Leona Lewis to sing ‘Avatar’ theme

Posted by · 11:42 am · November 16th, 2009

Leona LewisChalk up another contender for Best Original Song. British pop diva Leona Lewis is to sing the (presumably multi-octave-scaling) theme song from James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

Best known Stateside for her megahit “Bleeding Love,” the 24 year-old chanteuse rose to fame as the 2006 winner of “The X Factor,” the UK’s “American Idol” equivalent — thus making “Avatar” the year’s second sci-fi blockbuster (after “2012”) to turn to a reality-show star for musical duties.

Empire reports that Lewis is currently shooting the video for the song, a James Horner-penned closing-credits effort titled “I See You (Theme from Avatar).”

If this all sounds a little 1997, I guess that’s the idea. Lewis is, after all, a latter-day answer to Celine Dion, whose ubiquitous Oscar-winning theme for Cameron’s last film — what was the title again? — was part and parcel of its success. (Of course, times have changed since then, and the Academy looks a lot less kindly on closing-credit tracks these days.)

Anyway, I rather dig this nostalgic approach … when was the last time a Best Song nominee had a “Theme from” subtitle in brackets, anyway? And as uncool as this is to admit, I have a soft spot for Lewis — if “I See You” in any way matches the grandiose pop genius of “Bleeding Love,” it’ll be inescapable over the next few months.

That this news should land the on day Lewis’s sophomore album “Echo” drops is entirely coincidental, of course. (Meanwhile, as commenter Aleksis reminds us, a track from the album has just been chosen as the theme for the latest Final Fantasy game. Between that and “Avatar,” is Lewis now the geeks’ diva of choice?)

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24 responses so far

  • 1 11-16-2009 at 11:57 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    horner penned song with lewis, this will be the winner, just makes sense

  • 2 11-16-2009 at 12:01 pm

    R.J. said...

    I already posted this comment in Kris’s “Oscarweb Round-up”, but this seems like a more fitting place seeing as how it’s talking about the music category, so I hope you don’t mind the double posts:

    Over the weekend a file was leaked onto the internet featuring 4 songs (in full) from the movie Nine (”Unusual Way” sung by Griffith Frank [in the film the song is sung by Nicole Kidman, but apparently this version is featured on the soundtrack along with Kidman’s film version; Griffith Frank is a new artist signed to Geffen Records], “Cinema Italiano” by Kate Hudson, “Take It All” by Marion Cotillard, and “Be Italian” by Fergie). I stumbled upon this by way of the IMDB message boards for the film, there was a download link but I’m not sure if I should share it…since it is illegal. The songs are all on YouTube now so anyone interested can hear them there.

    Also, the song that was to be featured on the Precious soundtrack, 100% by Mariah Carey, leaked sometime last week. Even though it’s not in the running for “Best Original Song” anymore, I thought some people would maybe like to hear it anyway. That’s on YouTube as well.

  • 3 11-16-2009 at 12:01 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I wouldn’t be so sure, Requiem. Given the Academy’s new system, whereby songs are rated based on their context within the film, any closing-credits track faces an uphill climb even to get a nomination.

  • 4 11-16-2009 at 12:05 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Just like the Titanic theme, this is based on a theme used in the film. Therefore it can be played over the end credits and still connect to the film. I mean, that hasn’t happened in quite a while either. A nod for such a song I mean.

  • 5 11-16-2009 at 12:28 pm

    Aleksis said...

    Those other nominees better bend over and try and make this ass-kicking as comfortable as possible for themselves. Leona FTW.

    She’s really going for total world domination – she’s also doing the US/Europe theme for the new Final Fantasy game, I think.

  • 6 11-16-2009 at 12:29 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Indeed, she is. Forgot to mention that.

  • 7 11-16-2009 at 12:31 pm

    R.J. said...

    You’re right Aleksis, the Final Fantasy theme is a song from her new album “Echo” entitled “My Hands”.

  • 8 11-16-2009 at 12:40 pm

    Aleksis said...

    “You’re right Aleksis, the Final Fantasy theme is a song from her new album “Echo” entitled “My Hands”.”

    Yep! The song is great, as is her album. Don’t know why “Happy” was the lead-off single when there’s so much better material on the record

  • 9 11-16-2009 at 12:48 pm

    Jim T said...

    I almost hate Leona. I love voices like that but I would listen to Whitney and Celine 100 times before Leona. She just doesn’t have the power the 90s ladies did. Celine, Whitney, Mariah, Toni (Braxton)…

    About the song. If it is like “My heart will go on” it will fail. It’s 2009. If it is more contemporary like, I don’t know, “Because of you” (Clarkson) or “Halo” and they like the film, it will probably get at least the nomination.

    She is pretty as hell though. But Streizand didn’t need that. I’m stopping now :p

  • 10 11-16-2009 at 12:57 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Am I the only one who thinks Lewis is a better singer than Carey and Dion, then?

  • 11 11-16-2009 at 12:59 pm

    mark said...

    Nope i never thought carey was strong,strangled but never strong.

  • 12 11-16-2009 at 1:23 pm

    "Julianstark" said...

    Carey has lost TONS of her vocal power.

    That’s why she’s acting now ;)

  • 13 11-16-2009 at 2:01 pm

    Michael said...

    Wow, it is interesting that Square has only gotten female singers to sing their cheesetastically awesome theme songs to their Final Fantasy games. Faye Wong, Angela Aki, and now Leona Lewis (amongst other J-Pop singers from the other games) is a pretty impressive list imho.

    As much as I hated hearing that Celine Dion song after the 500th time it was played – I definitely could appreciate how it totally enhanced the film into becoming even more iconic. It is like the theme to Jaws or Star Wars or something, you hear the opening flute chords and Celine Dion starts to sing and you instantly are transported to the Titanic, for better or for worse. I kinda miss that with music from movies, it seems they have lost their power over the years. Hopefully the new Leona Lewis song will harken back to that era.

  • 14 11-16-2009 at 2:02 pm

    Murtada said...

    Lena’s “Happy” in playing over the TV ads for “Precious”. The lyrics actually fit the movie’s themes so well…..

    So what if it hurts me?
    So what if i break down?
    So what if this world just throws me off the edge
    My feet run out of ground
    I gotta find my place
    I wanna hear my sound
    Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
    Cause i’m just trying to be happy, yeah
    Just wanna be happy, yeah

  • 15 11-16-2009 at 3:17 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Wow, lots of love for Leona around here. Makes a nice change from the snark prevailing elsewhere on the web, I must say.

  • 16 11-16-2009 at 3:47 pm

    R.J. said...

    I love Leona, but Mariah is my all-time favorite. It’s obvious that her voice isn’t what it used to be, but she still has the top spot in my eyes because she knows that being a great singer isn’t just about having a big voice, but knowing what to do with it.

  • 17 11-16-2009 at 4:08 pm

    Andrew R. said...

    Leona has a great voice. I hope her song is great for Avatar and I completely agree that’s been a long time since a truly iconic song from a movie like My Heart Will Go On has become a staple in pop culture.

    On a side note, I find it incredibly bizarre that she’s being used for Final Fantasy. I like the song they’re using but i’ve never been a big fan of the vocal songs in Final Fantasy although I do like Faye Wong’s Eyes on Me. I’d find it hilarious if Leona were to talk about FF, like if she were to argue whether Tifa or Aeris was the one for Cloud in FF7. I think I just revealed a little too much of myself.

  • 18 11-16-2009 at 5:09 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    Sorry to break up the joyous party, but it just seems all kinds of bizarre for this film to even have an original song, let alone some ballad (presumably).

    But I guess they really are trying to reach every single demographic with the marketing, huh?

  • 19 11-16-2009 at 6:36 pm

    A.J said...

    Take into account that we haven’t had a hit that was also a credit-song in oscar contention under the new voting system.

  • 20 11-16-2009 at 6:41 pm

    Cde. said...

    aspect ratio: “Sorry to break up the joyous party, but it just seems all kinds of bizarre for this film to even have an original song, let alone some ballad (presumably).”

    It won’t after you’ve seen it.

  • 21 11-16-2009 at 7:31 pm

    Rachel said...

    Mariah Dion a.k.a. Leona Lewis is a copy and paste version of the two pop divas from the 90’s without the relevancy. She’s nowhere near as good as those two on their best days. Dion still has her vocals while Carey has lost a lot of hers. But she was molded to be them and as far as I’m concerned, will fall far from ever reaching that level.

    And does Avatar really need a pop theme? Seriously?

  • 22 11-16-2009 at 7:52 pm

    "Julianstark" said...

    No, but whether it is through songs chosen for the film or the elaborate costs that go into making such a project, James Cameron wants to relive his Oscar glory days

  • 23 11-16-2009 at 10:33 pm

    SJG said...

    Everyone keeps saying that no “credit song” has been nominated for a while… but wasn’t “Jai Ho” a credit song? Does it not count or something? I realize it was choreographed and all, but it still had nothing to do with the actual movie and was, in fact, a credit song.

    If I remember correctly… Slumdog Millionaire pretty much just slipped out of my memory. It’s every bit as bad of a Best Picture winner as Crash, IMHO. Both were great to watch exactly once.

  • 24 11-17-2009 at 1:09 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” was a credit song too. The point being that end-credit songs can still easily be nominated, providing they have a visual element accompanying them. It’s the ones that play over simple rolling credits and nothing else that have a problem.