It's one of the most famous songs of all time, and the lyrics are instantly recognizable to anyone from Dallas to Dubai. But Tuesday night (April 6) on "American Idol," one of the contestants made "Let It Be" her own.
Wearing a short pink dress with her hair pulled back, Connecticut's Katie Stevens broke out of the "Idol" top-nine episode with a somber rendition of the 30-year-old song. Following a thunderous response from the audience — which included her family, holding an "I love my family because they love Katie Stevens" sign — the judges unanimously gushed over Stevens' heart-tugging vocals.
"That was your best performance ever," Randy Jackson beamed, praising the song that Katie said her father used to play for her in the car. "That was ridiculous."
Ellen DeGeneres, meanwhile, praised her for "changing it just enough without disrespecting the song," while Kara DioGuardi agreed, saying, "You make the song your own. You're blossoming."
"It felt, to me, that you were singing it about somebody rather than being robotic," Simon Cowell agreed. "And that's a big difference."
Paul McCartney certainly wasn't being robotic when he recorded "Let It Be" in early 1969 for the release of the same-named album that marked the Beatles' final effort. Recorded during a period of rapidly increasing acrimony between the members of the world's greatest rock band, McCartney has said that he was inspired to write the song after a calming dream about his mother Mary — who had died of cancer when he was 14 — during the tense period of his life.
Ranked #20 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, "Let It Be" reached #1 on the Billboard charts in April 1970. In perhaps the latest great testament to its legacy, "Let It Be" has become an "Idol" favorite: Brooke White performed it in season seven, while Kris Allen put his unique spin on the song during a recent results show.
What did you think of Katie's performance? Let us know in the comments below!
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.