It has always puzzled that me that in 10 seasons, "American Idol" has never spawned a truly modern-sounding R&B male star. Sure, we had Ruben Studdard way back in Season 2, but he always brought to mind throwback soul stars like Luther Vandross (a comparison later earned by last year's Michael Lynche and this year's Jacob Lusk). This season offered two great "R&P" (rhythm & pop) male hopes, Jordan Dorsey and Jerome Bell, but Jordan infamously blew it the minute he hit the big stage, and Jerome inexplicably didn't make the top 24 at all.
Really now, in a pop age dominated by post-Chris Brown/Justin Timberlake/Usher types like Drake, Jason Derulo, Jay Sean, Taio Cruz, B.o.B., Bruno Mars, and even Justin Bieber, why has "Idol" never come up with an equivalent? Well, maybe Season 8's Anoop "Dogg" Desai will fill that "AI" void, now that he's finally releasing original music.
Making up for lost time since his "Idol" run ended in 2009, the ever-ambitious Anoop is planning a series of no fewer than three EPs this year, with the first one, Zero.0, available on iTunes April 20. However, thanks to Billboard.com, the EP can be streamed and download for free now!
I must say I'm impressed by what I hear here. The doo-woppy opener "I'll Come Running" (a Sam Cooke cover) is a nice nod to Anoop's collegiate a cappella days, "All Is Fair" and my fave track "Oo Wee" sound like lost Usher cuts, and I'm digging the Hi-NRG '90s club vibe of "Perfect Way." This sounds current, fresh, relevant...all the tick-the-box adjectives the "Idol" judges keep harping on when looking for a new superstar.
R&B and pop fans: Get with the Zero now!