Wow, can you regurgitate a more cliche comment? Culture Crumbs is a pop-culture blog that often delves into reality TV. I've written more than 1,200 "real news" stories for the paper. Believe me, I know the difference. How many have you gotten paid to write? And, while we're on it, any time you want to compare professional music resumes with me, I'll be happy to oblige. You're nothing but an ant at my picnic, brother. Typical, typical, typical.

Steve Bunch 8 years, 3 months ago

All I was pointing out was the misattribution in the article. My, we're sensitive, aren't we? This ant just wishes there was something more substantial than culture crumbs available at the picnic.

jniccum 8 years, 3 months ago

"Misattribution"? I wouldn't quite say that. If that's the truly the case, you probably would have pointed out that "You're No Good" was written by Clint Ballard Jr. -- not Linda Ronstadt. But I'm guessing you probably didn't know that. As for being sensitive, I'm quite the opposite. I'm virtually desensitized to the brain-dead postings of the know-it-all curmudgeons who squat on our site. But occasionally -- maybe once every 50 articles I write -- I'll actually wade into the commentary. Why today? No reason. You're no more or less annoying than most of the posters. Just equally as irrelevant and forgettable.

Julie Craig 8 years, 3 months ago

It seems like the judges have it "in" for Andrew Garcia. Maybe they are rethinking whether or not he is a good fit for the summer tour. I really like Andrew's voice and hope he stays a while. In my mind, the three worst last night were Paige, Tim and Didi.

Steve Bunch 8 years, 3 months ago

You're correct, jniccum, I would have had to look up the writer of "You're No Good," though I at least am familiar with LR's recording. I find it interesting that you characterize an LJW longtime subscriber as a brain-dead squatter. That may or may not be accurate, but it certainly is disrespectful of your paid readership. But then, this is your picnic and you're a paid writer, as you pointed out earlier, so this irrelevant and forgettable curmudgeon will just mosey along now. Cheers!

cowboy 8 years, 3 months ago

Pretty poor group but IMHO DiDi could sing the phone book and I would like it. I love the quirky voice.

cowboy 8 years, 3 months ago

Might be time to look for a new vocation John , if you feel that strongly about things

Steve Jacob 8 years, 3 months ago

Taking one for the team, Jon. At least I can see the appeal of Idol. Stuff like Dancing with the Stars and Apprentice I have no idea why anyone cares who wins.

iloveme 8 years, 3 months ago

Idol hasn't been good in the last couple years. It will have no future after Simon leaves. I haven't been able to sit through 10 minutes of the show this year or last. Haven't watched religiously since Carrie Underwood....

coffeegirl 8 years, 3 months ago

Paige Miles is no good. Take a look at her now ... she's just an empty space taking up a spot which probably should have gone to someone else.

AlfVenison ... I think you're being unreasonable. You may be a longtime reader of the LJW. But that doesn't give you the right to act like a jerk toward staff members or employees of the Journal-World company ... and you were acting like a jerk. You poked the bear expecting it wouldn't want an opportunity to defend itself. You clearly lack the understanding of what a "blog" is. This is clearly entertainment and you can have a blog too ... any of the readers of the ljworld.com can. Doesn't mean it's all "news" so you can't justify telling someone it's a slow news day. Besides one person's news is another person's trash. I'll also point out the Mr. Niccum serves as an entertainment editor. He's not going to be necessarily telling you about the latest KU football player who tried to bust through the drive-thru window at Taco Bell.

In short, pehaps you should click on "News" when you come on to the ljworld.com site. And then comment on an actual news story that it's a slow news day instead of a blog. Or, again, you could start your own blog where you talk about how it's a slow news day and then site examples justifying the statement. Here's the link to creating a blog: http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/create/

Steve Bunch 8 years, 3 months ago

Hi, coffeegirl. None of my comments were about Mr. Niccum personally, but rather about the content of the article. Some of my comment was factual, but most was opinion, with which I wouldn't expect everyone to agree. On the other hand, much of Mr. Niccum's comments toward me was ad hominem, attacks on the kind of person he supposes me to be, ascribing a variety of ugly personal qualities to someone he doesn't know. He evidently thought he had the justification for such personal slurs because he's a professional writer and a music expert. I'd expect that kind of behavior from a Tea Partier but not from an employee of my local media conglomerate. Anyway, if blogs are mainly for personal amusement (you know, culture crumbs), then today's colloquy has been amusing. Mission accomplished. Just sayin'.

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

See, now my comment was because you can't attribute one song to the writer of the song, when the entire article was attributing the songs to the persons who made it famous. People recognize the artists who sang it.

guitarguy 8 years, 2 months ago

After watching last nights episode no wonder Simon is leaving. Randy will probably be right behind.

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