"Why should I do something I've already done?"
I have to give David Cook a lot of credit for his performances on American Idol last night. Unfortunately, I think Simon Cowell's kiss-of-death remarks will probably shut the 25 year old out of the title, but the show's finale was the best I have seen in the six years I've been watching.
I'm sure the judges will talk a lot about song choices as they reflect back tonight, and David Cook will get dinged for not picking songs that were more in the Idol pop direction. (I have to admit that his version of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For was a bit tentative, to side with Randy. But an awesome "push note.") The song composition choices were both weak, and both contestants did their best with what they had--applause to both for that.
But, with the final song--contestant pick--Cook goes for something new that reflects "who he is as an artist" and "a different side of David Cook," to use judgespeak, while David Archuleta goes with the "safe" choice of Imagine, which scored him big points back during the Lennon/McCartney show. In the end, Simon called Archuleta's performances a "knockout."
Still, I have to look back on David Cook at the end of his Collective Soul number, emotions starting to take over, and what he said to Simon.
"I've looked at this whole thing as a progression," he said. "Why should I do something I've already done?" Then, he quickly and thoughtfully added that he understood Simon's point of view about the strength of a repeat performance, such as Cook's versions of Hello or Billie Jean.
And if you noticed, Simon gave David Cook a very quick wink.
You can look at this part of the Idol story in more than one way. (See my friend Kelly's blog for a different look at David Archuleta (Only a Boy Named David.) But for me, yeah, of course it's about singing. But to see someone who finds joy in the "progression" is to see someone who understands and appreciates something about this life that we're given. We'll see how it all turns out tonight, and in the years ahead, but for this moment....
Gotta give you your props, Dawg...David Cook rocked!
*10 p.m. EDT add-on: Welcome to your new title--American Idol--David Cook!