They may not have been bathed in smoky green lasers like Adam Lambert, but former "American Idol" finalist
Gaston, 21, a former contestant on "Nashville Star" and current participant in the Web series "If I Can Dream," brought his smoldering good looks to the performance of the Elvis Presley ballad also called "If I Can Dream."
The performance began with White, season seven's fifth-place finisher, seated at a grand piano trading lines with Gaston, who gently strummed an acoustic guitar, his signature shoulder-length hair falling out of his ponytail just so.
White soon hopped up and gazed at Gaston as they sang the lines, "If I can dream of a warmer sun/ Where hope keeps shining on everyone," while the accompanying string section revved up and images of puffy clouds filled the screen behind them. Both wearing slim black suits, the pair spent much of the performance alternating between staring into each other's eyes and belting out the inspirational tune while facing the studio audience, ending the song with their faces just inches away from each other.
In the awkward chit-chat afterwards — during which host Ryan Seacrest reminded Gaston that White is married — the pair revealed that they'd first met only a week and a half ago and had put the performance together very quickly.
The gospel-inspired tune was recorded by Presley in 1968, just two months after the assassination of the civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and it makes use of some of King's quotes in a plea for peace and understanding. It also served as the rousing finale of Elvis' famous 1968 comeback special on NBC, "Elvis," in which the singer performed an "Unplugged"-style show in front of a small studio audience as he attempted to jump-start his career after years of cheesy movies and questionable records. It was Elvis' first live performance in seven years, and the song was added to the special at the last minute by musical director W. Earl Brown, who also penned the number.
The song has a history on "Idol": Season-five runner-up Elliot Yamin sang it during Elvis week, and Celine Dion did it as a virtual duet with Elvis the following season.
Though Gaston's musical career has not yet taken off, it's possible he's honing his chops these days by jamming with another former "Idol" contestant, Alex Lambert. The beloved, painfully shy singer, who was unexpectedly booted before reaching the top 12, moved into the "If I Can Dream" house shortly after his ouster and has vowed to keep pursuing his musical dreams.
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