One of my absolute…do you hear me? ABSOLUTE favorite Broadway songs is “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” as done in showstopping form by Jennifer Holliday, in “Dreamgirls.” The song accomplished the unusual recent feat of coming from a Broadway show and crossing over to be a hit by itself. And it has done bunches of good for those who master it. Jennifer Holliday got a Tony award for her role in the show and a Grammy for the recording of the song. Years later Jennifer Hudson stole the movie version, garnering an Oscar for her, and when I saw it in the movie theatre the audience applauded after that song.
So, I was delighted to see Jennifer Holliday perform it as a duet on the American Idol finale show, with soon-to-be runner-up Jessica Sanchez. Yes, Sanchez was fine, but my eyes and ears were glued to Holliday. It was by far the highlight of the whole AI season for me.
But this blog is taking a different twist…and features the song as done by male performers, three of them. Yes, there have been more than 3 guys doing the song, but I’m showcasing the three that stand out for me. And I’ll start with the earliest of the three. Billy Porter has had an excellent career, being in a number of Broadway shows, films and has appeared on a number of recordings. And he’s amazing. Period. I was so, So pleased when he included a version of “the song” on his 2005 CD “Billy Porter: At the Corner of Broadway + Soul.”
I first noticed Von Smith when he competed in Season 8 of American Idol, in 2009. He got as far as the Top 36, and it appeared Von was just too over-the-top for Simon. Which I can see, but I loved it. Von’s Youtube videos already had gotten the attention of Rosie O’Donnell, then on “The View,” and she got him on that show, in early 2007.” This video of “And I’m Not Telling You” was captured in 2007.