In a competition where many singers choose covers of popular hits by the Beatles, Rolling Stones or other top artists, Michael Lynche stole "American Idol" by going somewhere few expected.
Perched on a chair amid a sparse stage, the burly singer picked at his guitar while belting out a heartfelt version of "Ready for Love," written and performed by neo-soul singer/songwriter India.Arie. Released on her 2001 debut album, Acoustic Soul, the song was the last of several singles from the record and the only one to not hit the U.S. charts.
"You are in the zone," an appreciative Randy Jackson said of Lynche's work. "I am loving every performance."
"I can actually take you seriously now as an artist," Simon Cowell agreed. "What you demonstrated tonight ... is the difference between original, having a moment, or being a silly little karaoke singer."
Although obscure, the song seems certain to have a rebirth now that it was featured so prominently on the "Idol" stage. "I am ready for love/ Why are you hiding from me," the song's opening lyrics read. "I'd quickly give my freedom/ To be held in your captivity."
Sung by a plaintive prospective lover who is aware of the downside of romance but nonetheless eager to once again embrace it, "Love" is one of those songs that is equally effective coming from either a man or woman, since its truths are universal.
Tuesday night (March 30) on "Idol," the judges heard a similarly heartfelt plea — and their positive reception acknowledged that Michael Lynche had arrived.
What did you think of Big Mike's performance? Let us know in the comments!
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.