For anybody with at least one functioning eardrum, David Archuleta's victory on this season of American Idol has seemed inevitable, pretty much from the day his audition was televised back in January. And, since then, Idol's producers have been perfectly happy to play up this obvious fact, with David frequently getting the much-coveted "pimp spot" (i.e., having the advantage of performing at show's end, so fans do not forget that he exists before the voting opens), and judges withholding all negative criticism, even after the times he intentionally flubbed lyrics to trick viewers into believing that he's a real boy.
But on last night's episode, the surviving finalists sang three songs: one chosen by the judges, another by the contestants themselves, and one by the producers. And not only did David not get the pimp spot, he was forced to sing a Dan Fogelberg song so bad it almost made us think that Syesha had a chance of making the finale. Just kidding! God, could you imagine?
Even so, what happened? Obviously by now everyone's heard about David's crazy stage dad — our idol, Jeff Archuleta — being banished from rehearsals following last week's incident. So are the producers exacting more revenge by trying to engineer a David Cook victory? It sure seems like it! Last night, Cook — performing in the pimp spot, no less! — sang a pitchy version of Diane Warren's "Don't Want to Miss a Thing," prompting Simon Cowell to declare him the evening's winner, even though he hit more wrong notes than the crappy Michael Bay movie for which the song was originally recorded. Meanwhile, Archuleta, who admirably attempted to make lemonade out of Fogelberg's driveling "Longer," was criticized not for his singing — which was flawless — but for the producers' lame song choice, which was clearly a last-minute bid to torpedo his imminent (?) victory.
According to OK! magazine, Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe was seen "raising his fists over his head and dancing around in joy" after Cook sang, and when Randy Jackson's review was less than a rave, Lythgoe was reportedly overheard asking, "What's with Randy?"
Are producers trying to set the stage for a win by Cook? (Yes.) Or just create a little suspense going into the finale? (We doubt it.) Do they even care who wins? They shouldn't, since both contestants have already signed binding, lifetime contracts with Idol's production company (and, really, it's not like either is likely to have much of a postshow career anyway, given the crappy luck of other recent ex-finalists) — which is probably why they can afford to throw Archuleta under the bus over a tiny grudge.