American Idol recap: Hello Beatles, Goodbye Dreams

The contestants (barely) meet the Beatles and J. Lo breaks down in a real circus show
Ep. 11 | Aired Feb 23, 2011

MOMENT TO ARISE Rarely seen Nashville stars Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald dueted on "Blackbird"


The judges' 2-on-1 therapy session with Baby J. ended with a major cliffhanger, as Weepy said she didn't know if she could do this anymore. I'm pretty sure she can. Besides, Chris should have gone home. It was the right thing to do. His final song (Coldplay's "Fix You," of course) was shaky and wandering. A powerful message considering his back story, yes, but the boy was just off.

After embarrassing themselves in front of Interscope's Jimmy Iovine and his team of expert glarers, the Idols trudged up to the stage for their very own Cirque du So Lame and (barely) met the Beatles. Aside from a few standout performances, this exercise was one giant cringe for mankind. The bigger a Fab Four fan you are, the worse it was. I'm sure some of the kids thought everyone was fantastic!

Tim Halperin and Julie Zorrilla delivered my favorite performance of the night in their gentle piano duet on "Something." I barely remembered Tim, and now I am living for Tim. He's so tall! They could have stuck to their keyboards and earned raves, but these two kids took a chance and stood up. They eye-flirted with each other and pleaded with the competition, "I don't wanna leave you now," all while remaining afloat in an atmosphere of thick red smoke. Their vocals were so clear and in-tune, and their performance quality so high, the whole thing seemed almost like a finale exhibition.

Also great: Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald, the "Nashville duo" rarely seen before tonight. (Nice knowing you, Chelsee and Rob.) Kendra sounded sweet and was perfectly adequate, but Paul's unique voice obviously stood out as it was the first time Fox has let us really study it. He sings as softly as possible, so it's all about the vocal quality and pitch with him. His voice struck me as what "baby talk" would sound like if sung by an adult, if that makes sense. I wonder if I'll get sick of this, but for now I love it. Paul impressed me even more with his original song "American Dreams" and (you had to know I would freak out over this) his FLORAL, SEQUINED LEISURE SUIT. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul is not dead. You heard it here first, in 2011.

All revved up from a hearty "lose yourself in the animated Coke bubbles" conversation with Ryan Seacrest, high school buddies Pia Toscano and Karen Rodriguez impressed the judges with a fine-tuned "Can't Buy Me Love." Their back-to-back posing would have seemed cheesy anywhere else, but on this sad, sad night for America, even the slightest whiff of English farmouse cheddar was a triumph. "I feel like you get it," said J. Lo, and I can 100 percent guarantee this was due to their choreography and smiles.

NEXT: Bloody Beatles massacres and the first round of cuts

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