Michael Becker / FOX
Michael Becker / FOX
Cheers to the day American Idol scored access to the Lennon-McCartney songbook.
Once again, the finalists were asked to sing tunes written by the Beatles greats, a challenge that quite often separates the best from the rest.
Here's how the top nine handled the task tonight:
Big surprise, Kree Harrison started strong belting out "With A Little Help From My Friends," her powerful pipes giving her version more in common with the Joe Cocker cover. Extra points came from Nicki Minaj for her "all-black realness" (she meant Kree's head-to-toe black ensemble) and diamond belt. Our verdict: Super safe
Burnell Taylor took on the deceptively simply "Let It Be," which, like "Yesterday," can be either the greatest song ever or just blah, depending on who's singing. So...did you even have to ask? Although he pretty much stuck to the melody (and didn't know the song beforehand!), Burnell's rasptastic voice gave the 43-year-old classic a fresh twist. Our verdict: Safe
"She's Leaving Home" isn't exactly everyone's go-to to get the party started (except for Keith Urban, who said it was his favorite Beatles song), but Amber Holcomb turned it into a power note-riddled modern ballad. Well, modern's a strong word. 1998-ish ballad. Our verdict: Probably safe
Case in point as to how these slower classics can become boring coming out of the wrong mouth: Lazaro Arbos' easy-listening redo of "In My Life" was kind of a snooze. And we usually love the dashing Lazaro. Our verdict: In trouble
Candice Glover can—What does Randy Jackson always say?—sing the phone book. So she managed to elevate "Come Together," which can sound like a shouting match if it's just tackled on a rock 'n' roll lark, her big notes impressive enough to distinguish her version. Verdict: Safe
Paul Jolley's "Eleanor Rigby" started off as a bit of a bore, but he came into his own as he went along, as if he finally switched into the meaning of the song midway through. The partially developed performance, combined with that handsome visage of his, should keep him around for at least another week. Our verdict: Bottom three
As for the aforementioned "Yesterday"? Angie Miller killed it. She left the piano behind and wailed like a gal who'd just been ditched for a reason that he wouldn't say. So good. Verdict: Super safe
The judges expressed hope that Devin Velez had worked his way back into the competition, but we feel that the "The Long and Winding Road" wasn't the way to go. He peaked on some of the big moments in the middle of the song, but it took so long to get there. Verdict: In trouble
Janelle Arthur closed the show with an impressively countrified "I Will" that was another good choice for her rich voice. Verdict: Safe
More and more, it's looking as if a girl really is going to win American Idol this year. But first, another hopeful will be eliminated tomorrow night. (And congrats to Aubrey Cleland, voted by the fans to join the top 10 on the American Idols Live tour this summer.)