say what you will about this or that,

but the LA Times has the best American Idol writers of all. Ms. Ann Powers, and Mr. Richard Rushfield. Today Mr. Rushfield did wonders with the Tragedy of Chikeze. But first, my favorite Chikeze moment on Idol:

Rushfield wrote:

On elimination nights, the show pre-tapes one segment, filming about half an hour before the full episode shoots live. The segment includes the viewers’ questions and the guest performer. This week, as we saw, one of the questions went to Chikezie; he was asked if he was single and abashedly answered that, yes, he was very single.

Half an hour later, the contestants having been sent backstage and then brought out again, the show proper began shooting live (to the East Coast, at least). Within moments, Chikezie was placed on an elimination stool awaiting his fate. The doomed contestant tried to put on a brave face and managed moments of mirth with fellow prospective oustee Syesha Mercado. He joked at the break with Carly Smithson and Brooke White, who were “safe,” and thus visiting from a land across the stage that he could only dream of. But despite his efforts, Chikezie seemed serious and grim throughout most of the hour.

Finally, about halfway through the show, the lights went dark in the studio as they aired the pre-taped segment. At the beginning of the segment, preserving the pretense that the show is entirely live in chronological order, Angel of Death Ryan Seacrest announces that they are bringing all the contestants back to the couches for the viewer calls. Thus, an hour later, sitting in the shadows alone with Syesha on the most dangerous stool in show business, Chikezie gazed across the stage at the giant monitor, which showed him a mere hour before sitting on the couch with his comrades, laughing, joking, shyly fending off queries about his romantic life — a way he would never be again, on a couch that he would never again call home. The segment had been taped but an hour earlier, but in that hour, how different the world had become for the once mighty Chikezie.

read the whole thing here. Ann Powers explains that Chikezie’s departure was a black (male) thing. One that has been happening in music for a while