'American Idol': Thia Megia, Michael Jackson and the anatomy of a 'Smile'
16-year-old Thia Megia took to the stage during "American Idol's" Top 13 performance night, and after getting a comparison to Michael Jackson from Randy Jackson last week, she wanted to sing one of the artist's songs.
Only "Smile" isn't really a Michael Jackson song. First an instrumental piece scored for Charlie Chaplin's 1936 film "Modern Times," "Smile" got lyrics in 1954 from John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. That's the same year the Nat King Cole rendition really put the song on the map.
Jackson didn't record the song until 1995 -- the year of Megia's birth -- after dozens of artists gained acclaim for singing the tune.
And almost every rendition of "Smile" has been a straightforward version of the soft, melancholy original -- just like how Megia's started out. Unfortunately, she switched things up mid-way, derailing into a questionably jazzy finish. (Jackson's "Smile" got upbeat too, but not quite to this extent.)
It didn't work for the judges, all of whom pointed out that the second half of the song tarnished her performance. And she felt it too, looking bummed backstage during her post-performance interview.
Megia also loses points for not knowing who Charlie Chaplin is. Just saying! What did you think?