I just want to get down a couple of quick thoughts regarding the American Idol finale last night.
First of all, I think the judging panel has run its course. It’s clear to me that they know what they are going to say before the performances, that they tailor their comments based on trying to influence voting instead of being honest, and that they aren’t really listening to the performances.
Second, blasting the contestants for song choice on songs they don’t choose is infuriating to me. The producers stick them with these sappy ballads that are part of a songwriter competition, and then the judges have to sit there and say “I didn’t like the song.” What the hell. Critique the singing, that’s the relevant part.
Finally, with regard to the only contestant’s choice song of the night, I think David Cook did better and here’s why:
Archuleta made his star with that performance of Imagine like 12 or 13 weeks ago, in the semifinals. What he did last night was exactly the same. What he showed by doing that is that he has no originality, that he has a good voice and can sing what he’s been programmed and singing for years (no question, he whips that bad boy out at every talent show/concert he’s been in, oh…ever!). The problem is, nothing can compare to the emotional and feeling that song packed the first time. The second time around, especially ignoring the judges advice to sing the first verse or otherwise do anything different, it just felt like playing back a record. Sure, I like to listen to songs that I like repeatedly. But that’s not what Finale night should be about. Either make “do an encore” a rule, or don’t.
David Cook on the other hand, took a risk. He knew that people would react the same as the judges did for Archie if he did Billie Jean or Hello again. But he also knew that people wouldn’t be as blown away, because it couldn’t possibly come off as shockingly original or well-done the second time around. So he took a chance on singing a great song that he’d wanted to sing all season, and knocked it out of the park. Cook proved he’s the more talented musician last night, imho. And no question, if they both came out with an album, I might think about listening to Cook’s and would fully ignore Archuleta’s.