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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 7

'American Idol' judges predict David Archuleta vs. David Cook finale


By Christopher Rocchio, 04/08/2008 

Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson agree American Idol's seventh-season finale will be a showdown between David Archuleta and David Cook.

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"It will be David versus David. That's what I predict," said Cowell during an appearance on Monday's Larry King Live broadcast.  "That will be a good final."

"It's about a boy. It's a boy that's going to win this year," added Jackson.

While she wouldn't be as bold to outright predict the final two, fellow judge Paula Abdul did agree it could be a match-up of two distinct, talented singers.

"You take David Archuleta and you take Dave Cook -- two different singers," she said.  "Both great and both different and unique."

Cowell had previously described Archuleta as the "one to beat," and reiterated those comments about the 17-year-old during the Larry King Live appearance.

"He's the one to beat," said Cowell before providing his reasoning.  "This guy is going to have the teen vote. He's going to have what I call the granny votes. The kids love him."

Jackson agreed Archuleta is "one of the ones to beat" and called him "really, really talented" before offering warning that he may have peaked too early.

"I think his big thing though is he started out with a big splash," said Jackson.  "It's about picking the right song.  And it's hard to know who you are at 17. But I think he's got an idea. He just has to stick to his heart."

Idol host Ryan Seacrest said Archuleta is "right up here at the top of the crop" but also agreed with Jackson that "it's hard to maintain that each and every week."

"That's his challenge I think," said Seacrest about Archuleta.

However Abdul pointed out Archuleta has been performing "for a long time," so the Idol spotlight isn't entirely new.

"When we were on the road I kept referring to him as the 16-year-old savant," said Abdul.  "He really has that presence. He knows who he is."

Cook is another finalist whom the judges all feel have a good sense of who he is as an artist.

"Definitely a favorite. He is definitely one of my favorites," said Jackson.  "I think he's got a shot at winning the whole thing, this kid."

Abdul agreed and called Cook "amazing" and "fantastic."

"This is the guy I would actually choose to listen to on a personal level," added Cowell.  "Forget what I think about the business. I like this guy. I think he's very good."

Seacrest pointed out that Cook has "sort of broken down the walls of this competition" and is "not just a traditional pop artist," which is where some of his appeal comes from.

"I think this is one of our most original casts.  These couple kids that I see this time have more originality," commented Jackson.  "They're taking a little more chances, I think."

While fellow finalist Carly Smithson may have the potential to be an original, the judges all agreed that she's having a hard time finding herself as a singer.

"I tell you the problem I have with Carly is I don't think she knows who she is," said Cowell.  "I don't think you can listen to a Carly song and go, 'That's who she is. Does this, does that.' She's a good singer but I think every artist has to know who she is."

Jackson called Cowell "100% right."

"She's got an amazing voice but... She has no idea," said Jackson.  "Who is she? We just don't know."

"That's her Achilles," added Abdul.  "She has an amazing voice... You can't deny it. I think she picks songs that she thinks we're going to, you know, approve [of]."

Another finalist the judges think is suffering from poor song selection is Michael Johns.

"He's a really talented guy. My problem with him is up until recently he's been picking the wrong songs," said Jackson.  "He's kind of like this bluesy, soulful -- blue-eyed soul kind of singer but he always picks stuff that doesn't allow him to do his thing."

Jackson added he doesn't like Johns "being the rock guy."

"I like this guy," commented Cowell on Johns before agreeing with Jackson.  "Sometimes he's a little like he's auditioning for a spot as a lead singer in a rock band.  And then he gets it right when he does the whole kind of blues soul thing."

"He's got the heart throb factor," added Seacrest.  "He's got the skill set when he uses it right."

Brooke White could also eventually be a casualty of poor song selection, according to Jackson.

"I just think that with her it's about really picking the right songs," he said.  "I mean, people have been comparing her to like the new Carly Simon folk movement. She's just staying in that area to me. Anything outside of there is weird."

Jackson added White is "a pretty transparent as a performer," which his fellow judges agreed with.

"She puts her heart and soul into every song," said Abdul.  "America really connects with her. She's got a very unique thing."

"I like her," added Cowell.  "She doesn't have a governor. In other words she gets on stage and she says what's on her mind without thinking about it, without being too much of a politician."

Syesha Mercado has had an up and down run as an Idol finalist, from wowing the judges one week to falling flat with song selection the next.  Abdul described last Tuesday night's performance episode as a "big night" for Mercado, but added it could have even been better if she sang Dolly Parton's version of "I Will Always Love You" instead of doing a hybrid with the Whitney Houston rendition.

"I think we are all on the same page that I wish she would have sang the song vulnerable like Dolly Parton," said Abdul.  "And never went into the power side."

Jackson and Abdul agreed Mercado has a "beautiful voice," however Jackson added that she may be better suited for the stage or screen.

"With her I feel more like I'm looking at an actress singer as opposed to just a singer," he said.  "I feel that's probably going to be her thing."

Jason Castro and Kristy Lee Cook were the two finalists whom both Cowell and Jackson agreed are beyond long shots to claim Idol's seventh-season crown.

"The odds of her winning are one million to one," said Cowell about Cook.  "She has no chance of winning."

"Yes, I don't think she'll win but I think she definitely could have a recording contract somewhere down the road," added Jackson.  "She'd definitely make a good country girl."

Cowell didn't entirely agree.

"The trouble is, I mean, she does sound okay doing country music," he said.  "She's just not a great country singer, that's the problem. It's all about being invisible and forgettable."

Jackson added while he'd sign Cook to a recording contract, he couldn't say the same for Castro.

"Jason's cool. I don't think he'll win either. I don't think he's got a shot at winning," said Jackson.  "I think he's okay as a singer... He's one of those guys that's a singer/songwriter in the bar and you hear him and go, 'Oh, it's a nice song. I like it.'"

Abdul said Castro has a "definitive style vocally" and Cowell agreed -- if Castro selects the right song.

"I think this guy is all about song choice," said Cowell.  "When he sang the Jeff Buckley's 'Hallelujah' he was really good. The trouble is he turns up every week and he looks like he doesn't care."

While Seacrest wouldn't predict who he thought will walk away with the title, he did make one guarantee as Idol's seventh season continues to wind down.

"I think it's going to be the greatest race to the finish that we've ever had," he said.


(Photo credit Fox)


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