May 26, 2008

Why didn't David Archuleta win American Idol?

If you are a fan of David Archuleta, you would be crying your heart out that he lost the title to David Cook. The following article from MTVAsia explains what went wrong for the early front-runner:
In a shock to pretty much everyone, it was Cook who walked away with the Idol title, and his margin of victory wasn't even close. The Comb-Over King trounced Archuleta by more than 12 million votes, leaving many Arch-aholics to clutch their Precious Moments figurines tightly, gaze heavenward and wonder just what went wrong.

Well, we're glad you asked. Because we were about as shocked as you were. So we convened an emergency meeting of the MTV News American Idol brain trust, and came up with the following list. It may not lessen the pain of his defeat, but it may get you through the tough times. Or it may just make you mad. You know, whatever.

1. He Was the New England Patriots
More than 97.5 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl XLII, which featured the undefeated, incredibly hyped (and heavily favored) Patriots take on the New York Giants. And of that audience, do you think more people wanted to see the Pats win and secure their rightful place in history, or lose epically, in a big, bursting ball of flames? Basically, ever since February, when he took a seat behind the big black piano and belted out a version of John Lennon's "Imagine" Archuleta was the Idol version of the Patriots: constantly hyped, shoved down everyone's throats and crowned long before the season was over. Also like the Patriots, none of this was really Arch's fault. Still, the damage was done. America hates a front-runner, which is why there was much rejoicing when the Giants upset the Patriots, and why, in the end, 12 million more people decided to cast their vote for David Cook.

2. He Was Incongruous
David Archuleta mid-note? Graceful, skilled, soulful and powerful. David Archuleta mid-conversation? Gawking, stammering, awkward and goofy. In the history of Idol, there has perhaps been no other contestant who displayed such a disparity between the personal and the professional, and in the end, that cost him. We all loved Archuleta the performer, but after his 47th "aw, shucks" interview (highlighting his bizarre breathing pattern), we were ready to show Archuleta the person the door. This is basically the same thing that did in Melinda Doolittle last season.

3. He Was Al Gore
Or, more specifically, his supporters were Florida Democrats. During the 2000 election, all five major networks called the state of Florida for Democratic candidate Al Gore at 7 p.m. EST, despite the fact that the panhandle of the state actually falls in the Central time zone, meaning that polls there would remain open for another hour. Theoretically, the fact that Gore was the presumed winner could've discouraged Democrats in the panhandle from heading out to the polls, since their candidate had already carried the state. Gore ended up losing Florida by a total of 537 votes. Could Tuesday night's Idol telecast - in which all three judges basically crowned Archuleta as the Idol champ before polls had even opened - have had the same effect? Were Archuleta fans discouraged from voting because they assumed he already had the competition in the bag?

4. He Has a Creepy Stage Dad
There's no nice way to say this: Arch's dad gave pretty much everyone the heebie-jeebies (the goatee, the hat, the resemblance to Kevin Pollak in The Usual Suspects) and his constant presence - not to mention the rumors that his brazen careerism made Joan Crawford and Dina Lohan look like concerned, caring parents - ruined the whole "diamond in the rough" thing for his son. Instead, many came to see Archuleta as a robotic singing machine that had been trained (forced?) to perform since the age of 12 (you know, when he was on Star Search) by his taskmaster father. And when Idol producers banned his father from the backstage area, well, let's just say that didn't help matters any.

5. He Was One-Dimensional
In the end, the biggest knock against Archuleta was that he never showed he had range outside the majestic world of balladry. His choices of songs never strayed much from tried-and-true schmaltz (Robbie Williams' "Angels," the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road," Neil Diamond's "America"), and when he did try to stretch things a bit, the results were disastrous, like his take on Chris Brown's "With You." While all this may have made him a mortal lock for the cats-and-cardigans set, it didn't endear him much to anyone between the ages of 12 and 40. There's a reason the show isn't called Adult Contemporary Idol.


foongpc said...

Archuleta is good at pop ballads, but I just don't see him as a superstar. Cook, on the other hand looks like a great rock star and very talented in reinventing the songs he sings. But both are good in their own ways - just that Cook has the edge over Archuleta.

Your Voice said...

I agree with you. David Archuleta doesn't sound contemporary at all. He vocal ability is more restricted than David Cook. Archuleta has to stick with older style of pop ballad. His career would get screwed up if he attempts anything more contemporary like what is dominating the Billboard chart. I think David Cook will do better.

DAbluz said...

WRONG! His single CRUSH was officially released to I-Tunes on 8/12, and shot to number 1 in 18 hours, and has held that top slot for two days (hopefully more). He displaced Rihanna, Chris Brown, The JB's and Taylor Swift in his rise to the top. David has delivered an amazing first single to his fans, and the public. It is rhythmic, David's superior vocals soar and are identifiable throughout, has a catchy beat.. Hey-> I watched lotsa American Bandstand back in the day :)

His older fans like me find themselves humming along unconsciously, and the verses transport the listener back to those bygone days of school girl and schoolboy CRUSHES... It has an appeal across a very broad spectrum of listeners, and should effectively silence the detractors and critics who didn't believe he had mainstream appeal. CRUSH is the catapult for David to continue his growth and evolution as an artist - I ANTICIPATE MANY MANY YEARS OF OUTSTANDING MUSIC FROM HIM. TAKE A BOW DAVID... YOU'VE ARRIVED.