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American Idol

American Idol’s Charlie Askew Breaks Down On Stage: What Happened?

He may “glorify weirdness,” but many were asking during last night’s American Idol 2013 episode, “Just what happened to Charlie Askew?” His emotions were -- pardon this -- more than askew as he gave us a super duper angry version of Genesis’ “Mama”. Shunning his usual quirky ensemble of oversized clothes, he seemed to try and channel some sort of 1980s hair stylist. He hit the stage with a long earring, black skinny pants, a pseudo-camo tank, a pony tail, and the remnants of the smallest mustache ever grown. Seeing his arms was oddly unsettling, perhaps because they were frighteningly white or shockingly toned. What the what?

The most uncomfortable part of the performance was when, about halfway through, he seemed to know the wheels were falling off the wagon. He’s been the judges’ golden child (at least Nicki Minaj’s, that’s for sure), so when he could see he was going to get criticized, he seemed to fall apart in front of the viewers’ eyes.

Keith Urban was dying to know what everyone at home was saying, as the expression on the audience members was definitely “varied.” As he said, it felt “disconnected” and “disingenuous.” And even his number one fan, Nicki, was upset by the performance. Last week, she wanted to cradle him like he has her son but, this week, she said, “I feel like someone stole my kid...I want my cute, cuddly Charlie back,” adding, “Now it’s like a darker thing -- I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m upset.”

It was about this point in the critique that Charlie’s lower lip seemed to quiver and tears threatened to spill over and, if you were like us, you were hoping the whole thing would be over fast. Randy Jackson simply said he just didn’t get it and Mariah Carey, noticing he was about to crumble all together, barely said anything to him at all.


As if this wasn’t bad enough, when (Dr.) Ryan Seacrest took to the stage and gave him his best therapist/fatherly grip on the shoulder, Charlie seemed on the verge of collapse.

"A lot of people think I'm a happy, buoyant person all of the time, and the only reason I smile so much is because I feel like I have to,” the singer, who’s admitted he uses music as an outlet for being socially awkward, said.

We’ve seen a lot of things on Idol, but a near-nervous breakdown was a first. Charlie even left the stage before Ryan was done introducing the next singer.

If you took to Twitter, you saw that viewers had expressed varying opinions with their Tweets, from poking fun to sympathizing to some people even saying they voted for him to make him feel better. In all honesty, we feel that last approach would be the worst. If voters get him through based on sympathy, Charlie’s going to be open to much more heartbreak.

As EW said in their recap, “If he sticks around, the show will seem very irresponsible.” Yet it’s no longer up to the judges -- it’s up to the fans.

03.8.2013 / 01:22 AM EDT by Marnie Brodersen
Related: American Idol, American Idol Season 12

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