David Cook First, David Archuleta Second: American Idol Top Five

In a season of American Idol known for pulling out all the punches, the contestants have now been whittled down to five. While it might not be the five that the American Idol viewing audience expected, it is a diverse group that will be vying for the top spot. Still, even with strong competitors, it is obvious that some contestants are more deserving of the title of “American Idol” than others.

It is going to be a tight race for the top five on American Idol. There will be a lot of clawing for the top spot, but in the end, it will be David Cook that is victorious. He has star quality and is actually a real musician instead of merely a singer. Out of all of the American Idols, David Cook is the one to look forward to week after week. With each performance, David Cook infuses his own personality and gives the audience something that hasn’t been played time and time again on the radio. It is that uniqueness that will bring David Cook to the front of the top five on American Idol. Last week, David Cook managed to cement his position even further by giving American Idol viewers the biggest surprise of the season. His performance of Music of the Night was straightforward, sang as written, and showcased his voice. That was a smart move for David Cook. It allowed the American Idol audience to see that not only can he mix things up, but he has a wonderful vocal range.

David Cook has taken a lot of heat throughout the season. It has come out that his musical arrangements have not always been his. They have been lesser known arrangements that can be found online. Still, one must give the guy credit. By not singing popular radio songs, a risk is being taken. The key to American Idol is to not allow the songs to come across as singing karaoke. Whether you love or hate David Cook, you have to admit that his music is not the type that would be heard in a karaoke bar. It is not all that relevant who came up with the arrangements. Many musicians do not write their own music, and it is certainly not a prerequisite for being a star on American Idol. What is important is that David Cook has managed to step outside of the American Idol box. He truly is different, even if the arrangements are not his. He is contemporary. David Cook is not lost in 1988 like many American Idol contestants are.

Many will not agree with this, but David Archuleta is going to finish in second place on American Idol. Honestly, his gimmick is wearing thin. The doe eyed seventeen year old has secured a huge fan base, but in a head to head competition with David Cook, Archuleta will lose. While he put originality in Andrew Lloyd Webber night last week, it will probably be one of the few times when David Archuleta crosses the boundary between “singer” and “musician.” He is definitely talented enough of a singer to make it to the top two on American Idol, but his lack of originally will keep him from getting the coveted number one spot. David Archuleta has a lot of growing up and maturing as an artist to do before he can be considered the best. He is incredibly good, but he is not the best. He is not contemporary. David Archuleta is more of an easy listening, song playing in the elevator, type of performer.

The American Idol audience is buying into what the judges say about him. Week after week, David Archuleta can do almost no wrong when it comes to Randy, Paula and Simon. He is incredibly over praised by the judges and fans alike. It is as if people are afraid to give David Archuleta a real critique. He seems to be a sweet, passionate guy, and his personality is derailing his critics. People need to look past his sweet nature and truly critique his performances. When David Archuleta forgets the words to a song, it needs to be mentioned. Forgetting the words to songs does not equal a great performance. Also, the lack of relevancy with today’s music needs to be noted. Would his music really have a place on the radio today? No, it would not. It has an easy listening, background music feel. David Archuleta is out of touch with today’s music. He is stuck with a 1980s vibe.

After last week’s performance on Andrew Lloyd Webber night, many were surprised that Jason Castro did not find himself in the bottom two. However, his fan base came through for him, and it is that same fan base that is going to take him to third place on American Idol. Jason Castro has proven that consistency is not necessary to make an impact on the American Idol voters. A cute smile, the appearance of drug induced delirium, and dread locks are all that are needed to win over the fans and get the votes. Of course, Jason Castro does occasionally have a performance that reminds people why he made it on American Idol in the first place. He has a lot of talent, but any time he chooses what would be considered a “big” song, his limitations are shown. Still, on this season of American Idol, it is all about the men, and Jason Castro will end up in third place.

Brooke White, once someone who was considered a front-runner, will end her American Idol career as number four. Her inconsistency and nerves are getting the better for her, and have ruined her chances of doing any better than the fourth spot. Still, considering that she has forgotten the words, stopped and restarted, and appeared to be a deer in headlights during some of her performances, number four is pretty good. The season of American Idol has been filled with ups and downs for Brooke White, and she should be pleased with fourth place. Actually, it almost seems as if she would welcome an exit from the show. She is not holding up well under the pressure and scrutiny. It seems as though she’s ready to leave and begin a career on her own.

Syesha Mercado’s inability to connect to the American Idol audience will doom her to fifth place in the competition. While she has a beautiful voice, she seems somewhat robotic when singing. Also, Syesha Mercado gives the appearance of someone who is inaccessible. That does not bode well for contestants on American Idol. American Idol fans want to propel someone into stardom. They want ordinary people who can do great things. They want to see a rise to fame. What they don’t want is someone who has the history of modeling and acting. Well, of course, Jordin Sparks was able to get away with it, but she had the required “awe shucks” attitude, so she was able to slip through even though she had modeled in the past. Syesha Mercado shows a bit of a sense of entitlement that does not sit well with the American Idol audience. That entitlement, mixed along with some attitude, is going to be her ticket home.

With the departure of Carly Smithson last week on American Idol, viewers know that anything can happen. Sometimes things do not go as they should. Carly Smithson gave one of the best performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber night, but still got the boot ahead of some less talented competitors. However, now that it is getting down to the wire, the competition will become more of a talent competition and less of a popularity contest.