OFFSTAGE: American Idol Contestants May Never Understand Beatlemania

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

“Hey dude, don’t bring me down.” I was singing those altered words to a familiar melody after watching Wednesday’s (March 20) Beatles-themed American Idol. I mean, I get that most of the contestants are young and that all of the Beatles songs are old. But come on. So many of these kids had never even heard the songs they were singing until a few days before the show. I hate that we’re living in a world where an entire generation won’t know all of the Beatles’ songs by heart. Sigh.

But some hopefuls did stand out. Kree Harrison opened the show with “With a Little Help From My Friends” with newly curly hair, a horseshoe necklace and an outfit that Nicki Minaj dubbed her “all-black realness.” Keith Urban gave Harrison the most telling compliment of the night. “I love that no matter what song you’re doing, you’re Kree,” he said. “You’re just all the cool things about country.” Burnell Taylor did “Let It Be,” and Urban called it “so soulful,” and then Amber Holcomb sang “She’s Leaving Home.” Urban called that one “my absolute favorite Beatles song.” Urban also had some nice things to say about other performances, like Candice Glover’s “Come Together” (“I love seeing you in this whole other vibe”), Paul Jolley’s “Eleanor Rigby” (“There were parts in the middle where you’ve got this pop-rock edge to your voice in a really cool way”) and Angie Miller’s “Yesterday” (“We like the hair, Ang”).

None of the judges really liked Lazaro Arbos’ “In My Life,” and that sucked because then Ryan Seacrest had to assuage his pain. I hope America can see past Arbos’ Beatles blunder and give him another shot.