Chris Daughtry’s “I Walk the Line” performance still generating controversy

Some people are all up in a tizzy about Chris Daughtry’s performance on American Idol 5 last week. That’s because he “sang a rendition of Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’ Tuesday nearly identical to a version Live recorded for a 2001 compilation — without giving them credit,” MTV.com reports.

Why is this a big deal in a competition that is often just one big karaoke act? In part it was because “the judges seemingly assumed it was his, praising him for the arrangement,” according to MTV.com, and the week before, Chris “fully acknowledged” that the song he sang was an arrangement by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Reality News Online’s David Bloomberg says, “In his video piece, he talked about doing something different with the arrangement when he had to know he was simply using somebody else’s arrangement. Then he stood onstage and let the judges talk about how he made it his own when he really did nothing of the sort.” Another blogger, DJSlim, says Chris should be removed from the show or be forced to apologize, but admits on his blog that his response is partly due to a cease and desist letter he received from Fremantle about an unrelated issue.

Not everyone is calling for Chris’ head. Former contestant Kimberly Caldwell says the criticism is “stupid, so what?” And Television Without Pity’s Jacob Clifton blames the show, not Chris. “I think it’s more a sign of the judges being out of touch or the show’s producers deliberately trying to fool the public. The fact is Chris should not be blamed for using the arrangements that he does. I think the show does him a disservice by not being open about it because in the end it’s going to come out. And since his appeal is in being real … it could hurt his musical career in the long run. I would make sure the judges knew that the arrangements were from recent covers,” he told MTV.com.

Did ‘Idol’ Contender Daughtry Go Over The Line With ‘Walk The Line’ Cover? [MTV.com]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.