Chris Cornell Weighs In On 'Idol' David Cook's Version Of 'Billie Jean'

Chris Cornell, David Cook Chris Cornell, David Cook

Last week David Cook emerged as a clear frontrunner on "American Idol" after performing a stripped down version of the Michael Jackson classic, "Billie Jean."

Cook’s rendition, however, wasn’t a new interpretation, but rather one former Soundgarged frontman-turned-Audioslave frontmant-turned-solo artist Chris Cornell created for his 2007 solo album, "Carry On." And although the contender covered the song faithfully, Cornell told Billboard he had no qualms with the performance.

"Don’t get me wrong. He sang it great," Cornell said. "But it was literally a note-for-note take on what I came up with. At the end of the day, it’s all good. It’s a good thing for me."

Cornell said he came up with the spaced-out lo-fi version of the Jackson standard a while back, but he wasn’t always sure it would work.

"There was a moment when I was sitting there writing this new arrangement thinking, ‘Is this a good idea or a bad idea?’" Cornell told Billboard. "Watching the response from the judges was really gratifying. They were signing off on it right there. It was something that worked. It was an idea that went over huge. When I play it live on tour, it brings the house down every time."

The rocker and James Bond theme singer (2006's "You Know My Name" from "Casino Royale"), known for his cat like wails, deep blue eyes and toned abs, said that although he had no problems with Cook’s version, his devotees weren’t as easily swayed.

"This is something where they know I came up with this arrangement and reinvented the song," he said. "I stuck my neck out being a guy that comes from the indie rock world doing a Michael Jackson song. You can clearly see that the judges are giving this guy credit for it on national television. My fans were like, 'Wait a minute! That’s Chris Cornell’s moment.'"

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