David Cook is not my lover.

First the confession.

For whatever reason we’ve really gotten into American Idol this season. We casually watched the first few episodes, a few favorites emerged, and now we’re hooked. Please forgive me.

Now for my post.

Last night I was really excited by David Cook’s performance of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” I was most impressed with the arrangement – he took a song we’ve all heard a billion times since 1982 and pretty much reinvented it. More than his singing, I was impressed with his creativity in reimagining a classic hit. I must have missed the part where he gave credit to Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave) for the arrangement.

Now I don’t feel it was nearly as impressive as it amounted to little more than a solid vocal performance. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great performance. But the the reason I felt it was the best performance of the night was because of the arrangement. Take that out of the equation and I’m a bit less inspired.

Anyway, for what it’s worth I’ve linked Cook’s performance above. And here’s Cornell doing his version, which appears on his most recent album Carry On.

(And yes, I have an Idol favorite.)


10 thoughts on “David Cook is not my lover.

  1. But isn’t American Idol all about great vocal performances?? Basically all they’re doing is their own version of someone’s version of a song.

    (I say “all they’re doing” but you know what I mean.)

  2. we too have been hooked by season for the first time ever.

    we too are big fans of cook.

    we too think that cornell is one of the best vocalists ever.

    didn’t know he did that version, though. thanks.

  3. Ryan did mention David was doing the Chris Cornell arrangement. He was in the crowd and there was a lot of noise, so it was easy to miss. But he did mention it.

  4. That’s a sweet arrangement of a classic. I have some major man crush on Chris Cornell. Audioslave has been my favorite band for the past few years, so their breakup has really sucked. Lately I’ve been really enamored by Muse. They’re good stuff.

  5. sorry dude, there’s only one performance of billie jean that matters & that’s from wacko jacko himself, when he was still a seemingly normal, good looking dude live @ motown 25. best. performance. ever.

    not an idol guy myself. it’s funny that my dad – the stereotypical big ol’ maine boy – loves it. i hear there’s a girl from ireland, she gets my vote 🙂 though i will admit to getting into america’s best dance crew, though i loved kaba modern & they got booted 😦

  6. In the very beginning of the performance the other night, Seacrest distinctly said “David Cook doing Chris Cornell’s version of ‘Billie Jean.'” I don’t think it can be made more clear, but I guess Fox News in New York didn’t hear it either. Cook has done three covers of covers. He didn’t give credit for the cover of “Eleanor Rigby” that he did. The other two he has.

    As for the performance, I think it was good, but it’s hard to touch Cornell. Just like Castro not really being able to touch Jeff Buckley.

  7. Like I said, I must have missed that part.

    Cornell talked about it in an interview with Billboard this week:

    Cornell tells Billboard he was returning from a trip to South Africa when the show aired last Tuesday, and by the time he got home to Paris, he was flooded by emails from fans unsure about what was going on.

    “This is something where they know I came up with this arrangement and reinvented the song,” he says. “I stuck my neck out being a guy that comes from the indie rock world doing a Michael Jackson song. You can clearly see that the judges are giving this guy credit for it on national television. My fans were like, ‘Wait a minute! That’s Chris Cornell’s moment.'”

    “Don’t get me wrong. He sang it great,” he continues. “But it was literally a note-for-note take on what I came up with. At the end of the day, it’s all good. It’s a good thing for me. There was a moment when I was sitting there writing this new arrangement thinking, ‘Is this a good idea or a bad idea?’ Watching the response from the judges was really gratifying. They were signing off on it right there. It was something that worked. It was an idea that went over huge. When I play it live on tour, it brings the house down every time.”

    Despite the fact that “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest introduced Cook’s performance as “Chris Cornell’s version of ‘Billie Jean’,” Cornell is concerned that viewers remain confused.

    “There’s a certain amount of credit given to an ‘approach’ to something and the presentation of something,” he says. “In a situation where they’re just strictly doing someone else’s song, if it’s not something that’s completely recognizable, it can be mistaken. But this is a little bit of an unusual situation, because mine is such a dramatic departure.”

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