April 19, 2011

American Idol: Who Sang It Best?

I haven't been able to make it through a full episode of American Idol without falling a sleep since the first week on the big stage. Being a loyal fan of the reality singing competition -- having even endured the grueling victory of Taylor Hicks -- I didn't think anything could come in the way of this deep seeded relationship. But something happened in Season 10, I got bored.

While some are surprised it took this long for me to pull away from Idol, this slow breakup has been painful nonetheless. Last Tuesday I dutifully tuned into "Movie Madness," hoping it would be the week when our passion rekindles. But once again, I was let down.

None of the contestants on Season 10 are particularly dreadful, and at one point I would have likely found Casey Abram's awkwardness, endearing, and Laura Alaina's southern drawl, charming. But none of these potential Idols are doing it for me.

But it wasn't until Jacob Lusk sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that I discovered the crux of the issue -- American Idol has been trying to recreate some of our beloved Idols of yore, rather unsuccessfully. Instead of finding new personalities, with new quirks, talents and of course, voices, the producers are pre-packaging contestants they think America wants to see.

Laura Alaina = some weird mix between Kelly Pickler, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.

James Durbin = the straight version of Adam Lambert.

The problem is, none of the contestants this season can actually live up to the characters they are trying to play.

Jacob singing "Bridge of Troubled Water" induced a vivid memory of the Season 2 finale, when Clay Aiken sang his rendition of the classic. At the time, I had never seen that caliber of talent and was completely blown away. There's no denying Jacob has some serious pipes, but at this point, I feel like I have seen it all.

Looking back on Season 10 thus far, there were several times contestants sang songs previously performed by former contestants. And while most have been able to hold their own, it's nothing I haven't seen before.

You be the judge. Here's a side-by-side comparison of some old favorites and current contestants singing the same tunes. Post your comments below and let us know who you think should win in a match up.

Jacob vs. Clay

Jacob vs. Tamyra Gray

Jacob vs. Kelly Clarkson

Jacob vs. Kris Allen

Pia vs. Clay

Pia vs. Latoya London (Season 3)

Pia vs. Carrie Underwood

Stefano Langone vs. RJ Helton (Season 1)

Lauren Alaina vs. Kelly Clarkson

Lauren Alaina vs. Siobhan Magnus

Lauren Alaina vs. Nadia Turner

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