How Many People Thought George Michael Was Dying During His American Idol Performance?

“Praying for Time,” indeed. Word came early that George Michael would appear on last night’s American Idol finale, and about 50 percent of him made it on stage. After the 10 American Idol finalists performed a medley of his hits, a frail, gaunt George Michael doddered out before the crowd like a wizened old man – not the vibrant pop idol we remember from his ’80s heyday. His voice betrayed the extent of his decline: his once powerfully soulful voice was replaced by a hoarse, whispery growl. (He told Ryan Seacrest that he had a cold.) The performance was poignant, sad, pathetic, and strangely effective given the content of the song; you couldn’t help but be moved by it. My roommate turned to me and said, “Wouldn’t it be weird for us to turn on the news tomorrow and have them say, ‘That was George Michael’s last performance.”"

Weird, but not at all shocking.

In other news:

  • Madonna and Guy Ritchie have asked their hotel at Cannes to install a hook on the ceiling of their suite. What ever would they need a hook on their ceiling for? Holy Moly has an idea, and you’re not gonna like it: “Let’s just pray that the kids have a separate room – imagine the mental scarring of having to witness a sweaty, wheezing Guy pumping away at his haggard and dusty old wife as she creeks away in the sex swing looking a bit like the kiss-happy Granny S. Preston in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. *Shudders*”
  • Madonna said she was surprised at the level of criticism she faced for adopting David Banda: “Yes, it was painful and it was a big struggle and I didn’t understand it, but in the end I rationalized that when a woman goes through childbirth she suffers an enormous amount. I went through my own kind of birthing pains, with the press on my front doorstep accusing me of kidnapping a child or whatever they called it. But it has made me a stronger person so I can’t complain.”(Telegraph)
  • Amy Winehouse had her dad pick up her Ivor Novello for Best Song (for “Love Is a Losing Game”).(BBC)
  • Paul Weller and David Bowie have mended fences after a “long public feud.”(The Sun)
  • Peter Gabriel explains why he turned down the Genesis reunion last year: “Because I am a perfectionist, once I start doing something I want to do it properly. If I had done Genesis, I couldn’t have just turned up, sung for a couple of hours and pissed off. I would have been in there working on the show and the lights and everything else. It was a bigger chunk of time than I could commit to.” But he’s open to doing on in the future: “It’s a bit like a child: however far you move on, you still love your children. On a good day.”(Telegraph)
  • Sean Bean will star in NBC’s 13-part Robinson Crusoe series.(The Times)
  • On Hell’s Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay ate a dish that contained a chef’s severed thumb: “It tastes weird,” he said.(The Sun)
  • Naomi Campbell looked tearful and upset at her 38th birthday party in Cannes.(Daily Mail)
  • Sharon Osbourne (!) will replace Mo’Nique as host of VH1′s Charm School. She’ll teach the losers of Rock of Love how to be “sophisticated rock & roll ladies.” Snort.(NME)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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