Top 12 will perform Beatles songs for the first time in American Idol history

For the first time in American Idol‘s seven-year history, the show’s contestants will be permitted to sing songs by the Beatles, specifically those written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Those songs will be performed a week from Tuesday, when the top 12 perform for the first time.

“It’s something we’ve waited for for seven seasons now. Sony has agreed to release the Lennon and McCartney songbook to us,” Nigel Lythgoe told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show this morning, according to E! News. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Michael Jackson and Son’s company that now owns and licenses the Beatles’ songs, has “more than 180 songs listed that are credited to either: Lennon-McCartney; McCartney, minus Lennon; Lennon-McCartney with Starkey (aka Ringo Starr); and Lennon-McCartney with Starkey and [George] Harrison,” E! notes.

Lythgoe also told Seacrest, according to Reality TV World, that “[w]hen the Top 12 sing for the first time this season, it will be the music of Lennon and McCartney. We’ve given them a list because it’s all of the early songs — from ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ to ‘Got to Get You Into My Life.’ These fantastic songs. It’s one of the few areas that everybody knows.”

USA TODAY reports that producers “are hoping for Paul McCartney or producer George Martin to serve as coaches, but that’s admittedly premature.”

Idol Gets Beatlemania [E! News]
‘American Idol’ to feature Beatles songs when Top 12 finalists perform [Reality TV World]
Beatles night coming to Idol [USA TODAY]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.