Why David Archuleta lost ...
Why did David Archuleta, the vacant-eyed Muppet and presumed Idol champ, lose Wednesday? That's easy: 'Cause America rocks, baby! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Just when I thought you were all a bunch of pod people, you opted for an underdog with a big heart and bad hair.
Of course, there were a few other reasons Archie lost to David Cook:
• For many people, a vote for Cook was in fact a vote against the Great Santini, a.k.a. Archuleta's omnipresent pop, a buttinski stage dad who was banned from backstage.
• Archuleta can sing like Rain Man can count. He's a 17-year-old phenom who gives mature recitations of complex songs. But it plays like a synaptic misfiring, a supernatural gift. I'd be less creeped if he had the ability to fly or start fires with his mind.
• I wasn't the most well-spoken 17-year-old. In fact, unless I was gabbing about where my father hid his Playboy, I was basically inarticulate. But not once this season was Archuleta able to string together a simple sentence. Being nervous is one thing. Being a blinky dust bunny is another.
Times Pop Music Critic
Why David Cook won ...
David Cook is the rocker Idol always wanted: It was obvious Wednesday when Simon Cowell backtracked from predicting an Archuleta victory; the bratty Brit never apologizes unless he has to. And his early support for rockers, first bestowed on Aussie Michael Johns and then Cook, showed the Idol machine wanted a Daughtry-style winner — who might sell millions for them, this time.
The "Himbo" vote: Archuleta was just too doe-eyed and vacuous for the legions of tweenyboppers dominating the voting. Cook's offhand cool and Hoobastank-style rock flavor won over the little girls who will tattoo his first post-Idol album cover on their backsides soon enough.
Even fans knew Idol needs credibility: Archuleta may have been the teen popster Idol was built to exploit, um, discover, but Cook was the creative guy who twisted tunes such as Billie Jean into his own rockified jams. With Cook's win, the odds this year's Idol might have a career next year just rose 1,000 percent. Thanks, America.
Times TV/Media Critic