Daily Archives: May 19, 2009

The Night David was “On Fire”

Last year’s AI finale was so unforgettable for us Arch Angels.  So many (myself included) waited for Tuesday night, 8 pm EST, with our stomachs in knots and our nails bitten down to the nub.  I even remember a prayer’s circle going around on the Internet, and I entered mine in it.

After all that went down on AI, we just wanted David to have a fair shot at the championship.  We all knew his capability of “knocking it out of the park,” as he already blew us away with his “Imagine” performance.  But few of us anticipated that he would “knock out” the entire arena as he did that night when he blew the roof off of the Nokia Theatre and filled it up with his amazing, powerful Voice.  The Voice – that famed instrument that so many who attended the finale started proclaiming was an absolute must-hear-live just for that uplifting experience – became a recognizable and indomitable force to be reckoned with.  The Voice that filled arenas nationwide, both during the Idol summer tour and his recent solo tour.  The Voice that could bring out 50,000 fans in the Philippines.  Yes, that Voice, which we heard unleashed upon America that memorable night when he parted his lickable lips to sing the first notes in “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” appearing as vulnerable as we thought he might have been (sitting down on those steps), before he rose and grew in stature and came alive like the David-about-to-slay-Goliath we knew he was capable of becoming.

The audience rose to their feet before he finished singing, and the judges were ecstatic (Paula whooped, hollered, and raised her hand to testify to the spirit, Randy declared it the “best performance of the whole season,” and Simon called “round 1” for him).  Then there’s Ryan, who does what he does best – he had to put his hand on David’s shoulder to keep him from falling over,  so spent was he after singing his heart out and laying his soul bare for all the world to see.

And after such a magical moment, after laying his soul bare, America still voted for the other David (by 12  million more votes!).  They chose the ordinary over the extraordinary.

Yeah, every now and then, I get a little bitter about it. Not because I think David wasn’t going to have a successful career without the title (I mean, look at him now!).  Nor because I’m invested in the American Idol crown and the privileges that come with it (like heavy promotions, performing on SNL,  singing the national anthem at a big NBA game, or having your coronation song close the airing of the Summer Olympics opening ceremony, and yes, for a fleeting moment when I heard Cook’s vocals close out that amazing event, I couldn’t help but go, “The Voice would have fit perfectly with that glorious global vision” – but surely David has earned his share of exposure as well).  No.  For me, it’s this simple equation:  When you’re down to two contestants, and it comes down to who gave the better performance, our David – as Vulture was so fond of saying – was “clearly the superior David.”  Or, as the Los Angeles Times declared, we witnessed a “collective ‘a-ha’ moment.”  Of course, only Rascal could cut to the chase, as he did last year in his review of David’s final performances, and proclaim:

And lo, he looked out over the landscape of the nation, over all the watercooler debates and snarky press dismissals, over all the producer manipulations and judge coercions, the skepticism and rationalizations, and he saw the non-believers, the unfortunate faithless, and he said unto them, “behold, and hear me, and you shall doubt no more.”

David brought his A game – in a way Cook didn’t (which is why Simon, who favored Cook, was so hard on him) – and he should have won on that basis alone.

Alas, the competition is over, and all that is but ancient history (if by a year).  No hard feelings (look how lovable David was after the show and how gracious he was wearing the runner-up title).  And we’ll always have the fond memories of that night when David, as Ruben Studdard marveled, “was on fire.”

Tonight, when Adam Lambert and Kris Allen go up against each other, I’d like to see them try and top last year’s showdown.

At the least, I hope to see David in the audience during the finale. 🙂