I can’t stop watching Fantasia’s new video for “Bittersweet” on repeat loop, and I’m not just saying that because today is her 26th birthday or because she remains my all-time favorite Idol. Indeed, while the clip for this gorgeous, old-soul ballad doesn’t break any new ground in terms of storytelling (Fantasia reminisces about an ex-lover) or visual effects (rich, retro lighting prevails), it finds the American Idol season 3 champ at her stylish, classy best — and that’s no small achievement for an amazing vocalist whose look has occasionally been more “gah!” than gahhh-geous.

“Bittersweet” begins with a swoop of Fantasia’s name across the screen, before transporting us to The Lady Barrino’s dressing-room table, where she gets gussied up for a nightclub appearance, fiddles wistfully with her ostentatious diamond engagement ring, and imagines falling back into the arms of her wayward lover. The fringed lamp and colorful makeup palette are nice touches, as is the light refracting through her bottle of Nuvo (or something like it). ‘Tasia then takes the stage (all ruched curtains and dramatic side-spotlights) to a standing ‘O’ from the audience — well, how else would they greet that legendary voice? — and serves up retro torch-singer glamor in a slinky, strappy, sequined, floor-length gown. Again, you see her man in the audience, and then you don’t. Oh, memory! How you torment our heroine! Later, there’s Fantasia in a red-and-black leopard-print trench that manages to be completely flattering while still maintaining some of the loopy what-is-she-thinking? uniqueness for which she is known. Ten points to the video’s stylist for this particular frock! And 10 more for the dramatic white overcoat and black shades Fantasia is sporting as she gloomily scans an audience of autograph-seekers hoping her man has been running through airports and down sidewalks (preferably in the rain) (her music blaring in his head) (seeking one last chance to make things right) to reach her. Turns out, in fact, that’s precisely what he’s been up to, but he’s too late, and as our gal drives away, she tosses her bling to the sidewalk in a final fit of melancholie. As the song’s final line indicates, “This s*** is bittersweet.” Indeed!

What do you think of ‘Tasia’s latest video? Anyone else kind of impressed with her acting here? Are you as obsessed with the song as I am? (Click here if you want to know just how bad my addiction has gotten.) Do you think the track, which climbs to No. 16 on Billboard’s Hip-Hop and R&B Songs chart this week, has crossover appeal? And am I the only one who thinks it’s slightly reminiscent of LeToya’s “Torn”? Sound off in the comments section, and for all my Idol musings, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak, then sign up for the Music Mix feed @EWMusicMix.

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