In Defense of Heejun

I rarely vote for American Idol contestants, but I voted for Heejun nearly 100 times last night. Make no mistake, Heejun is the worst singer on American Idol, but his sense of humor makes him the most entertaining. And as a supporter of VoteForTheWorst, that’s right up my alley.

Look, I think pretty much all of the finalists are good this year, but they all stand up there and perform boring ballads, do what they’re told, and allow themselves to be commodified. Sing like this! Dress like this! The way Heejun met with Tommy Hilfiger, didn’t take him seriously, and then wore an ugly t-shirt anyway is commendable.

What really motivated me to vote was Steven Tyler’s critique. Though Tyler is paid to be a “judge”, he never gives any negative feedback, even when someone royally sucks, so the fact that he was so angry at Heejun for putting on a joke act is telling. It’s clear the producers are tired of his comic relief, and that’s all the more reason to keep him. And for the record, Steven Tyler, Heejun is not “taking a piss out of the song” by giving it an I-don’t-care-I’m-going-to-be-me performance, he was actually honoring the song’s meaning. (If you want to get up in arms about a singer misinterpreting a song, how about that probably gay long-haired kid singing “Only the Good Die Young” without any of the authority of a guy trying to pressure a religious girl into having sex?) But yeah, Heejun is taking a piss out of the show. Maybe if Tyler weren’t so busy getting loopier than Paula Abdul and hitting on underage girls, he’d realize that he’s one of the show’s biggest jokes of all.

(Side note: one time at Katy’s birthday party, Maddy and I stopped the festivities to serenade her with our duet of “My Life”. We hadn’t really thought about the lyrical content first, so there was a lot of cringing from her friends and family as we sang lines like “Go ahead with your own life, and leave me alone”, but to her credit, Katy just fake smiled and clapped as if it weren’t insulting.)

Tonight, Heejun barely squeaked by in the results show. (My votes mattered!) The judges really read him the riot act for his antics, and I hope it doesn’t crush his sarcasm and make him try anything earnest next week. Heejun has a way better chance of leaving this show a comedian instead of a singer, so I hope he continues playing to his strengths. Whether he’s giving celebrity guests photos of himself, baffling Ryan Seacrest with his witty one-liners, flinging his microphone around haphazardly, or tweeting embarrassing photos, I want to see more of it. If he keeps treating this show like the joke that it is, I’ll keep hitting the redial button on my way to dodgeball.

On a side note, I can't believe Idol did a whole night dedicated to Billy Joel, and no one sang his best song (also the best Disney song ever): "Why Should I Worry" from Oliver & Company. This song is still totally my jam.

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