The Mormon Muppet is NOT your Idol King, America.
I realize I had declared this kid was the frontrunner back in February during the Top 20 rounds, but as time went on, and as reports of his controlling stage dad leaked, his image was gradually tarnished - like with most pop idols - but the rate at which this backlash developed was quite upsetting. Clearly David has millions of fans, but those who fell in love with him early on, viewers who still aren't proud to admit they watch the show, became somewhat cynical and started to see right through what they thought was an act. The oh-my-gosh-me? attitude may have been genuine (he's 17, after all), but those who were looking for a more confident and more articulate candidate grew tired of Archuleta's emphasized innocence and purity.
And I was one of them. True, his voice is amazing, but I couldn't help but feel slightly manipulated while watching him. I had visions of his arms and legs attached to strings, Archuleta Senior dangling him from the rafters above, a sinister grin stretched from ear to ear. For lack of a better Pinocchio metaphor, it was just awkward.
However, what this really means: I am finally getting fatigued by this show (yes, I may have said that last year when Jordin was crowned). "Really, H?" you ask. "It took you seven seasons to reach this epiphany?" This doesn't mean I won't tune in for next season's winner, but it also means I won't be able to follow the entire thing from its bloated audition specials to it's self-congratulatory fundraiser. If you ask me, the program itself has developed its own ego, carefully tooting its own horn, and we all know where hubris gets ya (Don't even get me started on the gratuitous Coke and Ford product placements). I'd rather focus my time and energy on other things when the mania blows up again in '09...I mean, look at how much time I've spent writing this.
It looks like I'm not alone; cynics and haters have been quick to point out that viewership is finally declining (at the risk of clouding the joy of you die-hards out there, let's just call it "plateauing"). Despite its continued ranking as the #1 show on TV, it has stopped growing, like it or not. You know what this means: next year, producers are going to pull out every gimmick and stunt they got to keep their audience awake from January to May. That's desperation you smell coming from the executive offices over at Fox.
David Cook, your shedding of tears on Tuesday night was a genius move. All throughout the competition you maintained your cool, your shrugs of indifference whenever Randy told you "it was just aight," and it always seemed like something was going on inside your head, like you were waiting for the perfect moment to get us...and you did. On the night of all nights, you subtly showed us you were in it to win it. You became the genuine Idol we wanted, a winner who wasn't a puppet, a star ripe for plucking by money-hungry managers. Congrats.
Best of luck in the recording studios. Both of you.