I am happy to admit that I have never, ever watched an episode of "American Idol." From the beginning, it simply didn't interest me. Glorified karaoke without the booze-fueled, bowling-alley charm? No thank you. I'll stick with "Top Chef."
(I can only assume that the people watching "Idol" are the same ones watching "America's Funniest Home Videos," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," Oprah, and NASCAR. If they're Democrats, they favor Clinton. If they're Republicans, they favor Jesus. If they're independents, they're watching "House.")
But nevermind all that. This post is about AMANDA JENSSEN, of Sweden. Of "Swedish Idol," actually. Yes, there really is such a thing. In fact, there are 34 national "Idol"s, including Turkey, Slovakia, and Kazakhstan. (Rumor has it that CLAY AIKEN garnered his special-guest slot on "Serbia, Montenegro & Macedonia Idol" after he was mistaken for BARRY MANILOW. Which, of course, is entirely understandable.)
Turns out that Amanda Jenssen (like Clay Aiken) was the runner-up on her "Idol" season. The winner? MARIE PICASSO -- who, it turns out, also appeared on "Swedish Big Brother." Yes, there really is such a thing. Also: "Russian Big Brother," which, even post-Cold War, still seems like it would be very, very scary....
Amanda Jenssen has released her first album, the nicely-titled KILLING MY DARLINGS. It's pop music, with hints of WINEHOUSE-styled retro-soul. For example: "For the Sun," which is sort of "Winehouse + SHERYL CROW." "Come On (You Have Arrived)" sounds like THE SOUNDS or SAHARA HOTNIGHTS making a pass at BILLY SQUIER's "Rock Me Tonight." And "Greetings From Space" is a no-holds-barred ballad -- complete with sweeping strings & celestial choir. Think: SKEETER DAVIS' "The End of the World" mashed with DOLLY PARTON's "I Will Always Love You" (if Dolly had gone all WHITNEY on its ass).
AMANDA JENSSEN on MySPACE.
[MP3] "For the Sun"
[MP3] "Come On (You Have Arrived)"
[MP3] "Greetings From Space"
BONUS TRACKS >>>
[MP3] SKEETER DAVIS/"The End of the World"
[MP3] DOLLY PARTON/"I Will Always Love You"
[MP3] BILLY SQUIER/"Rock Me Tonight"