Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Don't let the sun go down on me" while David Archuleta is singing

This it everybody!!! The final week. I can't believe it's almost over - one last night of performances and then tomorrow night's hour and 58 minutes of filler and two minutes of results. I hope tonight is a respectable final performance night - last week left something to be desired, in my opinion.

Oh how cheesy... they actually turned this whole "Battle of the Davids" into a boxing match - they even got that boxing announcer guy to do his thing. I suppose it's kind of cute, but a bit unnecessary.

So as expected, the Davids will each sing three songs, with Clive Davis and Andrew Lloyd Weber offering up their opinions, I suppose.

So David Archuleta won the coin toss last week and has decided to go second - no big surprise there - going second is always best - it ensures that your voice is the last one heard. But maybe not when you're up against David Cook. If he's on tonight, we're in for some real memorable performances, the type even David Archuleta can't beat.

Ryan talks to the guys for a bit about how they prepared for the finale and how it feels to be on that big stage at the Nokia Theater. Ryan then asks Randy what it will take to win this season. Randy says that they have to leave everything on the floor, that they have to bring everything they've got, that this is a duel for the king of Nokia. Paula says to enjoy it and soak it all up and may the best man win. Simon says you have to have a desire to win and you've got to hate your opponent.

Ryan then asks the guys if they have anything to say to each other before they start. David Archuleta says that David Cook is awesome and he just wishes him the best and then people started cheering, so the rest of what he said was completely garbled. David Cook says that now whatever he says will just be trite, but he says that the whole season has been amazing from 24 to 2 and that David Archuleta has been one of those consistently nice people, so as far as he's concerned, the competition is over and they're just having fun.

OK... so let's get to it... First round is Clive Davis' choice. He chooses for David Cook "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," by U2, and he chooses for David Archuleta "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," by Elton John.

David Cook is up first and he starts out perfectly - with this smooth sound, it almost seems like he's singing one continuous sentence - it works great with the song, makes it softer, somehow. Then in the second verse, he takes the microphone off the stand and starts working the stage - he walks into the crowd and up on to that walkway behind the judges - he gets the audience behind him, clapping, some people standing up and dancing. It's actually a terrific performance, but I'm a little surprised that on a night like tonight, he didn't choose to be daring - he didn't alter the song, really, and while the performance was great, this is the finale and the thing people love about him is how he makes these songs his own and I think the expectation was pretty high. So, again, while he was fantastic, it was still disappointing, somehow. He's capable of so much more.

Randy says he thinks it was a great way to start off this duel of 2007 (huh? we're halfway through this year - how can he forget it's 2008??) He says it's a very nice song choice, that he doesn't know if he did everything he could with it, but he loved the scoop of the note at the end, that it was hot. Paula says he may not have found what he's looking for, but they have found it - David Cook. Simon says that at the start of the show, he looked very tense, very emotional, and he could understand why, and taking all of that together, he thought it was phenomenal.

David Archuleta is next, and he starts off sitting on the steps, with just a spotlight on him and as he hits the chorus, he gets up and walks to the front of the stage. He does his signature move, the outstretch of his arm, palm up, and some of the "dancing" he did last week, but that's about all he does. His voice, however, is flawless. I'm reminded of the first time he really caught my attention. I think it was his final audition during Hollywood week and I think he was singing Bryan Adams' "Heaven," but I'm not sure. I am sure, though, that he blew me away. After that audition, I was sure he would win this competition - his voice was so clear, so pure, so amazing. But, as we've all seen, not much has changed since then - he's still consistently good, but up until tonight, he's only had one real shining moment - when he sang "Imagine." That's why this performance is so great - it took me back to that first moment when he knocked my socks off - it's just such a shame that it's taken so many weeks for that extra something in him to return.

Anyway, Randy says it doesn't matter what happens, he has to know one thing - this was one of the best performances this whole season and he picked the right time to peak. He says it was flawless and unbelievably molten hot. Paula says she's got chills up and down her arms and she says the sun is never going to go down on him because he bring so much sunshine to the whole world with his singing. Simon tells him that he thought he was OK last week, but tonight's performance was arguably the best he's done so far.

He then adds that taking everything into account, Round 1 goes to Archuleta.