There are two types of people in the world: those who actually enjoy American Idol and those who only tune in to the finale to see famous musicians play their hits amid elaborate stage set-ups, awards show-style. We won’t judge you for belonging to the former category, but we fall firmly into the latter. Thankfully for us, last night’s celebrity line-up was major: Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Bono and the Edge, Steven Tyler, and Marc Anthony and J.Lo all serenaded the crowd. (Several notables teamed up with Idol contestants, too, from TLC to Judas Priest.) So, how did the night’s non-contestants fare? We rate their performances we actually care about from best to worst after the jump.
Beyoncé — “One Plus One”
Considering that the episode also included the female contestants’ upbeat Beyoncé medley, it was nice to see her slow things down — and she totally nailed it with a steamy, seductive performance.
Lady Gaga — “Edge of Glory”
First of all, Gaga looked great in a biker-meets-Renaissance-royal costume. “Edge of Glory” is a good but not great song (it’s a bit too clichéd to knock our socks off), redeemed by a sweeping chorus. We weren’t crazy about the too-literal ledge, which separated her from her dancers. Her suitor’s arrival on the cliff seemed like a relief at first, until the sexy stuff started to feel awkward on an American Idol stage. The end, though? Brilliant.
Steven Tyler — “Dream On”
Steven Tyler’s undergone an odd transformation on Idol this season. For years, rumors have swirled about his substance abuse problems, and his relationship with his Aerosmith band mates has been notoriously precarious. But his seemingly genuine kindness as a judge has won him much goodwill. He certainly brings the energy to perhaps the best song he’s ever written, although we can’t deny that it’s odd to see him perform it solo.
Marc Anthony with Sheila E. and J. Lo — “Aguanile”
This must have been part of J. Lo’s contract. Her posterior, the dancers, and Sheila E. were the highlights. Marc Anthony? Meh.
Bono, The Edge, and the cast of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark — “Rise Against the Machine”
Well, now we know that Julie Taymor wasn’t the only thing wrong with the Spider-Man musical. But at least no one got hurt on live TV…