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So much about Constantine Maroulis’ season 4 audition was prophetic: not only did it open the doors for rockers to enter the competition, inspiring the likes of David Cook, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert, it foreshadowed the arrival of a certain American Idol judge. So it’s only fitting that one of Idol’s first rockers will return to that very stage tonight, as Season 10’s Top 9 pay tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Having seen Constantine in two Broadway productions, The Wedding Singer and Rock of Ages, I can honestly say: you just haven’t lived until you’ve heard him belt out Steve Perry’s “Oh, Sherrie,” or howl at the moon with Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock.” While performing in Rock of Ages Constantine simultaneously staged several solo shows in New York and called it A Night at the Rock Show. It was the perfect venue for addicted fans who just couldn’t get enough of the long-haired rocker dubbed “the Greek god” who made it from the Idol stage to the Tony Awards.
Thursday, he comes back to where it all began and will perform the classic love song made famous by the Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody.” The track is currently available for purchase on iTunes, along with a rousing cover of Chicago’s hit “25 or 6 to 4,” a live performance taken from Maroulis’ soon-to-be-released DVD A Night At The Rock Show.
Picking his top five Idol performances was no easy task, which is why I chose six.
6. Aerosmith’s “Cryin’” (Audition)
It was the Aerosmith song that started it all. At first, Simon Cowell was unimpressed, saying he wouldn’t want to be Constantine’s neighbor, but guest judge Mark McGrath saw something in the charismatic singer, quipping that a lot of “chicks” would disagree with that assessment. Thank goodness for Paula Abdul, who opined that Constantine was exactly what the competition needed. They put him through, and the rest is Idol history
5. Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (1990s)
During top 10 week, the rocker showed his soft side, seducing the camera with what Simon once described as his “smoldering Idol” look. Constantine’s pure charisma shone through with very little belting, and moved the audience to thunderous applause with this tender performance.
4. “My Funny Valentine” from Babes in Arms (Classic Broadway)
Who wouldn’t want to be Constantine’s valentine after witnessing this jazzy ditty? Randy declared the performance “unbelievable,” and Paula rose to her feet, demanding a standing ovation from the crowd. “I admit I’m falling in love with you,” she said, adding that he is the perfect role model for guys to get into musicals. Simon lauded his growth in confidence, with a 9.5 for “pouting.” The song was so good, it was included on the American Idol, Season 4: The Showstoppers compilation.
2. “I Think I Love You,” Partridge Family (Billboard Number Ones)
A slam-dunk performance that encapsulated exactly what Constantine represented at that stage of the competition — a David Cassidy-like presence that drove crowds wild. Emerging in silhouette, Constantine performed the song with the swagger of a star, rocking that mic like he owned it, and once again flashing the trademark brooding Constantine “look.” The only thing missing? Full-sized Constantine posters and T-shirts for sale at the concession stand.
2. Blood, Sweat and Tears’ “You Make Me So Very Happy” (1960s)
Look no more for the penultimate Constantine performance than this nugget. Everything we love about him is here: the vibrato, the hair, the look, the stage presence, the total command of the operatic and rock vocal melded into one.
1. Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Songs From the Year You Were Born)
Constantine’s masterpiece from “Song From The Year You Were Born” week was also one of American Idol’s most memorable moments. He set up the performance by describing himself as a “dramatic kid” in his interview segment, then blew away the audience with the most intense, theatrical and electrifying offering of the season. Constantine’s flair for musical theater and rock and roll was melded together in one simmering pot, bringing Paula once again to her feet and declaring him “the one to beat.” Simon simply said, “Astonishing.” One thing was for sure, it’s exactly why Constantine went on to star in Rock of Ages and earn a Tony nomination. This is what he was born to do.
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