I vowed before last night’s show that if David Archuleta won American Idol, I would never watch the show again. From the beginning, I’ve never declared that Archuleta was not good. In fact, if AI is strictly a singing competition, he wins. It’s almost robotic how perfect his pitch can be.
But, my faith in the American TV public was restored last night, as David Cook beat his teenage nemesis by 12 million votes. If Archuleta has better pitch, Cook has more versatility, radio appeal and potential.
My approach to American Idol from the very beginning was to attempt to find the contestants that would resonate the most with the American public. The show exists to contribute stars to the pop culture scene, and I think the show is most effective when the biggest star doubles as the winner. Jordin Sparks over Blake Lewis, for example, is a big point in the show’s corner.
If you ask for the top five performances from the season, I think Cook scores three: “Always Be My Baby”, “Hello” and “Billie Jean”. It’s an eclectic mix, but an interesting one, as Cook has shown that his ability to spin the pop single into an emo rock vibe is his true strength. While he’s faltered some with true rock singles, I do believe he’ll be a force in the recording studio.
As for Archuleta, surely a contract with Disney looms on the horizon. The Jonas Brothers sang at the finale last night, and it’s hardly a stretch to see Archuleta on stage with them in concert, with Miley Cyrus waiting in the wings. I still am not sure how Archuleta will work on the radio, but with a little more like the Elton John single he sang on Tuesday, his tweeny fanbase might give him some lasting value.
This season was an interesting one for American Idol, billed from the beginning as the best season yet, or more specifically, the most talented. I would now vehemently disagree with that, as it did boast the weakest female crop in the show’s seven seasons, as I think Syesha’s Broadway potential represents all we might see from the collective. However, there’s nothing wrong with top-heavy, and this season was exactly that, as we knew from at least the Top 11 that a David vs. David finale was where we were headed. Maybe it didn’t make for 10 weeks of exciting TV, but it did make for an exciting Wednesday night.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but American Idol: I’ll see you next January.