When Elliott Yamin first appeared on American Idol, his snaggle-toothed grin and backwoods appearance recalled that O Brother, Where Art Thou? scene in which Tim Blake Nelson fears his escaped-convict buddies have been transformed into "horny toads!" By placing third in the contest, however, Yamin earned a pricey makeover that's turned him into something else, too: a curly haired, orthodontically superior crooner whose appearance is no longer likely to frighten small children or house pets. If only the renovation of his musical persona had been as successful. His best moment on Idol came when he emulated Donny Hathaway on "A Song for You," which was wisely included on Elliott Yamin, his debut for the Hickory imprint. Yet "Wait for You" and "Alright" trade soul for slickness that even Bill Clinton couldn't duplicate. The material is undeniably professional, but without the rough edges that initially endeared him to a nationwide audience, Yamin, who shares the Gothic stage with Josh Hoge, comes across as just another product. Maybe he should have left his choppers alone.
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