A Berg Above The Rest

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Yamin is the 'American Idol,' yamean?



Us Jews have accomplished a lot of things over the years but I can't say that one of those things is being idolized by mainstream America. That's about to change though, if California-born, Virgina-raised 'American Idol' contestant Efraym Elliott Yamin has anything to say about it. The 27-year-old former radio DJ and grocery bagger has defied all odds -- deafness, Type 1 diabetes, a humble educational background, and less-than-idol-like features -- by managing to stay in the competition all the way to the final 3.

He's been a favorite of mine ( along with fellow top 3 finalist Taylor Hicks ) since the early stages of the contest, but despite his vocal abilities I never expected him to make it this far. In a contest that has in some cases favored "pretty" faces over talent I just thought his appearance was a little too "real" and a might too "ethnic" to win over the fickle voters. I also didn't think America would stand for a person of such obviously Hebraic origin to get even remotely close to being their next idol. But while he may have had a couple of close calls, for the most part my fears have proven unfounded and his strong, soulful voice has won him acceptance, and could possibly win him the title of "American Idol."

The tide seemed to really begin turning in his favor a few weeks ago when he performed Donny Hathaway's "Song For You" and left 'Idol' judge Paula Abdul in tears. As if seeing a Jew make someone named Abdul ( she's actually Jewish... shhh ) cry and it not even have anything to do with Palestine wasn't surreal enough, notoriously snarky judge Simon Cowell declared that Yamin's performance was "superb" and said that in parts it was like a "vocal masterclass." I couldn't have agreed more myself but I was surprised and more than a little pleased to hear the judges throwing their support behind my Hebrew homeboy. Last week's show, which resulted in Yamin making the top 3, was something like "vocal masterclass 2.0" as he ripped through the little-known Elvis Presley tunes "If I Can Dream" and "Trouble." The former, an uplifting message song, again seemed to leave judge Abdul close to tears. While the latter, a bluesy declaration of bad-assed-ness, came off as a warning to the other competitors that he was "evil" and wasn't taking any shorts.

Ethnic herritage aside, at this point Yamin is the strongest vocalist and performer in the 'American Idol' competition, and I say this as a season-long fan of "the grey-haired man" ( a.k.a. Taylor Hicks ), but Elliot has just blown me away with a few of his recent performances. I look at it as a bonus that someone so unabashedly Jewish ( his father is an Israeli Jew of Iraqi herritage and his mother is an American Jew ) has the opportunity to be America's next "idol." Come Tuesday night I hope all my fellow Jews and Jewesses pick up the phone and cast their votes in favor of our Hebrew brother so that he can make it into the top 2, and hopefully be recognized as a real 'American Idol.'

2 Comments:

  • At 2:47 PM, Blogger AbsolutJ said…

    Ok, well, I think he is pretty damn cute... albeit Jew cute, which you may only be able to enjoy if you have been raised Jewish and therefore find round features and middle-eastern scruffiness hot (as I do, baby-faced goyim blond boys have nothing on a dapper, swarthy Hebrew) but yes, back to my point...I'd do him.

     
  • At 4:18 PM, Blogger El Keter ben Tzadik said…

    Hahahahaha! That comment = priceless.

     

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