American Idol: Billie Jean

I took a little flak last week for my American Idol recount last week — mostly from people who can’t stand the show.
I’m not here to say much tonight, mostly because most of it kind of stunk. One performance did stand out, though … David Cook.
I’ve made fun of Cook for trying to sound too much like Scott Stapp, the dweeb from Nickelback or any other awful rock front man. But he did a great “Daytripper” last week, and this week, he had probably the best performance I’ve seen on the show this year.
I’m a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. The beat, the words, the video, the Motown dance … they all made it classic. I was about 7-8 when it came out, and it was my favorite song in the world. When I got in college, I broke out a little Michael Jackson dance during a party once and nobody ever let me live it down .. chanting “Billie Jean” years later when it came on … expecting me to do it again (it will never happen).
Tuesday night, Cook did the rock version of Billie Jean (performed originally by Soundgarden and Audioslave’s Chris Cornell) … and actually did it well. It was the best rock cover of a non-rock song I’d ever heard (and there have been plenty of bad ones). I prefer Cornell’s version of course … but this one was great.
I’ve posted the YouTube video of both Cornell and Cook’s versions … plus a dowloadable MP3 of Cornell’s version. Enjoy.

CLICK HERE to hear Chris Cornell’s version (downloadable MP3).

The YouTube Cornell video

David Cook’s “Billie Jean”


22 thoughts on “American Idol: Billie Jean

  1. They should have mentioned that Cook was covering Cornell’s version of the song. Every single judge acted like it was something wholly original. It was good, but the genius of the style belongs to Chris Cornell . . . NOT David Cook. I honestly think Randy Jackson has never heard Cornell’s version. Paula and Simon seemed to be equally ignorant of the fact. I find this humorous and revealing considering Chris Cornell is one of the 10 best Rock and Roll voices of the last 25 years. Good job, Cook, but give props to the original AND the version you cover.

  2. Ryan introduced it as Cornell’s version at the beginning.

    I don’t think it at all takes away from what was by far my most favorite performance of the night!

  3. Brother Breeze: Ryan Seacrest introduced Cook by announcing he was signing the “Chris Cornell” version of the song! What do you want? He did a great job, at least equal to Cornell’s cover, and I think it was not only different but better! Wake up, dude!

  4. I went back after the song to check and see if this was an adaptation by David or a cover of a cover. Unlike what had happened with Chris Daughtry serveral years back as some of you pointed out, Ryan Seacrest did introduce this as the Chris Cornell version. However, if you listen to the judges, they appear as if they didn’t know. Was this really the risk that Simon suggested? I agree David sang it well. However, the risk making was all Chris Cornell’s.

  5. I totally agree with you, Brother Breeze. You took the words right out of my mouth. I came across Cornell’s version of Billie Jean early last year, and was blown away. Genius!

    David Cook really should have acknowledged Chris Cornell, you know? I don’t know about the judges. I think they were clueless. Or maybe not. Whatever. It might even a possibility that David hasn’t heard Chris’ version. Maybe it’s a totally wild coincidence! haha.. Chances are odd, but it’s still a possibility.

    In fairness though, I loved David Cook’s performance. He definitely stood out. But if he had gotten the idea from Chris, a little advice, David – give credit where credit is due.

  6. Ryan did indeed introduce the song as “Chris Cornell’s Billie Jean”; however it was amidst about 50 screaming teenage gilrs – so no suprise that the judges didn’t pick up on this. I agree, while I loved the performance, I think David should have given props to Cornell when the judges were showering him with accolades for his “brilliant” skills. As I also think he should have given credit to Doxology for Eleanor Rigsby.

  7. Who cares who covered who..please they all cover someone on the show..the point is it was by far the best this season and last for me…love the guy..hope he wins.

  8. Don’t forget that you did the dance at my wedding reception when the song came on. That was only a short 3 1/2 years ago.

  9. Maybe I’m weird, but the original version is 10 times better this whiney crap. And I love Soundgarden and Audioslave.

    But Cook is my favorite this year anyway. Him and the blonde girl. And Chikeze.

  10. For clarification, Billy, forites should be forties. Though I’m sure it was a Biblical tribe, too. My bad on the accidental juxtaposition.

  11. Just wanted to say thanx for giving Chris Cornell props on the arrangement and David Cook props for his performance. Also for those doubting that the judges knew who the arrangement was by, here’s a little bit of an interview Simon did with EW. They were most definitely aware of who’s version of the song David was singing and agreed that he performed it brilliantly. ROCK ON DAVID COOK!!! had occasion today to speak with American Idol judge Simon Cowell, and we took the opportunity to ask him about the show’s current, unpredictable season. As always, Simon had strong opinions and was not afraid to share his thoughts on David Cook, “God Bless the U.S.A.,” and those “annoying” waving hands.

    ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you feel the show is going this season?

    SIMON COWELL: It’s interesting. I think the audience are much more savvy than I’ve seen them in previous years, and much less forgiving, which I’m happy about. I’ve got a feeling this year something strange could happen, particularly after what happened with David Cook last night. Because, I’ve got to tell you, watching it back, this performance he did on “Billie Jean,” in my opinion, was in a different league to anything we’ve heard on the season so far. It was so much better, [chuckles] he kind of made some of the other performances seem ridiculous. But I’m glad! He was smart — I know where he got the arrangement of the song from, but that doesn’t really matter. He was brilliant! And I was concerned three or four weeks ago that this was just going to be a coronation for David Archuleta and it’s just a question of who comes second. I’m not so sure anymore.

  12. If Cook continues to rock the succeeding weeks, he might win this popularity competition! I hope he really will win this. I mean, David Archuleta is a great one, but we need someone who has the maturity on his artistry. I like Cook because he has that and he’s consistent since Day 1! Go Cook! The screaming teenage girls will get back to their senses if you continue to do you thing. Good luck.

  13. I just want to know where i can download Cook’s version being that I cannot play video on my pc. I cannot find the tunes w/out the video! Help???

  14. If anyone else listens to other music besides some no talent hacks on American Idol, then you would realize that he is using the same tune to Shinedown’s 45, he raises his voice at all the same parts and everything just new lyrics. Well done i can change the words to a song and really just copy those from another song. Two good songs dont make one great song. they make shit David Cook, they make SHIT

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