It never pays to look too far ahead in life.
Yet the men who remain standing (with the help of appropriate medication) in the American Idol Magnanimous Seven were not initially looking forward to Mariah Carey Week.
That was until they realized that, at heart, she was the prototype Idol contestant.
Here is someone who has covered more of other people’s songs than the drunken owner of a failing karaoke bar in Adelaide, Australia.
(And no, there is no Michael Johns comment imminent here.)
Effectively, the boys who were initially thinking they might have to tackle a song about a DJ saving their life, are now free to pretend they are Michael Jackson. Again, in one case.
This has caused monstrously passive-aggressive friction of the kind not seen since Paula Abdul tried to force her skin to accept makeup after a long and arduous night on the tipple.
The producers have been called in several times to cajole someone, anyone to sing an actual Mariah Carey song, rather than a cover. Or, worse, a cover of a cover.
Ms. Carey has, of course, received much writing credit for many of her hits. But on deep examination, one might conclude that the musical roots of so many of her great successes were rather more respectable artists such as the Emotions and the Tom Tom Club.
David Cook, whose sense of credibility was shaken by the reaction to his rather Valentino (and I don’t mean the famous lover) white jacket last week, is insisting on performing “I’ll Be There”, originally made famous by the Jackson Five.
David is, quite naturally, anxious to create his own arrangement of the song. Unlike many boys his age, he feels Mr. Jackson has brought him nothing but good fortune. In an attempt at respecting Ms. Carey, David has agreed to perform the song without plugs (which was her preferred method of rendering it in 1992).
She is also helping him with his credibility issues. When he poured his insecure heart out to her, Mariah took him into her arms and gently whispered: “Sweetie, I made ‘Glitter’. And look at me now.”
Carly Smithson, who has not met a whispering lyric she could not turn into an ululation for the nation, will be singing “Emotions.”
She has fallen in love with the story of the song. Originally, Mariah and her composer friends, C+C Factory, were intent on releasing a song called “She’s So Cold” as the single from the Emotions album.
Carly feels that the fact that this selection was overturned in favor of the rather more uplifting “Emotions” is a presager of the glittering story arc her Idol journey is about to follow.
The song also allows her to sing some very high notes, something Idol audiences frequently mistake for expressions of feeling.
Syesha Mercado has been latoying between “Make It Happen” and “Where Are You, Christmas?”
Mariah, however, suggested she should try “Don’t Forget About Us”, a song that comes from her 2005 album, “The Emancipation of Mimi.”
“Sweetie,” Mariah told Syesha, “this wasn’t just a number one in the US. It was number one in Finland too.”
Unfortunately, the populations of every other country in the world did not quite believe in the song to the exalted extent of the Americans and the Finns.
Jason Castro is becoming very conscious that his looks are playing a certain role in his rise on the show.
He has therefore charmed Mariah like no other contestant. With his beguiling smile at the forefront, he has persuaded her that there can be no song more perfect for him than “Take A Look At Me Now”. This Phil Collins composition is a song that Mariah eviscerated with the very pretty, though now slightly overweight, Irish boyband, Westlife.
Jason is far too innocent for it to have even crossed his mind that Westlife were the proteges of the also slightly overweight Simon Cowell.
Carly Smithson was, apparently, distraught when she discovered this obvious connection she had missed. Like so many of the notes in “The Show Must Go On”.
Brooke White was understandably nervous at the prospect of Mariah’s songbook. It is a tonetome that includes “I Don’t Wanna Cry”, “Crybaby”, “Breakdown” and “If It’s Over.”
Brooke has therefore summoned the wisdom, if not the valium, to choose “I Still Believe”, a song Mariah recorded as a homage to the great Brenda K. Starr.
Brenda originally recorded the song. And Mariah was once one of her backing singers.
(Brenda was about as successful as Ryan Starr until she learned Spanish and had great success with the astounding “Petalos De Fuego”, amongst others.)
Brooke’s trepidation was, however, nothing compared to Kristy Lee Cook’s shivering spurs at the prospect of being Pariah Carey.
She feared her experience would be like Jimmy Buffett being mentored by Jay-Z.
However, Mariah fully supported Kristy’s idea of singing “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”, a Def Leppard song upon which Mariah sprinkled her R&B confetti.
Even Leppard’s Joe Elliott applauded Ms. Carey’s ingenuity. Kristy will sprinkle her own country twangling to give this song a third life.
Although one can never be sure with certain songs just how many lives they can sustain.
As “What A Wonderful World” has proved.
Speaking of an afterlife, what of David Archuleta?
His confidence has been restored more beautifully than Demi Moore’s knees. And he knows that deep inside he and Mariah share a unique level of divaness. Or, at least, divinity.
David has been saying a few prayers as to which song he should bless with his perfect (sales) pitch. His first idea was to make a small edit in one of Mariah’s favorite songs. Yes, David Archuleta wanted to sing “Last Night A JC Saved My Life”.
There were meetings that, at one point, looked as if they would involve the General Synod before David was dissuaded from his somewhat taste-free thought.
A compromise of sorts was reached.
David will be performing “There’s Got To Be A Way,” a track from Mariah’s very first album.
Ms. Carey has not been one for the socially conscious disco number too often, so David has latched on to this song, with the lyric ‘there’s got to be a way to connect this world today’ a particular Archuleta favorite.
The song expresses unhappiness about such issues as racism and poverty. Although these are two things that don’t exist in David’s native Utah, he believes that taking on such big issues will continue to help him develop his crusading, socially conscious personality.
There are those who are hoping that this caring personality will boost his earning potential too.
As Mariah’s brother, Drew, might put it when thinking celestially: “How much is this really worth?”
The Pond thanks prakhar for his heptgonal evocation.