Could you imagine being in the audience of this showcase (or whatever it is)? There is a lot of talent to be found all over the world, but this dude shows up and everyone in the audience had to collectively-think, "future star on Broadway." How could you not? And how much do you want to bet all the other performers are like, "…the fu**?" One of my all-time favorite ballads and Derek's is barely breaking a sweat doing it justice. Like a BAMF.
When I was sitting in the audience of Carrie, my friend and I turned to each other after the first seconds of this song in a "WELL, look at what we have HERE" fashion, complete with eyebrow raises. In that moment, Klena transported us back to the first time we crushed on the cute, sweet, popular thespian-athelete male in school that every girl (and gay guy) wanted to date. Sure, this song and character is straight-up fan-service in the CW11 mold - the sweet, sensitive jock who sings "poems" he wrote about birds, come on - but when a boy looks like that and sings like that, who effing cares? Anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so.
Try listening to this song without wanting to hug your monitor (or smartphone). Seriously, that last verse of "COME BACK" repetitions makes me want to yell, "STOP YOUR SADNESS; here's my body, use it to get yourself better." Or something more subtle, I don't know. In a show where bombast is more of a tertiary element (if that), this song doesn't hold back and Derek's voice just gets in your face and will leave you with your jaw on the floor. The only thing better then a ballad? An epicified power ballad sung like that. Strap down your clothes because they may just fly off at any moment.
And speaking of clothes flying off, THIS! When my pal sent the link to this video to me (Caroline, for those of you keeping track), I had this look of befuddlement on my face considering the performer and the song choice. Don't worry…that lasted about .07 seconds. My pants unzipped themselves just shy of the first chorus and when Derek yells out, "NAH SOLO," they went flying across the room. True story. Gotta love a dorky, charismatic rendition of a Train number sung by a casually, yet spiffy-dressed heartthrob with infectious energy.
Is it just me or is Mr. Klena over here super-believable as a seductive, rent boy in this performance? Let's just be glad he is not a drug-pusher in real life - he'd be really good at it. He'd convince me to start doing lines of cocaine in dirty alleyways. And wouldn't you? Derek has had some good material to work with here or there, but hitch him to a fantastic Ryan Scott Oliver song and the result is ovary-combusting. Like seriously, his singing should come with a surgeon general warning about the potential damage to lady regions everywhere. Oh, the massive destruction.
This song could not be more cliche (then again, Wicked), but leave it to these dynamic performers to make it listenable. And man, Derek is really selling it, no? His lusting and Fiyero bravado is all, "MY LOVE WILL HIT YOU LIKE A TRAIN ELPHIE LIKE SERIOUSLY YOU ARE MINE 2GOOD PLUS 2BE EQUALS 4GOTTEN."
Also, doesn't Fiyero Bravado sound like an exotic fragrance? Wicked gift shop, there is your new merch.
And finally, we have the feelsy Derek (you can collect them all!). A chest voice-free number that is nonetheless beautiful and affecting. When I was at this concert a few weeks ago - because obviously - I pegged Derek as one of the more belt-ey vocalists. But no…instead, he just stands there and emotes all innocent-like and make you feel all the feels (another stellar RSO number, although that is me being redundant). I apologize for your excessive weeping. Actually, no I don't - that was gorgeous. You're welcome.
Now go walk in nature children and think fondly of all you just saw.
Video Credit: DreamCassell
Video Credit: Carrie White
Video Credit: PasekAndPaul
Video Credit: NY4OK on Facebook
Video Credits: RyanScottOliver
Video Credit: StageDoorDish