News > Queen's Brian May Addresses Idol Fallout

Added on 17-Apr-2006

Queen's Brian May Addresses Idol FalloutAfter Queen appeared on this past Tuesday's episode of American Idol to coach the remaining eight contestants--who all sang Queen songs this week, with varying degrees of success--many assumed the band would perform on Wednesday's results show, as this season's previous coaches (Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers) have done. So when Queen was a no-show last night (in their place, viewers got a Queen medley performed by the finalists), some fans jumped to the conclusion that the band had bailed because they were displeased with how their songs were performed (some would say mangled) by the contestants.

This speculation can likely be traced back to the on-air bickering between Queen guitarist Brian May and finalist Ace Young, regarding Young's suggestion to turn "We Will Rock You" into an R&B number. (Said May, flat out, "I can't do that to my song.") But now May himself has addressed the Idol rumors in the "Brian's Soapbox" section of his official website,

"Well, no - there was never a plan for us to perform on the AI show," May writes. "We only wanted to do the coaching thing, (done at our sound-check in Anaheim), to give as much as we could to the participants ... ... not go into the TV studio and 'advertise' ourselves ... I'm happy about that decision."

May also discusses the Ace Young controversy, or as he calls it, "the fallout from American Idol," in a separate blog entry:

"Some of you have written in accusing me of undermining ACE with his interpretation of WWRY. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm afraid this is an illustration of exactly what I have been quoted as saying about the programme ..... that the critical process would be better off done in private, like we do in auditioning for our musical ...

"We had an interaction with ACE, a conversation, in which we gave him the best advice we possibly could, based on studying the demo's which we already had in our iTunes - which I'd personally given a lot of time to study. This conversation, in my book, ought to have been private, but that is not the style of the show, sadly. But the even more unfortunate thing is that you are then in the hands of the video editors, who seem to seize with glee anything that looks negative. It was edited in such a way that it looked as if I was purely negative - they very naughtily inserted a bit that I said about "not on my own song" so it appeared that I said it AFTER we had played together, which was not the way it happened ...making me look like I was against the whole thing. But this was not the case. Having said that I wouldn't be able to play the arrangement exactly like his demo, and that I didn't think it would work without the stomps and claps which are foundation of the song, we then discussed how we could improve his ideas and with a mixture of a quick conference and spontaneous creation we came up with a kind of mixture of his thoughts and ours - WHICH WAS THE BASIS FOR THE ARRANGEMENT THAT YOU SAW THE HOUSE BAND PLAY ON THE NIGHT ! It was actually pretty damn good, I thought, for a quick attempt ... and he sang it very well live. If you talk to ACE he will confirm that we parted on the very best terms, and he thanked me for the input. I made it very clear that I respected him for taking chances and trying to make the song his own. The version you saw on TV used a straight sample beat with stomps and claps which set up the song in the first verse in the classic way, and then a working in of an underpinning riff (close to what I had done in our rehearsal period together, in response to Ace's idea) and then back to a straighter 3rd verse, but ending in his delayed phrase end stop, again, just as we did it together .... and I thought it was damn good.

"Just in case any of this isn't clear .... the version of WWRY that ACE performed on AI last night was a DIRECT RESULT of his own ingenuity and the advice we gave him, with our full encouragement and blessing. And he definitely

Submitted by: All I Hear Is Radio Gaga

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