‘American Idol’ Honors the Piano Man: Watch the Best Billy Joel Covers

“American Idol” has honored everyone from Michael Jackson to Carole King in her Brill Building days on dedicated performance episodes, and last night (March 21), the Piano Man joined the ranks. The 10 contestants left in the running for the title of “Idol” season 11 performed Billy Joel songs on Wednesday’s show. Song selections – and quality – ran the gamut, from an overly-emotional ballad take on Joel’s signature song, “Piano Man,” to a slowed-down train wreck of “My Life.” Watch the four best covers of the night in clips below.

1. “Piano Man” – Colton Dixon

J.Lo had “goosies [goosebumps] from head to toe,” and Diddy said he was going to buy the track when he finished singing. It was one of the simplest treatments of the night, and it worked.

2. “Vienna” - Elise Testone

Testone’s raspiness and intensity knocks the cover out of the park, but towards the end, she channels the song’s original vulnerability.

3. “She’s Got a Way” – Joshua Ledet

Ledet’s performance completely transformed the ballad into a gospel-meets-rock celebration complete with choir.

4. “Everybody Has a Dream” – Jessica Sanchez 

Sanchez’s song choice may not have been one of Joel’s biggest hits, but she glided through the final track off 1977’s “The Stranger” and hit all the glory notes with impressive ease.

And while these may have been the best Joel covers from last night’s Idol, not everyone received praise from the judges. Heejun Han was torn part by judge Steven Tyler for his attempt at “My Life,” asking the Idol hopeful, “Are you happy that you took the piss out of that song?”

Watch for yourself to see what Tyler means.

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