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How Beatles music will survive ‘American Idol’
The 'American Idol' contestants "surpassed" all expectations the first time they performed tunes from the Paul McCartney-John Lennon songbook, said Nancy Sluder in the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times, but their second stab at the Fab Four's songs
W
hat happened
American Idol producers followed up last week’s successful show featuring tunes from the John Lennon-Paul McCartney songbook by having the 11 remaining contestants sing Beatles standards, with what reviewers called mixed results. (The Buffalo News)

What the commentators said
The Idol hopefuls’ treatment of the Lennon and McCartney songs “were amazing and surpassed” all expectations, said Nancy Sluder in the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times, but lightening didn’t strike twice. The second stab at the Fab Four’s musical legacy “was more than a little disappointing.”

That’s an understatement, said Howard Cohen in The Miami Herald (free registration). The Idol contestants butchered the Beatles songs, and darkened further what was already proving a bad week for poor Paul McCartney, who was ordered to pay out $48 million in a divorce settlement. “Even cranky Brit judge Simon Cowell opined after Jason Castro's wimpy performance of Michelle, ‘I'm not sure it was a good idea doing another week of Beatles songs.’” Amen. Please, stop the “Beatles bashing.”

Beatles songs have survived some brutal interpretations over the years, said Phil Gallo in Variety, “but nothing like the ugly stick these kids took to some of the most beloved songs of their parents -- and grandparents' -- generation.” Syesha Mercado did a "respectable" "Yesterday," but Michael John's truncated version of "A Day in the Life" had "absolutely no sense of cohesion." All told, "this night did not do anything to raise the clamor to get the Fab Four's songs onto iTunes.”

It was painful to be sure, said David Hinckley in the New York Daily News, but “I can't imagine any of the 11 remaining contestants struck any fatal blows” on the Idol stage. The Beatles’ songs will never again electrify the TV screen when John, Paul, George, and Ringo exploded into American living rooms on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Now they’re familiar standards meant to keep us tuned. “That's the role of the Beatles fantasy-fest movie Across the Universe, and it's nothing personal. It's just how Idol works.”

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