Regarding the All-Billy ‘Idol’

Wednesday’s “Idol” was clearly one of the weirdest in a while.

The theme was the songbook of Billy Joel – a 70s singer songwriter who predated all of the singers and was not known at all to some, even on the judges’ panel, where Steven Tyler said he had never heard “She’s Got a Way”

Still, he had variety in his songbook, so they all found what they needed (a country song? Check; a couple of Mariah-like anthems? You bet; Somehting that sounded gospelly – yes).

But the august Mr. Joel was nowhere in sight (at least Elton John deigned to show up when his songbook was sung), though he had been on “Idol” before. As pictured here, he’s doing a college lecture tour currently but he could have gotten out of speaking at St. Petersburg College in Florida for the nation’s No. 1 show?

It would have made more sense than to have Diddy be the mentor of the week. Diddy might still do anything to be near his onetime girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, so he took a backstage seat with Jimmy Iovine and gave some loopy advice to the Top 10, some of whom took his lead and others plainly ignored.

Even more strange as a backstage advisor was Tommy Hilfiger, who at his worst gave a full head “America’s Top Model” style makeover to Erika Van Pelt, turning the Rhode Island blonde into a severely short-haired brunette. Does she get her old hair back if she’s voted off Thursday? She’s been in the bottom three ever since viewers started voting and there’s nothing – not the haircut, not the strong voice – that will win them over. Same thing with Elise Testone, who turned in a strong performance of “Vienna.” Voters don’t like them because they seem so much older than the other remaining women, and they don’t like women very much at all.

Voters like boys, and screams followed DeAndre Brackensick’s decidedly so-so performance of “Only the Good Die Young” and they’re ga-ga over Phillip Phillips, the kind of soft-spoken singer that tends to win and is never heard from again, a la David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze.

But Phillips did something interesting Wednesday – fully ignoring all advice to do his own version of “My Life” in the kind of clothes he darn well wanted to wear.

Which is kind of the theme of the song: “Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone.”

The other song that better embodied the “Idol” experience was Jessica Sanchez’

Version of “Everybody Has a Dream,” just about the least-well known song on “The Stranger.” In the end, it made for kind of the perfect Cinderella song for the end of the season – when, if the gender blinders of voters miraculously come off, she will very clearly win.

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