LOS ANGELES – "American Idol" (search) contestants gave their regards to Broadway (search) with an evening of show tunes that allowed some to shine brighter than ever but left judge Simon Cowell (search) in an especially foul mood.
"I know what it is ... he doesn't like these kinds of songs," Randy Jackson said of his cohort after Cowell slammed singer after singer Tuesday night, even describing Anthony Fedorov's version of "Climb Every Mountain" as "hideous."
Young fans of Fox's "American Idol" might have felt as cheated as the sharp-tongued Brit: Tuesday night's tunes were classics, but probably not playing on a teenager's iPod near you.
One song, "My Funny Valentine," was part of the 1937 Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical "Babes in Arms." The vintage didn't stop Constantine Maroulis from picking it or wowing judges Jackson and Paula Abdul.
"This, dude, is the best you've ever sang anything," enthused Jackson. A smitten Abdul confessed, on live television, "I admit I'm falling in love with you."
Simon grudgingly gave the vocal "a seven," about the strongest praise he could muster Tuesday. He called Scott Savol's rendition of "The Impossible Dream" merely "ordinary" and deemed Bo Bice's "Corner of the Sky" to be "a mess."
Some contestants admitted they were unfamiliar with tunes they'd chosen, Vonzell Solomon among them. She still delivered a flawless take on the Barbra Streisand anthem, "People."
Other standouts included Anwar Robinson with "If Ever I Would Leave You" and head-turner Nadia Turner's gloriously theatrical version of "As Long as He Needs Me."
Robinson and Turner, surprisingly, were among the contestants who drew the lowest number of votes from viewers last week, with lowest-ranked Jessica Sierra getting bounced from the contest.
Regardless of who leaves the show Wednesday night, it looks like we know where Cowell stands on old Broadway.