It is undeniable that David Archuleta
has become the darling of American Idol
this season. The seventeen year old from Utah is blessed with a mature beyond his years voice, an infectious stage presence, and an innocent modesty. All three American Idol
judges have had nothing but great things to say about the kid and the country has been buzzing since his stirring performance of John Lennon's “Imagine” last Wednesday. There has been some mild Archuleta backlash, but that's to be expected when someone as saccharine and safe as David hits the national stage. This hasn't stopped Archuleta from becoming the early favorite, going away, to win American Idol
this season. But, who is David Archuleta? Where does he come from?
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Born in Miami, Florida David Archuleta started his love affair with music early on. He claims that after he saw the musical of Les Miserables at the age of 6, he knew that music was what he wanted to do. At the age of 12, Archuleta competed in the Junior Circuit on Star Search
. He ended up winning the whole thing. Here's a video of Archuleta on Star Search:
A few years ago, David suffered from a rare form of vocal paralysis. He declined to have a risky surgery and has since (obviously) undergone a remarkable recovery. He considers himself fully healed.
Archuleta is half-Honduran and grew up listening to a lot of Latin music. David can also play a little piano.
Other than that, we don't know a whole lot about David Archuleta, but let's be honest: how much is there to know about a 17 year old? The most interesting (to me, at least) question regarding Archuleta is whether or not he is Mormon. Given his relocation to Utah, there has been speculation regarding his religion. On line, there is no first-hand evidence of David being Mormon, but I found an article in an on line Mormon newspaper that off-handedly referred to Archuleta (and fellow finalist Brooke White) as known Mormons. Maybe this means nothing to you, maybe this makes him more likable, maybe less. This is notable, though, when you consider his choice of verses in his performance of “Imagine.” He only sang the third verse, and when asked why, he explained that the third verse's message was more meaningful to him. More likely, if he is Mormon, is that he took offense to the first verse, in which Lennon's lyrics are very much anti-religion.
We probably shouldn't read much into this, because it's not that big of a deal. Personally, I have problems with the Mormon religion. It's history of polygamy, the fact that it's originator was a known con man and it's laundry list of antiquated practices are enough for me to dislike the entire enterprise. But, I'm not going to take my feelings about Mormonism out on David Archuleta – I don't know his beliefs, nor do I know the circumstances from which they emerged. But, it will be interesting to see if he ever publicly mentions his faith during American Idol this season. My guess is that he won't.
I, like many, are cynical and unmoved by the adorable nature of someone like Archuleta. I wish I weren't, believe me. It's not that I don't think he's a good singer (I do), or that he's unlikable (he's clearly not), it's just that I get uncomfortable when a person like David leaps onto the national scene and receives such overwhelming and unquestioned praise when it's only partially deserved. We're a culture who likes to bandwagon jump when the next new shiny thing comes along, and in the process we tend to severely overrate things. Right now, America is on the David Archuleta bandwagon. Don't get me wrong - he's a very good singer, especially for being so young. His performance of “Imagine” was spectacular enough to forever place him in American Idol lore, no matter what his future holds. I'm going to go on record, though, and say that Archuleta will not win American Idol. For one, the early favorite never seems to come away victorious in the end and I think we'll look back in a few months and agree that he peaked too early. It's going to be very hard to top last week's performance and, unfortunately, that performance is the one he'll always be judged by.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
Source: FOX and Deseret News
(Image Courtesy of FOX)