17-year-old singer/songwriter Charlie Askew returned to the stage of "American Idol" on Thursday night (March 14), singing an original song, "Sky Blue Diamond," that was among the most strikingly original moments of the show's twelfth season.
The young singer has been staunchly individual since his audition, where he impressed the judges by singing both Queen and Nat King Cole. Since then he has turned in a series of unique performances, including Elton John's "Rocket Man." He's been a favorite of judges and audiences for not only his oddball, off-kilter sense of style and singular musical sensibility, but also his smooth vocal delivery and unusually expansive range.
The aspiring star stumbled a couple of weeks ago with an uncharacteristic performance of the Genesis classic "Mama" that just didn't connect, causing him to narrowly miss out on winning his way into the Top 10 of the reality singing competition. But he returned for a sing-off with Aubrey Cleland, who also narrowly missed being one of the final contestants.
In another daring choice, Askew performed "Sky Blue Diamond," which he wrote about having to choose between a two-year relationship and doing "American Idol." The song was a perfect showcase for his silky voice, and contained a climactic high note that demonstrated why the judges were right for moving him forward all along. Askew also revealed a previously unknown talent for playing the piano.
If Askew wins the sing-off, he will earn a spot on the upcoming "American Idol" summer tour. He will learn his fate on next Wednesday's show.