Well, here we go, right? Let’s just thank the world that the spoiler I saw over at MJ’s place about David Cook being given “Perfect Day” by Clive was from a parody site. (At least, I think it was.) My minute-by-minute breakdown of tonight’s festivities–in which each singer does three songs–after the jump!
8:00 p.m. We’re starting with… the Rocky theme? And Michael Buffer? Honestly, do they have to butch up David Archuleta that badly?
8:01 p.m. “Weighing in at 180 lbs…” well, that’s definitely Cook. Oh my god, they’re both in boxing robes! Where is Ryan in a Foot Locker uniform!
8:01 p.m. This did not really work as far as “instilling tension” goes. I’m just waiting for the New York Lotto Mega Millions announcer to come out and say just how much the prize recording contract is worth.
8:02 p.m. Luke Perry is in the audience! Guess he’s in Danny Noriega’s seat.
8:02 p.m. Ryan: “Once again, the eyes of America are trained on a single stage…” Bryan: “Isn’t there a primary tonight?”
8:03 p.m. Oh, they’re really referring to these two kids as “Big David” and “Little David.” Tonight there are four hours to vote! For each time zone!
8:04 p.m. Did Fox just get boxing or something? Or maybe the WWE rights? Because the amount of boxing imagery in this is already ridiculous, and it’s four minutes in.
8:04 p.m. Wow, I hope this means that Clive Davis is having David Cook sing “Eye Of The Tiger.”
8:05 p.m. Old White Males Offer Their Predictions. Yes, this is definitely an homage to boxing.
8:05 p.m. How was neither David ever in the bottom three? What about the week when there were only four contestants? Was everyone tied? What about last week? The math of Idol is already addling my head.
8:06 p.m. In the “spikes of hair” competition, Archie is beating Cook, if only because his aren’t sticking up as absurdly as his compatriot’s.
8:07 p.m. This whole segment is sponsored by Coca-Cola. And the Nokia Theater, judging by the number of times each judge has name-dropped the venue as a “special place” for competition. I thought they were here because the Kodak was booked?
8:08 p.m. Simon: “You’ve got to hate your opponent.” David A: “You know, this guy is awesome.” So of course David Cook has to talk about how nice Cookie is! Will Little David get further penalized for diverting from the script?
8:13 p.m. The boxing allegories continue. Seriously, where did this footage come from?
8:13 p.m. Clive Davis is on talking about how he looked for songs that spoke to generational angst, etc. Ahh, so he picked “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” for Cook. I shudder to think what shitty nu-grunge song Cookie picked for himself.
8:14 p.m. Cook kicks in. His voice sounds very… airy.
8:15 p.m. IS THAT A TELEPROMPTER BEHIND THE JUDGES?
8:15 p.m. Oh, and now he’s jumping on the catwalk. Clive Davis is front row center, but not clapping along, perhaps because he sees Kelly Clarkson Mach II singing in front of him right now.
8:16 p.m. I don’t know if condensing this song really worked for it–too much of the build was lost. But hey, maybe Paula will judge all three songs right now and we won’t have to worry.
8:17 p.m. Randy just called tonight the “duel of 2007.” I guess Jordin Sparks is now officially erased from the books.
8:17 p.m. Paula had another one of her semi-cougary “I want you so bad” lines prewritten for her as praise for Cookie. Simon liked it too, so there. I guess the judges can’t complain about “song choice” given that they’re so dependent on Clive.
8:18 p.m. And we go right into David the Little singing “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.”
8:18 p.m. He’s already doing the vamping. I really hate that about this kid. He’s all about telling via runs, and not showing via interpretation.
8:19 p.m. He’s doing the squinting thing too.
8:19 p.m. The way he’s shaking the mic looks like Axl Rose’s shaky hands in the “Don’t Cry” video. The judges are going to love this. Big smile from David’s dad.
8:20 p.m. Randy starts with the “so, uh…” which is not a good sign.
8:21 p.m. Uh, so much for that. Randy says that he’s picked the right time to peak. Really? Really, Randy? After pimping–and I hate using that word–this kid all season?
8:21 p.m. Paula sunshine blah blah blah.
8:21 p.m. Simon thinks that it was the best he’s done so far. But–is there a but? Ah, yes, he gives round 1 to Archie. Yes, it’s so in the bag for David The Younger. How could we have thought any differently?
8:22 p.m. Archie is still panting. If he’s physically unable to sing songs 2 and 3, does he get DQ’d?
8:26 p.m. There are still two songs to go and the show is almost half over! Does this mean fewer tortured boxing analogies?
8:27 p.m. Ah, I spoke too soon. Oh no it’s songwriting contest time!!! OH NO
8:28 p.m. Jim Lampley is camping this up if he’s really doing this for Idol.
8:28 p.m. Oh, the songwriting contest. This song is apparently called “Dream Big.” It sounds like it was originally filler for some mid-period Survivor album. “If you don’t dream big, what’s the use of dreaming”? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?
8:29 p.m. “Faith is something you can(‘t?) see.” I’m starting to wonder if all these songwriting contest picks are first vetted by some sort of Christian rock organization so their Stealth Religious Quotient can meet a certain threshold.
8:31 p.m. OKAY SOMEONE IS DEFINITELY WRITING PAULA’S LINES. If the person who is could e-mail me I would be forever indebted to you, just for personal satisfaction of conspiracy theory purposes.
8:31 p.m. Simon didn’t like the song. Well, they can’t all be “This Is My Now,” right?
8:32 p.m. Paula just said that the song David sang “wasn’t the winning song.” What? Really, Paula? Are you opening the door to conspiracy theories again?
8:35 p.m. The “Lust For Life” ad. If only Iggy and the Stooges were slated to be on tomorrow’s show. And singing with Madonna. She could make up with Mike Watt!
8:36 p.m. Tickets to the tour are actually selling? Huh.
8:36 p.m. Archie starts to sing, and we’re treated to random explosion of screams in the low, end of the background. And the crowd looks placid. Maybe they are piping in crazed teenage screeches, just like I theorized last week!
8:37 p.m. This song: Also terrible. Dear producers: Please ditch the singing competition next year. This song sounds like “Don’t Cry Out Loud” neutered by a grape-juice-and-communion-wafers hangover.
8:38 p.m. The screams come up again. I really do think that his “teen girl” appeal is being way overstated here.
8:39 p.m. Randy is breaking out the “singing the phone book” again? The crowd is really not into the judges’ raves. However, Bryan is very happy that Constantine is in the audience.
8:40 p.m. Simon gives round two to Archie. To celebrate, Archie is licking the middle of his top lip down to a nub.
8:41 p.m. Ooh, a new iTunes ad with Coldplay!
8:42 p.m. You guys, I’m starting to get bummed out. I wanted to see the big “Jeff Archuleta looks crestfallen because of the crashing of his gravy train” camera shot tomorrow night! Instead, I’m probably going to wind up seeing Young David on Celebrity Rehab on Vh1 Lost Dignity in 2011 or so.
8:44 p.m. Wait, was that Kid from Kid N’ Play in the So You Think You Can Dance commercial?
8:45 p.m. The boxing analogies are back. “The last round is always a fight.” Dear David Cook–oh no, you’re singing Collective Soul this time out?
8:45 p.m. David Archuleta is reprising “Imagine.” Guessing he won’t leave in the heaven line this time around.
8:46 p.m. David Cook’s pick is yet another piece of rock-radio filler. Like I knew this song? But I didn’t know that it was by Collective Soul (NB this could be in part because rock radio, like pretty much every other format except classic rock and classical, doesn’t back-announce anymore). The judges are going to hate this, the kids aren’t going to vote, and David Archuleta’s going to win.
8:47 p.m. I’m not even that invested in David Cook, but I feel like tonight’s show is like one of those obviously mismatched playoff games where the team you’re rooting for is the underdog, and you’re so pumped… until the opposing team puts up a five-run fourth.
8:48 p.m. He’s crying. Will this make people embrace him? Randy loves Collective Soul. “This is the kind of record that you could make and get by with,” he says. Uh, quite the ringing endorsement there.
8:49 p.m. Standing O from Paula.
8:49 p.m. “One of the nicest, most sincere contestants we’ve had,” says Simon. But he thought it was “completely and utterly the wrong song choice,” because he should have reprised one of the songs from a few weeks back.
8:50 p.m. “Do you understand what I’m saying?” asks Simon. “Well, yes and no,” David says. “Why do something I’ve already done?” Ooh, Archu-BURN-a! But he has a point. Even though in America, David Cook, you should know that artistry never wins.
8:53 p.m. I really want to go back to this “phantom crowd noise” thing, because it is more than a little fishy. I was always wondering if the little girls really liked young David more than his other David… I mean, I’m saying this as someone who preferred Guns N’ Roses to New Kids On The Block back in the day, so.
8:53 p.m. OH MY GOD SOMEONE EATS A FINGERTIP ON HELLS KITCHEN???
8:54 p.m. I seriously loathe this version of “Imagine” because he obviously has no idea what the song means, and it’s made patently obvious by the fact that all he can do is show off his instrument. No lyrical interpretation, just runs, runs, runs. This is so obviously what the Clive Davis Machine hath wrought, though–Whitney and Celine and Mariah, the troika of revered singers, were just the starting point for the robo-voiced, and David is the next generation, all “virtuosity” but no art.
8:56 p.m. Will Randy say that thing about the phone book? No, but he does say that he thought all season that the final would be both Davids. Which prompts a concerned look from Simon.
8:57 p.m. Blah, blah, Paula’s speechless, it was stunning. Can we just give it to the kid so we don’t have to sit through Madonna tomorrow?
8:57 p.m. Simon: “We’ve taken a bit of stick, but this show is about finding a star… and what we have witnessed is a knockout.” Yes, but David? Is not a star. He is a technical singer who’s held up like a marionette by a bunch of people, who’s unable to say anything but “cool” or “awesome” if he’s not being fed the lines by his father or Andrew Lloyd Webber. He’s even breaking down right now, you can see it. No poise, just a voice.
9:00 p.m. I do like how the producers recut “Imagine” during the ending montage to include an Archu-squeaka. Yeah, like the judges would have commented on that.
9:00 p.m. Aw, David Cook. Come over and we can do crosswords and listen to Soundgarden. I’ll even give you hints on the Saturday puzzle if I know the answers.
9:01 p.m. Whoa, it’s Ruben! Singing the “see ya” song! David Archuleta, turn to your left and watch closely.
9:02 p.m. Is Ruben even signed to a label at this point? Is this performance supposed to be an audition? Ruben’s voice is pretty great. How did J botch his marketing so badly?
9:03 p.m. The ending montage features the Michael Johns elimination and Carly’s Fateful Shirt Of Simon Love.
9:05 p.m. Well, that was anticlimactic. And we’re going to have to hear “Don’t Cry Out Loud” again tomorrow, too! Gah. At least I have the prospect of watching a food critic eat a human fingertip to cheer me up.