Glory Notes

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!

Posted on April 30, 2011, in American Idol. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I too hope for a David/Melinda duet. I read in an interview that Melinda gave to a newspaper that she views her musical career as a marathon not a sprint in answer to choices she’s made in her career so far. We know that when David was with Jive he had to “sprint”. Maybe now that he is laying his foundation he is viewing his career more as a marathon. I’m wishing for the best for both of them.

    • First congrats HG on two great years of SD. Like others have visited daily but mostly lurk. It’s the thought provoking posts that I sometimes need time to wrap my brain around. By the time I get my thoughts together, there’s a new post to contemplate.

      I think David always thought his music career would be a marathon. I was always impressed by his words in an interview right after the Idol finale when he told an interviewer, “I have a lot to learn. I have to earn my way…to pay my dues.” I think David always expected that he would be able to “build a foundation” or “put his ducks in a row” in the time between Idol/Idol Tour and the eventual launch of his career. But that time never existed. Instead, Simon Fuller came into David’s dressing room the night of the finale with a record deal in hand. The idea of a marathon ended and the sprint began. Not to say David didn’t have a blast along the way, learn a lot and meet some amazing people and visit some amazing places; but it was Jive and not David in the driver seat. Whatever happened between Jive, WEG and David, I think he saw the right opportunity to slow the sprint down and start the marathon he always anticipated. I excitedly look forward to the results of his efforts.

      • skiffrower, you have said what i have though all along,david got a lanch from jive but it was not what david wanted now he can do it his way,

      • I would love to see a Melinda and David duet. Great idea! I just hope David has successful professionals in the music industry that are helping guide him right now. He needs those connections in the music industry. I think he needs the support of a music label too. I was not a WEG fan but he was only with them for about five months out of the last 3 years.

  2. Melinda was my favorite also in season 6. And that was the season I became angry with the unlimited voting. I went searching for answers and that was when I realized people were voting 1,000’s of times for their favorites. In season 7 i voted for David the whole two hours and when David lost to Cook, I decided not to vote anymore. I don’t see the best vocalist winning anymore with the present voting system.
    I saw Melinda perform with the Air Force orchestra in DC about a year ago and she was FANTASTIC! I am so happy she and David were able to get together. I think a duet with David and Melinda would be wonderful!

  3. Just to add a little to the conversation about perserverance in the industry, check out David’s latest interview at ASCAP:

  4. Thanks HG for the vids and your blog. I never watched AI until David was put into the spotlight on the Today Show as “could a 16 year old win”, etc. I have seen this performance of Valentine of Melinda’s before and thought she was simply magnificant. And David’s Imagine, perfect. The thing that struck me most in this blog was the word “mediocrity”.

    We live in a “dumbed down America.” Mediocrity is the norm. From fast food to autos to operating systems on our computers, to the “music” that is shoved down our ears. Celebrating such ingratiating sounds as music. America does not want the best, we want what is easy. Ok, enough of that.

    I really would love for Melinda and David to duet. They are both fighting the tide of “mediocrity” in music. Is it possible that these two extraordinary artists can overcome the current trend in music? Ha, good question my dear Watson.

    • Good to hear from you again, Ralph. 🙂

      “America does not want the best, we want what is easy.”

      So so true! That basically sums up what we’re dealing with all around, and obviously, David is not “easy.” He’s just deceptively so.

    • Ralph – “Mediocrity is the norm” – amen! I was channel changing on the radio the other day and I realized I can’t tell the difference between the top 5 female pop vocalists – there is no personality, no identifying sound – it’s all the same. Mediocre!

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