On April 15, 2003, American Idol presented the Top 7 performers on Billy Joel Night. Each singer was required to sing a song made famous by Billy Joel.
Do you know much about Billy Joel? According to the RIAA, Billy Joel is the sixth best-selling recording artist in the United States. He has 33 Top 40 hits in the United States overall. He is also a five-time Grammy Award winner, a 23-time Grammy nominee and has sold in excess of 150 million albums worldwide.
Billy Joel was not able to be at the taping of the American Idol show. However, he did tape some opening words and also had a tape for each song that was performed.
Smokey Robinson was the guest judge on April 15th. Robinson is noted for being one of the primary figures associated with Motown Records, second only to the company’s founder, Berry Gordy. Robinson’s countless hits and consistent contributions to the Motown label earned him the title of the “King of Motown“. As both a member of Motown group The Miracles and a solo artist, Robinson recorded thirty-seven Top 40 hits for Motown between 1960 and 1987, and also served as the company’s vice president from 1961 to 1988.
The performances for the night were:
- Kimberly Caldwell – “It’s Still Rock ‘n Roll To Me”
- Ruben Studdard – “Just The Way You Are”
- Kimberely Locke – “New York State of Mind”
- Carmen Rasmussen – “And So It Goes”
- Josh Gracin – “Piano Man”
- Trenyce – “Baby Grand”
- Clay Aiken – “Tell Her About It”
Kimberly and Ruben got good reviews for their performances. However, Simon was not as excited as the other judges. He felt that both of the performances were just OK. He suggested that Ruben needed to “change it up more.”
The judges and the audience were excited and pleased with Kimberely Locke’s performance of “New York State of Mind.” All four of the judges though that Kim had the whole package with that performance and that it was her best performance of the season.
Carmen had a rough night. None of the judges gave her any positive reviews. They all thought she was very nervous.
When Josh chose “Piano Man” for his song choice, he said he did it for shock value. Well, three of the judges were happy with the choice of the song and enjoyed the performance. Simon…….well, he thought it was a “so what” performance.
Singing “Baby Grand”, Trenyce was considered good by all the judges except……Randy who thought the performance was pitchy and oversung.
Clay Aiken was the last performer on this night and the judges remarks from this performance have been quoted many times. All Clay fans will remember “I just can’t wait till you let loose and dance a little more!” And Clay’s answer of baby-steps!!
Then, who could forget Simon’s “I prefer you when I shut my eyes.”
“Tell Her About It” was a wonderful choice for Clay to make. Starting out as a ballad and then, WOW, he changed it to up-tempo. It was the night that Clay changed his whole style and delivery. He never missed a step.
The performance show ended with the entire group on the stage being silly and relaxing with each other.
The result show on April 16th, started with Ryan Seacrest announcing that there were over 18 million votes cast overnight. Then, the entire Top 7 performed together to “The Longest Time.” The audience was excited about the performance and the group blended well together.
The Ford commercial for the week was “Speed Racer.” It was one of the most popular of the season and each idol got their moment in the commercial. Who can forget Clay and the red sports racer!!
Little time was wasted getting to the elimination this week. Clay was the first to be reviewed and he seemed a little nervous, but as we all know, he was safe and loved by the audience in the studio and the audience that saw him on TV.
The three contestants that were voted into the bottom three are:
- Kimberly Caldwell
- Carmen Rasmussen
And, even though the judges disagreed, Kimberly Caldwell was voted off. She received a standing ovation from the audience.
The show ended with the Season 2 Idols singing “God Bless The USA.”
We have two videos of the Top Seven. The first is Clay’s performance of “Tell Her About It.” The second is the group medley. Please enjoy the visit to 2003.
I loved that performance! It showed he was more than a ballad singer and he kicked butt on it!
What a great combination of talent…Clay Aiken singing Billy Joel. Thanks for the memories.
Clay rocked ‘Tell her about it’, one of my favourites. Of course I say that every week!
I’m a late riser so this was a great way to start my day. I loved that whole week but Clay’s version of “Tell Her About It” was awesome. Once again, I’m sitting here with a smile on my face. Thanks CANN for another great memory!
Thank you for reviewing Clay Aiken’s performance, as well as the other AI2 contestants, on Billy Joel Night. What great memories!
Many thnx for your kind remarks in the Carolina blog. Have an awesome week!
Always enjoy the walk down memory lane.
all i have to say is blue shirt
I loved this week – this was one of my favorite performances by Clay and was definitely my favorite group performance – they did such a great job!!!
I enjoy seeing these videos again and again. He did a great job that night, Rock on Clay!
He was great back then and is great now!
Love reliving every minute of that year! Will never be another year like it!
Love it!!! Thanks for the memories!!
I love these walks down memory lane.
Let’s see-18,000,000 votes or….14,400,000 for Clay, alone–per TWO producers of AI who said-ON TAPE-that ‘Clay received EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE VOTE EVERY SINGLE WEEK HE WAS ON’. There really never, EVER, was any competition during AI2. He WAS the best! Clay can rock ‘n roll with the best of them!
Clay rocked that song. Loved it! As far as Simon goes, I prefer him without sound..that’s why I muted my sound when he was critiquing Clay.
I really liked that arrangement and how Clay started off slow and rock it out in the end. It’s so great watching all these performances again.