So earlier this week, someone posted this twitpic of my favorite idol David Archuleta and my second favorite idol Melinda Doolittle together (thanks, Burkey!). To say it gave me goosebumps is an understatement.
First of all, that David would assert himself the way he did and outright tweet her an invitation to coffee while he was in Nashville was all kinds of bold (Aw, our David is growing up, coming out of his shell, asserting himself, etc.). Especially considering that he wasn’t even following her on twitter (and to which he promptly did after their get-together).
Was it just a meeting of former Idol alumni hanging out or the beginning of a beautiful musical friendship of two powerhouse vocals?
Either way, I got mad super excited and started speculating about possible duets. Wouldn’t they sound awesome singing a classic duet song like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” or maybe a more contemporary duet like Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s “Lucky”? Imagine how they would embellish and improvise on the latter!
So, I got to thinking: no wonder I’m beyond bored with American Idol this season! It isn’t even the start of different kind of reality talent show, like The Voice, which I would have missed if David hadn’t given it a shout out on his twitter. Even as strong as the singers are on The Voice, none of them have yet to showcase the magic that I found with David or the stylistic precision that Melinda consistently demonstrates. Still, the new show was a return to the “glory notes” days of Idol’s humble beginnings.
And that’s when it dawned on me: American Idol surely lost its way when 1.) Melinda Doolittle, the best vocal contestant her season, didn’t win and 2.) David Archuleta, clearly the best vocal contestant his season, didn’t win either just one year later.
Also, in my heart of hearts, I believe that’s why Idol has suffered with its credibility ever since.
Here’s Melinda Doolittle “My Funny Valentine,” performed during Top 20 week in Season 6:
Here’s David Archuleta “Imagine,” performed during Top 20 week in Season 7:
The problem: both “peaked” early and became “the ones to beat.” But how do you beat vocal flawlessness like these two performances? Why, have your eventual winners experience a “growth arc,” which would have everything to do with performance embellishments, rocking out R&B, appearing youthful and fashionable. In other words, look like the “second best” in the competition to “overthrow” the “best singer” hands down. That Idol audiences justified their crowning of “second best singers” reinforced that the show was about “popularity meets mediocrity.”
Both Melinda and David were consistently criticized for being “too good.” And that’s all I have to say about that. When a contestant can’t win because they are perceived as “too good,” then the show and its viewers have proclaimed what we’ve all known all along: the show is about mediocrity. And more and more, it’s looking like a fluke that genuine talented winners like Kelly Clarkson, Ruben, Fantasia, and Carrie Underwood actually won their seasons.
Oh well. If there is any justice, any hope, it’s that both David and Melinda established themselves in the public eye as genuine talented vocalists. There may not be room in the music industry for this kind of talent, but perseverance will win out, and they will prevail.
I’m just hoping, at the least, for a potential duet between the two!