American Idol: Lennon-McCartney, Weak

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"Paul, I'm starting to wish we'd never written these songs."
There was no mentor this week on American Idol, though I find myself pining for one when I realized that that meant this week's taped bits would be the kind of cheesy and unfeeling montages in which the contestants talk about how much they love each other and try to make their inside jokes relatable to a mass audience. The video clips relied more heavily than previous episodes on Photoshop, freeze frames, and "wacky" effects to make everything feel quasi-funny, but the end result was just boring.

The other bad news was that this week was Lennon-McCartney week. (For some reason, the producers ignored the writing contributions of George Harrison, though given how some of the performances turned out, I'm glad that no one was able to sink their graceless hooks into "Here Comes the Sun.") Only one contestant pulled from the singers' solo periods, with the other eight selecting Beatles songs that were occasionally well executed but mostly drab, grating, or just plain bad.

You don't even need me to tell you who did best: Crystal's cover of "Come Together," the perfect song for her style, was the most organic and natural performance of the night, and at this point I really do think they need to give her the crown and walk away. Casey's version of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" was one of his best in a while, too. Andrew landed somewhere in the middle with a version of "Can't Buy Me Love" that was a bit more angular and bluesy than the original, but which overused the full band and drowned out his own guitar arrangement. Ditto Katie's "Let It Be," which was sweet but not amazing.

Everyone else was mediocre at best. Big Mike's slowed-down, cornball "Eleanor Rigby" was too far a departure from the original to have much of an impact, while Aaron's bland "The Long and Winding Road" showcased his evil ability to make everything sound like a Rascal Flatts song. (The worst part of Big Mike's song was Kara gushing over it by saying, "You made that song commercial today," as if a cheesy R&B remix is all that's standing in the way of The Beatles' records actually selling instead of languishing in decrepitude.)

Tim Urban, that grinning doofus, sang "All My Lovin'" with all the passion of a karaoke singer, but I bet he somehow finds a way to stay. Siobhan's "Across the Universe" was syrupy and obnoxious, and Lee's "Hey Jude" was a third too high but still managed to impress the judges, so I have no idea what will happen. I'd like to see Tim go home, just because, but we'll see.

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