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'American Idol': Shine on, you crazy Diamond

April 30, 2008 |  1:01 pm

Sometimes the greatest insights about the night before come with breakfast. This morning, my hubby and fellow pop scribe, Eric Weisbard, pointed out that the maturity I'd written about in my Idol Banter last night isn't just a matter of tone.

In fact, he noted, Diamond was the guy who helped bring easy listening into the adult-contemporary era, and that means the lyrics to many of his finest songs are, if not Snoop-level dirty, at least a bit risqué. And we all know that risqué doesn't fly on "Idol."

Here's a list of Diamond's Greatest Semi-Nasty Hits and the subject matter to which they fairly explicitly allude:

"Cracklin' Rosie" and "Red, Red Wine": inebriation

"You Don't Bring Me Flowers": the problems that ensue when one partner is not sexually fulfilled (Neil sings...."When it's good for you, babe, you're feeling all right," and Barbra Streisand replies, "Well you just roll over and turn out the light."

"Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon":  deflowering girls

"Holly Holy" and "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show": dubious religious messages a la "Jesus Christ Superstar"

"Crunchy Granola Suite": the obvious Jason Castro choice alludes to growing and ingesting marijuana

"Play Me": free love

Oh, Neil. If only the Idols could.

-- Ann Powers