American Idol has boiled down to leave two men standing, and one stretches the masculinity point, as he has not yet started to shave. It will be pop versus rock, “The Voice” versus “The Edge,” David Archuleta versus David Cook. Chief Justice Simon Cowell predicts that the final competition this week will be “a humdinger.”
The majority voting demographic, aged 9-13, upon hearing the word “humdinger,” told their parents and teachers that Simon said a bad word. But I digress.
Last week, the expected finally happened. Syesha Mercado could have sung perfectly and passionately but she still would have been out. As it were, she screwed up in song choice and faltered in her performance, all duly noted by the vapid judges who seemed to want to push her out in favor of a David vs. David finish. The voters complied with the judges’ wishes.
This will be the first all-male final since Season Two’s Ruben Studdard vs. Clay Aiken showdown, if you consider Clay Aiken male. Studdard won that one, but Aiken wound up with arguably the better career to date.
Mark Perigard of The Boston Herald thinks that being runner-up would suit the little shaver Archuleta better, in that the little pipsqueak isn’t yet ready for the grueling demands of Idoldom, especially if his meddling stage father keeps his finger in the pie. Perigard astutely posits that the more mature Cook, a 25 year-old former bartender, is fully cognizant of the onerous path ahead and has already resigned himself to the Faustian bargain he will have to make as an American Idol.
Cook’s performing style better suits this Turkey’s preferences—much better. That in itself might doom him to runnerupitude. Chris Daughtry (now calling himself just Daughtry), with a similar, albeit more expansive and harder-edged rock style, was the Turkey’s favorite a few years ago for the same reason, which undoubtedly gave him the Turkey Kiss of Death, at least with respect to the Idol competition. I hope I don’t doom Cook similarly.
Archuleta, with the smarmy voice, the closed eyes, the look of a small town, junior high talent night performer trying to please his dad. That characterization is more fact than folly. Although he has been the judges’ favorite from the start, his potential is limited to being the next Perry Como.
“Whodat?” saith the teeny weenies.
Well, maybe every generation needs a Perry Como. Or a Josh Groban, maybe.
Cook and Archuleta will each sing three songs during the show: one to be selected by industry legend Clive Davis, one by viewers of the show via an online poll, and, finally, one will be chosen by the contestants, either a new song or one previously sung in the competition.
The voters, of course, get to decide who wins this thing, but Idol’s producers seem to be subtly steering things Archuleta’s way. It has been leaked out in a veiled manner by Nigel Lythgoe to Ryan Seacrest, on the latter’s morning radio show, that the guest stars on Tuesday night will be “some young brothers” and “the biggest star in the world.” On-line pundits seem to be speculating that these references are to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus, respectively. If this is to be the case, it will satisfy a younger, more Archuleta sympathetic crowd.
Will this year’s idol be a true star, as former Idols Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood turned out to be? Or will he be a dud, like Taylor Hicks or last year’s winner, Jordin Sparks? No one can say. The only thing predictable is the music industry’s unpredictability.
And with that, let the overhyped battle begin.