When I heard the American Idol contestants would be doing the songs of Queen for last night's episode, I was petrified. And when I heard that "Fat-Bottomed Girls" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" would be among the tunes performed, I got extremely nervous.

But then, who would have guessed? The folks I don't like that much pulled through with decent performances of songs I like, and most of the performers I do like gave good performances of songs I wasn't familiar with, putting just about everyone (well, except for Ace) in the same level of enjoyability (for me, anyway).

  • Bucky Covington sang "Fat-Bottomed Girls," and except for when he was pitchy during the (many) "Ohhhhh"s, I thought it was pretty good. Judges agreed, except Simon threw in that it was overall mediocre, though a good song choice.
  • Ace Young took on "We Will Rock You," and appeared to have totally offended the guys from Queen by trying to change up the arrangement -- including THE BEAT. At that suggestion, Brian May bristled, "No, I can't do that; not to my own song." And his performance was not great. Randy called it "karaoke," and Simon said it was an "utter mess," which caused Randy to say, "He's right -- I ws trying to be kind." Ouch. (Also! Mickey Dolenz was in the audience, which I'm sure should cause some kind of meta joke about fake music groups put together for TV, but instead it just makes me remember how totally obsessed I was with the Monkees and how sad I was when I realized what "syndication" meant and that new episodes of the Monkees hadn't been on for decades. Um, sorry if that was TMI.) Oh, and then Ace said, and I quote, "I think I rocked." Sorry dude. Not so much. EDIT: I linked this above, but in case you missed it, Brian May wrote on his personal web site about how he feels the interaction was edited. (He's not thrilled, BTW.)
  • Then Kellie Pickler said she was going to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody," and my fear reached its fever pitch. Let's just quote Randy: "I was worried ... but I think you worked it out." And Paula: "You started out hesitant, but you worked it out." (Hmm, an echo.) And Simon: "On paper it should have been hideous." (Then Kellie goes all Hickler on us and says she doesn't know what "on paper" means, please.) "I think it worked. You did good." (I guess that last sentence was to make sure she knew what his actual opinion was.)
  • Chris Daughtry then sang "Innuendo," which it turned out the band hadn't sung live before. He did his usual capable rocking job, but at least for me, since I didn't know the song, I wasn't that into it. (I even, feeling I hadn't given it a fair listen the first time, tried to listen again, but I got bored.) Randy said he "delivered big things." Then Paula went on another bizarre tear in which she flat-out said that the band hadn't done the song live before beacuse only Chris could do it justice. Um, no. I like Chris, but he is definitely not Freddie Mercury, PAULA. Simon goes: "They don't perform it live because it's not a very good song." He said it was the best vocal and most believable vocal, but that had he sung something more familiar to the audience, he could have "had a moment."
  • Katharine McPhee switched up her song at the last minute and went for the ballady "Who Wants to Live Forever." Randy said it was a big song for her big voice, a little pitchy at times. Paula rattled off the word "glorioius" a few too many times. Simon said, "That was almost the moment," but that overall she was one of the strongest of the evening.
  • Then Elliott Yamin got me when he said he was going to sing "Somebody to Love," lost me when he said he hadn't heard the song before, and then got me again when he started singing. Randy called it "probably the hardest song" of the night, a little, you guessed it, "pitchy," but "I loved you." Paula gushed as per usual. Simon said, "You chose the tough one ... it was an in-and-out performance, but overall, you pulled it off."
  • Oh, yes. I forgot that my fear escalated yet again when Taylor Hicks said that he was switching from "We Are the Champions" to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" because he "need[ed] to do more dancing." But then, he was energetic and having a good time, and I found it more engaging than I expected. (Except for when he went to kick over the mike stand, missed, and had to kick it again. That was just hysterical, I say as a bit of a flailer myself.) Randy: "That was hot." Paula: "We've heard that song so many times ... but it was still refreshing." Simon: "Are you drunk[, Taylor]? ... I thought it was ridiculous." No, it was fun.
  • Paris Bennett rocked the closing with "The Show Must Go On," with May remarking, " The thing about Paris? Is she's damn good." And she was. Randy: "You worked it out! Yes!" Paula: You are the powerhouse that you are!" (OK?) Simon said he found it all a little weird, but isn't that kind of the point of Queen? Normality is hardly the aim of its music. But whatever. We can't always agree.