Did you catch Jorge Nuñez on American Idol last night? At long last, the young boricua made his Top 36 debut, and it was filled with everything from tears to long-held vibrato notes to a debate over his magically disappearing Spanish accent.
Nuñez, who's been working with a dialect coach for weeks to lose what one judge described as "pronunciation issues," chose to sing Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." It's an oft-covered song on AI that was most recently handled beautifully by another Latin cutie, David Archuleta, but Nuñez managed to live up to those lofty standards by hitting all the right power notes...and we know how much Idol voters love to hear those!
Once again, the female judges patronized Nuñez by asking him to speak in Spanish, and before that, producers showed a clip of him busting out into a merengue stance in Hollywood while exclaiming, "That's how we dance in Puerto Rico!"...because, you know, that's hilarious! Right? Ugh.
Thank goodness for Simon Cowell, who surprised me again by calling out his fellow judges on their insensitivity: "There are, believe it or not, you know, Spanish artists who have actually done incredibly well. They have an accent because they're Spanish. Who cares?" Exactly!
I don't want to focus on all that too much though, because then I fear I'll be guilty of the same silliness. So let's get back to the performance. I've noticed some people online complaining that Nuñez oversings every note, which doesn't allow him to convey any varying degrees of emotion in his performance. While I usually find this to be an irritating tendency Idol, I don't in his case because—if you'll excuse me with another Marc Anthony comparison—that's just the way a lot of Spanish pop stars sound! It's all emotion and not a whole lot of subtlety, and that's fine by me. As long as Nuñez keeps choosing songs that call for that kind of treatment, I think he'll be okay.
More than okay, in fact! I'm going to make a bold prediction that Jorge Nuñez is voted into the Top 12 tonight, becoming the first Latino man to make the cut this season (we've already got one Latina, El Salvadorean rock-pop chica Allison Iraheta). And if he doesn't, I may shed as many tears as he did last night.
Do you want to see Jorge Nuñez make it to the top 12 of American Idol tonight? If you're not sure or didn't catch his performance, watch it below and let me know what you think...
WATCH: Jorge Nuñez's Top 36 Peformance on American Idol