You’ve heard of David vs. Goliath, but what do you do when it’s David vs. David? That’s what it’s coming down to on Season 7 of “American Idol.” It’s pretty obvious that David Archuleta and David Cook are far and away the most talented of the bunch. My prediction is that it will be the Battle of the Davids when it gets down to the final two.
But which of the Davids will win? More importantly, who deserves to win?
I have a few ideas on the subject.
I’ve been watching “American Idol” pretty obsessively since the first season, and it’s quite interesting how things go at this stage of the game. This was a terrific season, mostly because just about all of the Final 12 were all pretty talented.
As the weeks have worn on, though, it’s become increasingly apparent who the rising stars really are.
The older David, David Cook, started off as a semi-anonymous rocker with artfully mussed hair. The younger, David Archuleta, was from the beginning a prodigiously gifted teen with a tremendous voice. Both have strong followings among the viewers at home.
Both these guys are stars, although they have very different styles and demeanors. David Archuleta is a squeaky-clean, sometimes tongue-tied young man – in many ways a typical 17-year-old. Yet on stage, he’s an incredibly confident performer who has been blessed with a strong, pure, mature-sounding voice.
David Cook projects an alt-rock persona, yet underneath the gel-filled hair is a hard-working performer who prepares diligently for each and every show. He has a gift for picking fresh approaches and arrangements, and is also quite good at choosing the right songs for himself – as we all know, vitally important to the outcome of “American Idol.” Cook has crafted a stage image that is somewhat the rebel, yet never goes outside the acceptable limits for “Idol.”
And hey, let’s face it, “American Idol” wants an all-American pop star as its winner. Contestants who venture too much outside the lines don’t make it. Whether this is indeed due to audience response or if there are machinations behind the scenes, who knows? But the Idol winners tend to fit a very particular mold.
First of all: They must be confident without being cocky, humble without being self-deprecating, mostly free from scandal and willing to change their appearance if called upon to do so. They must be able to listen to the judges’ suggestions and act upon them, yet not appear like mindless robots.
They must be able to perform under grueling conditions, week in and week out, whether they’re healthy or sick, in front of an audience of millions. Most of all, they must be attractive, able to smile even when in the Bottom 3, and demonstrate some kind of personality.
Can you imagine fulfilling all these requirements? I can’t. My hat is off to any “American Idol” contestant who makes it this far. Given the odds, it’s amazing.
At any rate, let’s get back to the initial questions I posed. Who should win this year’s “American Idol”? The most deserving, in my estimation, is David Cook.
Cook is definitely the more mature and seasoned performer. He brings an emotional resonance to his songs, singing them as though they were written just for him. His surprisingly nuanced performances are wonderful little gems, just about each and every one. He wasn’t one of my favorites in the beginning but he’s won me over with his unique approach to the material.
Yet I don’t think he’ll win, and I’ll tell you why.
I think this year’s winner will be David Archuleta. Archuleta has an incredibly rabid fan base, made up of young girls (and older women as well) who think he’s dreamy. He’s consistently been one of the top-ranked contestants, even in weeks where he’s flubbed the song. He is a wonderful singer, there’s no doubt, and he’s awfully cute. Teen singers are big right now – just look at Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers, for instance – and Archuleta could be in the same league with a little savvy marketing.
So what if he doesn’t have the most original interpretations or performances? I think his clean-cut looks, voice, and aw-shucks personality are going to put him at the top of the heap this year.
So, in a nutshell:
Should win: David Cook.
Will win: David Archuleta.
One thing I do know: Both will go on to have wonderful careers no matter which order they finish in. Both of them have talent to burn, and they both deserve every bit of fame and fortune they can get.
Go, Davids, go!