If David Had Played the Game

Thanks to a link to a funny spoof on the Nandito Ako script leak (or not really as the case may be), we get some lovely pics (image on left) and great funny imaginings of David and his imagined plot line over in Manila.

We need to just call the whole thing


On a more serious note, is it just me or is David looking so, soooooooo relaxed and extremely comfortable in his own skin? Maybe that’s part of his own maturing process, but I do wonder how much of it is related to:

1. being away from Utaaaah..

2. being away from Hollywooood…

3. just being away. Full Stop.

He’s goofing around, feeling comfortable enough in a love story (this from a guy who didn’t feel comfortable singing about love, mind you) and just having a good time.

I see David over in Manila, and I’m actually relieved that he didn’t land in the clutches of a major label who would have him completely transformed.

Take the case of Lana Del Rey. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the latest “rising star,” but Lana Del Rey (real name Lizzy Grant) has courted controversy when she received negative reviews for her recent performance this month on Saturday Night Live:

The latest creation from Interscope Records, I have to say that what disturbs me the most about this performance is her complete lack of joy.  Nothing can take that sheer joy and pleasure in singing that David exhibits so effortlessly.  Other folks are up in arms because they believed Lana Del Rey was an “organic” star who built a fanbase online with her own “self-made” videos uploaded on You Tube.

Exhibit A:

It never ceases to amaze me how people still get duped at these obvious “plants” from big studios (remember the “organic” discovery of Greyson Chance on You Tube that the likes of Ellen Degeneres had made, and remember how I exposed it for the stealth video that I thought it was?). Nothing in the above video looks “home made.” It looks like what a professional attempt at “home made,” vintage 60s grainy image and all, would look like.  I mean, c’mon already!

Ever since Island Records “planted” the You Tube “discovery” of Justin Bieber, I’ve been rolling my eyes at the latest You Tube sensations. And please note that all these “organic” discoveries of the latest music artist on You Tube happened AFTER big business got its hands on You Tube and started planting all their commercials all over the site – I do not doubt for a minute that they even rig the number of views certain videos get just to create the necessary buzz around their studio plants.

This is the current climate of American pop music, and I think it’s sad that for any pop artist to get any real opportunities, they have to basically lie about their musical origins just to follow a studio script about these sudden “finds” and “rags to riches” success story (Lana Del Rey apparently comes from a very wealthy family).  All this hoopla is occurring before her album drops on January 31, mind you.

But these kinds of ridiculous music concoctions (i.e. I don’t deny Lizzy Grant has talent, but this completely manufactured Lana Del Rey as some kind of “throwback” personality to “real music” is beyond silly) remind me of something. If David’s label had wanted to market David for pop star success, they could have and would have. The question remains: was it the label who dropped the ball, or did David just not want to “play the game”?

If David didn’t want to play the game, that’s understandable. He prizes authenticity and sincerity above anything else.  But if his label didn’t want to bother, what were the politics behind this choice? I said it before, and I’ll say it again: before Island gave us Justin Bieber, Jive had David Archuleta. They could have banked on David with the whole “bubblegum teen pop” thing and didn’t. When did that spectacular breakdown occur?

At the end of the day, I still say it’s for the best. I don’t think David wanted to get stuck with that image, which would be so much harder to grow out of. And sometimes I still think Jive had an idea to “grow” their artist, but due to their financial and political woes, just didn’t.

If taking a “vacation” in Manila allows David to grow in his own way, at least he can emerge into a different kind of artist: one who didn’t have to sacrifice his soul to play the game. And one who didn’t have to embarrass himself on SNL, exposed to the world as a studio plant with not one shred of authentic bone to his body.

Posted on January 28, 2012, in David's career. Bookmark the permalink. 61 Comments.

  1. o man do we think alike ,you have ben reading my mine..my perdiction you will keep this site going ,because you are one of the chosen ones ,great artical.would love to sit down and talk david with you

  2. I do not think David wanted to play the game but you never know what goes on behind the “music scenes”. I saw Lana’s performance on SNL. She was awful but the bigger question is why did SNL book her for the show? She had “connections” somewhere and it was not just a label. desertrat posted this twitpic from the last thread. I am posting it again because what a crowd David had to see him in the Philippines. Wow. http://twitpic.com/8cn7g6

  3. KathyH (@KathyHsayshi)

    Love the article, HG. Thanks. If I were forced to guess, I’d say that David probably resisted any orchestrated “make a megastar” moves by the label — he has always said that he believed in slow growth. But I also believe that Jive’s financial woes could have played into the circumstances. I remember reading somewhere that Jeff Fenster met David way before Idol — maybe when David went to the season one finale (?) Wasn’t that in David’s book? So JF surely knew what he had, in David.

    On another note, some of my favorite pictures in the fandom are of the crowdshots during David’s performances. There are always several faces lit with joy. David affects people in a big way. I’m going to miss him and I’m going to eagerly anticipate his return to the music scene.

  4. Boy, HG great article, I agree 100%.

  5. I enjoyed reading your interesting and informative article very much HG.

    A few years ago when David first sang in other countries, I wondered what he was facing at home in the US that kept him from his personal freedom. I easily have a yes, yes, and yes for your thoughts 1, 2, and 3.

    It seems much more easy now for him to allow himself to be caught up in the emotions that he obviously feels and cares to express. Has it also been his need in the past to do and perfect what others want from him? I don’t include the fans in this because the fans are the same everywhere, doing what they can for someone they truly idolize.

    So in some regards the years away may be beneficial for a few additional reasons. While some may not agree and find other explanations, the dark grey figure that sometimes looms over him will vanish. His talents, his entire forms of artistry, have never been in the same mold as others and until that is seen by those he faces, it all remains the same. Two years away will make the difference without him saying a single word. Although it is said that he will mature (he does that obviously now), that he will become more responsible (he is beyond many of any age), it is perhaps others who will make the significant changes and be ready for his return.


  6. “it is perhaps others who will make the significant changes and be ready for his return.” Amen to that, SB.

    And to HG, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Incisive, as usual.

  7. Yes to all three thoughts too. Shanny, you are from W’ton? Let’s get in touch!

    • Shanny in Australia

      I don’t check my twitter much but I do eventually. I’m @AussieArchieFan, if you add me, i’ll dm you with my email or something. 🙂

      • Shanny, will do! Feel free to follow me on Twitter so I can DM you and we can get in touch. I will be visiting your country also (I lived there for two years).

  8. This is a really cute video of David signing autographs. He sure knows his fans. lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUNflWCySWQ

  9. Utahmom and HG are right, I’m sure, that David’s lack of teen idol stardom will end up being a good thing–he won’t have to reinvent himself so much.

    I remember way back, when David’s image on AI, was that he was a manufactured puppet of his dad (Arch Music Group), and a plant, who along with Carly Smithson, was unfairly gaming the system. He was even accused of putting on an insincere, aw-shucks persona to hide his extensive industry experience, lol.

    The odds of making it big in the music industry are so infinitesimal, that I can hardly blame people taking any path they can. I think the whole Lana del Rey, Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie), Sasha Fierce thing is really weird, but whatever gets attention is good, I guess.

    I’m not 100% sure that the soap opera won’t also be embarrassing (the writer tweets worry me a bit) but I suppose it won’t affect his image much outside the Philippines. I’m crossing my fingers that it will be awesome.

  10. Great post HG. I do think David seems happier than ever and more comfortable in his skin. Maybe taking control of his future right or wrong is playing a part? Even if this soap is cheesy- David really seems to be learning so much and stepping out of his comfort zone. I am so glad to see this continued growth before he leaves.

  11. This may be the last live performance of Angels for sometime. He made it a good one.

    • Love this video of David singing Angels. I just do not ever get tired of hearing him sing that song. Beautiful.

  12. cchalo,what do you mean by embarrassing,to whom????

  13. cchalo, embarrassing! do you think David will do a poor job? I just don’t see it, David always give 200% to everything he does. Ok, maybe the show might come off as a little cheesy by US standards, but I feel confidient that David won’t have anything to be embarrassed about. Just my opinion.

  14. Back when this was first announced, several Filipino fans were saying that their soap operas were generally very bad. So yes, of course, this has the potential to be very cheesy. The writer tweets are not reassuring. I was repeating the word ’embarrassing’ from the SNL reference above.

    This could be like the Build a Bear song. To me, David took a really corny song and made it lovely, though I’m sure a lot of people weren’t able to see past the cheesiness.

    • I have very low expectations of the soap itself. But this is pretty low risk for David. Seriously, how many of his casual U.S. fans (and non-fans alike) would even pay attention to such things (I’m even betting there won’t be an English translation provided)? I imagine that was part of the allure for David too – to stretch out in an acting avenue without the full glare of the American limelight on him.

    • Yes, cc halo my expectations are low too but it does not really matter. It does sound cheesy. lol I think it is a good learning experience for him. I also remember those idol rumors from way back. I think Idol stopped being “a corner stone of finding newly discovered talents” when the type of people who have been picked and winning Idol lately (last couple of years) will not produce a long term career artist IMO and thus, Idol lost its credibility. Competition from other singing shows is also playing a huge part in Idol’s downturn. No one will reach the heights of a Kelly Clarkson again based on it’s current tactics to gather ratings. Although I was convinced David would and I am still not totally ruling it out.

      • I would still argue, Marie, that the downturn started around the time of the You Tube sensation. I actually think Idol tried to compete against that and so went into overdrive by manipulating and trying to pick that next new “sensation” of the “organic” artist. The problem is this created backlash in the way their TV voters picked the winners. Voters went for Cook over David since he seemed more “organic” (i.e. not as vocally perfect, not as cute), and they then picked Kris Allen over Adam Lambert since KA seemed more “organic” (i.e. not as flamboyant and gay), and then they really went off the charts at the “organically organic” by picking the blandest of the bland in Lee DeWyze. That the last winner was good ol’ country boy Scotty McCreery really shows how voters started bucking against the system in picking truly bland winners – all because Idol started competing against major labels’ “You Tube discoveries” in trying to find a nice cross between organic/rising star potential. Voters just went the extra mile in picking truly not-special winners, who couldn’t possibly emerge as pop stars because at the end of the day, the recent winners were simply voted as the “lesser of the stars-hence-the-more-organic-contestant.” No way you can market that kind of persona and get anywhere in the pop music business.

        If Idol crowns yet another generic white male contestant this year, they just need to pack it up.

      • “If Idol crowns yet another generic white male contestant this year, they just need to pack it up.” I agree with you, hg I do think the voting is an issue as IMO they have an older demographic of viewers that likes WGWG (White Guys With Guitars). lol My guess is that they do not have much of a young and diverse viewing audience. I also agree that You Tube was one of the major factors of the with downturn of AI.

      • “major factors contributing to the downturn of AI” lol

  15. I remember way back, when David’s image on AI, was that he was a manufactured puppet of his dad (Arch Music Group), and a plant, who along with Carly Smithson, was unfairly gaming the system. He was even accused of putting on an insincere, aw-shucks persona to hide his extensive industry experience, lol.

    Cchalo, I do remember this. But the key difference, I think, is that folks found out David had once appeared on Star Search (and WON!) so there was a question mark as to whether or not he “counted” as a real “organic” discovery by Idol. Carly had previously had a signed contract with some other label.

    Such general discussions just goes to show how much fans/audiences want to feel like the brand new artists they are introduced to are, indeed, “brand new.”

    But the Idol scenario is much different to the You Tube scenario, at least to me, b/c the You Tube artists in question were already major label artists, who their labels tried to pass off as “brand new” organic artists that they had “discovered” thanks to the “organic” buzz that was generated from millions of hits from regular You Tube viewers.

    Big difference, I think, not to mention one in which the major labels found their way to brand a different kind of “organic” artist to compete against the “reality show” type of organic artists.

    Notice how Idol stopped being the cornerstone market of “newly discovered talents,” once these other labels started their whole You Tube discovery market. 😉

  16. HG, I agree, David looks very happy and comfortable right now. Part of it may stem from the fact that he no longer has to hide his missionary plans, hence, he’s relieved.

    Lately I’ve been watching TV One’s “Unsung” series where they provide behind-the-music type info on R&B artists. In one story, former teen singing pop star, Stacy Lattisaw explained why she walked away from a major label at age 22. She had been singing for over 10 yrs and her heart was no longer in it. As we know, so much of the business is about keeping your name out there. She was encouraged by those around her to look & dress a certain way, sleep with certain people, etc. to stay in the limelight. Stacy said that she reached a point where she just wanted to be herself and perform in such a manner that she’s comfortable in her own skin. She now sings gospel music.

    • Speaking of labels wanted artists to sleep with or date the right people I find it interesting that it was just announced that Jordin Sparks is dating Jason Derulo. This is after Jaspn initially denied it. I hope they do well but IMO this seems like a PR move but who knows. Jordin seems to be a very driven and ambitious person which is what you have to be in order to succeed in that industry. We will see how it works for her having a long term career. I always felt Katharine McPhee was very ambitious but for some reason I just never liked her. lol

      • Jordin is one of my fav idols and yes, she is definitely working it, lol. Derulo is suffering from a neck injury. This is a quote from him in a recent news article:

        “She lives in Phoenix and she comes [to Miami] and takes care of me, brings me breakfast in bed and she’ll go on walks with me.

        I’m sure both of their publicists want the word “bed” included to give the public something to talk about.

      • I know! Especially if Jordin is still wearing her purity ring (is she?).

      • I don’t know if she still wears the ring but I think she and Derulo make a nice couple.

  17. And speaking of being “duped” by major label plants, remember Milli Vanilli? Looking back at the story, I feel sorry for the two artists. Clive Davis and Arista were behind the hoax yet when it went public, they released the artists from the label and acted as if they knew nothing about it.

  18. would someone explain what you all mean by cheesy ??? in the dark here .thanks

    • The urban dictionary online gave this definition of “cheesy” – sentimental, maudlin, melodramatic, corny. The mini series might be cheesy but I still think it can only help David. If the mini series is similar to other Filipino mini series then it will most likely be sucessful there. This gives David a chance to try out acting without the glare of the US press as only David’s ODD fans will even know about it. Most of us ODD fans with like it just because we get another chance to watch David. Also, David is probably getting a nice pay check for this, and we get another song from David too.

      • agree with you grammyj. there is a chance that the series could be seen in other asian countries. asian tv stations sell their dramas to each other all the time. one really melodramatic filippino soap was shown on my local station recently. there is also a tv awards competition held annually where various asian stations compete for awards for their shows. who knows maybe tv5 would submit nandito ako for the competition and enter david for the best actor award. that would be so much fun.

  19. perhaps one day we will hear the true story behind the jive era of david’s career from david himself when he writes the next installment of his life story. i hope he does that – all by himself – without the help of a ghost writer.
    as for the mini series, i am not expecting anything great – it’s a soap after all. even filippinos don’t think highly of their own tv dramas and i think this one won’t be much different from the rest. but i will still try my best to watch it. david’s in it and that’s good enough for me! bring on the cheese! lol.

    • Well we do know that David would never go along with a fake romance or sing lyrics with a double meaning. I wonder if Jordin will be able to get another hit. She seems to be following what the label asks of her. Last year she debuted her single with singing and dancing on Idol but the single did nothing. Then she lost a lot of weight and a picture of her in a bikini appeared in People magazine. She also was an opener for NKOTB this summer, but still there is no new album from her. She does have a part in a movie with Whitney Houston that is coming out this summer. We shall see if that gets her back with a hit on the radio.

      • She recently tweeted that she’s auditioning for other things. I wouldn’t be surprised if RCA has her music on hold.

      • Yes grammyj, I think Jordin is doing exactly what the label asks of her. That is why it will be interesting to see what happens to her music career long term. I agree with desertrat that I would not be surprised if RCA has her music on hold and that is why she is doing other things. I think Jordin and Jason are a cute couple. I just hope Jason turns out to be a nice and solid guy for her.

    • fenfan, i’m with you, bring on the cheese. 🙂

      i bet david’s miniseries will be 10 times better than some of the stuff we’re subjected to in the U.S. (eg, atlanta housewives, basketball wives, baseball wives, the apprentice, anything with nigel lythgoe, etc.)

  20. Off topic but did you know that The Civil Wars are ft in Taylor Swift’s song for the Hunger Games? Nice to see that talent, with an ID label can find success. Don’t know if you all are familiar with it, but it is huge and will likely have a following like Twilight- The movie will comes out this Spring.

  21. i am with you desertrat

  22. Here’s David trying to be incognito – I’d love to know if the person who took this photo is a fan, since that would mean David failed lol.

    • This is an off color comment but D’s incognito photo reminds me of the sketch of the Unibomber.

    • That’s Josh going incognito with Anya in the Mini Series released by TV5 or someone promoting the series. (not David trying to disguise himself)

      Hi Embe, Hope all is well.

  23. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that these youtube stars are manufactored by big music companies. I guess not all, but I do believe that the public is sometimes being duped into thinking they are the ones that made the big discovery.

  24. Wow, bringing up Milli Vanilli here, all I can think of is how poor Rob (was that his name?), the 1/2 act of Milli Vanilli was found dead at the young age of 32 after their lives were destroyed by the lip-syncing controversy and after their labels made money off their short-lived act.

    Soul crushing indeed!

  25. Great post, HG, and thanks for the link!

    Was at the mall today & smiled when I read their entrance signage… thought of you, of course!

  26. hi guys! love the pics with david and his favorite singer, i bet he was so starstruck meeting her!!!!. i have noticed david has grown up so much since doing the mini series. this is going to be bittersweet for david when he is done his last filming the show and the casts and crews this week.

  27. i read that there will be some beach scenes this week!. if the rumors are true about the kissing thing, if david does kiss one of the girls on the show, i think david should sing ” i kissed a girl and i like it”!!! by katy perry haha!.

  28. if there beach scenes, you know there kissing invloved!? goodnite everyone


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