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.)