May 24, 2007 at 01:23 PM EDT

First, can we agree that lyrically, the new American Idol song, “This Is My Now,” is more of the same? A gloppy ballad about the sun breaking through the clouds, the path becoming clear, the light shining down, blah blah blah… Sorta weird that it came from an actual songwriting competition — I suspected it had been spit out by the Trite-o-Matic 2000. Still, it’s not as bad as Carrie Underwood’s Idol song, “Inside Your Heaven,” which is notorious in the offices (well, between me and Slezak, mostly) for including the baffling line “Take me to the place you cry from.” What? I digress.

So now AOL Music has debuted the recorded version of Jordin’s “This Is My Now,” and a pretty okay version it is, to my huge relief. As all you Idolatry addicts know, I have been a Sparks plugger ever since the first go-round of “I (Who Have Nothing),” and am not ashamed to throw up the spirit fingers for the 17-year-old. But I have something to confess…

Every time I watched her sing live on TV this season, my jaw would clench in premature worry that something would go wrong. I always felt like Jordin was workin’ overtime (and who doesn’t love a hard worker?) to keep control in her performances. When she went for the glory note, didn’t it sometimes seem she was uncomfortably close to careening off-key, a victim of the dreaded Voice Crack?

No such worries on the recorded version, of course. (Yay, producers!) It’s nice to hear some vocal layers in there, backing my girl up. (Ooh, echoes!) I mean, it’s not terribly original — I don’t think I’ll be able anytime soon to hear a song on the radio and instantly know, “Hey, that’s Jordin!” — but for what she’s working with… that’ll do, Miss Sparks.

But what do you think?

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