'American Idol': Beating the Beatles

So there are plenty of reasons for Idol to give up its Beatles-night theme. But they keep doing it. Because it's easy and somewhere a light snow of money falls on Paul McCartney. Oh, well. Let's talk about who did what.

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Oh, the Beatles. Everyone loves the Beatles, right? But does anyone like the Beatles? I don't know. I just feel like it's a little strange to be so in awe of one particular music group, to hold them up as the ultimate paragons of pop music for as long as we have. They're great! Their songs are good. No one is saying that they aren't. It's just... OK, we get it. The Beatles. What a band. That will never change. But maybe it's time we eased on down the road.

It was Beatles night on American Idol, is what I'm saying, and though it's nice to hear songs you recognize because in some ways it gives you a better sense of the performers, it was also a little snoozy. And a little depressing! A bunch of these kids had never heard Beatles songs before. Like, Burnell had never heard "Let It Be." That is crazy! How young are these people?? So there are lots of reasons to give up the ghost on the whole Beatles-night theme. But they keep doing it. Because it's easy and Jimmy Iodine feels young again, and somewhere a light snow of money falls on Paul McCartney. Nothing to be done about it I suppose. Oh well. Let's talk about who did what.

The Good

Candice Glover, duh. I feel like every week it's just going to be: "Candice Glover was good." Because she's good. She's just plain good. She sang "Come Together" and it was big and brassy and whatever else happens when she sings. She did well. The judges were all aflutter about her performance as they should be and always are. So, yeah. Candice. She's great. I don't really know what else to say about her. Will she win? Possibly! She was number one on the voting charts last week. Maybe she can hold that for the rest of the competish. Though of course if she's just plain good every week people might stop voting for her because they'll think she's safe. That has been known to happen before. So keep sharp, kids! If you like Candice, tell your cellphones that you like her. Otherwise she could join the lowly ranks of the rejected.

Hey, lookee here, Janelle Arthur actually did a little thang to distinguish herself last night. Usually she's as bland as a Monday afternoon, but for some reason last night's performance, of "I Will," connected on a higher level. I mean it was still pretty easy listening, you'd still hear it on the adult contempo station on airline radio, but I don't know. She chose a lesser-known song and she sang it prettily and she closed the show so it all kinda came together for her. I don't think she's going to rocket to the top of the charts, but I think she did herself a big favor. She's been upgraded to a Wednesday night. For now. Probably next week she'll be back to painting the stage vanilla, reminding us all of upcoming eye appointments and things we need to get at Home Depot. But for right now, she is a country queen.

Speaking of country queens, you knew this was coming: Paul Jolley. I really don't know what is wrong with me but I always kinda like his performances! Last night he sang "Eleanor Rigby" which was a ludicrous song choice, but I dunno. I liked it? I'm probably responding to the theatricality of his performances. Last night he had mist and violinists and it all felt very much like he was doing some elaborate Vegas show. And that's fun! I mean, can't we have a little fun on this dumb show? I think we should be allowed to have some fun and Paul Jolley is lots of ridiculous fun. It's also great that he wants to be a country singer supposedly but never really sings anything country? Yeah he sang "Amazed" last week, but, eh. That hardly counts. I think the whole country thing is simply Paul trying desperately to fight his natural impulses. You know, he was born with certain wants and desires but society has told him that they're wrong and so he's repressed them, he has buried it under a fake facade that allows him to pass. But he's gotten tired, he's weakened. It's harder for Paul to fight the urges that are so deep and ingrain within him. Guys, Paul's a musical theater singer. He's not a country singer. And I think deep down he knows that. But he's still clinging to this false identity. That he's some sort of country guy. Paul, it's OK. We'll still love you no matter what. You need to live your life honestly, truthfully. It's the only way to really be alive. When you're ready to tell us, tell us. It's OK. My uncle was a musical theater singer, so I know. I know how hard it can be. But you can do it. I believe in you. The judges do not believe in Paul though, and they basically insinuated that he was going home. Oh well. They're jerks who don't know what they're talking about. Don't listen to them Paul. You are beautiful just the way you are.

The Bad

Oh, thank god Lazaro finally performed so badly that the judges couldn't pretend and say things like "You've got so much heart." No, his "In My Life" was so wobbly and off-key and boring that the judges had to say "No, dude, no. Incorrect." I know I'm the worst, a meanie and a stinker, but it was sooooo satisfying. He cried! I mean, OK, I did feel for him a little bit, but they were mostly crocodile tears, y'know? He's miraculously made it this far in this competition and he doesn't want to be critiqued. So when he is, he cries big fat tears and everyone says "Awwww." Well, not me, bub. I haven't awwwed since your first audition. I'm not buying it one bit. Are you buying it? Who is buying Lazaro? I guess people are because he keeps getting through to the next round, but I don't know. I can feel patience waning. And that's a good thing. We need to weed out the emotional interlopers don't we? Lazaro could be as dramatic and babyish as he wants to be if he actually, y'know, sang well, but he doesn't so he's burnt. Ya burnt, Lazaro. Sorry, but it's the truth.

I know this is as ridiculous as putting Paul Jolley in the good category, but I was not feelin' Angie Mills last night! She chose the easiest song, "Yesterday," and she sang it well and all but it was so soulless. She said in her little pre-performance package that she was voted "Next American Idol" in her high school yearbook, which... I dunno. There's a stink of the showkid about her isn't there? And I'm forever wary of the showkid, as should you be too. It's why I've never fully trusted Ryan Gosling. Total showkid. They're a tricksy breed, not to be crossed. And Angie Mills seems to be one of them. So I'm suspect. I'm calling her out. Reveal thyself, showkid!!! And please for the love of all that is good and holy in this tattered, terrible world, please do something about your hair. I know, I know, she did flatten it a little bit for last night's performance, but it was not enough. I think really the problem is that it's just a terrible cut. Maybe she should shave her head. Start from scratch. Honestly. Because right now it looks like Muzzy died on top of her head. It's a mess. Maybe that's why I'm putting her in this category? Is that super unfair? Yes, it is. But then again what I'm writing has exactly zero bearing on how the competition goes, so who really cares? Angie Mills's hair is so bad, it is so many beaver pelts sewn together and fashioned into a wig, that anything good in her performance is negated. The hair is that much of a problem.

Goodbye, Charlie

At the top of the show Ryan made the big announcement about which loser had been voted back into the summer tour. It was between Aubrey, the pretty princess who oddly didn't make it into the finals, and Charlie Askew, the caterpillar turned into a human by a sorcerer who now wears a single feather earring. It was a strange choice to have to make, but that's the peril of democracy. Last week they both sang their hearts out, Aubrey burbling out something slow and serious, and Charlie singing "Blue Diamond In the Sky of My Mind" or whatever it was called, an original composition about the time he met a girl. It was intense! I was kind of hoping that Charlie would win because I like the idea of him performing that song all summer long, but also he probably should not be encouraged in these endeavors more than he already has been. So, again, it was a tough decision. But like they always do in the end, the Americans chose. And they'd like to see Aubrey this summer. So that's really it for Charlie. It's back to the real world. Back to school and books and mean kids. Back to bikes and Baskin Robbins and all the boring parts of a regular life. Goodbye lights and action, hello dim sun and waiting. Adieu to cameras and the warm rush of attention, see you soon quiet rooms filled with no one. It might seem kinda crappy at first, but eventually he'll reacclimate. That's just what people do. We adapt. We change. From caterpillar to something else. From feather to cap. From askew to figured out. That's how humans happen, how progress is made. From pretend country to who you really are. From forever alone to the warmth of Ryan Seacrest lying next to you, you asking why you two never go to his place and him saying "It's complicated." Things happen that fast. They do. I promise you, Charlie, they do. Just ask Paul.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.