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American Idol Recap, Finale

American Idol Finale, Part One: The Battle of the Davids

Well, the American Idol finale showdown between the Davids did not disappoint. The show opened to what would become a rather prolonged metaphor for a singing boxing match of sorts, complete with the Rocky theme song, Michael Buffer, and shiny robes! Tension was high and it felt like anyone's game heading in before the singing started, especially after young Archuleta faltered last week.

To guide the Davids, Idol brought in two final mentors in the form of Clive Davis and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The first one makes sense, being a legendary hit maker and all, but again with the Lloyd Webber. . . I don't totally get it. Before we get to the singing, though, I have some thoughts which you can check out if you


  • When the announcer introduced David Archuleta weighing in at 100 pounds soaking wet I laughed loud and hard. I felt for the little guy, though, because it seems like he's getting picked on a lot these days.
  • David Archuleta won the pre-show coin toss and chose to sing second. I think it's a smart choice to choose the final performance spot of the season.
  • Singing aside, I think David Cook won the charisma non-round in the beginning. Where Archuleta could barely take in the giant, enthusiastic crowd, Cook seemed calm, excited and totally ready to rock.
  • Not only did the contestants sing two original songs written for Idol, but they sang a song of their choice along with one picked by the mentors. Simon told Ryan that in order to win this thing you needed to hate your opponent, which was followed by a lovefest of back-pats, and mutual admiration between the Davids on stage. So, on to the singing. . .

    David Cook
    First song: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (U2). I was a little worried at first because the verse was a little off. But once he got going it was good and he even took tiny liberties on the melody here and there. Randy said it was a great way to kick off the night, Paula told us we have found David Cook (was he lost?), and Simon called it phenomenal.

    Second song: "Dream Big" (songwriting contest). So the lyrics are, well, dorky. I think there was something in there about how if you don't dream big you shouldn't dream at all. That's not David's fault though. He brought out his guitar for this one and I thought he sounded a little weak on the verses but great during the chorus. Randy said he was clearly singing his face off, Paula said it was a great way to take a song we don't know and make us love it (I might have to agree to disagree here, Paula), and Simon called it lightweight and said it wasn't a winning moment. Yikes, first big wet blanket of the night.

    Third song: "The World I Know" (Collective Soul). David took a big risk picking a song he hadn't performed before for his closing act. It's a great song and he played an intimate acoustic version of it. Not only did his voice sound pretty but his heart was entirely in it and the overall effect was moving. He was visibly emotional in the end, teary eyes and everything. Randy said it showed his sensitive side and that's the kind of album he should make, Paula told him he was standing in his truth (what?), and Simon said that while he is the nicest, most sincere contestant they've ever had he thought it was completely the wrong choice.

    David Archuleta
    First song: "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" (Elton John). Now this is a great choice for David A. It's one of those perfect Idol songs that builds up to a goosebumps-inducing chorus and David knew exactly how to squeeze every bit of goodness out the song. Right off the bat he proved his head was in the game, or ring, or whatever the metaphor is. Randy called it the best performance of the season, Paula told him the sun is never going down on him, and Simon said it was arguably the best he's ever done and gave the first round to David Archuleta.

    Second song: "In This Moment" (songwriting contest). If there is anything Archuleta was born to sing, it's these "This Is My Now"-esque Idol songs and he did a great job with it. The whole performance reminded me of one of those big theme songs from a Disney movie soundtrack. David was clearly emotionally connected to it and entirely believable. Randy wasn't crazy about the song but said he could sing the phone book so whatever, Paula called it pure magic, and Simon thought the lyrics were very self-centered and he liked that. He then declared that he had taken Round Two as well.

    Third song: "Imagine" (John Lennon): David Archuleta chose the safer route, opting to recreate the magic of his original performance of this highly nostalgic and pretty song. This performance brought the house down and David's version of it was heartfelt and there is no question his voice was stellar that night. But I'm kind of a sucker for singing a song that lovely straight and I think he mucks it up with all those runs. Randy went nuts and said he's exactly what this shows about, Paula was rendered speechless, and Simon said that we witnessed one of the great finals ever and that the night was officially a "knockout."

    Who should win? It's a tough call for me because while David Cook definitely didn't do his best, he also didn't play it safe. His choice to try a new song instead of something he clearly could have done well with like his cover of "Billie Jean" was risky and may have cost him the title — but I respect that. Plus, the emotional weight of his second song was the most compelling moment of the night, in my opinion.

    Who will win? David Archuleta played it straight and smart. Not only was he born to sing those cheesy Idol finale songs about dreaming and soaring and whatnot, he didn't miss a single beat the entire night. Singing "Imagine" was a savvy and smart way to completely seal the deal. I'd say this one is in the bag.

    Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I thought David Archuleta performed better last night, mostly because the songs he chose were much better than Cook's. I honestly don't know who will win, though, because they are pretty much tied in my opinion. Both of them have great voices but they also have big personality flaws and personal issues. I think Archuleta is really shy and has a domineering stage dad, while David Cook seems arrogant (he acts like he tries to be humble but he always talks back, even after Simon gave him that compliment at the end of last night's performances) and he seems to use his family problems to win votes by crying. Thats just what I think! I personally didn't really have a favorite this season, so I'm not just bashing on them because my favorite isn't in the final two.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I hope Big David earned enough sympathy votes to earn him the title. I think Simon was way too hard on him, and last night I believe he outshone the little chihuahua by miles.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
david archuleta will never make it far in the industry
millarci millarci 9 years
I agree with zombielove. David A was good but it wasn't all that.
millarci millarci 9 years
What I love about David Cook is that he takes risks. Which is what he did last night. I completely respect him for that. David A may have played it smart but it was also safe. Too safe. Either way, both Davids will be successful no matter what the outcome is.
PollyPrissyPants PollyPrissyPants 9 years
I will admit to being more impressed than usual with Archie last night...but still find him too bland to really connect with the songs or the audience, so I'll admit to just not getting his appeal. Plus, did anyone else think he might pass out at the beginning? I thought Cook might win by Cook on the other hand gets my total admiration for not playing it safe and for, once again, making me cry. You just know if Simon takes the time to say what a nice guy you are, that you must be pretty damn sincere and I think that always comes across. His final song was fantastic - his voice wasn't at it's best (I think he'd worn it out by this point) but he put everything he had into that and you could see it. I agree with your predictions though - Cook deserves it, Archie will win it. Which in the long probably not a bad thing. Man I hated not being able to vote in Canada last night - it's the only time I've ever wanted to!
zombielove zombielove 9 years
Awwww for the 3rd time this season [and its been my only season watching, DC made me cry. He really is very humble and grateful for everything. DA was a crafty lil fck yesterday...actually singing with emotion last night haha, but hopefully people dont go just o last night and take into cosideration the past weeks. Based on that, Cook already won. P.S- Randy was UBER annoying last night with his overly pimpage of Archie. He was good, but he wasn't as great as the judes made him out to be.
Yv Yv 9 years
ok, so i had been annoyed by all these boysband-ish performances of David Just-Having-Fun Gosh Archuleta before the finale, but i must admit last night he sang so well that even i was blown away a little bit. none the less i hated the fact that his song choices were totally calculated to please the crowds. and that's the reason why I think Cook won the night, especially considering the ensemble: performances + personality. I've loved Cook since i heard him for the first time and definitely he is the one that should win the competition, but i'm affraid all the 8-16-year-olds (and american housewives as well i suppose) take the matter in their hands and as a result Archuleta will be the next AI.
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
I really really hope Cook wins it. I like little David, but Cook has so much more going on... not to mention I love his style of music. I can imagine the type of album he will put out, and I can see it selling well. I cannot, however, imagine what kind of album little David would be able to market. He is sweet and all, and obviously has an incredible voice... but he can't pull of the teeny-bopper type songs (look at how he did Chris Brown!). He does best singing the style of music that the baby boomers most enjoy. Don't get me wrong - I love me some Elton John, but I don't see 13 years olds getting into easy listening.
em1282 em1282 9 years
I'm personally a bigger fan of Archuleta (I just think he's adorable, I can't deny that he pulled out all of the stops last night, and I've always thought the winners of this show should be more "pop", just going off of the original format of "Pop Idol" and its winner Will Young), but I wouldn't be mad if Cook won. However, I don't want Cook to win, because I think he has a better chance at maintaining creative control over his career if he loses. I mean, do y'all know how bad the winner's first CDs usually are? Ick. I'd want Cook to make an album that he will be proud of, and for some reason I don't think he'll be happy singing schlocky "Idol"-penned ballads or faux-rock songs either... ...also, completely beside the point, but is Cook really that humble? I could care less about it, but I don't really think he is. He's got a cockiness about him--nothing wrong with that--and that came through last night, IMO, and has in the past as well.
Briandiesel Briandiesel 9 years
Yah, I hope Cook wins but I am almost positive it will be Arch. They will both be successful either way, so I'm good with that.
junemon junemon 9 years
aww all the commenters seem to not like little david. i love him! his voice is so nice to listen to. i feel like david cook always tries to be a rocker but something always seems a little off to me. i don't really like his sound that much, and he doesn't seem as sincere.
t-and-co t-and-co 9 years
I loved me some David A at the beginging of the season, but I'm so tired of hearing him sing ballads every-single-time! That being said, I've been pulling for DC lately because I love his ability to make a song his own. As far as who will win, a friend of mine said the following, "David Cook will win because his fans don't have a bedtime." :)
Allyace Allyace 9 years
I really don't get the love of Archuleta. Everything he sings sounds exactly the same to me and really hookie. Blah. GO DAVID COOK!
GoneZaggyGirl GoneZaggyGirl 9 years
I don't understand! I though David Cook was way better than Archuleta with the exception of the second song (because it was so cheesy and Archuleta is a cheeseball). Phil Collins! Collective Soul! He was AMAZING and his voice is pure gold. Archuleta looked like he was trying to fake cry the entire time and David Cook is sincere 24/7. David Cook is a true artist and Archuleta is only reaching out to preteen girls. Perhaps I'm just biased.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
I think you're right, Buzz, Archuleta's got it in the bag. I love Cook, and I loved him last night, but Archuleta was great even for him (who I hate) last night and he's better fit to be a cheesy American Idol. I've been gunning for Cook to get 2nd this whole time- they always have better careers anyway. I also agree with you about Archuleta's "Imagine." I had the same problem with this song that I did with his version of "And So It Goes." These songs are supposed to be soft, intimate songs and he is so LOUD and completely throws off the sentimentality with his runs. I can't stand it. Plus I really hate repeat performances on this show. I literally squeed when David Cook said he chose "The World I Know." It's one of my all time favorite songs and I LOVED his version. I'm dashing off to iTunes right now and crossing my fingers :fingerscrossed: that they have a studio version.
ktc71 ktc71 9 years
I agree with you, bratty3000! This could really go either way. I would bet anything that DC goes on to be A LOT more successful whether he wins or not.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
I am crossing my fingers still for Cook. Love him. The way Little David sings reminds me of Clay Aiken
bratty3000 bratty3000 9 years
ugh david cook better win. i cant stand little david. he sings good but has no personality. plus he can't even speak! he needs to be in a disney channel boyband as "the shy one". he definitely can't be an american idol. he can only sing sappy and boring. david cook takes chances, is humble, and is amazing. i love what he does with songs and that he was not being safe. he is great in interviews, has personality, is a great person, and has a great voice, all of which an american idol should have and needs to suceed.
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