What’s a reality show without some controversy? Sunday’s Top 20 episode of “American Idol,” during which 10 contestants were paired with celebrity artists, offered a doozy. According the social media jury, a vocal flub made by singer Elle King, the daughter of comic actor Rob Schneider whose own big hit is “Ex’s and Oh’s,” might have contributed to ex-ing out Atlanta semi-finalist Shawn Robinson‘s chances to continue on the show.
Robinson admitted he did have some reservations about their duet selection, a golden oldie that was originally a mid-tempo 1969 signature tune for Creedence Clearwater Revival that was famously turned into a raucus 1971 R&B hit by Ike and Tina Turner. He wanted to do the slower version and got his way, but it barely mattered when King seemed to accidentally sing the first verse twice on-air and might have caused a rattled Shawn, 22, to come in too soon.
While judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan noted the flub and praised their recovery, they were Switzerland on just whose fault it was exactly. Twitter, however, was not quite so neutral.
She sang the wrong verse ( she repeated the first verse) the forgotten lyrics. He covered for her, good for him #AmericanIdol
— Scott Mac (@smc013) April 8, 2019
Ultimately, though, there might have been another reason for Robinson’s bad luck. There is a long history of losing “Idol” hopefuls whose trajectory hit a bump after they sang “Proud Mary” on the show. The only time it became a good-luck charm was when Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino sang it as one of her audition numbers.
*Season 16’s Layla Spring did the song during the Showcase Round and made it into the Top 24. But that is when her journey ended.
*Season 15’s La’Porsha Renae performed the song as part of the Top 24. She got as far as the finale but placed second to Trent Harmon.
*Season 11 belter Jessica Sanchez sang “Proud Mary” when she reached the Top 5 as a solo. She had to settle for runner-up to winner Phillip Phillips.
*Season 7: Syesha Raquel Mercado did “Proud Mary” as part of the Top 4. She would be eliminated the next week.
*Season 5: Auditioner Paula Goodspeed is sadly the most tragic example of someone who sang “Proud Mary” on the show. The Paula Abdul fan who sported a mouthful of dental braces did a decidedly off-key rendition of the number. The judges were not kind. Abdul declared herself “speechless,” Randy Jackson called it “terrible.” Simon Cowell dismissed her for having “too much metal in her mouth.” In 2008, she committed suicide in a car parked close to Abdul’s home.
*Season 2: Trenyce sang “Proud Mary” as part of the Top 5 and was eliminated. It didn’t help that she owned up to having an arrest record for theft.
Below is a video sampling of how “Proud Mary” has been mangled through the years: