‘Idol’ Recap: Who Stumbled over The Beatles?

Paul Jolley performs on "American Idol" (Frank Micelotta/ FOX)

The Lennon-McCartney songbook was the theme on Wednesday’s “American Idol,” and according to the judges and Jimmy Iovine, that treasure of modern music was ripped to shreds.

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Perhaps they should have come up with a different overused commentary phrase for this one episode than “you killed it” and “you murdered it.” Especially when Candice Glover sang “Come Together”—now, we know Candice has a way of destroying most anything she sings, in a good way, but the actual bloody death metaphors were a little too much when considering its writer, John Lennon’s demise.

Regardless, the judges were generally happy with the Idols’ interpretations of some of the most famous songs in history that they had never heard before.

Seriously, this was the most disconnected bunch of kids from Beatles music they’ve ever had on this show. More than one person’s excuse for an off performance was that they’d never heard the song before. How did Burnell Taylor live 19 years without once hearing “Let It Be”? And what compelled him, therefore, to sing it, when he was so afraid he’d forget the song’s three words? He did great, by the way, but still!

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Why did Amber Holcomb do a slow, mostly unknown song, “She’s Leaving Home” (unknown to all but Keith Urban, who counted it as his favorite Beatles number at the start of a running joke that ran too long)? Though her voice was delectable as usual, it was too mature a performance to help her reach the young’uns with social media voting power.

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Why did Lazaro Arbos give his worst vocal performance yet of “In My Life,” and then make excuses for not knowing it? Excuses are almost a sure indicator of bottom-dom, but then he cried all through Ryan’s seemingly endless slate of announcements, so maybe his pity points will continue to keep him in the game.

And why, when Jimmy insisted at the top of the show that performers shouldn’t mess with the originals, did Angie Miller sing the weirdest version of “Yesterday” ever? In the strangest way, Angie became diminished under the words and too high key. She seemed like a very young and frail child for the first time. And with flattened hair, looked a lot like Miley Cyrus. The judges loved it, but I found it completely confusing.

Kree Harrison was one of the only ones tonight who seemed to already know her song, “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which she completely commanded. I mean, it’s tricky to sing a song with lyrics about a fear of singing out of tune, that’s gotta spook you a little bit. But she pulled it off like a pro. Keith told her she is “all the cool things about country.” Mariah Carey, who went a little too heavy on the face spray tan, came up with this gem: “It was Kreely amazing.” Ugh.

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The judging went in a round robin tonight, I’m guessing to avoid constantly winding up with a long monologue of Mariah rehashing everyone else’s critiques. It didn’t always work, but it was a good try. I mean, even when Mariah is first, she seemed to go on for hours, like with Devin Velez, who improved greatly over last week with “Long and Winding Road.” Mariah rambled on about how she loves when he sings in Spanish (he didn’t), and how he can sing any genre (he cannot) and how he’s never failed (he has, see last week).

Nicki Minaj got in a good word during Devin’s critique though, shouting out to the backing vocalists and the pianist—which she said so suggestively, she got bleeped, and then railed against the Fox bleeping gods.

Paul Jolley improved this week, too, singing “Eleanor Rigby,” but Nicki hated it. “Very, very safe, very bland, and forgettable,” she said. Too true, too true. All the judges pretty much told him they don’t get why he considers himself a country singer. But then, what is he? Clay Aiken circa 2002 would be my guess.

Janelle Arthur rounded out the night, the perfect bookend to Kree’s opening. She sang “I Will” like it was a Dolly Parton ballad, and it was lovely. Like Kree, said Keith, “you have this country thing in your voice that is always present.” Nicki said she looked “like a beautiful swan goddess” in a white gown.

So where do the Idols stand? Though no one switched rankings in the Twitter follower tally, some definitely changed positions in my mind based on their performances. Here’s my guess for tomorrow’s results, plus their social media standings and their places last week on the leaderboard (the top 3 are all in first).

Singer/Twitter/Facebook/Place Last Week:

1) Kree Harrison/25,319/5,871/1
2) Janelle Arthur/17,267/6,110/6
3) Burnell Taylor/25,035/1,818/7
4) Candice Glover/24,664/9,344/1
5) Amber Holcomb/12,851/2,021/5
6) Angie Miller/61,350/44,617/1
7) Paul Jolley/16,143/5,171/8
8) Devin Velez/13,993/1,742/9
9) Lazaro Arbos/40,791/11,542/4

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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