Elliott Yamin is on the summer road trip of his life, but it's no vacation.
The third-place finisher on the most recent season of American Idol has been performing as part of the "American Idols Live Tour 2006" since early July, not to mention promoting the heck out of it. When he's not on the bus, that is.
The lifestyle has proved trying for the Jewish R & B singer, whose real name is Ephraim, as he adjusts to his newfound celebrity and schedule, according to a story in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
"If you take away all we do -- the media, the shows -- just the traveling alone is pretty grueling," Yamin said, speaking from Duluth, Ga. "There is no schedule. Unless we have a day in town, we're moving on to the next venue."
That means sleeping on the tour bus quite often, one talent Yamin said he has not perfected. It caught up with him on a recent stop in Washington, D.C., where the American Idol finalists were to meet the President of the United States. Yamin showed up late to the White House, having overslept after arriving in the nation's capital very early that morning.
"I got there just in time to take some snapshots with him," Yamin said.
Before he arrived, Yamin's fellow performers, including Idol winner Taylor Hicks and runner-up Katherine McPhee, received a tour of the White House by the first lady's press secretary, Susan Whitson, who was once Hicks' ninth-grade English teacher, and who helped arrange the visit.
In addition to trying to keep up with his hectic work schedule, Yamin said he keeps abreast of the political situation in Israel, a matter of personal concern to him because so much of his family lives there.
"I have a huge family out there, some of whom are... fighting this battle. I just want to tell them how much I love them and God keep them safe," he said.
While he may be suffering from mid-tour fatigue, Yamin says the love shown by Jewish fans has meant a lot. The Jewish community in his hometown of Richmond, Va., in particular, has proved to be a hotbed of activity for "Yaminions."
An early effort that received national attention came from Jordan Shenker, executive director of Richmond's Weinstein JCC, who sent out a mass e-mail urging the community to vote for the "nice Jewish boy" on American Idol earlier this spring.
Support has come from his brethren outside Virginia, too, to say the least. Elliott received more than one Passover seder invitation while taping the show in Los Angeles, and was recently extended a bat mitzvah invitation during his tour stop in Bridgeport, Conn.
He's made quite an impression on fans across the country, But perhaps nothing quite compares to a t-shirt Yamin received from an 11-year-old boy one night on tour. With the Star of David superimposed atop the Superman emblem, it reads "You're My SuperJew."
"All the guys call me SuperJew when I wear it," Yamin said.