Would you stand up and walk out on me if I said Beatles night is always my “absolute favorite” (hat tip/chest tattoo peek to Keith Urban) of all the tired-out American Idol themes? I just don’t see how you can go wrong with the Lennon-McCartney songbook, as thinned out as it is (the show only has clearance to air a small window of tunes). When the contestants blow it, it’s utter blasphemy, but when they pull it off, it’s so divine! High drama either way.
Mess’rs K.(en) and N.(igel) have assured the public their production will be second to none. And tonight Mister Height (Ryan Seacrest) is topping the bill! I’m so annoying! LOOK AT ME, I’M A HUGE BEATLES FAN.
Let’s get to the Top 9.
Kree Harrison, “With a Little Help from My Friends”: Kree covered the Joe Cocker version (I always think of it as the Wonder Years version) and rocked it…with a cold! “This song was made in central casting for her,” said Jimmy, which struck me as very “To be clear, we chose this song for her.” Most of the songs did seem like assignments tonight. But Kree definitely knew and felt this one and dug deep. I would say Candice just slightly “out-uptempoed” her tonight, but that’s fine. Both will move on.
Nicki and Mariah attempted to out-pun each other in their Kree-tique — Nicki adored the fact that she always put her own “Kreedo on it” (or it might have been “Kreedom.” who knows? who cares?) and Mariah said Kree’s vocals were “Kreely amazing,” which could have been interpreted as really amazing or clearly amazing. There are so many ways to say the same thing, especially when puns get involved!
Also, Kree’s late parents had the best ’80s hair. Way better than Angie Miller’s.
Burnell Taylor, “Let It Be”: You may know him as “a guy Keith once called Sweet Burnell,” said Ryan. Desperate much? He obviously doesn’t have a real nickname yet — just let it be! I tried to get over my internal, psychedelic, major-Beatles-phase-in-junior high rage over Burnell having never heard such a classic. But it’s okay. I don’t know most of the songs on the radio today. Guess which one of us is more relevant? (Me.) (Just kidding, it’s this teenager with crazy glasses.)
I wasn’t a huge fan of the ENORMOUS candle animations behind Burnell — they were distracting and dwarfed him. But I liked the use of a modest, occasionally lit staircase choir and Burnell’s boldly guttural melody choices. I wouldn’t have guessed the song had been new to him if I hadn’t known. I even liked the casual spin on “Mother Mary comes to me, YEAH.” That was potentially blasphemous! But the kid has a good handle on what works, and practice makes pretty damn good. Keith Urban called Sweet Burnell’s tone “the most instantly recognizable” of the group.
NEXT: I know I’ll often stop and think about Lazaro’s worst performance…