"Idol": Jacob is gone, but the music soars


So there I was, bummed by Jacob Lusk being ousted tonight from "American Idol." We knew it would happen sometime; the poor guy had spent lots of weeks in the bottom three. Still, you hate to see the ouster of one of the most magnificent voices in the 10 years of "Idol."

And then, by happy coincidence, I plugged in an advance screener of Monday's "American Experience." It provided a reminder that Lusk's music style will go on and on; it already has.

Lusk sings pop songs on "Idol," but he does it with the bigger-than-life style that has flowed in the church and beyond. Each song gets the extra oomph that comes from that style.

Other "Idol" contestants -- Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, more -- have had hints of church in their music. None has done it with the high-octane elegance of Lusk.

It was sad to see him go, but no one is safe now. Lauren Alaina -- who had never been there before -- was standing alongside Lusk in the bottom two, weeping as usual. For now, I'm predicting James Durbin will win, but we'll se.

Meanwhile, make sure you see "American Experience" at 9 p.m. Mondays. On May 16, it has a superb look at the freedom riders of the civil rights movement; a week earlier, on May 9, it has "Soundtrack of a Revolution," intercutting civil rights memories and new portrayals of the stunning music that was part of it.

The music is awesome, both from veterans (Richie Havens, Blind Boys of Alabama) and current stars; there are stirring moments from Wyclef Jean, Joss Stone, John Legend and more. The music soars; in style and tone, it's the kind of music that took Jacob Lusk to No. 5 on "American Idol." It's the kind that will flow for generations.