So dude, dude, listen up. How do we create two American Idols of equal, album-selling strength this year? Tell you what. We push and shove David Archuleta into the winner's circle, no matter how good or bad he is. Cause we know the young girls are gonna just eat up the guppie. And the thing is, we don't want him to suffer the jinx of Clay Aiken - that other big cornball belter - who's done okay but will forever be remembered as an "also ran."
And get this, dog, having David Cook lose actually helps him in the street credibility department and ultimately, in his career. Just like Chris Daughtry, who came in fourth to, um, who was that person? - but has lived to conquer rock radio, to sell millions of discs and downloads. Those radio programmers would never have jumped on his case, if C.D. had been the champion of some hugely successful, corny, mainstream pop television show. But as a loser, Daughtry was able to keep it real, stay scrappy, maybe even a little resentful and ready to get even - giving the world the finger with those big ol' boisterious rock and roll songs. And that's just how David Cook's gotta travel down life's highway, too.
Simon was the only one to declare a winner in round one - to David Archuleta - frothing over his hammy (especially in the exaggerated closing) performance of Elton John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me." Pulease.
Then the "fix" really started to show in the second round, when Simon failed to feel (or at least acknowledge) the kick in David Cook's personal song choice - a reaching for the gusto folk rocking song by Emily Shakelton called "Dream Big." (Google her name and the title, and listen for yourself. It's a decent piece of work.) But what did our favorite English judge and jury think of David Archuleta's much cornier choice of "In This Moment" by one Ryan Gilmore? "A much better song - more in keeping with the evening." Yeah right. Simon didn't even make fun of little David's stupid jacket with the giant boat anchor applique. What's with that?
Final round, Cook hits with a Collective Soul number, "The World I Know." It's a gutsy choice, not overplayed, and good for positioning Cook's future career. He ain't no fool. Randy compliments him for showing different sides, Paula applauds him for "originality," and Simon lectures/hectors the guy for not repeating one of his big moments from earlier in the season - "Billie Jean" or "Hello." Cook retorts that he's looked at this whole thing as a progression, and didn't want to repeat something he'd already done. Another notch on his credibility belt.
And then, in keeping with the night's boxing championship theme, all three judges take a dive, feign a knock out, when little David reprises his gushing read of John Lennon's "Imagine," and once again truncates the song to death, taking out any whiff of the original's outspoken nature. Like he really had to cut it down to 85 seconds on the final night?!?
As if that wasn't bad enough, for the recap, the show's producers managed to pull out and replay the one and only line in Cook's first performance - U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" - where the guy sang flat. Sure seemed like a subliminal message to me: "Attention, anyone with ears - David Cook is officially a 'loser.' "
So hail to the chief, the new boy king. May he live long and prosper, hopefully learning (someday soon) to look us in the face without wincing, and finding some material that doesn't turn instantly to sap in his mouth.