Former American Idol hopeful Jason Castro, who for better or worse introduced Simon Cowell to the genius of Leonard Cohen almost a year ago today, has a single coming out tomorrow. I had a lot of affection for the dreadlocked, spacey Castro during last year’s Idol run, so it probably shouldn’t surprise you that I found “Love Uncompromised,” which he performed on the TV Guide Channel the other day (and will apparently play on this week’s Idol results show), pretty charming; it’s a pretty simple love song with straightforward (if sorta mawkish) lyrics that’s bolstered by some guy singing a falsetto’d harmony. Clip after the jump.
Perhaps in honor of Kansas City-area native David Cook’s grunging up all his songs, there was definitely a weird pall over last night’s audition episode of American Idol. Sure, it was great to see Jason Castro again (he was there in support of his brother, Michael, who’s pictured at left), but there was a little too much sadness: One of the contestants who made it through to Hollywood had an interview segment where he talked about his wife passing away four weeks before the audition; another singer sang “Cry-Baby”; some dude’s backup singers, dressed as cheerleaders, got teary-eyed in the wake of his rejection; and there was a montage of rejected singers freaking out in various ways. (The latter sort of had its dramatic importance undercut by the mortality-related reasons for tears.) The show itself was sort of weird, with people getting through more because they were, in the words of Paula, “not a disaster” than actually spot-on with everything, but I guess that’s in keeping with all the tears. More observations from the show after the jump!
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This week’s Digital Tracks chart represents the first week that iTunes released American Idol sales data to SoundScan, and as a result it has an Idol quotient of 17.5%; season-seven winner David Cook placed 17 of his songs on last week’s chart (all in the top 100, with three in the top ten and the coronation song “The Time Of My Life” at No. 1 with 236,000 paid downloads), second-place finisher David Archuleta got 14 songs on the big board (his highest-placing song, at No. 23: “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” which was downloaded 51,000 times), and third-place runner-up Syesha Mercado didn’t sell enough of any tracks to crack the 200-song list. (So much for the strength-in-numbers of the Fanesha 300.) Jason Castro, Brooke White, and Michael Johns also cracked the digital-tracks top 200, and White’s pre-Idol album, the Billy Joel-cover-free Songs From The Attic, even managed to make the digital-albums chart, selling 1,900 copies. Chris Molanphy will have more on these numbers, and their impact on the big board, in tomorrow’s 100 & Single, but for now we’ve got sales totals after the jump.
And so we bid farewell to Jason Castro, the singer who brightened this season’s American Idol proceedings with his song choices (think about it: dude brought Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan to the Idol stage, even if the results were decidedly mixed), big dreadlocks, and the fact that he generally seemed to be having a good time on stage, unlike some stage-managed kids who seem to be on the verge of passing out every time they’re forced to stand on stage while not singing. Some may have referred to him as a Sanjaya-like figure because of his unquenchable goofiness, like his line last night about shooting the tambourine man, and his hair, but I kind of appreciated the fact that he was actually having fun with the proceedings, and not being as deadly self-serious as some of the other people still in the running. (Congratulations, Syesha, on making that Presidential race reference–we knew you had it in you.) At least his semi-glazed expressions and “it’s all good, man” vibe made for good TV.
Jason Castro’s sloppy (if lyric-relishing) performance on American Idol‘s Neil Diamond night may have been caused by little practice and a big lack of interest. Entertainment Weekly claims that Jason Castro may be done with the show, even if America isn’t done with him. “What happens happens,” he reportedly said earlier this week. “I’ll sing and if people like it, they like it. And if they don’t, they don’t. I’m kind of ready to go home.” One could chalk that up to his natural tendency to go with the flow, but it also might have something to do with the fact that none of the TV veterans and professional musicians left on what was once perceived as a contest of amateurs could be under the impression that winning the show matters.
I will be heartbroken when they make this guy leave American Idol. I don’t look forward to a time where that stage won’t feature his goofy, incessant grinning and guile-free bon mots. No one else would say they thought “my belle” was you know, “a bell,” or that they never knew “Memory” was sung by a cat. No one else would tip an imaginary hat and squat on stage for no reason whatsoever. Aside from that one Sting-related slip-up, he’s never pulled some respectability trip on his fanbase. He’s sitting on your bed, singing your favorite song, and he’s happy to do it. You want to hear Sublime, like the girl who posted this video of him on YouTube? He’ll drop “Badfish” on ya, grinning and strumming his hear out. Jason Castro loves you.
As of this moment, Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”–which Jason Castro performed last night to much fanfare and Googling–is No. 5 on the iTunes Music Store’s Top Songs chart and Nos. 2 and 7 on the Amazon MP3 store’s singles chart; Cohen’s version is also at No. 98 on Amazon. More »
American Idol hopeful Jason Castro performed his take on the Jeff Buckley interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that won huzzahs from the judges tonight, thus continuing the long, strange journey of Cohen’s song from hyperserious-to-an-almost-satirical-point track to something that… More »