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Published:May 21st, 2008 16:04 EST
A Prediction for the American Idol Finale Tonight

A Prediction for the American Idol Finale Tonight

By Daniel Mabee

The day has arrived. Tonight, the seventh American Idol will be announced. This year, the final two contestants are both very strong. In one corner is David Archuleta, a 17-year-old with a voice worthy of opera; in the other stands David Cook, whose rock and roll style has set him apart from this year’s competition. Neither contestant has been in the bottom two or three any week this season; clearly, this is a battle of the titans. The question now: who will win?

Despite his age, Archuleta has one of the most powerful voices ever heard on the American Idol stage. Any song in his hands becomes a ballad, brimming over with booming tenor.  Despite a handful of gaffes over the course of the season – forgetting lyrics during his initial audition piece and his performance of The Beatles’ “We Can Work it Out” in Week 4 – Archuleta has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from both the judges and fans, a testament to his vocal ability.

On the other hand, Cook’s strengths lie in his stage presence and creativity.  His unconventional performance of “Billie Jean” during the Top Ten is especially notable in showing his ability to think outside the box.  When presented with challenges outside his style (such as Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “The Music of the Night” or Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow”), Cook continues to deliver solid, soulful renditions. Cook uses his energy and guitar abilities to bring the audience into his performances.

In the final performances, Archuleta delivered more of what he has in the past: sonorous, rolling ballads that belie his small stature.  Conversely, Cook’s performances were some of his weakest; while his songs were solid, there weren’t any moments that dropped my jaw.  The judges’ comments reflected this, and Archuleta appeared to be on top after the smoke cleared.

Ultimately, it is in America’s hands to decide the next American Idol, but in this writer’s opinion, the triumphant spot in the middle of the stage will belong to…

Cook. While Archuleta’s vocal range seems limitless, his musical abilities are not.  Each of his performances, while impressive, are all, at their hearts, the same. Cook is innovative and incredibly talented, bringing a style to the table never before seen on the show. David Cook will be the next American Idol.