Picks and Pans Review: American Idol Season 3

UPDATED 05/31/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/31/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

Greatest Soul Classics
Various Artists

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Given the theme of this compilation from American Idol finalists, it's no surprise that the top performers are this season's soulful divas: La Toya London, Fantasia Barrino and Jennifer Hudson. London delivers a rousing rendition of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me By Now," while Barrino's quirky cover of "Chain of Fools" sounds like Aretha Franklin meets Macy Gray. And Hudson's gospel-powered version of Gladys Knight & the Pips' "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" offers further proof that she was robbed when she got voted off April 25. If these three talented songbirds had performed the entire disc, it could have really been something to crow about. Unfortunately, aside from George Huff (who does his best Billy Paul imitation on "Me and Mrs. Jones"), the rest of the Idol wannabes come off as soulless. The worst offender is John Stevens, whose remake of "You Are Everything" is a real stiff.

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