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Tag: David Archuleta

David Cook Bests David Archuleta in Surprise American Idol Final

david-cook2    The vote is in for “American Idol” and the outcome is as surprising as the 2000 Presidential election (and, if you believe Archuleta’s voice coach, who is on the Internet saying “the fix is in,” possibly was just as legitimate.)

     My good friend Pamela, an astute observer of the “American Idol” season, has very cogently argued that David Cook would win for some very good reasons. David Cook has the maturity that goes with his age advantage and, therefore, often seems more poised during interview opportunities. There is also the matter of David Archuleta’s meddling father, which finally culminated in the senior Archuleta being banned from the backstage area(s) of the show completely. (He cost the show money when he insisted that his son insert lyrics from a second song into the song David was to sing, even though he had been specifically warned not to do so.)

     David Archuleta seemed to have the Big Mo, i.e., Momentum, working in his favor. However, having said that, David Cook took a big chance on the final night of competition with his Collective Soul choice, and, although Simon proclaimed the night a “Knockout” for David Archuleta, Cowell reneged on that comment on Results Night on Wednesday, apologizing to David Cook and admitting that, in rewatching the show, he might have been disrespectful to David Cook and have misspoken. (Earlier in the day, Cowell had predicted a win for Cook over Archuleta.)

    Cowell (unlike my firm conviction that David Archuleta’s young fans would bring him home the win) had vacillated. I never vacillated in my belief that the younger of the two contestants had the best pipes, and I still feel that way. Having said that, I can understand why the show might prefer the older, more seasoned contestant with the gritty distinctive sound of a Daughtry. He’s not in high school and they don’t have to worry about meddling parents or tutors for the lad.

     Having given my reasons for understanding the choice the show claims was made nationally, I’d like to recap the action of the night.

    Opening: The final 12, all clad in white outfits, came out and sang “Get Ready ‘Cause Here I Come” with contestants from the show “So You Think You Can Dance” providing some dance moves. Up tempo. Interesting. Great to see the Final Twelve again.

    Then, the Davids dueted on “Hero” by Chad Krueger. Truly enjoyable. David Archuleta sang harmony; David Cook sang melody.

    Next up was a humorous bit advertising Mike Myers’ new film “The Love Guru.” The film also has a cameo by Stephen Colbert and Jessica Biel co-stars, but Myers was tonight’s big draw, constantly using MariskaHargitay as a greeting and mocking the Maharishi of the Beatles years. As Guru Piti, he suggested a shave for David Cook and gave out loopy advice to David Archuleta like “Make a boom boom in your pull-ups,” which seemed to have the younger David on the verge of outright laughter throughout the bit.

     Syesha and Seal sang “I Have Been Waiting for You” while Ryan Seacrest said, “Your results are coming up in a …..well, nevermind,” as the show dragged on for a full two hours before winding down.

     Jason Castro sang “Alleluia.” Two Escape Hybrid cars were gifted to the two finalists (keys handed to the happy contestants onstage.) All six of the final female contestants sang Donna Summer songs and Donna Summer herself descended the steps and sang with Syesha Mercado, the last girl standing. (“She Works Hard for Her Money,” “Hot Stuff”).

     Carly Smithson and Michael Johns sang “The Letter”, while Jimmy Kimmel asked, “How much should I tip Sanjaya,” implying that Sanjaya was parking cars outside the Nokia Theater. (Shot of Sanjaya in the audience, laughing at the joke at his expense.)

     Michael Johns and the other male contestants sang a medley of Bryan Adams songs, followed by Bryan Adams, himself, singing songs such as “Summer of ’69.”
    David Cook sang “Sharp Dressed Man” with Z. Z. Topp,  a great combination.

     Brooke White sang “Teach the Children Well” with Graham Nash.

     Ads using the Tom Cruise version of “Old Time Rock and Roll” from “Risky Business” utilized both of the Davids, recapping the famous scene where Cruise sang in his boxers in his living room. (Here, David Cook seemed to do a better job of recapping Cruise’s dance moves.)

     The Jonas Brothers came out and sang a song. One Republic performed “Apologize” and David Archuleta joined the pianist/lead vocalist to good effect.

     Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr., did a humorous skit with Gladys Knight that purported to show her early days of selecting the Pips. At one point, Jack Black ended up being depantsed. (Some may not know it, but Robert Downey, Jr., has an album of his own and was once asked to open for “Duran, Duran” on tour.)

    Carrie Underwood sang “Last Name” and looked lovely in white.

    George Michael emerged after a medley of his songs was sung (Michael Johns was particularly good here) and sang.

    The judges commented, Paula burbling, “You two are truly amazing. It’s the start of the destinies of your careers.”

     The vote was announced as having been 12 million votes more for David Cook than for David Archuleta, with something like 56 million for the winner and 44 million for the second place finisher. 

    I hesitate to use the term “loser.” If this season is anything like the other seasons, the “winner” will do less well than the “loser” overall (Taylor Hicks, anyone?). Daughtry only finished fourth, but is a bigger star than that year’s winner. Clay Aiken has a career on Broadway, while this is the first time most of us have seen Reuben Stoddard since his win over Aiken.

    For my money, Archuleta “won” the final night’s competition, but the competition was not just decided on the basis of one night’s performing. Archuleta has an amazing voice and  a great future, if Dad doesn’t get in the way. David Cook will now be promoted by the label that signs and promotes all “American Idol” winners and he is an interesting, innovative, poised performer. Neither is a dud, and both should do well.

    Either way, it is going to be fun to watch both their careers unfold (And, for the record, I still don’t believe that George W. Bush won over Al Gore in Florida either, if anyone out there cares.)

David Archuleta Knocks Out David Cook on Final “American Idol”

    David Archuleta nailed it tonight on “American Idol.” I’ve had an article up on my blog (www.weeklywilson.com) for days, now, saying that David Archuleta would become the next American Idol, but his superior, stellar performance tonight practically guarantees that outcome.

     “Idol” used the boxing analogy to intrigue viewers, almost to the point of cheesiness, but that gimmick couldn’t detract from the wonderful performances of the two Davids, especially Archuleta.

    The two finalists sang three rounds. Clive Davis picked the first round of songs. Davis selected “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” for David Cook to sing at the beginning of the competition, and it was arguably Cook’s best performance of the night. The U2 song fit his style and distinctively gritty vocal quality, and he made the most of it, although the sliding up to the final note that Judge Randy Jackson praised seemed unnecessary, to me, and detracted from the overall quality of Cook’s presentation.

     David Archuleta’s first song was “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me,” an Elton John song, selected by Andrew Lloyd Webber. He sang it so well that, even though the judges had pronounced David Cook’s performance just prior as “phenomenal,” they said that David Archuleta’s singing was “beautiful, beautiful, stunning performance” (Paula Abdul) and “One of the best performances of this season.molten hot.” (Randy Jackson). Simon said that Round One had gone to Archuleta, and that pattern continued throughout Rounds Two and Three.

     Round Two was a round given over to new songs composed especially for the night. David Archuleta’s song was just better than David Cook’s, as all the judges agreed. Archuleta’s lyrics, speaking of “staring through windows at my own reflection” was just a better song than “Reach Out for Something More”, which Cook tried.

     The final round allowed the singers to either pick a brand-new song or one they had sung earlier in the season. Cook tried a new song from Collective Soul, but it paled by comparison to David Archuleta’s revisiting of “Imagine,” which he was, quite simply, brilliant on.

     So, as I said on this blog and others days ago, this year’s American Idol will be David Archuleta.

Teddy Bear of Talent Will Take the Top Prize

David ArchuletaNobody was surprised when Syesha Mercado went home, and nobody should be surprised when David Archuleta bests David Cook on Wednesday on “American Idol.”

David Archuleta Emerges as Frontrunner After May 6th “Idol”

david_archuleta36_large4 David Archuleta Emerges As Clear Front-Runner After May 6th “Idol”

Not that this will surprise anyone, but David Archuleta has to be considered the front-runner after all three judges praised his vocal prowess and he blew away the competition with his renditions of “Love Me Tender” and “Stand By Me” during Rock & Roll Hall of Fame week. The big loser: the dreadlocked Jason Castro, who forgot the words to Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” looked as awful as usual, and earned, from Simon this succinct review: “Jason, I’d pack your suitcase.” (Ouch!)

Most of us have been saying, “Jason, pack your suitcase for weeks now, so the Castro kid is beginning to remind a bit of that lesser talent, Sanjia Malakar, who consistently made it through after inferior performances. His gimmick: his hair. I’d think about a haircut, were I Jason, but, failing that, at least get Bob Marley’s music right. Simon summed up his performance of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” as “utterly atrocious” and something that was more like the open auditions days, not the final four. The ending of the “Mr. Tambourine Man” song sounded horrible, the guitar Jason clutched seem to really be just a prop, and from his breathy opening to his weak close, Jason was outclasses. The lyric he sang that applies? “If I am guilty, I will pay.” He was definitely guilty of all the above, and I have a feeling he will pay.

Most improved of the four remaining performers, as was the case last week, was Syesha Mercado, who came out and did “Proud Mary” proud, followed by Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna’ Come.” Randy reduced Syesha to tears by brusquely criticizing her red-hot vocals, and Ryan Seacrest got a laugh by saying, “Well, Randy. Thanks for the buzz kill.” When Randy attempted to explain his overly harsh criticism of one of the night’s outstanding performers and two of the night’s most consistently good performances (2nd only to David Archuleta’s), Seacrest cut him off, saying, “We’re running out of time. ‘Hell’s Kitchen”s gonna start.”

David Cook performed his first song, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” to criticism from Randy (“Just an OK choice”) that was echoed by the others, and, later, said he agreed with the judges and would wipe the memory of his first song away by performing more strongly on his second song, which, unfortunately, was a Who song that, aside from it use on “C.S.I.” episodes, is not that big a crowd-pleaser and ended with the words “Teenage waste” or “Teen waste,” hardly an uplifting image.

For me, there was no stronger performer for the evening than the other David (Archuleta), followed by Syesha, David Cook and…last and certainly least, Jason Castro, who has overstayed his welcome and should have been gone long before Carly Smithson, Michael Johns and/or Brooke White.

The Davids Stay On Top on April 29th’s “American Idol”

The \"American Idols\" Davids, Cook & ArchuletaJason Castro and Brooke White Struggle with their Selections…

Jason Castro drew the short stick, apparently, on April 29th‘s “American Idol” show featuring songs written by Neil Diamond and had to sing first. Since Jason always seems as though the next word out of his mouth is going to be “duh,” he performed “just OK” according to Randy, and his renditions of “Forever in Blue Jeans” and “September Morn” were proclaimed to be “definitely not the best,” “safe,” and “you struggled through both songs”(Simon). To me, Jason’s performance this week seemed to be more of the same: light, insipid, wimpy, and inferior to either of the other boys remaining or, on this night, one of the two worst performers. His fan club may feel differently.

Up second was David Cook, who, as usual, sang unknown songs, specifically “I’m Alive” and “All I Really Know Is You.” He did a good job and the judges seemed pleased. One of them even went so far as to say that he/she was “looking at the American Idol,” but that seems a bit premature. As for me, I’d like to hear a song I might recognize, but David was his usual confident self, and, in that regard, he should sail on.

Third came Brooke White, who sang “I’m a Believer” (which Simon pronounced “a nightmare”) and “I Am, I Said,” which brought faint praise from Simon when he said it was “a million times better than the first song.” Paula said, “Nice job,” and Brooke also accompanied herself (piano, guitar). Paula commented, “Everyone loves who you are,” which, while true, is not necessarily supposed to be what wins the competition. Brooke, for my money, was one of the two weakest performers of the night, but the “lovability” factor may keep her in as the last female standing, when Syesha did a superior job, vocally and in every other regard…although Simon “dissed” her efforts.

Fourth up was David Archuleta, who sang “Sweet Caroline” and “America.” The latter choice of songs was the smartest since the C&W songstress sang Lee Greenwood’s patriotic ditty. David, clad in a black-and-white horizontally striped shirt that kept me thinking of the “Peanuts” comic strip, turned in another thoroughly professional performance, and the audience reaction was far and away the most enthusiastic, keeping him firmly in first place, in my mind.

Last…but not least on this night…was Syesha, who sang “Hello” and did a very nice job, with her hair down, barefoot and going up for a great last note. Syesha is doing something down and long with her hair that is a vast improvement, and her dress was lovely. She sang and looked the best of the girls, but her fan club seems smaller than the less-vocally-talented Brooke White (Brooke’s range, which is not great, really showed up on her song selections this night, while Syesha hit some high notes and was a real diva.

So, predictions? Let me just say that, in order of, “Who was best on April 29th?” I would praise the Davids (Archuleta and Cook, in that order) as Numbers One and Two, and finish up with Syesha in third place, Jason in fourth, and Brooke in last place, vocally, but it is quite apparent that the best singer also has to be the Most Popular, and, if that is the case, I fear that Syesha has begun displaying her personality too late in the game to overcome her earlier lackluster presentations.

As far as justice…of which there has been little this season…either Jason or Brooke should leave the group on Wednesday when the numbers drop from five to four, but the popularity polls seem to favor the Davids, Jason and Brooke, not necessarily in that order, so talent may well not be rewarded as the competition loses yet another contestant on Wednesday, April 30th.

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