Who’s the real American idol? At the moment, it’s President Obama — after singing only six words of an Al Green song.
The President’s oh-so brief, but heartfelt rendition of Green’s most famous song, “Let’s Stay Together,” Thursday night in New York stole the spotlight from the singing hopefuls who were seen auditioning for “American Idol” this past week as the Fox talent series kicked off its 11th season.
Maybe you’ve seen the Obama video — it’s been on countless newscasts and posted in about a dozen versions on Youtube, all amounting to millions of views (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million-plus on Youtube alone, according to our own rough estimate). We have a version of it here too — as seen Friday on “The NBC Nightly News,” with anchor Lester Holt sitting in for Brian Williams.
The background: President Obama was in New York City Thursday afternoon and evening attending a couple of fundraisers. One was at Spike Lee’s Manhattan townhouse, where guests paid $35,000 apiece to hobnob with the President. Then, the presidential motorcade headed uptown to Harlem’s storied Apollo Theater, where President Obama became the first President to take the Apollo stage while still in office.
There, he followed a performance by Al Green and, in honor of the legendary singer, the President gave his own now-legendary performance, crooning the first six words of “Let’s Stay Together” — “I’m [held for a number of beats] so in love with you . . . !”
The President did so well, singing in a soulful, near-falsetto voice, that the video clip proved irresistible to the news media and the Internet. Al Green was thrilled, according to this story on The Hollywood Reporter Web site.