Look, I’m not a huge American Idol enthusiast or am I an avid watcher of the show. If my top profession wasn’t to be a sportswriter/sports journalist, then it’d be a music journalist (I know I’m sounding pompous, but I happen to know talent when I see it). In 2006, during American Idol’s 5th season, I stated, during the top 11, that Taylor Hicks was my pick to win it all. He did.
I gave the 2007 A.I. a pass, failing to watch a single episode during season 6 (and from the sounds of things, I’m glad I did).
In comes 2008, season 7, and I’m checking out the auditions that were showing in February and catching a good gist of who the 100 or so people that were admitted to the opening rounds of the nascent season. Upon hearing David Cook’s couple of performances, I said aloud (yes, I say things aloud sometimes because it’s easier to remember things that way), “This guy could be good, maybe great.” And from then on I established him as my pick to win season 7 of American Idol. And I even have several witnesses to have heard me say that.
In comes the top 24, and Cook starts off — during 1960s week — by singing the classic Happy Together and sharpening a spin on the hit that it made me an instantaneous believer that THIS was the guy who would catch America by storm this year. One of the cool things about D-Cook is that he’s an intelligent dude — a self admitted word nerd and voracious writer (anybody who can write — and write well — gets a thumbs up from me).
The next week — 1970s week — he had another excellent performance, whereas he chose to sing Free’s All Right Now. And while the song was already considered rock, Cook turned it up a notch and into another gear by adding a quick and concise guitar solo in the middle of the ‘cover’. He made a few lyrical mistakes, but he quickly compensated — not overcompensate, like many do — making up for the error(s).
If I’ve learned a lesson from this year’s A.I., it’s that the top 24 weeds out the best from the rest. No-talents like Danny Noriega (reminded me of one the punks that would rather bode well on an inane MTV show), Jason Yeager (his high pitch was the most annoying thing I’ve heard in years) and Kady Malloy (albeit hot, was boring and sang boring songs. Not to mention she had the “dumb ass look” on her face every week, which usually meant ‘You’re sent to hell’ in A.I. But since it worked with Kellie Pickler in season 5, I’ll give Kady a pass on the dumb look, but still a blast at her poor song selection) were ousted by votes casted.
However, every year there’s always a loop hole that allows one or two near-no-talents into the top 12. This year that was Kristy Lee Cook (no relation to the best finalist on season 7 of A.I.). I understand that country music is more popular than what most people seem to believe, but jeez, she was in the bottom 3 how many times this past year? Five or six? I can’t believe Michael Johns, a much more talented singer, was jettisoned from the show a week before her. This is the vibe that exudes the glimpse that American Idol can be a popularity contest and that the voting is rogue. But I digress. Though, that leads to me to this:
I haven’t watched American Idol for almost two months now. Not even the elimination shows (it’s obvious that D-Cook was going to get this far, anyhow). Albeit I’m going to watch it not next week (going to be on the road next Wednesday), but the week after for the finals show. I have a feeling it’s going to be David Archuleta and David Cook, with A.I. Finals commercials going nuts with “David vs. David” premises, drawing in silly casual watchers due to their weirdo ads. Yet, I have a bad feeling that D-Cook, a performer that — in my opinion — is five times better than what Chris Daughtry was during his season 5 year, could lose out to Archuleta for the single fact that Archie is more popular to the crowd, and people love heartwarming stories of seeing a young kid win over somebody that’s more talented in every facet possible. Archuleta doesn’t have a variety of voice change-ups when he’s singing, and that should hurt him, but because this show is based more on popularity than singing (even though Cook’s singing has gotten himself this far alone), it’s Archuleta’s to win, and it’s a shame.