Tom Jones Appears on American Idol Finale to Zero Fanfare. We Call BS.

Last Wednesday, the masochists among you may have caught the American Idol grand finale, during which babyface baritone Scotty McCreery was crowned champion. The buildup to the announcement was nothing short of epic, featuring, as it did, performances from Lady Gaga (who is on the show so much at this point, we fear she'll take over from Ryan Seacrest soon), Beyoncé, TLC (we miss Lisa Lopes so much right now), Marc Anthony (who was upstaged by his half-naked, shimmying wife), Bono and The Edge, Steven Tyler, and -- buried among all the excitement and fanfare, hanging out in the middle -- was Sir Tom Jones.

tom+jones1.jpg

He slipped on and slipped off, as low-key as a bright orange man can be, after having to stomach listening to the male contestants do a medley of his best-known hits. It was a little odd to see him jammed in the middle of it all, but lordy, we wish he'd been given a bit more fanfare. Because -- just take our word for it -- Tom Jones is awesome.

We're not even being ironic. Though if saying you're being ironic gets you to admit that you like Tom Jones publicly, then we'll encourage it. For he is a god among men, a champion of the people and, hell, he's sold 100 million records and that should count for something, right?

Across America, Jones' image isn't what it should be. He's just that Vegas guy who likes gold necklaces and swiveling his hips and women who throw their underwear at him. Elvis Presley was a big fan of his, and the two were great friends. The truth is though, he's a blue-collar Welshman who grew up in dire poverty and fought his way out of his tiny hometown of Pontypridd in the South Wales valleys, using only the power of his voice, his hips, and a lot of tenacity.

Tom+Jones.jpg

To put it in perspective for you, he is to Wales what Bruce Springsteen is to New Jersey: a man of the people who did incredibly well but who never lost touch with his roots. "The Green Green Grass of Home", in fact, is the unofficial second national anthem in his home country. He's a British national treasure (hence the knighthood), a grand example of how far you can go in life (and the world) if you push hard enough and a one-man tale of working-class triumph.

Aside from anything else, Jones' songs are amazing. That's why "It's Not Unusual" is always playing at AT&T Park, and that's why it's impossible to hear "Delilah," "What's New Pussycat?," or any of his other biggest hits after a few cocktails and not feel an overwhelming sense of joy and frivolity.

Tom celebrated turning 70 last year and released an album of critically acclaimed gospel music, titled Praise And Blame. Critics drew comparisons to Johnny Cash's American series, since Jones too, is clearly feeling and exploring his own mortality.

So let's hear it for Tom Jones. Yes, his skin is the same color as that of an Oompa Loompa; yes, he still thrusts a lot for a man of his age; but the world would be a duller place without him. Next time he's on our television screens, we want fireworks and dancing girls, dammit.

----
Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Rae Alexandra @Raemondjjjj, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.


My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
SOFIAPAVLOVIC
SOFIAPAVLOVIC

i reaLLY LOVE TOM JONES I DONT CARE HOW OLD HE IS. HIS A HOT SPUNK.IM JUST IN MY 30;S. AND I THINK HIS THE GREATEST

Debbiehartness
Debbiehartness

 I have to tell the world that I am Tom's oldest fan. When his first record came out, I would sit on the stoop of our apartment building in France listening to his powerful voice on my transistor radio and falling in love for the first time. I have love this icon for 50 years. There will never be another to take his place. Keep singing Tom, you make the world a better place.

Dsw
Dsw

Check out TJ singing with Janis Joplin on Youtube!

Marstone8
Marstone8

As a 40-something lifelong fan of the the now, Sir Tom, I'm a bit ashamed to admit that as I heard him sing on the American Idol finale, his voice sounded so strong and..., well, fabulous, that my initial reaction was to think that he was lip-synching.  Imagine my delight upon realizine that, OMG!  He really IS singing live!!  He didn't lower the notes on his song (as did neither Steven Tyler) as so many aging singers need to do.  And, I can;t tell you how HAPPY it made me feel to hear him sing that song in the SAME octives, at 70, that he did when he was in his younger years.   Tom, I'm happy to HEAR that you have taken good care of that god-given voice of yours.  You're to be commended. 

Hungrt
Hungrt

Tom's voice cracked on the high note at the end of NOT UNUSUAL. But that's ok! He was without a doubt the greatest pop singer who ever lived. He could handle beautiful slow ballads equally well with brash rock or soul tunes. What he had was emotion and feeling in his great baritone tenor voice. A true soul singer. There will never be another Tom Jones. You can put all the American idol contestants together and they would never equal TOM JONES. That's a fact. 

Xxevileyexx
Xxevileyexx

Not lost touch with his roots?? He is loathed by the people of Ponty...back in the day he was viewed as a yob by the locals and now he has little if any contact with the area or its people

Hungrt
Hungrt

I was in Wales ten years ago to see where Tom grew up. The people who I talked with agreed that he is the greatest pop singer who ever, ever lived bar none. That's an established fact.

Lisa
Lisa

Nice job writing this. A great article & I agree 99%...I do not think the man is orange!!!!!

Steven
Steven

Who the hell is managing TOM JONES ? His son? DAMN IT !!! He deserves better than that. The man is still awesome. Not because he is 70, you can't create some fan fare, dancing beautiful women, and have him swivel those hips a little. Use a different song than the typical, "It's Not Unusual"....for God sake !!. Compare the performance with Steven Tyler - and he's no young puppy. Get a new publicist and choreographer... Tom..R U listening??? We still love you!!!!! 

randyfleming
randyfleming

Ponty Pridd , for your reader's information , is pronounced 'punta preeth'. An ancient language , it is..

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Drink

San Francisco Event Tickets
©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...