By Pamela Pike and Rosanne Simunovic
Pamela Pike’s Recollections
It was Top 4 week and the theme was songs by Artists from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. David chose Love Me Tender an oldies love song sung by Elvis Presley, in the movie, Love Me Tender.
When a singer attempts an Elvis Presley song the first thing you think is how bad will it sound? Elvis songs have a special place in people’s hearts and cannot be sung by everyone, except for David Archuleta.
He tenderly caressed Love Me Tender, held it in his heart and sang it with loving passion. He always takes his songs to another level and the words seemed almost ethereal.
David’s voice and emotions were just perfect for this song as he sat on a stool looking into his audience with those beautiful eyes. It was an amazing performance that brought tears to many, and you knew many fans were melting as he murmured the lyrics.
While the piano played softly, his gentle simplicity and gift caressing every word had the audience in his hands.
David wasn’t familiar with the song and searched for different versions. He worked on an arrangement and with his velvety smooth voice sang a romantic ballad for the first time on American Idol.
This song has enjoyed a long life beyond its initial success. A score of other covers by a wide variety of artists have been done. But I feel David’s version has always been the most touching and memorable.
David and his love songs had remained an unexplored area of his remarkable career until that performance.
As Simon said, “David, you didn’t beat the competition tonight, you crushed the competition tonight.”
Rosanne Simunovic’s Recollections
“Love Me Tender” must be one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. There is something truly special about this song. The simplicity of the lyrics and the melodic line speak to the heart.
The old adage less is more could not be more appropriate when one listens to this song. The absence of clutter in the composition of this number is what allows a singer to communicate the words in a genuine, heartfelt manner.
And no one did this better than young David Archuleta when he took to the stage during his Top 4 American Idol Season 7 performance. He took a very simple melody and delicately weaved a soulful vocal pattern through the original melodic line.
It was a heartfelt and moving performance, one that reminded all of us how absolutely brilliant he is with his interpretive skills. He is a unique, genuine artist and this song, having been sung by so many singers over the years, never sounded fresher or more current. I think King Elvis would be proud.
Looking back to my American Idol Top 4 Vocal Masterclass Evaluation, I stated:
Then you offered us a poignant – yet singular – performance of the Elvis Presley classic, Love Me Tender. Oh my, what more is there to say here! The camera never left your face, thus providing emphasis to the visual and aural expressiveness in your performance. It was heartfelt and sincere and every word in this tender love ballad was articulated with impeccable inflection and nuance.
The melodic variations you incorporated throughout this number were musically inspired – yet, thankfully, not overdone. The emotional core of the song remained intact, as you singularly interpreted this number in a way that will certainly raise the eyebrows and perk the ear lobes of record producers around the world. Pure brilliance
Also, once again, you were musically naked on that stage, backed only by a beautiful piano accompaniment. Therefore, the beauty and magic of your incredible singing voice was once again firmly established in the ears of the listener.
There was no clutter, no distraction, no smoke and mirrors with either performance. All the focus was directed to what this singing competition is all about – creating phenomenally strong and memorable vocal performances with sincerity and with love and with passion. And nobody delivered this “package” as well as did you, young David.
Four years later, I wouldn’t change a thing! Special words for a special young artist!