What is it with John Lennon and Paul McCartney and their songs? Suddenly the American Idol Top 9 look like they really deserve to be here. I guess I didn’t expect it to happen, especially after six weeks of hit-or-miss performances, but if Tim Urban can do good by The Beatles, so can everybody else.

In fairness, last night wasn’t disappointing. There weren’t any massive blunders. In fact, I thought this week’s worst performance was passable. But I won’t be talking about that. This week we’re changing things a bit, because there was something interesting going on: the attack of bizarre wind instruments.

Okay, so musical instruments other than the guitar or piano aren’t really new on the show. Just last night, we saw Michael Lynche and Andrew Garcia bring a brass band to their performances. But both Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze unleashed two instruments that are so strange they probably aren’t even on your I-don’t-expect-to-see-these-on-the-Idol-stage list, because you would have never even thought of them.

Crystal Bowersox’s “Come Together” with the didgeridoo

The didgeridoo–an instrument common among the aborigines in Australia and hippies the world over–was not used in the original version, so who knows why Crystal added it to this rocker. When it wasn’t seriously distracting (the very beginning), you couldn’t hear it over the bass and guitar. But maybe that distraction wasn’t such a bad thing, it did keep us from harping on the fact this wasn’t Crystal’s best performance. However, Crystal’s didgeridoo fit better in her song than a certain other wind-instruments appearance.

Lee Dewyze’s “Hey Jude” with the bagpipes

Bagpipes, Lee? Really? Now that is just plain weird, especially when you think about how that bagpipe player came into the picture: at the beginning of the na-na-nas, performing giddily, eventually muddying up the sound of the song. The bagpipes were purely distraction, layered with the distraction of a man dressed in traditional Scottish garb. It was so ridiculous, it seemed like it had to be a joke, but no. It was totally Lee’s idea and he was stoked on the bagpipe.

The Best Use of a Bizarre Wind Instrument: Crystal Bowersox and the digeridoo, by a mile. But her performance pales when compared to the best performance of the night, no strange instruments needed.

Doing The Beatles’ Proud: Casey James’ “Jealous Guy”

Seems like we’ve all been looking for Casey’s “sensitive” side, eh? Kidding aside, there are several reasons why I chose this as the best performance of the night–and no, it’s not his Goldilocks hair. One, he chose a lesser known John Lennon song, something that automatically makes him different from the rest. Two, he decided to get the hell out of the song’s way, settling with an acoustic guitar and the occasional cello accompaniment. Three, he really related to the song and gave us an authentic and emotional performance.

All that means Casey is finally living up to the potential we never saw the first time Kara asked him to take off his shirt. Sure, it took a while, but after that performance, he’s become a legitimate contender for the role of Crystal’s biggest competitor. Suddenly I’m a bit excited for the next few weeks: it’s Crystal versus either Casey, or Lee, or a resurging Siobhan. Suddenly it’s unpredictable again. And yes, I’m loving it.

(Image courtesy of Fox)

Henrik Batallones

Staff Writer, BuddyTV