The Beatles and American Idol: It’s an affair we can never avoid. No, I don’t mean it as a bad thing: those Liverpudlians have made some of the best songs we’ve ever heard, and some of the most memorable performances on Idol were of those songs. (Case in point: season 7’s back-to-back Beatle-themed weeks, resulting in David Cook’s “Eleanor Rigby” and David Archuleta’s “Imagine.” Yes, I know, it’s not a Beatles song, but it counts.)
But whenever that partnership rears its head I can’t help but feel a bit nervous. These songs are so iconic you’ll definitely be shamed if you mess it up spectacularly. Factor in the fact that most of this season’s hopefuls have little idea who the Beatles are, and you have enough reason to be scared.
Read our recap of last night’s American Idol
Thankfully we heard a bunch of good performances last night — and that’s from a Vegas round that was compressed to less than an hour’s worth of air time. (I believe Ashley Sullivan’s marriage doesn’t count. But hey, is she pitching for a reality show on MTV?) So, for what looks like the final edition of the American Idol Honor Roll this year, we’ll be looking at only the best the Vegas round had to offer. Nope, I’m not talking about who did or didn’t make it to the Top 24 — let’s reserve that talk for tonight, shall we?
Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald’s “Blackbird”
Perfect song, perfect vocals. Kendra and Paul’s harmonies are as soft as butter, and they managed to show themselves off without overpowering the song. I’m particularly loving Paul’s unusual vocal — it’s like M. Ward (the “him” in She & Him) decided to bring an extra quiver to his singing — to the point that I’m going, “Why didn’t they show him in the early rounds?” To make up for that editing oversight, here’s a link to the Facebook page of his band, The Great Magnolias, as well as a clip of the band performing one of their originals. And yay, he’s in the Top 24!
Tim Halperin and Julie Zorrilla’s “Something”
Maybe it’s the fact that “Something” is my favorite Beatles song ever. But there’s no denying that this performance was marvelous: the brilliant piano harmonies, Tim’s sweet vocal meshing well with Julie’s cool vocal, giving us a slightly bittersweet take on the classic. It’s a few steps away from the original “Falling Slowly,” I dare say.
Jordan Dorsey, Robbie Rosen and Aaron Sanders’ “Got To Get You Into My Life”
Sure, the performance didn’t start well, but their modern Motown arrangement (is there such a thing?) and their soulful vocals made it work for me. Robbie Rosen is proving to be a consistent but underrated performer I won’t be surprised if he pulls a Kris Allen. Jordan Dorsey may have taken a while to warm up, but he held his own. The revelation was Aaron Sanders, who is pretty much a Jacob Lusk with less drama and more function. I think he was the star of this performance.
The Night’s Honorable Mentions
Rachel Zevita. I see the Siobhan Magnus qualities! That tinge of sinister creepiness that says, “I know what I’m doing.” A little more exposure and I might like her a lot.
Jacob Lusk. Sure, he still sang a bit too much (against Jimmy Iovine’s advice), but he showed more restraint that in the last day of Hollywood week, making it easier for me to appeciate the subtleties in his vocal.
Karen Rodriguez and Pia Toscano. They turned in a polished and interesting arrangement, never mind that it’s a bit too straightforward to keep me attached. Still, a good sign of things to come.
Carla and I will be here tonight. Talk to us, okay? We’re on Facebook!
(Image courtesy of FOX)