American Idol 2: The Charity CD Confusionby David Bloomberg -- 04/04/2003
As we found out on Wednesday’s Non-Results episode, the folks at American Idol have switched gears on the charity single they plan to release. Instead of Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” which they trumpeted the previous week, they are releasing “God Bless the U.S.A.,” by Lee Greenwood. That was the song the group sang the previous week – twice – on the Results show. It’s often also referred to as “Proud to Be an American.”
The fact that it’s known by two names has caused a great deal of confusion in the press, it seems, and I’m going to try to sort some of that out here. The BBC and Ananova both reported online that the AI contestants would be releasing a double CD-single with “”God Bless the U.S.A.” and “I’m Proud to Be an American.” Whoops! Somebody forgot to do some fact-checking, apparently, or else I (and everybody else I’ve checked with) am very confused. I guess the British press can be forgiven since they aren’t exactly up on that kind of music. But then Zap2it.com and Yahoo have added to the confusion.
Zap2it.com removed mention of the wrong song name but still said, “The different renditions of the song will be released as a double-A side single.” It is completely unclear as to what “different” renditions there are. Could they be releasing the live version and also the one we saw them recording in the studio? That would seem rather redundant since even the live version used a taped music track. And, while we’re talking about the studio version, we never were given any explanation as to why Kimberley Locke was not at the studio. Certainly, her voice could be dubbed in later, but where was she to begin with?
Getting back to the confusion over the song,Yahoo then made things even worse by going back to the claim that “God Bless the U.S.A.” was actually two songs. It appears they picked this up from a wire story and didn’t fact-check it, especially since they say, “both of which were performed on last week’s show.” It would have been pretty easy to find out that they only performed one song, but sang it twice.
In any event, everybody seems to agree that the single will feature a portion of sales going to the American Red Cross. And the single (double?) will be released either April 15 or 22, apparently.
Reports also indicate that the Bacharach recording won’t go to waste – it will end up on the finalists’ CD, American Idol Season 2: All Time Classic Love Songs, as will God Bless the U.S.A. (I guess it’s a love song about the U.S.A.). You can already pre-order the Love Songs CD on Amazon for 29% off, where it says it will be out April 29. Those dates are always subject to change, of course.
So why the change? Producers say that the live performance of “God Bless the U.S.A. generated much more buzz than the Bacharach song. But it’s interesting to note that “What the World Needs Now Is Love” can be interpreted as a peace song, while “God Bless the U.S.A.” is, of course, viewed as rather patriotic, especially in a time of war (this is not to say that people who are in favor of peace are not patriotic, but some do not perceive them that way – which anybody who has watched TV in the past couple weeks knows – and most Americans polled continue to be in favor of the war). Fox is known to be a rather conservative network and one has to wonder if executives had anything to do with the switch. There is no specific evidence of this, but it seems more plausible than most conspiracy theories that circulate around this show, so at least it deserved some mention, I think. Also, one has to wonder why they couldn’t release a double-single with both songs. My hypothesis here may help to explain that.
Hopefully, all of this will become clearer as the days go on and the CD is made available for pre-order. Right now, the Bacharach song is the only CD-single from AI2 available to pre-order on Amazon, so it will likely take a few days to clear all of this up.
Meanwhile, check back frequently here on RealityNewsOnline and at Foxes On Idol for more news and articles about the contestants.
Additional Information: Since originally writing this article, Amazon.com has indeed added the CD-Single for "God Bless the U.S.A." and removed "What the World Needs Now Is Love." You can click here to pre-order it.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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