This season, “American Idol” has sort of become a game of “what will Casey Abrams do next?” And after taking on Nirvana , nearly fainting on live television and dialing himself way back with a hushed take on Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy,” Abrams topped even himself on Wednesday’s (April 20) “Idol” by planting a kiss on Jennifer Lopez’s cheek while finishing off his performance.
The smooch came at the close of the bearded rocker’s aggressive rendition of Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe,” from the group’s 2002 debut album, Songs About Jane. (Wednesday’s theme was “songs from the 21st century.” ) Abrams, using his intense glare to embody the bitter scorn in frontman Adam Levine’s lyrics, stalked either side of the stage in a stiff, upright manner before approaching the judges’ table at the song’s end. He locked himself on Lopez like a guided missle and leaned in toward her, his head mere inches from that of People magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman .
They shared an intimate stare before she broke the glance and turned her head to her right, toward Steven Tyler. Abrams sang the song’s final line directly to her — “is there anyone out there?/ ’Cause it’s getting harder and harder to breathe” — and caught her off-guard by pecking her on the cheek before walking away. Randy Jackson threw up his arms in dismay, Tyler exclaimed, “You did what I’ve been trying to do for two months!” and Lopez giggled like a giddy school girl.
The fireworks weren’t over yet. After Lopez and Jackson praised Abrams for his soft lips and his risk-taking, respectively, Tyler dropped what appeared to be an F-bomb, calling Abrams “f—ing good” in his appraisal of the singer. (Censors caught it, though a little lip-reading goes a long way.) The audience erupted, Abrams covered his mouth in surprise and Lopez’s jaw hung agape, while Tyler continued as if nothing had happened. Jackson stood up from his chair as if to signal he was calling for a time-out, and made Tyler aware of his gaffe. “He’s so darn good,” Tyler corrected himself.
Host Ryan Seacrest, sporting a faux-Abrams beard on his face, remarked, “The wheels have fallen off this program,” and thanked him for “changing the course of this show.” Backstage after the performance, cameras caught up with Abrams and he recapped what had just happened onstage. “I kissed Jennifer Lopez and I made Steven Tyler swear,” he said. “That”s always a plus.”
So now, once again, the question remains: What will Casey Abrams do next?
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