I’m Telling You: I’m Not Going!

Is there anything more adorable than David Archuleta expressing his pure unadulterated delight over music? Especially when it’s a response to his favorite divaesque anthem, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”?

Funny thing about this song – considered the ultimate diva song in the ultimate gay anthem musical that is Dreamgirls – is that some folks had actually pointed to David’s passion for it as “all the proof that was needed” concerning certain rumors.  Whatever.  

What I will say about David’s passion for “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” is that it’s so antithetical to what he has been about vocally.  Granted, I could see how Tamyra Gray’s version of it on American Idol would send shivers down his then 11-year-old spine:

Thank goodness he only had Gray’s subdued yet showy, theatrical version to inspire him so deeply, for whatever would he have sounded like if he had actually heard the original version by Jennifer Holliday?

Not gonna lie: Holliday’s pipes really make my head spin they’re so powerful on this “protest song.”  However, I have always found this song – and its depiction of the rejected black woman as this stereotypically mythic Fury about to get all scary and frightening and downright otherworldly in her wrath – highly problematic.  It’s so overwrought and Excessive with a capital E.  It ‘s “too much,” and I’ve always suspected the praise heaped on Holliday and Jennifer Hudson, whose version led her to an Oscar right out the gate, has everything to do with expectations that, as black women, when we love, and when we get hurt, we become just too much.  And naturally, everybody is entertained whenever we let loose.  

So, what does it mean that David, who never EVER gives us “too much” in his vocal delivery, is so enraptured by this “just too much” song?  Is there an inner diva alter ego entrenched deep in his soul that’s just screaming to get out?  Is he implying that  he has yet to unleash his vocal power over us?  Have we not heard anything yet? Will there be a time when David will give us a “just too much” vocal performance in the future? What exactly will David sound like when he really, seriously, LETS LOOSE?  

The fact that he’s still so moved by “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” suggests that he has yet to do this.  He says there’s “so much emotion in it,” as if his own emotional delivery on songs like “Imagine,” “Angels,” “And So It Goes,”  “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me,” and “Apologize” pales in comparison.  Is he for real?  

And what about the lyrics in the refrain?

No, no, there’s no way
No, no, no way
I’m living without you
I’m not living without you
I don’t wanna be free
I’m staying
I’m staying
And you and you and you
You’re gonna love me

Can you imagine David ever being so demanding for love? So insistent that he’s not going anywhere? Which is really paradoxical because that might as well be every Arch Angel’s anthem to David himself: “No, no, there’s no way / No no there’s no way / I’m living without you…” Two years in, and we are still here.   Or how about how it represents David’s journey on AI: “I’m staying / I’m staying/ And you and you and you / You’re gonna love me” (and he stayed week after week, and at the finale, America did love him).  

Should we be paying attention to the subliminal layers embedded in this song?  Has David been casting a spell over us, his inner diva “demanding” in a big Jennifer Holliday-like voice (which he thinks is Tamyra Gray’s) that we love him since “he’s not going?”  Except when it rises to the surface, we get the soft, velvety Voice seductively whispering what the inner voice has been screaming all along? 

One thing I do know: David does threaten to reduce me to a Jennifer-Holliday-like hissy fit.  No matter what, I’m not giving up on The Voice, and I’m so not going anywhere.

Posted on March 9, 2010, in David's influences. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Melissa Manchester once said about Judy Garland, “the big voice must have its way”. What I hear in all of these clips is not just the formidable belt, but the raw emotional expression. The meaning and feeling is unmistakable and is broadcast in a big way.

    That David can achieve the same effect in a more understated way, is part of his brilliance.

    Oh, and Will Smith did an OTT rendition, too 🙂

  2. Once I saw a video called “You Are Who You Are Because of Where You Were When You Were Ten”. It was based on the premise that at that age one is very impressionable and ones view of the world and others in it begins to take shape.

    In the context of how and where he grew up, perhaps Tamyra’s performance was just so different from anything he’d ever seen locally. Also, I think he’s more impressed w/her ability to convey a message via song as opposed to her vocal prowess. I bet this was the beginning of David wanting to sing “message” songs.

    As for my opinion, too much finger wagging and head snaps from Tamyra and Jennifer Holliday but I still luv em. 🙂

    • hell0g0rge0us

      Good points, Desertrat. The head snaps from Tamyra made me roll my eyes, but for Holliday, she was performing on a Broadway stage. I understand why she uses this and also why she has to belt the way she does.

  3. Off topic but I was looking for info on “little” Billy Gilman (remember him? he sang “Ben” at MJackson’s 30th anniv. celebration) and I see that he follows David on twitter.

    If you go to Gilman’s website, under his bio, he details how he had to stop singing for 5-6 yrs because his voice was changing and he was ruining his vocal chords. Anyhoo, he’s 21 now, lives in Nashville, and says he knows how fragile a career is as well as vocal chords. He also discusses growing up and moving from the point where others made career decisions for him. I think it would be great if David got the chance to meet Billy.

    Billy tweeted this earlier to cary barlowe:
    @carybarlowe thats cool man! tell david i said hi.

  4. Hi guys. I’m here from IDF. We’re trying to spread the word about TCA nominations. To make it easy, I’ll just copy what I’ve posted other places. Tks for helping, if you can:

    Hi guys! A few weeks ago, Teen Choice awards started asking folks to request celebrities who they thought should be nominated or who they want perform for them this year. At that time, there were alot of requests for other artists, and very few for David.

    TCA is gearing up to launch their 2010 voting site. They are looking for nominations, requests and suggestions right now. We need to keep supporting David and show the TCAs that we care. You can send email requests to Teen Choice Awards at staff@teenchoiceawards.com, or send a tweet to @TeenCAwards2010.

    You can recommend that David perform a certain song on the show (which would be awesome promo!) or be a co-host. And you can nominate him for categories, or suggest your own. Examples from previous years:

    Choice TV Male Reality/Variety Star, Choice Hook-Up, Choice Music: Male Artist, Choice Music: Love Song, Choice Music Album: Male Artist, Choice Male Hottie (Helllloo), Most Fanatic Fans (us!). Other ideas: Best Duet, Best TV Show Guest, Best Christmas album.

    Please take just a minute to do this for David. Thanks

  5. Ultimate diva song maybe, but ultimate gay anthem musical? No. Not a big enough hit to get that status. “All the proof needed”? No. But at least “two snaps up and a twirl around the world”! I don’t think it was the lyrics for David I think it was the delivery. At that age he was responding very naturally to a very dramatic vocal performance. “Whatever” is the way many have chosen to interpret that whole episode. That’s ok. We’ll always have “My Girl”.

    • Mike, your comments absolutely require more out gay fanboys to come visit my blog and either corroborate or refute this statement.

      Archie fanboys, come out, come out, where ever you are! 😉

  6. i definitely enjoy all your writing kind, very charming,
    don’t quit and also keep writing due to the fact that it just simply truly worth to follow it,
    looking forward to view even more of your own posts, thankx 🙂

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