Separated at Birth: 'Idol' Finalist Paul McDonald & 'Once' Star Glen Hansarrd
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Last night on American Idol we got our first extended look at Top 24 finalist Paul McDonald who wowed the judges with his unique voice and style. He's definitely not like anything American Idol has produced, but the judges decided to take a chance on this quirky dude.

The 26-year-old Alabama native made it in by doing something the show doesn't let its contestants do: singing an original song. While everyone might be in awe of how original he is, I was left with one thought: Isn't that the guy from Once?

You know the one, Glen Hansard, the Oscar-winning Irishman with scruffy facial hair and a voice for of pain and sorrow. The guy who shot to superstardom with the hit song "Falling Slowly," one of the most beautiful and haunting melodies to ever hit my eardrums.

Yes, Paul McDonald isn't Glen Hansard, but he might as well be. The two share a lot in common, particularly when it comes to their voices and love of songwriting. American Idol might think young McDonald is some totally new and original artist, but he seems like something very familiar to me.

In fact, I am willing to wager good money that, before the season is over, Paul McDonald will sing Hansard's famous song, "Falling Slowly" (performed last season as a duet between finalists Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox).

So while everyone is looking for the original, breakout star of American Idol season 10, I only see Hansard 2.0 when I look at and listen to Paul McDonald. It's a lot like how James Durbin is a poor man's Adam Lambert, or how Jacee Badeaux is a fat Justin Bieber minus the auto-tuning (that might sound mean, but I know every single one of you reading this secretly refers to Jacee as Fat Bieber and you're just too scared to admit it).

So before you jump on the Paul McDonald bandwagon, make sure you go watch the movie Once, or at the very least, check out Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglova's version of "Falling Slowly." Then try and tell me that this guy is original.

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(Image and video courtesy of FOX)