John Lennon’s 70th Birthday – An Idol Tribute

If John Lennon were alive, he would have turned 70 today.   The ex-Beatle was with his wife, Yoko Ono when he was gunned down in front of his residence, The Dakota, in New York City on December 8, 1980.   John was barely 40 when he passed.

In honor of John’s birthday, I present to you a collection of Lennon songs performed by American Idols.

Beatles songs were few and far between on Idol until Season 7, when the Beatles were featured two weeks in a row–Top 12 and Top 11 weeks.  Season 9 featured the songs of Lennon and McCartney at Top 9.  That’s why most of the performances I picked are from the last 3 season. I’ve included a few post-performances and one performance that is not Idol-related.

What were your favorite John Lennon performances on Idol?

Videos after the JUMP…

The most memorable performance of a John Lennon song on the Idol stage is surely David Archuleta’s beautiful performance of “Imagine”.  Yoko Ono contacted the Idol producers to tell them she loved David’s rendition of her husband’s iconic song.

I’ve got two versions here. David’s very first performance, for Season 7 Top 20 week and 2 years later at the Season 9 Beatles’ week results show.  A more mature David sat at the piano to perform.

David Archuleta – Imagine – Season 7 Top 20

David Archuleta – Imagine – Season 9 Top 9 results

Jennifer Hudson belted out Imagine during Season 3’s semi-final round.

Jennifer Hudson – Imagine – Season 3 – Group 1 Top 32

How could I forget Blake Lewis’ “Imagine?” He sang it for Idol Gives Back week.

Blake Lewis – Imagine – Season 6 – Top 6 (Idol Gives Back)

Ruben Studdard also sang “Imagine” at the Season 2 finale. The song has been sung on Idol, quite a bit.

Ruben Studdard – Imagine – Season 2 – Finale


Chris Daughtry sang “Imagine” on John’s birthday in 2007

Daughtry – Imagine – North Charleston, SC

Casey James’ tender rendition of “Jealous Guy”, from John Lennon’s Imagine album for Season 9’s Beatles week was easily his best performance of the season.

Casey James – Jealous Guy – Season 9 Top 9

“Across the Universe” was my favorite Idol performance from Season 7’s Michael Johns.  It was criminally underrated by the judges, if you ask me.

Michael Johns – Across the Universe – Season 7 T0p 12

Siobhan Magnus also performed a dramatic rendition  for Season 9’s Beatles Week.

Siobhan Magnus – “Across The Universe”  Season 9 Top 9

“Come Together was performed 3 times on Idol–by Carly Smithson, Kris Allen and Crystal Bowersox and her didgeridoo. Carly wowed the judges with her version. Kris sang his version for Top 4 Season 8 rock week, but he’s also performing it as the encore for his solo tour set.

Carly Smithson – Come Together – Season 7 Top 12

Kris Allen and band – Come Together- Bentonville, AR – Summer Daze – 5/10/10

Crystal Bowersox – Come Together – Season 9 Top 9

Here’s something you may not know–Bo Bice toured as a member of Todd Rundgren’s Sgt Pepper tribute band a few years ago, with Todd, Christopher Cross, Denny Laine and Lou Gramm. Here’s the band singing “Strawberry Fields”

Bo Bice with Todd Rundgren – Strawberry Fields

Kristy Lee Cook sang a dramatic version of “Hide Your Love Away” for Season 7 Beatles Week Part 2. After butchering “Eight Days a Week” the week before, it was definitely an improvement.

Kristy Lee Cook – Hide Your Love Away – Season 7 Top 11

Amanda Overmyer picked a somewhat obscure Beatles song, “You Can’t Do That” from The Beatles Second Album,   for Season 7 Beatles week Top 12. Her gender-bending rendition was one of my favs of the night.  “You Can’t Do That” is an example of how John expressed his jealous ways, even in the early tunes.

Amanda Overmyer – You Can’t Do That – Season 7 Top 12


Forgot about this until a tweet reminded me: David Cook Sang “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” at the 2008 Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

David Cook – “Happy Christmas (War is Over)”

This is a little added bonus… Chris Colfer sang a tender, slowed up version of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” on this week’s Glee. I’m going to throw it in as a bonus!

Chris Colfer – I Wanna Hold Your Hand

And finally. John Lennon performs “Imagine” at Madison Square Garden in 1972. Happy Birthday John.

John Lennon – Imagine

About mj santilli 32371 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!