With three hugely popular contestants still in the competition alongside him, Elliot Yamin needed to pull two strong performances out of his hat on Elvis Presley Night to stay alive. His first number, If I Can Dream, scored a solid 73, but he saved the best for last. Choosing "Trouble", which had been performed well by Carrie Underwood a season earlier, Yamin delivered a blistering, vocally rocking, mostly convincing rendition of The King's bayou-blues classic (though as many reviewers noted, Elliot Yamin and "I'm Evil!" don't exactly go together like milk and cookies.)
"Trouble" came in at 87, and it prompted hordes of Idol chroniclers to observe that there was virtually no way America would send Yamin home after those two performances. Which meant one of Taylor Hicks, Katherine McPhee, or Chris Daughtry was in a whole heaping mound of a different kind of "trouble"....
If there has ever been a more impressive case of an Idol with his back to the elimination wall rising to the occasion, let us know. "If I Can Dream" was quite good, but "Trouble" was magnificent, both in terms of vocals and in presentation. Give an assist to Rickey Minor and the band, not to mention the frequent and dramatic camera cuts between Yamin and the musicians. If this performance had scored in the elite 90s, we wouldn't have quarreled.
Contestants are free to arrange their music as they wish, but we doubt seriously if they have any say at all on the camera work. Choose a good song and a good arrangement, sing it well, and hope that the director comes through for you as well as he did for Yamin on this night.