George Michael

Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Neil Diamond, oh my! This latest season of American Idol—which culminated in a dispiritingly predictable David vs. David showdown, remember—was reliably heavy on star power. Yet the only memorable performance arrived during the season finale, when a dapper, subdued George Michael emerged for a few precious moments to make Paula Abdul weep and remind America why, exactly, we used to worship him. Foregoing his big pop hits—the bodacious, scandalous "I Want Your Sex," say, or the subsequently mangled-by-Fred Durst "Faith"—the British crooner brought down the house with a rendition of his 1990 ballad "Praying for Time" that effortlessly put everyone who'd taken the same stage before him to shame. Don't believe me? YouTube it en route to buying your ticket.
Mon., July 7, 8 p.m., 2008

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