The Top 9 tried to do justice to legendary Beatles tunes as "American Idol" opened the John Lennon / Paul McCartney songbook on Tuesday evening. Whose performances did the judges rate stellar and whose went helter skelter? We've got the complete rundown.
Aaron Kelly kicked things off by traveling down "The Long and Winding Road." Randy Jackson said he liked Aaron's voice but didn't dig the arrangement. Ellen DeGeneres agreed, saying she felt like she sat through a "long and winding song." Kara DioGuardi commented, "For what you're trying to do, you have to be great, and you've not really reached that level yet." Simon Cowell questioned why Aaron chose the song and critiqued, "The problem was, to me, you're 17 years old; it was very old fashioned, very boring… you've got to become young and relevant."
Katie Stevens launched into "Let It Be" and the judges loved it. Randy said, "To me, this is your best performance ever." Ellen predicted that she would definitely avoid the bottom three on Wednesday night. Kara liked Katie's vocals and confidence. And Simon opined, "Tonight, you got it right. I think the reason you got it right… you were absolutely leaning in the direction I was hinting at very strongly, which was country."
Next, Andrew Garcia sang "Can't Buy Me Love." Randy called it a solid performance but "a little corny." Ellen said, "I think it was a perfect song choice for you and I loved it." Kara said she "wanted to love it" but felt Andrew could have "done more" with his interpretation. Meanwhile, Simon dismissed the performances as corny, old fashioned and "irrelevant," explaining, "I think you and the band together got this one wrong tonight."
Next, Michael Lynche belted out the melancholy tale of "Eleanor Rigby," garnering mostly positive reviews. Randy said, "I'm not sure all of that worked but the parts that did work were great." Ellen rated the performance "incredible" and Kara called it "amazing." Simon offered the lone negative opinion: "This was the sort of thing you see and hear in musicals … I don't think it made you contemporary at all. I think if anything it made you go slightly backwards."
Crystal Bowersox strapped on an acoustic guitar and received low, rumbling accompaniment from a didgeridoo on "Come Together." Randy called it "another stellar performance." Ellen said she loved the didgeridoo. Kara called it one of her favorite showings from Crystal. And Simon said, "That's a performance I could hear on the radio."
Tim Urban went electric for "All My Loving," and the judges gave him some love in return. Randy called it a "much better performance than you've had in the last two weeks." Ellen praised Tim for his "perfect song choice." Kara felt he was finally taking some of the judges' criticisms to heart. And Simon thought he "did really well" and sounded current.
Casey James tore into an acoustic rendition of John Lennon's solo confessional "Jealous Guy." Randy said, "I love that you did this … it wasn't the perfect vocal but it was so heartfelt." Ellen raved, "That to me was your best performance to date. It was so soulful." Kara said, "What you showed tonight was a vulnerability that's kind of been lacking in some of your other performances." And Simon made the glowing reviews unanimous, telling the blond-haired singer, "Goldilocks, I think it was the best performance of the night so far."
Siobhan Magnus took a seat on a stool to delicately croon "Across the Universe." Randy liked how she showed her "tender side" but thought the song came across as "a little sleepy." Ellen thought she did beautifully, while Kara opined, "From a purely singing perspective, you hit the notes, you showed control … I just think it was very restrained and very polite." Simon, meanwhile, said he felt Siobhan rebounded strongly from the previous week.
Finally, Lee Dewyze broke out an acoustic guitar and received backup from a bagpipe player on "Hey Jude." Randy was impressed and asked Lee to believe in himself. Ellen said she liked the confidence he showed. Kara felt the performance was a mix of good moments and off moments. And Simon declared, "I wouldn't have done that. I think you were doing great, and then, the bagpipe player walked down the staircase."
Tune in to "American Idol" tomorrow night on FOX to find out who gets sent home.
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