Pop Life

Idol Beat: The Top Ten Results

I dare you. I double-dog dare you. Try not to break out into a toothy, mile-wide grin while watching Stevie Wonder command a stage, loop-de-looping through a handful of his zillions of classics in that inimitable zig-zag, running-through-tonal-mazes-at-light-speed style of his.

Was he actually playing those keys live last night on American Idol? Doesn't matter, because we knew he was singing "Overjoyed," "Superstition" and the rest, tearing us off some sweet harmonica freestyles, ad-libbing stuff like "I love you, Barack Obama!' and "I love you, American Idol!" for the hell of it.

In other words? Stevie Wonder is influentially immortal, and it was really great to see him - and to see that he remains in top form.

In other news:

* Ryan Seacrest announced that 36 million votes were cast Wednesday night, setting a Top Ten Week Idol record. What this really means: 3 million people voted Wednesday night.

* Simon Cowell's chintzy, see-through white tee: a salute to the clean-cut, all-American look, or a smug, contemptuous signal that he doesn't give a shit about any of this?

* Smokey Robinson watches every season of American Idol, shattering the myth that pop legends and other famous people have better things to do with their time.

* I was right this week. The Sarvernator was the lowest vote-getter and the judges didn't save him. Megan Joy and Scott MacIntyre, watch out! You're next.

* Reuben Studdard sure shed a lot of weight, didn't he? And he's married! And his new single, "Together," is like the archtypal R&B "grown and sexy" template song, which means that it might as well not even exist. Studdard sounds great, but he won't be touring with R. Kelly anytime soon.

Enough of the Book of Sanjaya! From here forward, Idol Beat will close each week with a quote from a Bucky Covington song. Let's start with some verses from "Ain't No Thing": "So I'm standin' in the pourin' rain/ Ain't like I never been here before/ I'm just here again."

Fare thee well, Sarvernator.
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Ray Cummings