'American Idol' 's Clark Beckham Channels Sam Smith While Performing 'Yesterday'

"It was beautiful," judge Harry Connick Jr. said of Clark Beckham's performance of "Yesterday"

Photo: Michael Becker/FOX

Update: In September 2019, Sam Smith announced that they use they/them pronouns. This content was written in April 2015 before Smith publicly announced their pronouns.

http://cdn.playwire.com/bolt/js/zeus/embed.jsThis season of American Idol just may belong to Clark Beckham.

Following a string of strong performances, the season 14 contestant, 22, once again garnered rave reviews from the judges on Wednesday.

“It was beautiful,” judge Keith Urban told Beckham after his rendition of The Beatles’ “Yesterday.” “When you started singing that, I thought … ‘That’s a much older song.’ And listening to the way people responded to it, it [was] like if Sam Smith did it now. It [was] current, fresh.”

And Urban was not the only judge who saw beauty in the Tennessee native’s performance.

“You did a beautiful job,” said Jennifer Lopez, who also called Beckham’s song choice “risky.”

“I thought it was terrific, man,” added Harry Connick Jr. “Really nice job.”

Beckham credits his rave reviews to the emotional connection he had with the song, particularly the lyric “why she had to go, I don’t know.”

“To me this is a song about loss. Not only death but also suicide. A friend of mine from high school – who I played soccer with – committed suicide,” Beckham told PEOPLE after Wednesday’s show. “That is something that weighs on my heart and that’s where that song came from tonight.”

American Idol airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on Fox.

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