The Top 9 took on musical legends John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles this week. While the Insider thought it was uh, impressive, that several of the young contestants were unaware of the large Beatles songbook, it was even more impressive how they took the songs and made them their own. This insider also learned a valuable insight about rookie judge Keith Urban – every Beatles song is his favorite Beatles song.
Before the talented performers took the stage, Ryan had the job of revealing whether Charlie Askew or Aubrey Cleland won the AT&T Tour Save! It looks like Aubrey will be joining the Idols on tour, but we're of the same mind as Ryan, we will not forget you Charlie Askew.
Kree Harrison took the lead spot for the night, singing "With a Little Help From My Friends". Although we saw in her recording session with Jimmy Iovine that Kree had a little cold, Jimmy wasn't worried at all about her ability to master the classic hit. "Kree should have no problem singing this song," said Jimmy, and indeed she did not. The judges were all praise for her performance. Keith loved her uniqueness saying, "No matter what song you're doing, you're Kree." Nicki enjoyed that Kree put her own "Kreedom" on such an iconic song and said that she was the "whole entire package." Randy said it was a "great way to start the show." Mariah tried to fake everyone out by saying, "I didn't think it was good," before adding, "I thought it was fan-freaking-tastic."
Burnell Taylor was solid in the number two position singing "Let It Be." The world was shocked when Burnell admitted in his mentoring session with Jimmy that he didn't know the song at all! Half the viewing audience at home felt their age with that one. Jimmy noted that the "heat is on" and that although Burnell has "one of the most unique tones in this competition" that he needs to learn the song. Apparently Burnell's efforts paid off because Nicki was all praise after his performance saying: "You didn't even sing the song, you caressed it. You treated it like it was a newborn baby." Randy thought that Burnell showed he was a "great artist" by taking a song he didn't know and putting his own stamp on it. Mariah noted that Burnell is "always consistent" and Keith thought it was "beautiful."
Coming in at number three was Amber Holcomb taking on "She's Leaving Home." Jimmy was all praise saying: "She's not going to be leaving the show. She murders this song." Did Amber live up to Jimmy's high praise? The judges were mixed. Randy said "it started a little unsure," but quickly added "I think you ended it well." Mariah thought Amber "did a beautiful job." Keith said that Amber made the song seem "fresh" and that "She's Leaving Home" is his "absolute favorite Beatles song of all time." Nicki noted that while she thinks Amber's vocal is "unmatched," she was in her "brain" for this particular performance.
Lazaro Arbos was up in the number four spot taking on "In My Life." Jimmy was aware that Lazaro was going for a "lighter touch, romantic version" of the song, but thought it was "risky for him." The judges were mixed about the performance. Mariah commended his "bravery," but thought the key was "a little bit low." Keith also stressed that "choosing the key of this song is really important." Nicki thought Lazaro had lost his confidence and said, "I still feel like you're not back to the Lazaro I remember." Randy had the biggest zing of the night stating, "I think that was your worst performance ever."
Moving on to number five – Candice Glover! Candice decided on the popular tune, "Come Together." Jimmy reminded her to know what the lyrics meant because they "are quite complicated and a bit esoteric." I think she must have figured it out because the judges went wild for her performance. Keith really liked her "rock chick vibe," while Nicki said she loved Candice's "vocal." Randy loved to see the "playful" side of her and went on to say, "own it ‘cause you got it." Mariah noted that she heard Candice during rehearsals and was so excited she was doing the song.
Paul Jolley was next with "Eleanor Rigby." Jimmy had fun in his mentoring session with Paul noting, "it's fun watching him develop." He went on to say he thought Paul "can kill this song." After his performance Nicki noted that she like his jacket and shirt, but did not like his performance. She thought it was "very, very safe; very bland and forgettable." Randy agreed saying he thought Paul was "disconnected from the song." Mariah praised his song choice, but noted that he has to "be able to give as much emotion when you're singing softly as when you are at your mid-range." Keith said he "wasn't a big fan of the falsetto at the end." Tough break, Jolley.
Angie Miller took on "Yesterday." Jimmy noted to Angie that it may have seemed like he picked on her during the last two shows, but thinks she's a "natural." He pointed out that "more power comes from restraint." Would Angie put that into play in her performance? Randy said she was one of his "favorites" and thought that she gave a "stellar" performance. Mariah thought Angie's version of "Yesterday" was very "respectful," but really showed off her voice. Keith surprised everyone by claiming "Yesterday" was his favorite Beatles song. Keith thought she was "in there" the whole time. Nicki thought it was "unbelievably amazing," and praised Angie's choice of key for the song.
Latino heartbreaker, Devin Velez was up next singing, "The Long and Winding Road." Jimmy thought it was a great song choice for Devin. Devin wanted to sing it with a Brian McKnight vibe and Jimmy was on board, noting that "altering a Beatles song is really ok – when you get it right." Mariah was on board with the performance as well saying, "You never really cease to amaze me." Keith said it was his "favorite Beatles song," and that he loves Devin's voice, but he's missing "a little emotional connecting." Nicki was making faces at Keith's comments and said that she does like that Devin is "committed emotionally all the time." Randy said he thinks "Devin is back" and believes he can sing "anything."
Closing out the night was country gal, Janelle Arthur taking on "I Will." Jimmy thought that Janelle had chosen a "very subtle song," and worked to help with her breathing problem. Did she conquer that problem? The judges thought so. Keith "loved" the country aspect of her voice and that Janelle really knows who she is. Nicki wanted to renew her vows with Janelle after her performance and said Janelle looked like a "beautiful swan goddess." Nicki couldn't stop her praise saying that Janelle was "great." Randy thinks "Janelle is back," and thought it was "one of the best performances of the night." Mariah could tell that Janelle has been "listening" to the feedback and that her performance was "beautiful and elegant."
Who will make it to the Top 8?