A lot of people - from the judges to the darshaks to the voting junta - seem to agree that Amit Paul comes closest to being an Indian Idol. In fact, the judges already seem to have anointed him. In the poll to find the winner on this blog, he leads with over 27% of the more than 1600 votes that have been cast so far. The poll stats tell me his appeal is global - he gets props from the US, UK, India, Middle East and Australia. Heck, he's even gotten poll votes from Norway and South Korea.
But last week in the Indian Idol 3 Gala Round, our man bombed. His singing sucked - but by his own standards, it positively blew. Trying to wrestle with Sukhwinder Singh's typically rustic and powerful rendition of the title track from Omkara, he forgot the lyrics, struggled to hit the lows and generally in the face of some mounting panic seemed to barely hold it all together.
Although Javed Akhtar waved off the performance by saying he was lost in Amit's voice (you liar, you), Ila Arun did pull him up and suggested that he might not be best suited for these types of (folksy) songs. Later, this resulted in a hilarious jhagda among the judges.
In light of the fact that Emon and Deepali, after recent dips, have been hitting the right notes, this becomes significant. Amit is a wonderful singer, but any singer can lose his confidence quickly on this pressure cooker of a show. I'm sure all his fans will be crossing their fingers when he comes out to sing this coming Saturday.