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American Idol
Season 7
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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 TV, FremantleMedia North America
Origin: CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA
Airs: Tuesdays at 8pm ET and Wednesdays at 9p ET on Fox


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Round of 2 - Coronation Round
May 20

It's all in the show's tagline... "Thousands audition. Millions vote. One wins."

Submitted for your approval, David Archuleta, a high school student from Murray, UT, and David Cook, a bartender from Blue Springs, MO. Two people alike only in their first name and a common destiny that brought them to the stage of the Nokia Theatre LA Live tonight. Out of the thousands that auditioned this year, only these two remain to compete one more time for your votes. Will one of them seize this moment, and change the course of their lives in a moment?

Of course not. That's YOUR job.

A dream is at stake as they - much like the many finalists before them - come to one stark realization... There can only be one American Idol... And America, you've waited long enough.

Let the Coronation Round commence!

We begin... with Michael Buffer? Well, this is the main event. Let's go to the tape...

DAVID "Sugarfoot" COOK
17 Age 25
100 lbs soaking wet Weight 180 lbs
Murray, UT Hometown Blue Springs, MO
Vocal pop Style Emo rock

And now, ladies and gentlemen... for the highest title of American Idol, in witness for the world... LLLLLLET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!

Three rounds. Contestant's choice... a choice from Clive Davis, whose company will sign the winner, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who did some work this year, and each singer's coronation song.  I want a good clean fight. No flat notes. No forgotten lyrics. No creative rough-housing. Archie, I'm lookin' at you. Touch gloves... Let's get it on.

Randy says you got to leave EVERYTHING on the floor tonight. Paula says soak it all up. Simon says you have to have a desire to win and a hatred for your opponent. The question you have to ask yourself now... HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

David Archuleta won the toss last week and has elected to go second, so we hear from David Cook first.


"Pace yourself. Don't use everything in the first round."

David Cook's first song... "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2. He can afford to be brave.

What they say: Randy says DC started the duel of 2007 hot, but he's wondering if he did enough with that song. Paula says DC's in great voice tonight. Simon thought that the tension and the nerves made way for a phenomenal performance.

What we say: Start is emotionally charged without being too hokey, and in verse 2, David Cook just lets it all go. He commands the stage and his people. So far as he's concerned, this is the Cook show right here, and he is giving the audience what he's feeling. Still, it seems like he's holding back his sauce for the big moment later on.

David Archuleta will counter with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Elton John.

What they say: Randy says that he picked the RIGHT moment to peak. Paula has chills. "You bring out so much sunshine with your singing. That was a beautiful performance." Simon thought last week was okay. Tonight... was his best. "Taking everything into account, round 1 goes to Archuleta."

What we say: Where's all that power you promised? RIGHT THERE. Seems that little D has finally grown up at this very crucial moment, but if he's going to make the power note, he can't afford to be unsure. Still, a good start as he too commands the stage in what is certain to be the first of MANY concerts to come.

Round 1: We have a small rise in ability vs. a large one. DAVID ARCHULETA.


"Winning a fight is like climbing stairs. The second round will be tougher than the first."

We've taken the top 10 entries from "American Idol Songwriter" and given them to the contestants, who will pick ONE. Judging from last year's winning entry, "This Is My Now"... Don't expect the songs to do MUCH justice to the singers.

David Cook's beginning to worry Andrew about his voice, while he thinks that Simon wrote David Archuleta's entry. He leaves the two with these words: "Battles aren't won by being a coward."

David Cook will begin round 2 with "Dream Big", a rock song in his wheelhouse.

What they say: Randy thought the song was okay, but Cook's voice made it work. Paula fell in love with it. Simon thought it was a lightweight, saying that though it was a winners song, it didn't feel like a winning moment. "That was a 6.5 out of 10."

What we say: Not a great song, but give DC points for knowing what he wants, and knowing how he wants to deliver it. He goes into rocker mode with Les Paul on the first Idol single that doesn't sound hokey. It's a long way from "A Moment Like This", and it's going to mobilize his fan base.

David Archuleta will attempt the alpha-combo with "In This Moment"... your typical Idol single.

What they say: Again, Randy's not crazy about the song, but he is in the zone. Paula says it's another heartfelt performance. Simon thought that Archuleta chose the better song, keeping in tradition of the night.

What we say: I'll be pleased as piss to finally be rid of that mosh pit. Again, not the best of song, but Archie does what he can to make it his own and leaves everything on the table. And again, it's going to mobilize his base.

ROUND 2: We have a calculated gamble and singing it good enough vs. staying on the tried and true and singing it well. You know what, I'm going to be brave and say that this is a DRAW.


"The first two rounds may be all about boxing, but the third round is always a fight."

Cook needs a cry of passion with "The World I Know", a song by Collective Soul that he's never done before. He's got to make the audience feel what he feels. Archuleta, though, is going with the song that made the man, John Lennon's "Imagine". It's a song he's done before, and it's one where he excelled. One thing is for certain.. BOTH will sing like the world is about to end.

First up, David Cook with "The World I Know."

What they say: Randy: "You're showing people a lot of different sides of David Cook. I love Collective Soul. This is the kind of record you could make. Very nice job." Paula says he's full of integrity. Simon calls Cook one of the nicest guys, and the song was beautiful, but he says that the choice didn't do him any favors.

What we say: Thank you, Simon, for saying what I'm thinking. I was hoping that he was going to do something in the grain of what he did to "Billie Jean" and "Hello". All we have here is another rock performance by the rock singer. Granted, it's a great one, but the song choice didn't do him any favors. NOW to the good... He sang it flawlessly, and he delivers it from his heart, making the audience feel what he's feeling right now. And he's crying. That'll garner some votes for the emotional aspect.

And now, the closer. Historically, more people won than lost on the closer. I believe, and I invite anyone to correct me on this, that the record is 4-2 on the closer. David Archuleta may have picked a winner with "Imagine" on this one.

What they say: Randy says that he is exactly what this show is about, and that he is the best singer of this season. Paula is left speechless. "You were stunning." Simon: "At the end of the day, this show is about finding a star. And tonight, we've witnessed one of THE great finals. My opinion, you came out tonight to win, and what we've witnessed was a knockout."

What we say: I'm going to paraphrase something that was said back in season 2... David Archuleta did a better job of that earlier on... but that song just might have won him the competition.

Round 3: Archuleta.

Okay, now for an overall assessment of the competition. It's as simple as this. One of the main rules of the show, and of show business in general, leave them wanting more. In some ways, both contestants have done that. We were left wondering why Cook didn't go with his versatility, instead, playing up to his rock strengths. We were also left with Archuleta giving his all (and in some cases, then some) in his case for the title.

For me, at least, we have the strongest marathon runner vs. the fastest sprinter. If we were judging purely on tonight performances... then David Archuleta is clearly the man to beat. But I am going on the entire season, and though the Mormon Monster lit up at just the right time, The Cookie Monster has lit up for the entire season.

WHO WILL WIN: David Archuleta in a squeaker.

In 25 hours, America will have a new Idol. Finale tomorrow.