Beatles Night Should Separate Good from Great – Why Doesn’t It?

All I can say is — Lazaro Arbos must have a HUGE Hispanic fan base because he’s so darn Cuban, and also a fan base of little girl, teeny-boppers because he’s so darn cute. His singing isn’t what’s kept him in the competition. Not that he CAN’T sing. His nerves and confusion have muddied the waters for him as a viable contestant. And Ryan Seacrest needs to quit asking him questions that call for long-winded answers. It’s painful to watch the boy struggle so hard with his speech impediment. Though sometimes he seems to temporarily overcome it.

Paul Jolley was voted off, still convinced he had done nothing wrong. He felt he had done a commendable job on his Beatles song, “Eleanor Rigby”, and had always known how to connect with the songs. His mates in the bottom three were Devin Velez and Amber Holcomb. Amber absolutely did not belong there. But her Beatle’s song was not her best. So many of these contestants need to listen to themselves realistically. But I also agree with Jimmy Iovine. The judges have got to quit molly-coddling them. Simon Cowell often went too far with his harsh personal insults, but it was his opinion that counted with contestants and audiences alike. His every word could dash hopes or send them soaring. To those whose futures hung in the balance, his words of praise were like pearls, because, like the oyster, they were hard to pry out of his mouth. But the singers knew if they got them they were earned.

I feel the same with Jimmy Iovine. He seems to have insight that goes deeper than just being a good judge of a song or a singer. I think it’s a gift. I’m not saying he can’t be wrong, or that sometimes I don’t disagree with him. But on the whole, he’s very much worth listening to. He’s paid his dues in the music industry and then some.

I also agree with Jimmy’s comment about his disappointment with the contestants not being familiar with the Beatles. It was an echo of my own thoughts. I mean, here are kids who have competed sometimes two or three times for American Idol. And the rest of them essentially say they’ve dreamed of being on the show and have watched it since they were in the womb.

So I’m confused. I watch Idol every year as a mere viewer. I know that the Beatles have been a regular hurdle on the show for contestants, and nearly every year some of them do not know enough about the Beatles to determine whether they are a singing group or an Orkin problem. Jimmy was so right to say that singing is a business, and these contestants should treat it as such. They should know their business. And if, as they say, they have watched the show so avidly, how could they not be familiar with all they will be asked to do, and then prepare accordingly? I watch Idol because it’s fun and entertaining (usually). But for those who want a future in the music industry, they should be watching in deadly earnest. It may be a reality game show, but it’s not a starry-eyed game for those who take the stage.

Every year during the weeding-out process in Hollywood and on up to the top twenty, you see good singers crying and quitting. Didn’t know it would be so hard. If they’ve watched it for years with a view to becoming a contestant, how could they possibly not know? Some of them act as though they’ve never even heard of the group round, or pulling all-nighters. Do they watch with blinders on, or with their heads so far in the clouds of fame and fortune that they are as blind as poor little Amber Holcomb in the stage fog on the stairs?

And let’s get back to the problem of the Beatles. The contestants should have studied the Beatles and their music before they ever vied for a golden ticket. Getting to know them in a few days or a week won’t cut it. The Beatles may sound simple to just a drive-by listener, but they are far from that. Their good music is complex, and the words and emotions even more so. To get all that together for even an experienced popular singer would be an awesome undertaking. The producers of Idol do not use the Beatles as a threshing mill to separate the good from the great for nothing. They know what they’re doing.

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