Tuesday, May 20, 2008

American Idol: David vs. David Showdown

American Idol has been planning for the David vs. David finale for a long time, with the "Let's get ready to rumble" announcer, giving Ryan the night off from the introductions. It was dorky, it was weird, but it was slightly amusing. Archuleta cannot act to save his life.

The Archuleta fans and the Cook fans seem pretty well matched in the applause-meter. I think it's funny that they call them Big David and Little David. David Cook is not gargantuan, and David Archuleta is not itty bitty.

They continue the build up with the boxing theme, and it looks like Andrew Lloyd Webber is returning for a final mentoring gig. He was pretty good before, so we'll see how that goes. Clive Davis is also in, but that's standard AI.

Archuleta won the coin toss last week and chose the pimp spot. He mumbles his interview and looks like he wants to say "Gosh, gee, I'm so happy to be here." He doesn't, but he was thinking it. Of that, I am sure. Simon says "You've got to have a desire to win, and you've got to hate your opponent," to win. Archuleta responds to that by saying "This guy's awesome," and practically throws Cook a kiss. Cook says "See, now anything I say is going to sound trite," before ending with "the competition's over, we're just here to have fun." Well, no, it's not, David. It's not quite over. Hope that him having fun = him rocking the house down.

The first round is Clive Davis' pick.

David Cook (I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2): Good song. I really dig the arrangement, with minimal instrumentals in the beginning. He is sounding great tonight, and the song is great for his ideal range. This feels like the David Cook Show. He is excellent. I think he dug a little deep for some of the notes in the chorus, but other than that. . . totally wonderful. This is what I was hoping for. I liked the end, too. He rocked it like I hoped he would. Randy calls him DC, because it is so much more difficult to say David. For heaven's sake. Paula gushed on him, deservingly. Simon says he could tell he was a little tense and emotional, but that he put out a phenomenal performance. And he did.

David Archuleta (Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John): I love that Archie's squinty attempt at being intense bugs Andrew Lloyd Webber, too. Clay sang this song brilliantly in his season, so Archuleta's got a lot to live up to. He starts off sitting on the stairs, and you could see him thinking "don't squint, don't squint, don't squint." He looked slightly pained keeping his eyes open. Before the chorus, he got up and plodded centerstage. That boy can NOT move. He did well, and he sounded good, though some of his falsetto notes sounded a little off to me. It was a good choice of song for him, but . . . now I want Clay's version. Randy calls him flawless and molten hot. Paula got chills and is having heart palpitations. (Someone call a doctor). Simon says that last week was just ok, but this week was arguably the best he has done so far. Then, he announced that Round One goes to Archuleta. IN YOUR OPINION, Simon. I disagree. Heartily. Archie broke out in tears anyway. You didn't win yet, buddy. Still have two more songs. Stop crying.

Round Two - Song from the People.

This is cool - they took the top 10 songs from the songwriting competition, gave them to the Davids, and let them choose what they wanted to sing. Bonus. Maybe it won't suck. Because this is my now inside your heaven and I believe in a Moment like this I can Fly without wings.

David Cook (Dream Big): He rocks it out with the guitar, and starts a little low, and this song is pretty decent. He sounds good, it's a good rock-ish anthem, more so than any other AI winner song yet. He had a really great long note at the end that was impressive. His guitar work was good, too, in my opinion. Randy accuses Cook of singing his face off. I still don't get that compliment. The judges have used it before. Paula loved it, Simon said it was a lightweight. I think Simon likes the goopy goopy winner songs. He didn't like it. I did.

David Archuleta (In This Moment): Surprise, surprise, it's a goopy goopy winner ballad. "Staring through windows at my own reflection - how can a window encompass perfection." What? He sings it well,. His jacket is weird. It looks like there's an anchor on the back of it! Huh? One of the mosh pit ladies had freakishly long square-tipped fingernails and it was really distracting. The song is great for his range, and he sang it really well.... dang it! I still hated the song. It was saccharine and sticky. Bees would flock to that song. Randy again brings up the phone book thing. Hasn't that been overdone? Simon preferred this song. Ugh. If that song was on the radio, I would switch it off immediately, before I slipped into a coma from all the sugar. I'm not diabetic, but that might just push me over the edge.

Round Three - Contestant Choice

David Cook (The World I Know - Collective Soul): I really like this song. As he started, there were two lonely arm wavers in about the 20th row when they did a wide shot. Later, the mosh pitters joined in. He had a great falsetto note, and even his lower notes were well done. He ended with a great falsetto. Now, do I think it is the best song he could have possibly chosen? Maybe not. But it was dang good. He started crying at the end. He is fabulous. Randy likes Collective Soul, and Paula says that he is standing in his truth. Does that stain if you stand in it too long? Simon says that Cook is nice and sincere, but he didn't like the song choice, saying that he should have sung one of his hits from the season - Billie Jean or Hello. Cook said he wanted to do something new. Good for him.

David Archuleta (Imagine - John Lennon): I wonder if Archuleta could do a good vibrato without shaking his head side to side. It's really distracting. This was really his best moment of the season to me, and he sang it back before I was sick of him. Then I saw that it is the only kind of song he can do. Dang it, he's doing really well. He threw in a few too many extraneous runs for my taste, but he did really well tonight. Randy says that Archie is the best singer of the season. Paula says she's speechless, and then continued talking, proving herself wrong. Simon says it was a knock out in favor of Archie.

I'm dialing for Cook, but at this point, it could be anyone's game. Archuleta did what he does really really well tonight. I really preferred Cook's performances because he showed his versatility. But, that's one reason I like him so much better than Archuleta.

Until tomorrow, when we find out how it all pans out!

(And Oh. My. God. If I hadn't watched Hell's Kitchen tonight, I would have missed the lovely unveiling of Ruben Celebrating us Home. How could I have lived with myself? Yeah, I didn't watch it, either.)


JenFen said...

You know I have agreed with most of your commentary throughout the season. You also know I am huge David Cook fan. That said, I could see after the showdown night why Archi (like that nickname) might take it. With David Cook's first song it was building and building and then there was no real climax and I was left wanting more (that sounded much dirtier than I intended). I liked his original much better than the judges (read: Simon) and I love the third song and I love him singing it. I think if he would have rocked the U2 song a tad more I would have been more overall satisfied.

Bottom line - Whoever wins both will have sucessful careers ahead of them. Bottom line - I would probably never buy an Archi record whereas I am drooling at the chance to buy David Cook's first album. But as much as I would love for a rocker-type to finally win AI, I could see Archi taking the prize after tonight.

BTW - When I saw Rubuen come out and realized what song he was singing I laughed at the thought of you cringing, as I knew you would be.

Astrid said...

It was a much better fight than I thought it would be, hat's for sure. I guess the bottom line is that I would love to hear Cook on the radio, and buy his cd, whereas Archie would have me turning it off instantly.

Janelle said...

I agree completely. Last night when David Cook was singing, I was thinking "that's really good, I would buy that" (and I might just do the itunes thing for the Collective Soul song, I really liked it). When David A was singing, I couldn't help but think "who would buy that? What radio station (that I listen to) would play it?" I just don't see any of his sappy cheesy Disneyland songs making it on the radio. Like you said, he's really good at what he does, but I know enough people who find him incredibly annoying that I don't think he fits with what many people expect of the "American Idol."

sharon said...

I seriously don't know why the judges are trying so hard to skew the voting in Archie's favour. He is way too one-dimensional. It seems like in past years, the weekly themes have exposed the one-dimensional performers, and they have fallen by the wayside, but I haven't seen that this year. The themes seemed to cater to his boring-ness.

I used to think Archie was a l'il cutie, but I was very, very over him a long time ago. Based on the judges commentaries, though, I think he will win.

I used to hope that David Cook wouldn't win, and that 2nd song (though better than most) is why. Gawdawful! But Astrid, you reminded me that the point of the competition is to win it, so I kind of hope he does. (I've always assumed that some of these guys audition on a lark - think Jason Castro - and are kind of surprised and frightened when they start going too far.) But I think DC has the chops and experience to take his career in the direction he wants, AI win or not.