She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit, you know I read it in a magazine, oh… B-B-B-Bennie and the Jetsssssssss…
For more than a week and a half now, the 1974 hit “Bennie and the Jets” by Elton John (whose real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight) has been stuck in my head. I’ve been a huge Elton John for about a decade now, and “Bennie and the Jets” has always been one of my very favorite songs of his, but it wasn’t until Haley Reinhart sang it on American Idol that it became the default song playing in my subconscious. But after randomly discovering that four other people I talked to last week had the same issue, I realized, there must be more of us! (For the fact that you clicked on the title of this post to read it, I think it’s safe to say there’s a good chance you can relate.)
I haven’t talked to anyone who said that Haley Reinhart is their favorite on American Idol, but evidently, whether we realize it or not, she performed quite memorably in her rendition of “Bennie and the Jets”. Because it’s stuck on “repeat”. It has a lot to do with the fact that Haley Reinhart already is the fictional character that would sing “Bennie and the Jets” even if it weren’t a satirical song mocking the glitzy pop world of the 1970’s. Just like how Shia LeBeouf is born to play characters in movies that have to frantically explain some big panicked misunderstanding about 45 minutes in the movie, causing his eyes to sort of bug out as he shouts, “No, no! You don’t understand! Let me explain!” (Disturbia, Eagle Eye, Transformers), Haley Reinhart so perfectly captivated the song (as well as us as spectators) because she already is that smokey, sassy girl in a short dress singing on a piano who, despite only being 20 years old, perfectly brings with her the aura of the early 1970’s.
So if you too have been purposely listening to catchy music from artists like Phil Collins, Justin Bieber, or if you’re really desperate, “Friday” by Rebecca Black, simply in an effort to dissolve”Bennie and the Jets”, know that you’re not alone. It’s a micro- phenomenon as far as I’m concerned. And who knows, now with Pia gone, it’s really anybody’s game- especially if Haley can find more songs that comparably suit her like Elton John’s #1 hit did. Maybe “What I Am” by Edie Brickell or “No Rain” by Blind Melon. In fact, she’s done such a good job of getting “Bennie and the Jets” stuck in my head, that I’m almost willing to say “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”: Let her win this season of American Idol, just for being so effective with that one performance. Even if she became a one-hit wonder, she would still have more hits than most of the actual winners of American Idol.