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Billboard #1 Hits
Cyndi Lauper's Grammy-nominated 1985 ballad is well on its way to becoming part of the Great American Songbook, having already been covered professionally over 100 times in its short life. The song's distinct syncopated rhythm is very unusual for a ballad, though that poses more of a challenge for the musicians than the singer. Lauper used her range to great advantage on the recording; fortunately, the song is flexible enough to permit re-arrangement to fit most vocal styles.
American Idol has not been kind to "Time After Time." AI4's Nadia Turner found herself in the Bottom 3 after her reggae arrangement fell flat with judges and viewers alike (though, as noted elsewhere on the site, we happened to like it quite a lot.) Brandon Rogers went with a more traditional, soulful delivery to advance safely in the AI6 semifinals, but the performance's 23 rating outpaced only Sanjaya Malakar that episode.
Normally in the WNTS.com orthodoxy, two strikes means a song is out. Still, we're inclined to make a rare exception here. The song is beautifully well crafted, and we think a strong-voiced female contestant, using a traditional arrangement, could yet turn it into a showstopper. Contestants in AI9 or later who are contemplating a Celine Dion ballad may instead want to see if the third "Time" is the charm.