Daily Archives: May 9, 2009

Flashback to David Archuleta Day

dnews David Archuleta Murray High

It was just last year, on May 9, 2008, when Murray, Utah declared David Archuleta Day as their hometown hero made the Top 3 of American Idol Season 7 and returned for a homecoming celebration.

Ah, the memories! Who could forget David all “stoked and pumped,” overwhelmed and in tears, with “gosh’s” rolling off his tongue every few minutes? And, of course, the infamous “Gosh, where did they park?”  comment.

Now, had the week ended there, we’d have been a proud and happy fanbase, but of course there’s more. There’s always more.

It was this same weekend, after David’s celebrated return to Utah, that TMZ broke the story of his father, Jeff, being banned from backstage.  Naturally, the fanbase refused to give the story any merit. Then, the AP broke the news, followed by Fox News, the Today Show on NBC, and a host of other news shows.

All this unfolded before David had a chance to perform Top 3 night, when it appeared that he was woefully handicapped by some judge’s and producer’s song choices: Paula Abdul giving him “And So It Goes,” an older-than-death song to sing (which David managed to transform into a stunningly beautiful and haunting melody) and the producers saddling him with the “gooey” sentimental sap tune, “Longer.”  Remember that?

It wasn’t hard to imagine, after the stage dad story, that David was being sabatoged to make way for the eventual David Cook victory, and naturally, conspiracy theories abounded.  So, I bring up this ancient history because, lo and behold, imagine this year going into the Top 3 competition and seeing an obvious “favorite” among the remaining contestants on the cover of a popular entertainment magazine.  Needless to say, certain fanbases this week have been absolutely livid.


Further imagine, if you will, what the Archies might have done last year at this point in the competition if EW had featured Cook on its cover.  That, combined with the stage dad story and the song choices, would have caused the fan wars to erupt into a major blood bath.  And, if the opposite had occurred, with our David on the cover instead of Cook, I have no doubt that this PR move would have resulted in a ginormous backlash that might have caused David to be voted off before the finale.  Voted off before he slayed us with his unforgettable tour-de-force rendition of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”  Gosh, perish the thought!

It’s no secret to longtime viewers of American Idol that behind-the-scenes manipulations often abound in which certain favorites are propped up above all others, while other contestants are given little to no support.  However, what is becoming more and more obvious with each new season is the way AI associates have blatantly mounted political campaigns through the use of other media to garner support for said favorites.  Last year, Simon Cowell went on talk shows promoting Cook while attacking David’s “lack of personality.” This year, while EW may not have necessarily been prompted by the show’s producers, it certainly is doing the job of “pimping” an already popular contestant in Adam Lambert.

Sure, we can argue (and I’d be the first to do so) that, of the remaining three contestants, Adam is miles ahead of the rest in terms of talent and showmanship.  However, last time I checked, this is still a competition, not a watershed moment in pop culture (seriously, the references to Adam being possibly gay as a reason to grace him on their cover is politically insulting and egregiously unfair to the other two contestants, who deserve a shot at recognition).

That said, such media spin as it relates to AI is a powerful reminder that, whatever went down when David was on this insipid show is not nearly as important as the simple fact that he survived, left an indelible mark on the show, and has emerged with his soulful voice and indomitable spirit in tact.

Now that AI is back to their usual shenanigans, I can at least be grateful David has shaken their dust off his feet (I would hope) and moved on.  Maybe he can also team up with the other adorable teenage Latina this season (Allison Iraheta), who never received the props she so clearly deserved as the best singer of Season 8.  Granted, there are some clearly delusional viewers declaring that she is “far and away superior” to David (since I attribute such superlatives to their being disappointed with her getting voted off this week, I will forgive such misguided comments because, really? Um… NO!).  Still, the media and show manipulations suggest that the days when the best singers could win, or when age (or gender or ethnicity) didn’t matter are clearly over.

Then again, some are saying that EW could only feature Adam Lambert, and not Danny Gokey and Kris Allen with him, for fear that the decidedly white maleness of the Top 3 would illustrate how far we have fallen from the original showcase of diversity of which AI used to be so proud.

More conspiracy theories!