Thursday, May 22, 2008

"American Idol" Picks The Commercially Viable David

By Evan Rytlewski
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In the end, "American Idol" voters went with the guy who can actually sell records. Although teenage crooner David Archuleta was favored to win, thanks to his appeal to young girls and old women—two demographics, by the way, not particularly inclined to buy albums—David Cook took home the (increasingly irrelevant) honor.

To be sure, Cook isn't a tremendous talent. He vocals are blandly breathy where they need to be personable, and although he hits the few power notes he aims for, he never bats them out of the park like the pompous rocks stars he tries to emulate. But the guy has a sense of showmanship that suggests with the right producers behind him, he could make the type of big-budget, Spiderman-soundtracking Top 40 Clive Davis is looking for.

Archuleta, on the other hand, was a younger Taylor Hicks without the benefit of Hicks' likable personality and in-on-the-joke lameness. The schmaltz-loving kid was barely able to complete a sentence, so underdeveloped were his social skills—media reports suggest we should blame his domineering father for this—but nonetheless clocked major votes for his boyish smile looks and his incongruously mature voice.

Archuleta's stardom starts and ends with televised competitions like "Idol." His adult-contemporary leanings make him a poor fit for pop radio, and within just a year or two, he'll be a smaller blip on the pop culture radar than Clay Aiken. There's a reason Votefortheworst.com rallied behind him.

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