Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Idol Finale, Part 1: Cook vs Archie

Tonight, its the final American Idol performance show of the season... its on DVR right now. And in a few minutes, I'm going to watch it... and you can read it as it goes along.


Will be American Idol.

Okie Dokie, its 10pm. The Lovely Steph Leann and KT just came back in from Tuesday Chick Night (a weekly estrogenically fused get together). So, three hours after the show was on, I'll get to watch it...

Opening up the show is Michael Buffer, the guy who came up with the phrase "Let's get ready to ruuuummmmm-buuuulllll". Did you know he actually tried to copyright that phrase? He's introducing Young David and David Rob Thomas Cook like its a boxing match, to which KT asks, "Are you serious? No, really, are you serious?"

We have a Luke Perry sighting. And a KLC fan. Its magic in the Nokia Theater, as the judges--Randy Dawg, Blithering Paula and Simon Cowell--make their appearances. Both Young David and...

...you know what, for the whole season, its been "Young David" and "David Rob Thomas Cook", the former for the fact he's something like 7 years old, the latter because he reminds me of Rob Thomas. Perhaps he has morphed into something beyond Rob Thomas, but thats been his nickname... but tonight, I'm giving them new names. Archie and Cook. Much easier.

Both Archie and Cook are being introduced by Ryan Seacrest, in a piece that sets them up, again, like a boxing match. Mega Producer Clive Davis is talking to them, wondering who's Now this will be.

Archie wins the coin-toss and picks to go 2nd in the rotation. I'll be honest with me. My friend Melanie Z texted me earlier and said, "Cook didn't do so well". Now I'm wondering how this will be set up... seriously, though, does Cook want to sing "A Moment Like Flying Without Your Heaven While Making You Proud.... NOW!" at the end of it all?

The first round are songs chosen by Clive Davis. They've got HBO Sports' Jim Lampley doing snippets talking about how they have to come out swinging. More boxing references. They cut to Andrew Lloyd Webber, giving tips.

Round I
Cook has been assigned "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", the U2 hit from "The Joshua Tree". This seems like this might be easy for Cookie here, but he's not starting out great.

KT pipes up, and noticably sincere, "I love him. I do."

Its not his best song ever, it kind of sounds like your typical U2 cover, either in concert or, not to be all Simon on you, in a bar.

Randy says it was a great way to start out, saying it was hot, baby, hot. Paula blows sunshine. Simon says he looks tense and emotional, calling it phenomenal. I thought it was just... okay.

Archie has been given Elton John's 70s song "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me", also made famous when Elton and his Partner in Brokeback George Michael did an early 90s remake.

I'm wondering how fair this is... you got Cook singing U2, a band everyone has heard of. Heck, my mother knows who U2 is, and she's never driven a car and hasn't touched a computer in her life. Then you got Archie, singing Elton John, an older artist that most of the Idol audience under 20 may or may not be familiar with.

Randy says it was flawless, molten hot, and the right time to pique. Paula has sunshine in full effect. Simon breaks up the Archie lovefest... he thought last week Archie was okay... but tonight? The best so far.

KT responds in three sentences. (1) "I'm so sick of Archuleta." (2) "What??" (3) "Did they hear the same song as me??"

Round II
Train wreck! Train wreck!!

The songwriting competition gave us "This is My Now" last year. And I can't let the joke go about how bad this song is. So Archie and Cook get to pick one of the ten finalists in this years contest.

I've advised The Lovely Steph Leann to have the blanket handy to hide her eyes, and KT doesn't know what is about to happen.

Singing "Dream Big", Cook kicks it off. Its a fast paced little ditty full of "you can do it as long as you believe in yourself" and stuff like that.

I wrote a song once about Amy Wible and how she shattered my heart and soul, so I wonder if I should submit that? Okay, I didn't really write a song, but if I did, I would call its "How She Shattered My Heart and Soul". As long as I put the line, "But I believe in myself, I can fly without wings and my heart will rise like a phoenix", it might be considered.

Randy says the song was just okay, but that Cook nailed it. Paula blows sunshine. Simon thought the song was just okay, and though it was supposed to be a winning song, it didn't feel like a winning moment.

Some chick in a commercial just spelled V-E-A-G-S. The words on the screen spelled "VEGAS". Just saying.

"In This Moment" is Archie's song. Wow, its ten seconds old, and it sucks. The Lovely Steph Leann just got glassy eyed, KT is slamming the front door on her head over and over and I just threw up in my mouth. French fries.

Once again, he's got a great voice, but the song... wow. Its like Michael Bolton or Josh Grobin would look at this song and say, "uh, no, we have to have something that rocks a little more than this..."

Randy didn't like the song, but calls Archie in the zone, and makes a "you can sing the phone book" remark. Paula blows sunshine. Simon says that Archie chose the better song. Having already declared Round I for Archie, Simon then declares Round II for Archie.

Round III
Its the contestant song choice... whatever they want. Cook is taking Collective Soul's "The World I Know"... and, well, thats a good choice. Archie is pulling back Lennon's "Imagine" from earlier in the season.

I think that contestants should NOT be able to sing a song they've already done.

Armed with just a guitar, Cook strums out the Collective Soul hit from... 1995? 1997? I was in college. I just remember the video where the guy is walking down the street, in a jacket. Thats all I got.

Personally, I really like this song. I actually like "Heavy" best, because its a great driving song, and I do like "Shine", their breakout hit. "Gel" is fun, as is "December". This one is good too. Oh, yeah, Cook is singing, and not doing too bad with it.

The Lovely Steph Leann, KT and I all agree, we liked it. Cook takes a subtle swipe at his eyes, to wipe the misty tears away.

Randy loved the song, and loved the performance. Paula blows sunshine, and hands him her room key. Simon says, "You are one of the nicest, most sincere contestants we've ever had... but the song was the wrong choice. You should have sung 'Billie Jean' or 'Hello'". I disagree... I like the fact that he sang something different--and Cook agrees.

And now Archie takes the stage, for the final time as a judged Idol. He scored huge with Idol earlier this season, and he's trying it again. And the girls and Swaybots (tm) (the hand waving annoyances in the front) love it.

So, the first time it was great. But this was back when we were just getting to know Young David Archuleta. Now that practically everything he has sung has sounded like this, its not as good, really. Its kind of predictable.

By the way, here's what I said about it the first time, from the February 27th blog...

He’s singing “Imagine”, always a risk on this show. There are certain songs that you just better shy away from, unless you are going to bring da noise and da funk—or in this case, knock it out of the park. Several Celine songs, a few Whitney songs, some Mariah songs and John Lennon’s “Imagine” are on that shortlist.
Granted, Young David is doing the song justice. I’m a little bored, really, but he sounds great singing it. What will the judges say? Randy says, “Dawg, that was one of the best vocals I’ve ever heard on this show!” Young David says he sang the third verse only, because it was his favorite and has a great message. Paula is filling out adoption papers. Simon says what I said earlier… very, very risky. He says that Young David pulled it off, and has now become the one to beat. If Young David wins this thing (and make no mistake, he will end up in the Final 12), he’ll definitely have a Buble/Groban type career, which is not a bad thing.

Randy says Archie was just so good tonight, declaring him the best singer of Season 7. Paula blows sunshine. Simon says that Archie came to win, and that it was a knockout.

Archie is fighting back tears. The Lovely Steph Leann laughs as KT looks at both of us, and whispers, "I hate this show."

I'll admit it, though... I'm rooting for Cook over Archie, but this is the most enjoyable Idol Finale since Carrie and Bo, and The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Or even as far back as Ruben and Clay."

Someone asked me a few days ago who I thought should win. I said, "My Next American Idol Brooke White."

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