Paul Jolley Performs ‘Eleanor Rigby’ on ‘American Idol’
Aspiring country singer Paul Jolley sang the classic Beatles tune ‘Eleanor Rigby’ on ‘American Idol‘ Wednesday night (March 20), delivering a strong performance that didn’t sit well with the judges, but seemed to connect with the audience by playing on his dramatic flair.
The judges have admonished Jolley repeatedly for his theatrical leanings, especially since he has stated that he wants to be a male version of either Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood. He threw away all of their advice Wednesday night and staged a version of the song that played directly to his theatrical strengths, including real strings and dramatic mood lighting that made him seem like he was performing on Broadway. Jolley gave what is arguably his strongest sustained vocal performance so far in the competition — though the judging panel appeared not to see it that way.
Nicki Minaj stated flatly that she didn’t like the performance, calling it “safe, bland, forgettable.”
Randy Jackson said he thought Jolley should have hit the climactic high notes earlier, while Mariah Carey would have liked to see him emote as strongly in his softer voice as he did in his upper range, adding that she doesn’t see him as a country singer.
Keith Urban agreed that he doesn’t think Jolley’s voice is appropriate for country, but praised his “pop-rock edge in a really cool way.”
Jolley will learn his fate on Thursday night’s (March 21) results show.