When Frank Sinatra sang “That’s Life,” the song became a masterpiece, a devil-may-care case study in the art of cool, careless crooning about enduring the bad days. On Tuesday night (May 4), Lee Dewyze made the song his own , simultaneously conquering his own demons and the specter of the Chairman of the Board.
The spiky-haired “American Idol” dark horse took on a signature tune from Ol’ Blue Eyes for the show, with necktie appropriately undone. Accompanied on a Hammond organ by mentor Harry Connick Jr., Dewyze straddled the top of the instrument as if paying tribute to the bar-embracing persona of Sinatra, backed by a bluesy band.
Although feisty Frank likely wouldn’t have endorsed Dewyze’s untucked shirt, he could surely appreciate the way the 26-year-old Illinois singer poured himself into lines like “Each time I find myself flat on my face/ I pick myself up and get back in the race.”
With the performance, Dewyze undoubtedly put himself back into the heat of the “Idol” race.
“If this was the last night of performances,” judge Ellen DeGeneres beamed with approval, “you would have won this whole thing.”
“You gave it 110 percent,” Simon Cowell agreed. “It was the best performance of the night.”
“Another great arrangement by a Louisiana boy,” Randy Jackson said of Connick’s efforts. “You stayed your rocker self. I loved it.”
“You can win this thing,” Kara DioGuardi said, before urging Dewyze to go home and write down “I can win this thing” 100 times.
Originally composed by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon for Sinatra’s album of the same name, “That’s Life” was a huge hit when it debuted in 1966. In the years since, the song has been covered by everyone from Bono to Aretha Franklin to David Lee Roth, and now, perhaps the next American Idol.
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