So it's been more than 24 hours and I still can't stop smiling. I think what is sweetest about David's win is that he completely broke American Idol and threw out the oil that keeps the machine running.
First, he started the season being cannon fodder. I thought he had a beautiful voice because I have such great taste and amazing foresight, but everyone else was drooling over Archuleta, Carly Smithson and Michael Johns. But David had me almost from the beginning, and I'm pretty sure he would've had me from his audition if he hadn't mentioned Chris Daughtry in his clip - it was precisely what made me think he was a poseur...but that didn't stop me from wanting to hear more of his audition anyway. His lack of screen time and lack of pimping and the general lack of buzz surrounding him at first was what made me think he wouldn't make it past Top 5 (but this was during the semi-finals, before Hello, so it's a great testament to his talent that I thought he'd make it to Top 5, because it wasn't clear-cut at all who the finalists would be). He was my favourite, but even then I thought Archuleta was clearly going to win the season. If you'd told me back in February that David Cook was gonna be the next American Idol, I would have laughed fucking hard in your face.
Second, his Top 2 performances broke the Idol mold. A typical finale Idol performance consists of ballading, glory-noting, belting, cheesy "inspirational" lyrics about this being my now and how I want to be inside your heaven and how some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this. David Archuleta delivered three typical Idol finale performances - not to say they were bad (I wouldn't know; I barely watched), but they were extremely typically Idol.
David Cook? U2, Collective Soul, and an up tempo coronation song. Did I mention Collective Soul? He could've gone with Hello, Billie Jean, Always Be My Baby, but he chose to do a completely new song that he had to sell to the audience, especially those that aren't already his fans. With a reprisal he would've had the advantage of knowing that it worked before and so it'd probably work again, but he chose to do a completely new song because "[if he] had to choose between playing a song that not a whole lot of people know that [he] could get behind, or the opposite, [he]'ll choose the lesser-known every time". Because he is an artist and he knows who he is as an artist and he wants to do things his way. And the David Cook way is NOT the American Idol way.
Not just that - he won Top 2 night after Simon's declaration that Archuleta would be the winner of American Idol season 7. I've been watching since Season 3 and never once did Simon get it wrong. I honestly think that the only reason Simon apologised to David on results night was because he knew that David had won and he didn't want to look like he got it wrong, when in fact he did (the other theory: Simon tore David down that night to rile up his fanbase, but I prefer my own version).
Hence, David Cook broke American Idol. David Archuleta would have been the typical and expected winner; but the fact that David Cook brought home the gold? He rose above the mechanisms and the backstage manipulating of the show, and not only did he rise above, he beat them. He beat the show at its own game, and his win, to me, is total pwnage of the Idol machine.
Of course, it's so many other things to me too, but this is pretty much what I was thinking about a few minutes ago. Because I ostensibly cannot stop thinking about David Cook.
And you know, it's only going to get worse. Idol has ended, but David's career has just begun...and I intend to be there every step of the way as he makes his way to Superstardom. We all know the story of how David Cook melted the ice around my heart and how he got under my skin and forced me to confront issues that I didn't want to think about. He means the world to me, really, and to some extent I feel like I lived vicariously through him as he got his fairy tale ending.
I'm still so happy for him. He's just amazing.
I also love The New York Times:
Whether you embrace or scorn "American Idol," the most efficient star-making phenomenon in entertainment history, can depend on the day. David Cook's lopsided victory over David Archuleta on Wednesday night was an unexpected triumph of poise and maturity (Mr. Cook is 25) over ingenuousness and promise (Mr. Archuleta is 17). It reversed last season's trend, when Jordin Sparks, an unformed talent with a bubbly personality and a big voice, won, and the older and less glamorous but far more talented Melinda Doolittle came in third.
Come to think of it, Mr. Cook's triumph might not have been so unexpected. Maybe we were set up during the final performances the night before, when Simon Cowell uncharacteristically congratulated Mr. Archuleta for scoring a knockout punch with his weepy repeat performance of "Imagine." Several days earlier Mr. Cowell had predicted Mr. Cook as the winner. His flip-flopping might have been a cunning, ratings-grabbing maneuver to generate suspense in a season when "American Idol" has been suffering some audience slippage (and in fact, Wednesday night's broadcast on Fox drew about a million more viewers than last year's finale).
Mr. Cook was chastised for choosing the wrong song, "The World I Know" by Collective Soul, as his final selection. It was considered a misfire presumably because it was quieter and subtler than the usual belt-it-to-the-rafters war horses that win talent shows. I loved it.
Throughout the season, Mr. Archuleta, whose honeyed voice conveys a boyish sincerity, was encouraged to be shameless. He won my affection early with his joyous "Shop Around," but lost it by applying to Neil Diamond's grandiose tub-thumper "America" the same sugar-coated sob he brought to "Imagine."
Because Mr. Cook refused to follow the unspoken guidelines for the competition, he emerged as the most original and savvy male finalist in the show's history. The cornerstone of his victory was his iconoclastic rock version earlier in the season of "Billie Jean," the magic song that catapulted Michael Jackson to new heights of popularity 25 years ago.
Mr. Cook has a strong, flexible voice; when he sings rock, its scuffed edges echo Sam Cooke filtered through Steve Perry. Stylistically he occupies the same broad pop-to-rock territory as Bryan Adams, one of several star guests at Wednesday's finale, but Mr. Cook is a better singer.
The part in bold is what I was trying to say earlier on and obviously this writer said it better than me. There are about 10,000 articles on the web about David's win and I've read some of them, and the NY Times article is definitely the best one I've read.
Also? I completely agree that David's a better singer than Bryan Adams. Everyone knows "Everything I Do". I never liked it. When David sang it, I fell completely in love with, first, his voice, and second, the song. But I'll only listen to it if David is the one singing it. Recently I heard the original Bryan Adams and...wow, talk about paling in comparison.
David's gonna be soooo huge, I bet he'll have a sell-out concert at the Indoor Stadium in NO TIME! Hahaha.
Also? Yesterday morning while plugged in to my mp3 player on the train, the live version of Always Be My Baby came on, and I was so anxious and nervous about the results that I almost started crying. Insane, right?
I fucking LOVE David Cook, enough to love the stupid Idol single filled with the requisite Idol cheese. I mean...Time of My Life? The phrase 'magic rainbows' in the first verse made me laugh my ass off.
I find it amusing that a few people have congratulated me with regard to Cookie's win. Today at work the senior associate brought me up to his office (almost said 'room' but that sounds like all kinds of wrong!) and I was looking at the songs in his iPod and saw that he had Blake's "How Many Words" (omg great taste) and I was all, "You have Blake Lewis?", and he was all, "Yeah I do", then he went, "Oh hey, congratulations, Cook won!"
Awww! Rui and Kenneth - whom I texted in excitement after I found out the results on my phone - were all, "Congratulations Mrs. Cook!"
OHMYGAD HOW 12-YEAR-OLD OF ME! To my credit I never called myself Mrs. Cook and I don't intend to, ever. The husband thing? ALL TONGUE-IN-CHEEK! I realise that one implies the other, but...it's just not as bad as blatantly calling myself Mrs. Cook. I mean, I can't help it if other people call me that 'cause I can't control what they say, so the fact that I haven't and will never call myself that totally shows that my brain still exists. Somewhere.
Anyway, since I mentioned work, I might as well say that I was SO. SLEEPY. today that I almost fell asleep listening to the senior associate having a phone conversation with his client that supposedly lasted for 52 minutes but it really didn't feel that long to me. I was literally nodding off which wasn't very nice and I hope it wasn't too obvious...though I did say later on that I was totally falling asleep 'cause I was up until 2-something in the morning reading David Cook stuff.
I got damn pissed off in the afternoon trying to search for this super disgustingly specific point that Senior Associate asked me to look for. Like, I almost killed myself trying to squeeze water out of stone, seriously. I found a grand total of ONE case that was directly on point...and West Law didn't even have the whole case, just the stupid summary. REALLY HELPFUL, PEOPLE. I made a lot of noise too, sighing in frustration and hitting the keyboard really hard which must've scared the Year 2 interns around me. Hahaha.
Because, you know, even though I'm the most impatient person to have ever lived, I usually keep it under wraps and maintain a veneer of placidity and calm, when in fact, half the time I'm boiling over something or other inside. I bet my hair will turn white prematurely.
I'm really really REALLY sleepy and I just downloaded a bunch of David post-victory videos that I'm dying to watch, so that's all. Yay.
DAVID COOK RULES MY HEART.
I can't believe I forgot to mention this!
I went to the optician at Bukit Batok Central after work to see if my dailies are ready for collection. On the way there, as I was walking innocently, minding my own business, I suddenly heard...You'll always be a part of me, I'm part of you indefinitely. Girl don't you know you can't escape me? Ooh darling, you'll always be my baby. And it was not the Mariah version.
My eyes widened, my jaw dropped, and there was a sharp and audible intake of breath. I went into the store and asked the dude what radio station he put on.
He said, "Not radio, this is a CD."
I went, "Oh cool!"
He asked with a small smile, as if he already knew the answer, "Why?"
I said, "David Cook is awesome. Bye!"
I never, NEVER talk to strangers and David made me go up to some random dude and ask him what radio station his store was playing. It would've been sweeter if it was a radio station 'cause OMG COOKIE GETTING AIRPLAY IN SINGAPORE?! but the fact that I HEARD DAVID COOK IN SINGAPORE NOT ON MY MP3 PLAYER, NOT ON MY ITUNES, NOT AT HOME, was a major OMFG NO FUCKING WAY moment.
Yes, I'm a dork. I need to shower.