By Amy Ryan
Updated May 10, 2006 at 02:00 PM EDT
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Credit: American Idol: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

To my ears, Elliott Yamin (pictured) has been the most consistently fascinating and unconventional of the American Idol finalists this season. He’s versatile enough to shift from Broadway-style crooning to old-school R&B with ease, and his shy demeanor and haimish appearance seem the antithesis of the cookie-cutter pop stars Idol seems designed to manufacture. But who knew he was also such a mensch?

The Jewish community of Yamin’s hometown apparently does. There’s an e-mail making the rounds, sent by Jordan Shenker, executive director of the Weinstein Jewish Community Center in Richmond, Va., urging folks to vote for Elliott (né Ephriam) Yamin because he’s a ”nice Jewish boy” whose every wink and blown kiss during his performances has been a gesture of moral support ”to his mother, who was deathly ill just a few months ago.” Plus, Shenker writes, he’s deaf in one ear, was raised by a single parent of limited means, and has suffered since childhood from diabetes. In fact, Shenker writes, Yamin plans to use his fame to serve as a spokesman for the American Diabetes Foundation, speaking on behalf of afflicted children.

Maybe Elliott’s been too humble to kibitz about his tsuris in order to gain sympathy votes, so thanks to Shanker for doing it for him. Besides, listen to that voice, look at that snaggletoothed punim, how can you not vote for such a nice boy?

addCredit(“American Idol: Ray Mickshaw/FOX”)

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