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American Idol: Battle of the Davids

david-boxing.jpgWell, we finally made it. After months of knowing that David Archuleta would land in the finale, the only surprise was seeing who was going to be there with him. Of course, that part hasn't been much of a surprise either, since David Cook started bringing the house down every week. So, here it is, the Battle of the Davids. It was appropriate then that the show started with both Davids decked out in boxing attire. Cook was in the red corner, while Archuleta wore blue. And in the middle was that "let's get ready to rumble" guy. What a boxing match that would be!

The boxing theme didn't end there. Tonight was all about rounds- three to be exact. During the first round, the contestants performed songs chosen by record mogul Clive Davis. Round Two was the dreaded song competition winner. And Round Three was Contestant's Choice. Most interesting were the mentors who coached each contestant this week, Clive Davis and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Oh, and that "let's get ready to rumble" guy started each round with some vague boxing philosophy. Thank goodness he was here.


David Cook: Archuleta won the coin toss, but opted to go second, leaving Cook to open the show. Clive Davis chose an awesome song for him to perform, the U2 classic "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." It looks like Mr. Davis knows his music. Not only was Cook's voice great, but he packed a lot of emotion behind the lyrics. And true to fashion, he put his own little spin on some of the notes, giving it that Cook edge. The judges loved it. Randy, in an uncharacteristically lucid comment, actually gave a specific example of what he liked about the performance. He said he loved the scoop note at the end, praising it as "hot." Paula said Cook had come into his own, and Simon declared it "phenomenal."

David Archuleta: For Archuleta's first song, Clive chose the Elton John standard "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me." Another great song choice. This poppy-ballad totally suited Little David's voice, and he nailed every note. In fact, this performance featured some of the best singing he's done all season. The judges all agreed, with Randy saying it was one of the best of any performance this season, and Simon saying it was David's personal best.

WINNER OF ROUND 1: I'd say this was too close to call, but Simon said Archuleta won the round.


David Cook: I worried that once Cook got to this stage of the competition, the usually syrupy ballads chosen for the contestants would be his demise. But the producers added a twist this year. Instead of choosing one song that both would have to perform, this year they let the contestants choose from the top ten winning entries. Cook chose a song called "Dream Big" and infused it with his usual rocking style. Unfortunately, the first part was a little out of tune, and the majority of it was just a little awkward. Randy said he was "singing his face off," but Simon only gave it 6 and ½ out of 10.

David Archuleta: We all knew David A. had this part of the finale locked up. And since he had his pick of 10 mushy ballads, he was guaranteed to best Cook in Round 2. He chose a song called "In This Moment," a title eerily similar to Kelly Clarkson's winning song "A Moment Like This." And while I wasn't a fan of the song, he sang it very well. The actual song didn't wow the judges either, but they all thought he did a good job.

WINNER OF ROUND 2: Simon gave this round to Archuleta and I have to agree. This round was way out of Cook's element.


David Cook: This is usually the part of the finale when the contestants re-perform their best performance of the season. For Cook, I was expecting him to sing his version of Lionel Richie's "Hello." Instead, he decided to perform a new song, "The World I Know" by Collective Soul. Personally, I thought it was amazing. It featured his best singing and the most emotion I've ever seen out of him. Listening to him sing, I wished I could go out and buy his album right now. But then I realized he didn't have an album yet and I'd have to settle for whatever I could get off iTunes. At the end, all the emotions of the night must have gotten to him, because he started crying. Paula gave him a standing ovation and Randy liked seeing his sensitive side, but Simon said it was the wrong song to end on. He would've preferred "Billie Jean" or "Hello." Although, he did add that Cook is "one of the nicest, most sincere contestants we've ever had."

David Archuleta: In my mind, David A.'s performance of "Imagine" was fitting. In a way, he's come full circle. It was just after he sang this song for the first time that people really started to take notice of David Archuleta. Once again, he filled the song with emotion and gave another great performance. It was so good it left Paula "speechless" (yay!) and caused Simon to call it a "knockout."

WINNER OF ROUND 3: Simon once again gave this to Archuleta, but I'm calling it a draw. They were both good.

So, who's the WINNER OF THE NIGHT? This is a hard one, but I'm guessing that since the judges raved about Archuleta, he'll be claiming the crown tomorrow night. Although, I won't put it past the voters to start speed-dialing for Cook in response. Who do you think won the night? Who should win? And which David do you see becoming more successful after "Idol" is over? Post below and be back for tomorrow night's two-hour season finale!! --Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on May 21, 2008 1:30 AM
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