As Season 7 counts its way down to the finale and this year’s American Idol, it still looks as if the final three might just be guys, even after Michael Johns sudden and totally unexpected departure last week. The two top contenders, commonly referred to as the “two Davids”, don’t seem to be having much of a problem getting there.
Since the competition began on this season’s American Idol, 17-year-old David Archuleta has been the guy to beat. Constantly at the top of polls and power rankings, he has delivered almost every week a superb vocal performance. A little hesitant at times, his awkwardness only seems to endear him more to the screaming girls and his growing fan base. And his gee-gosh-golly laughing thank-yous break the humble meter. But it is that strong, smoky voice singing those way-too-old-for-him songs that is putting him through to each successive round without a hitch. Simon Cowell has said that Archuleta’s performance was the best or one of the best on several of the shows (and, remember, America listens to Simon…).
David Cook, on the other hand, was and still is the dark horse in this contest. His song choices and performing ability have gotten him rave reviews from the American Idol panel of judges and from fans all over the country. Using original arrangements and obscure versions of the songs given to perform each week have shown that David Cook has a great ear for music, is very adept at adapting music to suit his particular vocals, and can play that guitar. His performances are confidence personified; his presence remarkable. Simon Cowell gave him the “Simon bump” when he told David Cook several weeks ago that if American Idol were a talent competition, he would win it all. Randy Jackson told him a couple weeks later that he was good enough to win. Paula Abdul — well, Paula thinks everyone should win, so….
For “Mariah Carey Week”, the two Davids shone like the rapidly rising stars they’ve become. David Archuleta chose “When You Believe” and brought down the house, the girls screaming so loud it reminded one of old clips of “American Bandstand.” The judges loved it. David Cook performed “Always Be My Baby”, rearranging the pop/dance hit to fit his growly grunge style, slowing it down to the point that you would never have known it was a pop/dance hit. Again, the crowd was ecstatic. And so were the judges. Randy Jackson actually stood and clapped for the first time all season. Simon said it was like stepping out of karaoke hell and into fresh air. He brought Cook to tears when he added, “It was original, it was daring, it stood out by a mile, and this is the side of a great potential artist – someone who takes risks.”
The two Davids are going to be very difficult to beat. And that would be fitting. They’re the two best left. They should be the two left last.
Simon Cowell also ended the show with the remark that the guys blew the girls away… He was right; they did.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. TV Guide publishes a power ranking each week. This week, Jason Castro jumps into third place (as well he should after his beach bongo version of “I Don’t Want To Cry” was excellent), possibly due to Michael Johns surprising departure than anything else. The girls are all distant, really making this look as if it could wind up being an all boys finale.
Top 7 Power Rankings (TV Guide.com)
38.6% David Cook
27.3% David Archuleta
16.9% Jason Castro
6.8% Brooke White
6.1% Carly Smithson
3.1% Kristy Lee Cook
1.1% Syesha Mercado
****** By the way, saul relative would like to take credit for first pointing out that Jason Castro’s style reminded him of laid back “beach campfire music.” Randy Jackson said the same thing Tuesday night. Could Randy Jackson be reading my articles. How cool would that be? Anyway, you can look it up. You can find it in “American Idol: Can Jason Castro Win It All?” ******
“Top 7 Power Rankings: Jason Wins As Michael Loses,” TVGuide.com